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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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Double Message, Double Standard: Institutions Abandoning the IHRA Definition of Anti‑Semitism Court Danger

Filed under: Anti-Semitism, Europe, Europe and Israel

Double Message, Double Standard: Institutions Abandoning the IHRA Definition of Anti‑Semitism Court Danger

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This publication follows a webinar which took place on September 15, 2020 on the topic: “Assessing the Role of Institutions in the Fight against Anti-Semitism.”

The discussion featured prominent speakers and drew hundreds of viewers. Deliberations focused on institutions – local, national, and international – and their role in fighting (or perpetuating) modern anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Frequently masked as political criticism of Israel, this conflation often legitimizes anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric and activity. It also often implicitly endorses a lethal environment espousing hatred of Jews and the Jewish state.

Ironically, and as a matter of deepening concern, this phenomenon has continued despite the fact that European nations have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. We are profoundly convinced of this definition’s historical importance and international value. It casts a light on the basic manifestations of contemporary anti-Semitism; a transition from the use of classical anti-Semitic stereotypes to the new anti-Israeli images which do not constitute legitimate criticisms of the Jewish State. This publication focuses on one point – the discrepancy between the formal adoption of the IHRA and its actual application by the many countries and institutions that have approved it. Too often, their fight against anti-Semitism is weakened by the inability to refrain from stereotypes. This results in anti-Semitism reinforced by the very institutions which adopted IHRA in the first place.

Clearly we are strongly in favor of IHRA and of the institutions that adopted it. Nevertheless, institutions must practice what they preach and work to fight anti-Semitism consistently, on all fronts, and under all circumstances.

Finally, I wish to thank Ruthie Blum and Dr. Tommaso Virgili for their gracious and helpful editing.

Webinar Speakers

Amb. Dore Gold, President, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Dr. Fiamma Nirenstein, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Amb. Elan S. Carr, U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism

Amb. Emanuele Giaufret, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Israel

Lord John Mann, Adviser to the British Parliament on Anti-Semitism

Prof. Milena Santerini, Italian National Coordinator on Combating Anti-Semitism

Szabolcs Takacs, Head of the Hungarian IHRA Delegation

Dan Diker, Director of the Political Warfare Project at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute in Brussels

Dr. Charles A. Small, Founder and Director of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy; Research Scholar at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University

Prof. Gunther Jikeli, Professor in Jewish Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington

Rebecca Mieli and Ben Hayton, Jerusalem Center interns