Antisemitism is hostility and prejudice towards Jews, displayed in negative and malicious beliefs and actions. Antisemitic attacks target Jewish persons, property, and religious, educational and communal institutions.
Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity and is often used to blame Jews for a wide range of ills plaguing society. It’s commonly expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and actions, and uses negative stereotypes and character traits.
Throughout history, some aspects of antisemitism have remained constant while others have evolved over time. Today, the most widely recognized tool for understanding what is antisemitism and contemporary Jew-hatred is the working definition established by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which is composed of 34 member countries.
The non-legally binding definition states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
“As of early 2023, more than 1,000 entities around the world (including the Canadian government) have adopted the IHRA definition.”
First adopted by IHRA in 2016 following many years of collaborative research by leading experts on the subject, the definition continues to gain support. As of mid-2022, nearly 900 entities around the world (including the Canadian government) have adopted the IHRA definition. In addition to 39 countries, the list includes international organizations, regional governments municipalities, NGOs, universities, athletic clubs, corporations and other groups have approved the definition as the guiding framework for their policies against antisemitism and defining what is antisemitism.
The full definition also includes 11 explanatory examples of antisemitism that give people a better understanding of its many variations.
Manifestations of antisemitism can include the targeting of Israel based on a prejudicial double-standard not expected or demanded from other countries. This involves selective condemnation of Israel, even denying its right to exist or seeking its destruction. However, it’s important to note that criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against other countries can’t be regarded as antisemitic.
To further distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel from antisemitism, Israeli human rights activist Natan Sharansky formulated the “three Ds” or “3D test.” The three Ds stand for delegitimization, demonization and double standards as applied to Israel. For more information on the 3D test, click on https://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-sharansky-f04.htm
For more information on the IHRA definition of antisemitism, click on https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/antisemitism