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The Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism

TRANSLATED / We reproduce here the statement translated


The Jerusalem Declaration (JDA) on anti-Semitism is a tool for identifying, confronting and raising awareness of anti-Semitism as it manifests itself in countries around the world today.

The declaration includes an introduction, definition and a set of 15 guidelines that provide detailed guidance for those who want to understand what anti-Semitism is, to do something about it.

The Jerusalem Declaration was developed by a group of researchers in Holocaust history, Jewish studies and Middle Eastern studies to meet what has become an increasing challenge: "to provide clear guidelines for identifying and combating anti-Semitism while protecting freedom of expression."

The declaration was originally signed by 210 researchers in 2021. Today, the number is more than 350.


We, the undersigned, present the Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism, as a result of an initiative that started in Jerusalem. We are a group of international researchers in anti-Semitism research and related fields, including Jewish studies, Holocaust, Israel, Palestine and Middle East studies. The text of the declaration has benefited from discussions with legal experts and members of civil society. Inspired by the UN Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the UN Convention against Racial Discrimination of 1969, the Declaration of the International Stockholm Conference on the Holocaust in 2000, and the UN Resolution on the Memory of the Holocaust of 2005, we believe that despite anti-Semitism having certain characteristics, the fight against it is not seen separately from the general fight against all forms of racial, ethnic, cultural, religious and gender-based discrimination.

We are aware of the historical persecution of Jews throughout history and the universal lessons we can learn from the Holocaust, and we take seriously the rise of anti-Semitism among groups mobilizing hatred and violence in politics, society and the Internet, and will present with this statement a practical, concise and historically based definition of what anti-Semitism is, along with a set of guidelines.

Example of Anti-Semitism

The Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism is also a response to the "IHRA Definition", the document adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2016. Since the IHRA definition is unclear on key points and wide open to different interpretations, it has created confusion and caused discord, and thus weakened the fight against anti-Semitism. We note that it is called a 'working definition', and experimenters have here attempted to improve upon it by offering (a) a clearer core definition and (b) a coherent set of guidelines.

We hope this will be useful in monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, as well as for educational purposes. We provide our non-legally binding statement as an alternative The IHRA definition. Institutions that have already adopted the IHRA definition can use our text as a tool to interpret it.

The IHRA definition includes 11 "examples" of anti-Semitism, 7 of which focus on the State of Israel. While this places undue emphasis on one arena, there is a widely felt need for clarity about the boundaries of what is legitimate political speech and action in relation to Zionism, Israel and Palestine. Our goal is twofold:

(1) to strengthen the fight against antisemitism by clarifying what it is and how it is expressed,

(2) to protect an arena for open debate on the difficult question of the future of Israel/Palestine.

We do not all share the same political views, and we do not seek to promote any partisan political agenda.

Determining that a controversial view or action is not anti-Semitic does not imply either that we support it or that we do not.

The guidelines that focus on Israel-Palestine (numbers 6 to 15) must be seen in context. In general, each of the guidelines should be read in light of the others and always in context. Context can include the intention behind an utterance, a manner of speaking over time, or even the identity of the speaker, especially when the topic is Israel or Zionism. So, for example, hostility toward Israel may be an expression of an anti-Semitic attitude, or it may be a reaction to a human rights violation, or it may be the feeling of a Palestinian person because of his experience of state abuse.

In short, sound judgment and sensitivity are necessary when applying these guidelines in specific situations.


Anti-Semitism is discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish).


A. In general

  1. It is racist to generalize (treat a character trait as inherent) or to make broad, negative generalizations about a given population. What applies to racism in general applies to anti-Semitism in particular.
  2. What is special about classic anti-Semitism is the notion that Jews are linked to evil forces. This is the core of many anti-
    Jewish fantasies, such as the idea of ​​a Jewish conspiracy in which "the Jews" possess hidden power that they use to advance their own collective agenda at the expense of other peoples. This link between Jews and evil can be found even today: in the fantasy that the "Jews" control the authorities with a "hidden hand", that they own the banks, control the media, act as "a state within the state" and are responsible for spread of disease (such as covid-19). All these features can be used for different (and even antagonistic) political reasons.
  3. Anti-Semitism can be expressed in words, visual images or actions. Examples of anti-Semitic words include statements that all Jews are wealthy, fundamentally miserly, or unpatriotic. In anti-Semitic caricatures, Jews are often portrayed as grotesque, with large noses and associated with wealth. Examples of anti-Semitic acts are: attacking someone because she or he is Jewish, attacking a synagogue, making swastikas on Jewish graves, or refusing to hire or promote people because they are Jewish.
  4. Anti-Semitism can be direct or indirect, explicit or coded. For example, "The Rothschilds control the world" is a coded statement about the alleged power that the "Jews" have over banking and international finance. Similarly, portraying Israel as the ultimate evil or grossly exaggerating its actual influence can be a coded way of expressing racism towards and stigmatization of Jews. In many cases, identification of coded speech is a matter of context and judgement, with respect to these guidelines.

5. Denying or diminishing the significance of the Holocaust by claiming that the Nazi genocide of the Jews did not take place, or that there were no extermination camps or gas chambers, or that the number of victims was a fraction of the actual number, is anti-Semitic.

B. Israel and Palestine: examples of clear expressions of anti-Semitism

6. Using symbols, images and negative stereotypes of classic anti-Semitism (see guidelines 2 and 3) on the State of Israel.

7. To hold Jews collectively responsible for Israel's behavior or to treat Jews, simply because they are Jews, as representatives of Israel.

8. Demanding that people, because they are Jewish, publicly condemn Israel or Zionism (for example, at a political rally).

9. Claiming that non-Israeli Jews, simply because they are Jews, are necessarily more loyal to Israel than to their own country.

10. To deny Jews in the State of Israel the right to exist and develop, collectively and individually, as Jews, in accordance with the principle of equality.

C. Israel and Palestine: clear examples of something that is not anti-Semitic (regardless of whether one recognizes the point of view or the action)

11. To support the Palestinian demand for justice and full recognition of the Palestinians' political, national and civil rights, as well as human rights, as expressed in international law.

12. Criticizing or opposing Zionism as a form of nationalism, or arguing for a variety of constitutional arrangements for Jews and Palestinians in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. It is not anti-Semitic to support arrangements that give equal rights to all citizens "between the river and the sea", whether in two states, a binational state, unitary democratic state, federal state, or in any other form.

13. Evidence-based criticism of Israel as a state. This includes dnt's institutions as well as principles underlying the state. It also includes state policies and practices, domestically and abroad, such as Israel's conduct in the West Bank and Gaza, the role Israel plays in the region, or any other way in which Israel as a state affects events in the world. It is not anti-Semitic to point out systematic racial discrimination. In general, the same debate norms as for other states and for other conflicts about national self-determination apply to Israel and Palestine. Although controversial, comparing Israel to other historical instances, including settler colonialism or apartheid, is not anti-Semitic per se.

14. Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns are common, non-violent forms of political protest against states. In the case of Israel, they are not inherently anti-Semitic.

15. Political expression need not be moderate, proportionate, considerate or reasonable to be protected by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and other human rights instruments. Criticism that some may see as excessive or contentious, or as reflecting a "double standard", is not in itself anti-Semitic. In general, one can say that the distinction between anti-Semitic and non-anti-Semitic speech is something different from the distinction between unreasonable and reasonable speech.

Translation by John Y. Jones

John Y. Jones
John Y. Jones
Cand. Philol, freelance journalist affiliated with MODERN TIMES

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