Definitions

Antisemitism is hatred, bigotry, prejudice or discrimination against Jews.

The word “Antisemitism” came into use in the late nineteenth century to describe pseudo-scientific racial discrimination against Jews. Now, it generally describes all forms of discrimination, prejudice or hostility towards Jews throughout history; and has been called “the Longest Hatred”. There are several definitions of antisemitism which have been created by International bodies to formally recognise antisemitism as a form of racism.

The first The Working Definition of Antisemitism was created by the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) to act as a basic guide for law enforcement and other agencies to help identify possible examples of antisemitism, taking into account the overall context of each possible incident. 

In 2016, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) adopted a working definition of antisemitism, which has also been formally adopted by the Government of the United Kingdom. The IHRA definition states that "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.” This Working Definition should be regarded as a helpful set of guidelines to help identify different examples of possible antisemitism, rather than a strict legal definition.

For more detailed information about how CST defines and categorises antisemitic incidents, see our leaflet ‘Definitions of antisemitic Incidents’.

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Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner
Senior Rabbi, Reform Judaism