IJV Working Definition of Antisemitism

Written by Andy

Antisemitism is racism, hostility, prejudice, vilification, discrimination or violence, including hate crimes, directed against Jews, as individuals, groups or as a collective – because they are Jews. Its expression includes attributing to Jews, as a group, characteristics or behaviours that are perceived as dangerous, harmful, frightening or threatening to non-Jews.

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Antisemitism is a type of racism, bigotry and xenophobia and as such is closely related to, and often driven by similar motivations and forces as other forms of bigotry.

In the 20th  and 21st centuries, antisemitism has most often been associated with white supremacy and theories of Aryan or White European racial superiority.  Antisemites sometimes see Jews as undermining the “white” or the “white Christian” race, either on their own or by “masterminding” an “invasion” of racialized people.  Antisemites often characterize Jews as secretly conspiring to control the world through their alleged control of money and/or the media. These, of course, are only a few ways antisemitic stereotypes have manifested themselves in the past century.

It is essential to recognize that antisemitism is not an exceptional form of bigotry.  People who hate, discriminate and/or attack Jews, will also hate, discriminate and/or attack other protected groups – including racialized people, Muslims, LGBTQ2+, women, Indigenous peoples.

In addition, privileging the efforts to combat discrimination against one of these groups, risks further marginalizing the other targeted groups, and undermines solidarity and cooperation among them in fighting their common enemies. Fighting and educating against antisemitism must therefore be part of a larger struggle against all group hatred and discrimination. 

Finally, it should be noted that the State of Israel is a political entity like any other state. Its policies, actions and history can be judged and criticized, even harshly. Such criticism is not, by itself, antisemitic.

Antisemitism Definition Graphics

IJV is proud to team up with the Canadian Federation of Students to produce these graphic flyers with our definition antisemitism. Feel free to download them, print them as flyers or stickers, or use them on your website.

Essential Links

ANTISEMITISM in context: Its use and abuse – An Independent Jewish Voices ReportUnderstanding antisemitism – a resource of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice

What is–and what is not–antisemitic conduct – by Jewish Voice for Labour and Free Speech on Israel (UK)

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