Antisemitic crimes remain the most prevalent religious-based hate crime in both the United States and California. They are increasing, now comprising 62% of all religious-based hate crimes in California, even though the Jewish community represents only 2% of the population. This is an increase of 24% from the previous year. Source
Despite the scale of this issue, only about a quarter of the people in our nation are aware that antisemitism exists. Furthermore, a third of these individuals feel that antisemitism isn’t regarded as seriously as other forms of hate, despite its deadly consequences. Source
To counter antisemitism, it is essential to understand its definition. Consider the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s working definition of antisemitism, crafted by an apolitical group of world scholars, policy experts, and researchers:
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, as well as Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Included are twelve examples, such as promoting negative or conspiratorial allegations about Jews, denying the Holocaust, and depriving the Jewish people of their right to self-determination—e.g., by asserting that the State of Israel is a racist endeavor. Source
The IHRA provides the most authoritative and internationally accepted definition of antisemitism. It has been championed and embraced by:
- The United Nations Secretary-General,
- The Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (consisting of 34 member countries, including the US),
- The European Parliament,
- The U.S. Department of State
- The White House in its May 2023 National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, and
- The California State Board of Education in its Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.
The IHRA definition has been adopted in over 40 nations and by various representative religious bodies, including the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and the Global Imams Council.
Three hundred and two members of the U.S. House of Representatives utilized the IHRA definition in the Never Again Education Act. This was co-sponsored by 45 Representatives from California, including Jackie Speier, Ro Khanna, Ted Lieu, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo, and Adam Schiff.