If an institution believes it needs a definition of antisemitism, the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA), released in early 2021, is a vastly improved replacement for, or alternative to, the IHRA’s definition. The JDA is signed by over 200 of the world’s leading scholars in Antisemitism Studies and related fields, including Jewish, Holocaust, Israel, Palestine and Middle East Studies.
As a group of progressive, international Jewish groups from around the world noted upon the release of the JDA, defining antisemitism is not the same as dismantling it. Drafted and endorsed by many of the world’s most preeminent Jewish studies scholars, it opens space for debate, champions freedom of speech, and refutes the most misleading aspects of the IHRA definition.
The release of this definition was met with cautious embrace by Palestine solidarity and civil society organizations. This caution was centered on the definition continuing to place the lens of antisemitism around discussion of Palestine, therefore reinforcing attempts to falsely couple anti-Jewish racism and the struggle for Palestinian rights. Nevertheless, it was vast improvement. The BDS Movement offered that “despite its problematic Israel-centered guidelines, it provides a coherent and accurate definition of antisemitism.”
The JDA can be used as an effective corrective for the IHRA for governments, universities, and other institutions.