The Working Definition of Antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA): A Critical Reply


Journal of Social Service and Welfare, 2019.


In 2017, a majority in the European Parliament has adopted a “working definition of Antisemitism”. It is based on a definition prepared by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA). The present article analyzes conceptual problems as well as political consequences of this definition.

Among the conceptual problems is the insistence that Antisemitism is a perception rather than a prejudice. Maybe even more important is the widening of the customary definition to include as objects not only “Jews” but also “Jewish” property and community institutions. The widening of the definition’s scope leads up to explicitly naming and including the state of Israel as a possible object of Antisemitic manifestations. This is not surprising, given the fact that the drafting of the working definition was supported by a secretariat of the European Jewish Congress, an organization devoted “to promote a balanced European policy towards Israel”.

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