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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Defining Anti-Semitism


Fact Sheet
Special Envoy To Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism
Washington, DC
June 8, 2010

   
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"Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities." --Working Definition of Anti-Semitism by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia

Contemporary Examples of Anti-Semitism

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews (often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion).
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective—especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the state of Israel, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.

 

What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?

EXAMPLES of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel, taking into account the overall context could include:

DEMONIZE ISRAEL:

  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
  • Blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions

DOUBLE STANDARD FOR ISRAEL:

  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
  • Multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations

DELEGITIMIZE ISRAEL:

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist

However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.



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