The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) recently circulated a letter supporting the Working Definition of Antisemitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).  The letter currently has more than 300 signatures from leading scholars, intellectuals, and professionals throughout the world.  ISGAP’s statement comes in the wake of increasing opposition to the IHRA definition, a recent example of which is the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA).  The current objections to the IHRA definition have come about despite the fact that the definition has been in existence since 28 January 2005, when it was published on the website of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.  So why now?

As is often pointed out, the current phenomenon of Jew hatred comes from three directions: the extreme right, the extreme left, and Islamic extremism.  The antisemites on the right are easy enough to recognize: they boast about their hatred of Jews and, indeed, must be taken seriously, as history has demonstrated.  While there are no governments that openly identify themselves as white supremacists, there are governments, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, that openly declare their desire to see the elimination of the Jewish state by any means necessary.  As for the extreme left, in many cases they deny having any animosity toward the Jews; indeed, many of them are Jewish, particularly among the intellectuals.  The thread that runs through all three, who would otherwise make for very strange bedfellows, is anti-Zionism.  Among many on the left, this form of antisemitism is not only acceptable, not only fashionable, but has become morally required.

Prominent among the critics of the IHRA definition are the anti-Zionists, who look at the eleven examples in the definition but ignore the statement preceding the examples that says, “Criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”  Ignoring this assertion, they are quick to object that the IHRA definition undermines free speech.  Looking casually but not critically at the examples of antisemitism given in the definition, they note that Israel is mentioned in six (nos. 5-7 and 9-11) of the eleven examples.  The implication is that the IHRA definition is nothing more than a pro-Zionist apologetic.  A closer look, however, shows that of these, “Israel or Israelis” is the focus of only two (nos. 9 and 11); in the other four examples the focus is on “accusing the Jews” (nos. 5 and 6), “denying the Jewish people” (no. 7), or “holding the Jews collectively responsible” (no. 11).

The objection to the apparent (but not actual) prominence of Israel in the Working Definition is rooted in the anti-Zionist longing to be free to engage in unfettered demonization, delegitimization, and morally outraged opposition not to the policies of the Jewish state but to the presence of the Jewish state.  The so-called academic freedom that is championed by such opponents to the Working Definition is the freedom not to express a viewpoint but to incite Jew hatred.  The desire for this freedom, in turn, is fueled by the desire to be admired, embraced, and held up as a courageous paragon of moral integrity, fighting the Invisible Wirepullers for the sake of the downtrodden, disenfranchised victims of injustice everywhere. 

The critique of the IHRA definition, therefore, is often steeped in the stink of self-righteousness.  This includes the smug Jewish academics and intellectuals who desperately long to be regarded as “good Jews,” such as two hundred who signed the JDA and the four hundred-plus who in June 2020 signed the open letter accusing Israel of being an “apartheid state” guilty of “crimes against humanity” for extending its civil authority to Jewish populations in the West Bank—a move that that Israeli government never actually made.  Particularly troubling about the JDA is the co-opting of the word Jerusalem: if it is from Jerusalem, it must be kosher, like “the word of God that goes forth from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).

A recurring refrain that one finds in these objections to the IHRA definition is “in and of itself”: in and of itself there is nothing antisemitic about a call for boycotts and sanctions against Israel.  But the phrase “in and of itself” is calculated to remove the Working Definition from its contexts and thus to delegitimize and even demonize the definition by rendering it either meaningless or harmful.  It turns out that the critique itself is meaningless and even harmful, inasmuch as it is either driven by antisemitism or plays into the hands of antisemites.

The most glaring misreading of the IHRA definition in terms of situating it within its contexts lies in overlooking its origin in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.  Holocaust remembrance is not about recollection, recall, or reporting the events surrounding the extermination of the Jews of Europe.  No, it is about engaging in a testimony to the sanctity of the other human being and our infinite responsibility to and for the other human being.  This testimony is rooted in the millennial teaching and testimony that comes to the world through the Jewish people.  That millennial tradition is precisely what the Nazis targeted for annihilation and what the antisemites, including the anti-Zionists, seek to obliterate.

The IHRA Working Definition is a summons to such testimony.  Inasmuch as antisemitism is, in the words of Emmanuel Levinas, “hatred of the other man,” the IHRA definition concerns all of humanity; it concerns our fundamental understanding of what a human being is.  That is why, as Elie Wiesel famously said, what begins with the Jews does not end with the Jews.  Wiesel also once declared that there comes a time when, in order to remain human, one must assume the Jewish condition, which is a condition not of a victim but of a witness to the holiness of the other human being.  It is a condition fraught with danger, a condition of extreme vulnerability, as those who pursue the study of antisemitism, particularly in the mode of anti-Zionism, can attest.

The IHRA definition provides a kind of haven for such individuals.  Those who would remove or displace that definition would eliminate that haven—this in the name of free speech.

Opposing Antisemitism, Supporting IHRA, Petition Signatories

Dr. Navras Aafreedi, Presidency University, India
Dr. Victoria Aarons, Trinity University, United States
Professor Irving Abella, York University, Canada
Dr. Bruce Abramson, American Center for Education & Knowledge, USA
Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, Manhattan College, United States
Majid Al Sarrah, CEO, Sharaka Organization, United Arab Emirates
Dr. Sunni Ali, Northeastern Illinois University, United States
Mr. Jonathan Allen, National Executive Director, The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem,
Dr. Daniel Allington, King’s College London, United Kingdom
Dr. Lior Alperovitch, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Dr. Najay AlSaie, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates
Professor Rachelle Alterman, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
Dr. Lawrence Amsel, Columbia University, USA
Mrs. Johanna Arbib, President, HaShomer HaChadash, Israel
Professor Seth Armus, St. Joseph’s College (NY), United States
Dr. Katherine Aron-Beller, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Dr. Yehudith Auerbach, Bar Ilan University, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Professor Robert Aumann, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Senior lecturer Moshe Averbukh, University Ariel, Israel
Professor Maoz Azaryahu, University of Haifa, Israel
Ambassador Alan Baker, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Israel
Dr. Zsolt Balkanyi, Neue Kantonsschule Aarau, Switzerland
PhD Michael Barak, International Institute for Counter Terrorism ICT at IDC, The Moshe
Dayan Center for Middle East Studies at Tel Aviv University, Israel
Professor Avi Bareli, Ben-Gurion University in the Negev, Israel
Endowed Professor Wendy Barker, University of Texas at San Antonio, United States
Dr. Shmulik Bass, Director Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel
Clinical Psychologist (Independent Scholar) Steven Baum Journal of Contemporary
Antisemitism Associate Editor, United States
Ms. Petra Bayr, Austrian Parliament, National Assembly Austria
Dr. Matthias J. Becker, Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung (ZfA) der TU Berlin
Professor Emeritus Leila Beckwith, The University of California, United States
Ph.D. Elad Ben David, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Dr. Paul Ben Ishai, Ariel University, Israel
Professor Ofra Bengio, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Professor Daniel Berend, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
PhD Yaacov Bergman, Hebrew University, Israel
Dr. Irving Berkowitz, Palm Beach State College, United States
Professor David Bernstein, George Mason University, Israel
Dr. Ita Bick, Ariel University, Israel
Assistant Professor (ret.) William Bilek, McGill University, Canada
Professor Mona Boaz, Ariel University, Israel
Distinguished Researcher Yehuda Bock, University of California San Diego, United States
Professor Alexander Bolshoy, University of Haifa, Israel
Dr. Mel Borins, University of Toronto, Canada
Professor Emeritus Allan Borowski, La Trobe University, Australia
Marisa Braylan, Lawyer, Director, Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas,
Dr. Ron Breiman, Ariel University, Israel
Professor Emeritus Haim Breitbart, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Ms Anita Bromberg, Chief Executive Officer, The Canadian Antisemitism Education
Foundation, Canada
Professor Ansel Brown, North Carolina Central University, United States
Professor Benjamin Brown, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Dr. Deron Brown, University of Toronto, Canada
Dr. Edith Bruder, French National Center for Scientific Research, France
Senior Lecturer David Brusin, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Professor Ellen Cannon, Northeastern Illinois University, United States
Dr. Brahm Canzer, Concordia University, Canada
Ms. Laurie Cardoza-Moore, President, Proclaiming Justice to The Nations, Inc.
Professor Giuseppe Cecere, University of Bologna, Italy
Senior Lecturer Daniel Chebat, Ariel University, Israel
Dr. Phyllis Chesler, City University of New York, The United States
Mr. Abderrahim Chhaibi, Centre Regional des Métiers de l’Enseignement et de la Formation
(CRMEF), Morocco
Dr. Harel Chorev, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, University of Arizona, United States
Rev. James Cogman, Yale University, United States
Dr. Florette Cohen, CUNY College of Staten Island, United States
Professor Steven Cohen, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Dr. Edy Cohen, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), Israel
Yaniv Cohen, CEO, Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy, Israel
M.A. Kathleen Cohen, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Professor Ariel Cohen, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Dr. Hay Eytan, Cohen Yanarocak, Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, Israel
Professor Raphael Cohen-Almagor, University of Hull, United Kingdom
Dr. Bard Cosman, University of California San Diego, United States
Professor Robert Costrell, University of Arkansas, United States
PhD Richard Cravatts, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, President
Professor Alan Dershowitz, Harvard, United States
Dr. Teon Djingo, Institute of National History/Senior fellow, Republic of Macedonia
Mrs. Jelena Djurovic, OJC – SEE (Organisation for Jewish Cooperation – Southeastern
Europe), Serbia
Professor Dov Dori, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
Professor Yehudit Judy Dori, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
Professor Stanley Dubinsky, University of South Carolina, United States
Professor Shlomo Dubnov, University of California San Diego, United States
Professor Ehud Duchovni, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Dr. Raanan Eichler Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Lecturer Noa Eidelstein, Ben Gurion University, Israel
Professor Talia Einhorn, Israeli Institute for Legislative Research and Comparative Law,
Professor Emeritus Dan Eisikowitch, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Dr. David Elgavish, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Professor Michael Elkin, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Professor Amy Elman, Kalamazoo College, US
Associate Professor Miriam Elman, Syracuse University, United States
Professor Guy Enosh, University of Haifa, Israel
Mr. Sammy Eppel, Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, Venezuela
Mr. Elias Fasja, Universidad iberoamericana, Israel
Ms. Sara Fine-Meltzer, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Dr. Lars Fischer, The History Practice, Germany
Professor Sylvia Fishman, Brandeis University, United States
Dr. Luis Fleischman, Palm Beach State College U.S.A
Professor Yuval Flicker, The Ohio State University, Israel
Dr. Ehud Fonio, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Professor Itzchak Dov Frankel, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
Professor Chuck Freilich, Columbia University, United States
Brandon Friedman, Director of Research, Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and
African Studies, Tel Aviv University Israel
Dr. Robert Friedmann, Georgia State University, United States
Professor Hillel Frisch, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar Ilan University
Professor Amos Frumkin, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Professor Lenny Fukshansky, Claremont McKenna College, United States
Professor Ph.D. Igal Galili, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Robert Garson, President, American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, United States
Dr. Christoph Gassenschmidt, The American College of Greece, DEREE, Greece
Dr. Ariel Gelblung, Simon Wiesenthal Center Latin American Director
Professor Hezi Gildor,The Hebrew University Israel
Dr. Yefim (Chaim) Gitterman, The Geophysical Institute of Israel, Israel
MD. MPH Shmuel Giveon, Tel Aviv University, Faculty of Medicine, Israel
Dr. Aleksandra Gliszczyńska, Institute of Law Studies Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Professor Emeritus Daniel Gold, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Professor of Sociology Chad Alan Goldberg, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United
Senior Lecturer Sharona Goldenberg, Netanya Academic College, Israel
Dr. Pedro Gonzalez, University of Texas at Dallas United States
Professor Robert Gordon, University of Illinois at Chicago, Israel
Avi Gordon, Executive Director, Alums for Campus Fairness, United States
Professor Jan Grabowski, University of Ottawa, Canada
Retired Professor Baruch Granovsky,Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
Adv. Yonatan Green, Israel Law and Liberty Forum, Israel
Professor Kenneth Hart Green, University of Toronto, Canada
Professor David Greenberg, Rutgers University, United States
Ms. Gloria Greenfield, Doc Emet Productions, USA
Dr. Marc Grimm, Bielefeld University, Germany
Professor Alex Groisman, UC, San Diego, United States
Irving Younger Professor of Law Oren Gross, University of Minnesota Law School,
United States
Professor Marlene Grossman, Vanier College Canada
Professor Gary Grossman, University of Georgia, United States
Professor Shmuel Gurvitz, Weizmann Institute, Israel
Ph.D. Elisha Haas, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Major General (reserves) Gershon Hacohen, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies
Mr. Matheus Hagedorny, University of Potsdam, Germany
Dr. Katherine Harbord, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom
Dr. Martha Hare, Graduate Theological Foundation, United States
Marcia Harris, Director, University Career Services (Retired ) The University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States
Professor Bernard Harrison, Universities of Sussex and University of Utah, United States,
United Kingdom
Dr. Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin, La Universidad de Granada, Spain
Dr. Martin Heller, University of Toronto, Canada
David Henshke, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Dr. Arnold Herskovic, Emeritus Rush University, United States
Dr. Serhiy Hirik, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
Dr David Hirsh, Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom
Dr. Dahn Hiuni, Woodbury University, USA
Dr. Yaacov Hod, Stony Brook University, United States
Professor Jay Hoffman, Ariel University, Israel
Mr. Max Horder, Princeton University, UK
Professor Ellis Horowitz, University of Southern California, United States
Mr. Paul Horsfield, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
Dr. Noah Ivers, Women’s College Hospital, University of Toronto, Canada
Professor Tamar Jacob, Ariel University, Israel
Dr. Gunther Jikeli, Indiana University; Moses Mendelssohn Center, Potsdam University
Professor Svetlana Jitomirskaya, The University of California, Irvine, United States
Professor Sergei Kan, Dartmouth College, United States
Emeritus Professor Efraim Karsh, King’s College London, United Kingdom
Professor Emeritus Leon Kass, The University of Chicago United States
Assistant Professor Gad Kaynar Kissinger, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Professor Steven G. Kellman, University of Texas at San Antonio, United States
Dr. Zeev Kitzis, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Senior Lecturer Lesley Klaff, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Contemporary Antisemitism
Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom
Yossi Klein Halevi, Israel
Professor John Kloppenborg, University of Toronto Canada
Dr. Ariel Koch, Moshe Dayan Center, Tel Aviv University Israel
Mr. Milan Kollar, Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs, Slovakia
Professor Emeritus Abraham Marim Konijn, The Hebrew University, Faculty of
Medicine, Israel
Professor Aryeh Kontorovich, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Professor Emeritus Natan Kopeika, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Professor Barry Kosmin, Trinity College, United States
Professor Neil Kressel, William Paterson University, United States
Dr. Elisabeth Kuebler-Berghammer, University of Vienna, Austria
Professor Iddo Landau, University of Haifa, Israel
Professor Richard Landes, Bar Ilan University, Chair, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Dr. Lisa Lefebvre, University of Toronto, Canada
Associate Professor Rebecca Lesses, Ithaca College, United States
Ambassador Itzhak Levanon, Interdisciplinary Centre Herzliya, Israel
Professor Mark Levi, Penn State, United States
Dr. Eyal Lewin, Ariel University, Israel
Professor Meir Lewkowicz, Ariel University, Israel
Professor Emeritus, Robert Lieber, Georgetown University, United States
Professor Song Lihong, Nanjing University, China
Professor Emily Liman, University of Southern California, United States
Professor Michael Lindenbaum, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
Dr. Dina Lisnyansky, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Professor Meir Litvak, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Professor Joe Lockard, Arizona State University, United States
Dr. Hadar Lubin, Post Traumatic Stress Center, Yale University, United States
Professor Doron Lubinsky, Georgia Institute of Technology, United States
Associate Professor Richard Lubman, University of Southern California, United States
Dr. Hanna Luden, CIDI, Center for Information and Documentation Israel
Dr. Lee Lukoff, University of Georgia, United States
Dr. Denis MacShane, Former Minister of Europe, United Kingdom.
Professor Ze’ev Maghen, Department of Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University
Mrs. Sara Mahmoud, University of Rome la Sapienza, Italy
Professor Vladimir Mandelshtam, University of California, Irvine, United States
Dr. Salim Mansur, Western University, Canada
Mr. Kenneth Marcus, The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, United
Ambassador Zvi Mazel, Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs (Former Israeli Ambassador to
Egypt, Romania, Sweden), Israel
Dr. Deborah Mayersen, University of New South Wales Canberra at the Australian Defence
Force Academy, Australia
Dr. Aviv Meltzer, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Mr. James Mendelsohn, University of the West of England, United Kingdom
Associate Professor Philip Mendes, Monash University, United Kingdom
Mr. Aaron Eitan Meyer, Independent Scholar, Australia
Dr. Rochelle L. Millen Emerita, Wittenberg University, United Stares
Professor Menachem Monnickendam, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Professor Jason Morris, Fordham University, United States
Dr. Meir Muller, University of South Carolina, USA
Mr. Said Musayev, Institute of Law and Human Rights, Azerbaïdjan
Professor Philliph Mutisya, North Carolina Central university, USA
Professor Stanley Nadel, University of Portland–Salzburg Austria Center, Austria
Dr. Emmanuel Navon, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Dr. Luiz Nazario, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brasil
Professor Cary Nelson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States
Hillel Neuer, Executive Director, United Nations Watch, Switzerland
Professor Joan O’Callaghan, OISE / University of Toronto, Canada
Mr. Olusegun Olanipekun, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Professor Emeritus Reuven Ordea, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Dr. Yossi Oren, Ben Gurion University, Israel
Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO, The International Legal Forum –
Dr. Professor Howard Ovens, University of Toronto, Canada
Professor Nathan Paldor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Emeritus Professor Morton Paley, University of California, Berkeley, United States
Dr. David Patterson, University of Texas at Dallas, United States
Professor Judea Pearl, The University of California, United States
Gilad Pelossof, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Miss Michal Pescovsky, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel
Professor Yakov Pesin, Pennsylvania State University, United States
Professor Andrew Pessin, Connecticut College, United States
Professor Dr. Jacques, Picard University of Basel, Switzerland
Professor Emeritus Moshe Pollak, hebrew university of jerusalem, Israel
Dr. Ran Porat, Monash University, Australia
Ambassador Ron Prosor, Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy, Israel
Professor Joseph Rabani, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Professor Emeritus Ronald Radosh, The City University of New York, United States
Dr. Allis Radosh, Independent Historian, United States
Mr. Haras Rafiq, United Kingdom
Dr. Dominika Rank, Ukrainian Catholic University, Ukraine
Dr. Walter Reich, Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Professor of International Affairs, Professor of
Psychiatry, George Washington University, United States
Dr. Yaniv Reingewertz, University of Haifa, Israel
Professor Lars Rensmann, University of Groningen, Netherlands
Professor Ira Robinson, Concordia University, Canada
Dr. Dan V. Roginsky, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Mrs. Stefanie Rome, University of Missouri Columbia, USA
Asaf Romirowsky, Executive Director, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Professor Gregory Rose, University of Wollongong Australia, Australia
Alan Rosenbaum, Emeritus/Cleveland State University, United States
Professor Charles Rosenblatt, Case Western Reserve University
Alvin Rosenfeld Indiana University, United States
Mirjam Rosesntein Nahost, Executive Director, Friedensforum e.V. (Middle East Forum),
Ms. Jennifer Roskies, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Israel
Professor Steven Ross, University of Southern California, USA
Professor Richard Ross, University of Illinois (Urbana/Champaign) , United States
Professor Stanley Rotman, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
Ms. Suchibrata Roy, O. P. Jindal Global University, India
Professor Emeritus Baruch Rubin, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Professor Elyakim Rubinstein, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Professor Emerita Suzanne Rutland, University of Sydney, Australia
Benjamin Ryberg, The Lawfare Project COO & Director of Research, Venezuela
Professor Dan Rybicky, Columbia College Chicago, United States
Professor Jonathan Rynhold, Department of Political Studies, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Professor Emeritus Steven Sabat, Georgetown University, United States
Professor PhD Alex Schechter, Ariel University, Israel
Gabriel Schoenfeld, Niskanen Center, United States
Mr. Adi Schwartz, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Dr. Robyn Shafer, University of Toronto, Canada
Professor Anita Shapiro, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Senior Lecturer Daniel Shapira, Ben Gurion University, Israel
Natan Sharansky, President, Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, Israel
Professor Amnon Shapira, Ariel University, Israel
Dr. Stephanie Share, Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, France
Researcher Smadar Shaul, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Associate Professor (Ret.) Zachary Sheaffer, Ariel University, Israel
Mr. Tome Shekerdjiev, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Poland
Post-Doctoral Scholar Miriam Shenkar, Ohio State University United States
Mr. Gilad Shiloach, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Dr. Myriam Silvera, Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Italy
Professor Nina Silverstein, University of Massachusetts Boston, United States
Ilan Sinelnikov, Students Supporting Israel President, United States
Dr. Charles Small, St. Antony’s College, Oxford, Executive Director, the Institute for the
Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, United Kingdom
Professor Emerita Patricia Smith, The Hebrew university of Jerusalem, Israel
Mrs. Marine Solomonishvili, University Under the National Academy of Sciences of
Georgia, Republic of Georgia
Professor Emeritus Phillip Spencer, Kingston University, United Kingdom
Andria Spindel, Executive Director, Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation, Canada
Professor Gerald Steinberg, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Professor Emeritus Max Stern, Ariel University, Israel
Professor Ernest Sternbeg, University at Buffalo, SUNY United States
Dr. Marshall Stevenson, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, United States
Schusterman/Josey Chair of Judaic History Emeritus Norman Stillman University of Oklahoma,
United States
Professor Rotimi Suberu, Bennington College, United States
Professor Emeritus Semion Sukoriansky, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Dr. Ken Szainwald, University of Toronto, Canada
Mr. Kalman Szalai, Action and Protection League, Hungary
Professor Sergei Tabachnikov, Penn State United States
Dr. Gadi Taub, Hebrew University, Israel
Miss Terin Tehan, University of Texas at Dallas, United States
Professor Joshua Teitelbaum, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Professor Gil Troy, McGill University, Canada
Mr. Jonathan Turner, Chief Executive, UKLFI Charitable Trust, United Kingdom
Professor Emeritus) Jeffrey Ullman, Stanford University, United States
Mr. Elie Valk, Society for Research on Jewish Communities, Israel
Dr. Andre Villeneuve, Azusa Pacific University, United States
Dr. Abraham Wagner, Center for Advanced Studies on Terrorism, United States
Mr. Nuno Wahnon Martins, Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy,
Professor Felicia Waldman, University of Bucharest, Romania
Dr. Avraham Walfish, Herzog College, Israel
Debbie Wasserman, President, National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC),
Professor Shalva Weil, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Professor Gabriel Weimann, University of Haifa, Israel
Professor Ruth Weisberg, University of Southern California, United States
Professor Avi Weiss, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Professor David Widerker, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Professor Andre Koo, Director, Business & Society Program, Batia Wiesenfeld Stern
School of Business, New York University, United States
Dr. Nechumi Yaffe, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Professor Asher Yahalom, Ariel University, Israel
Assistant Professor Polly Zavadivker, University of Delaware, United States
Professor Shmuel Zilberg, Ariel University, Israel
Lecturer Steve Zipperstein, The University of California and The University of California,
Santa Barbara, United States
Dr. Viera Zuborova, Bratislava Policy Institute, Slovakia
Professor Uri Zur, Ariel University, Israel
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Israel
Professor Akiva Zweig, Talmudic College of Florida, United States

Opposing Antisemitism, Supporting IHRA

We, the undersigned academics, professionals and intellectuals are hereby stating our support for the definition of antisemitism by the International Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and of its necessity in the efforts against antisemitism worldwide.

1) We are a group of concerned academics, professionals and intellectuals, Jewish and non-Jewish, ranging the spectrum of politics. We have members identifying with the political Right, Left and centre. We hold diverging views on the policies of the current Israeli government, its policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians and the proper way to achieve peace and coexistence with Israel’s neighbours. However, we are all in agreement on the urgent need to respond to rising antisemitism worldwide. The IHRA Definition of antisemitism is an invaluable tool that recognizes the various manifestations and garbs of contemporary antisemitism. 

2) The IHRA definition of antisemitism is an internationally accepted definition of antisemitism drafted by representatives and scholars from around the world. The IHRA definition covers classical antisemitic tropes, like calling for harm against Jews, stereotypes and demonization and Holocaust denial, as well as more modern forms of antisemitism. The definition recognizes that contemporary antisemitism is often directed against the State of Israel – calls for Israel’s destruction, comparisons to Nazi Germany, double standards and demonization.

3) Antisemitism has often been called the world’s oldest hatred, metastasizing and shifting depending on culture and context. Since the beginning of the new millenium, we have witnessed the rise of a “new antisemitism”, drawing on the legacy of previous anti-jewish imagery and tropes. This new antisemitism has its roots in a noxious mixture of classical, modern racial, Islamic and Soviet anti-Zionist antisemitism. It marks out the Jewish state as uniquely demonic, deserving of boycott and opprobrium. In a world full of states and national movements, it calls for the dismantling and ultimately violent destruction of the State of Israel. This antisemitism justifies the harassment, exclusion and ostracism of Israelis and Jews worldwide. It continues centuries of old traditions of boycotting, rejecting and shunning Jews. It applies classical antisemitic imagery or comparisons to Nazi Germany, the perpetrator of the worst antisemitic crime in history, to the State of Israel, the home of world Jewry. Contemporary antisemitism comes from multiple sources holding fringe ideologies – far-right reactionaries, far left anti-Zionists and Islamic jihadists and radicals.

4) Much of this contemporary antisemitism focuses obsessively on the alleged misdoings of “Zionism”, seeking to separate Zionism from its Jewish context. The “Zionism” which these antisemites seek to malign and oppose has little in common with actual Zionism. In reality, Zionism is the Jewish national movement, dedicated to the reestablishment of a state for the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland. From its very inception, Zionism has envisioned a state based on equal rights and tolerance for all its citizens, in which the Jewish people are able to exercise their right to self-determination. Zionism is based on two thousand years of longing and yearning to return to the Land of Israel, as embedded in millennia of Jewish prayer, literature and observance. Furthermore, for many Jews, in Israel and in the Diaspora, Zionism and the State of Israel are a guarantee of Jewish safety and flourishing. For many of us, Jewish and Israeli academics of diverse backgrounds, our family histories bear the scars of a world without a State of Israel. Many of our parents and grandparents fled persecution in Europe and the Arab and Muslim world due to their Jewish identity. The State of Israel has provided Jews worldwide with a homeland, a place to develop our unique culture and the ability to protect ourselves from external threats. Therefore, calls to dismantle the Jewish state cannot be understood as anything but as an assault on Jewish history, identity and safety.

5) We would never suggest that criticism of Israel is antisemitic. This argument is simply a strawman. However, when Israel’s very existence is delegitimized and threatened, when Israelis and Jews are excluded because of their association with the Jewish state, and when antisemitic conspiracies and tropes flourish under the guise of anti-Israelism and anti-Zionism, we recognize that this is antisemitism. The hatred directed against Israel, when left unchecked, seeps out and targets Jewish communities in the Diaspora, who largely identify with and support the State of Israel in essence, not necessarily with one policy or another. These anti-Israel conspiracy theories and false accusations have fueled harassment, assault and even murder of Jews in North American and Europe. We are incredulous at the suggestion that the adoption of the IHRA definition and the commitment to rooting out antisemitism is somehow opposed to the wider struggle against racism and oppression. 

6) Peace and reconciliation cannot advance along with the denial and delegitimization of the Jewish people’s right to safety and security in their state. Calls for Israel’s destruction, as well as discrimination against Israelis and Jews worldwide, are antithetical to human rights.

7) We believe in open dialogue and critical discussion with people of good faith worldwide. However, when Israelis and Jews worldwide are threatened, we must speak up.