What is the IHRA Definition?

What is the IHRA Definition?

The IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. 1 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.”

The examples

  1. Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  2. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  3. Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  4. Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  5. Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  6. Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  7. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor. 2
  8. Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. 3
  9. Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  10. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis. 4
  11. Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel. 5

Brief Timeline of the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism


The definition of antisemitism now known as the IHRA definition was drafted at the urging of the American Jewish Committee and in cooperation with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and others. It was originally drafted for evaluation and data collection purposes in mind, as the drafters believed that there was a problem of antisemitism in Europe that was going under the radar of law enforcement. It is noteworthy that this was drafted in the wake of the 2nd intifada, and the growth of the Palestine solidarity movement worldwide.  


First appears on the website of the European Union agency, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) which later became the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA).


IHRA adopts working definition on Holocaust denial and distortion, but removes the Definition of Antisemitism since it was a work-in- progress and not finalized, during a cull of non-official documents.


After three years of lobbying by Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the IHRA (then made up of 31 member countries) adopted the definition with its examples in 2016 as a strictly non-legally-binding working definition and its list of examples was adopted by a plenary meeting of the 31 countries in the IHRA. 


The UK was the first country to adopt the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

Our Commentary

1. This phrasing is overly vague and lacks precision. It does not include discriminatory and institutional practices.
2. As 112 Palestinian and Arab academics and intellectuals argued “under international law, the current state of Israel has been an occupying power for over half a century, as recognised by the governments of countries where the IHRA definition is being upheld. It does not consider whether this right includes the right to create a Jewish majority by way of ethnic cleansing and whether it should be balanced against the rights of the Palestinian people.”
3. The standards the Israeli government are being held to are those that are enshrined in international law as prescribed through the United Nations Security Council and other related United Nations and International Criminal Court resolutions and statues.
4. Some may argue that there are valid parallels to make between the Nazi regime and the current israeli government, however such comparisons are nto essential to make, there are plenty of authoritarian governments. Given the sensitive nature of the Nazi holocaust and the devastating loss to Jewish lives and families, it is inappropriate to draw such comparisons.
5. Claiming all Jews think and believe the exact same is based on an antisemitic notion that Jews are uniform in their beliefs and political commitments. All people of conscience have a role to play in countering the human rights violations committed by the State of Israel.