Over the past few years, I have shared with you the IRHA definition of Antisemitism and met and worked with great people and organizations who are working hard to have this definition be adopted by governments, schools, institutions, organizations, businesses, legislatures—everyone!! (Lengthy, but not overwhelming you can read it here.)
But does it need some clarity or some distilling so that everyone can quickly understand the definition and then go apply it usefully and effectively? Maybe!
I came across a very interesting blog article posted to the Facebook profile of Antisemitism on Campus: The University, Free Speech and BDS. I respect the site’s administrator, Dr. Andrew Pessin, Professor of Philosophy at Connecticut College; Campus Bureau Editor for Algemeiner (whose articles I often cite), and author of several books.
This Facebook group is a great resource for information, news, and discussion regarding campus-related news. (One must request to join the group, and it is well-moderated for civil debate and discussion as well as relevance.) The group concentrates on issues regarding the academic community rather than “all” things Israel.
Dr. Pessin shared to the group this week a blog post from the Elder of Zion. The article is a message to the ADL who is actively (rightfully so) engaging the world community to identify and combat antisemitism. In doing so, it includes the use of the IRHA definition, but opens the door that perhaps that definition is not complete enough by which to make policy decisions or to take action.
The ADL’s webpage on the IHRA definition says,
The IHRA Definition is one tool, albeit an important one, to use to identify and combat antisemitism. However, it is not a substitute for more nuanced expertise on antisemitism, nor does its use preclude consulting other definitions.
The author of this article intrigued me with the notion of adding a bit of clarity, even simplicity to the definition to have something of a tangible weight by which to identify and even judge antisemitism—something a bit more focused and applicable than the longer IHRA guide about what is antisemitism.
The author is careful to explain his proposition of a definition is not to replace or undermine the IRHA or the tremendous value, progress, or efforts of those behind it. But rather, the author offers a bumper sticker/elevator pitch/tweetable articulation of it that folks can really apply and use in making assessments.
The author explains his definition as such:
The EoZ Definition of Antisemitism
malicious lies about or
as individual Jews,
as a people,
as a religion,
as an ethnic group or
as a nation (i.e., Israel.)
The formatting is deliberate, although not strictly necessary. It emphasizes that there is a list of actions that are included in the definition of antisemitism, as well as a list of potential targets, but the central and immutable point is that Jews are the object of vitriol.
The definition has four types of general actions that define antisemitism, and five terms for the object of these actions. The objects represent the different dimensions of what it means to be a Jew.
The author goes on to explain the reason for some of his word choices in comparison to the IRHA definition:
Hostility toward Jews” is, I believe, a better formulation than “hate towards Jews.” Hate is internal while hostility is generally noticeable to others. It does little good to make antisemitism a thought crime – antisemites usually don’t admit that they hate Jews, but they often display hostility towards Jews. “Hostility towards Jews” includes violence.
“Discrimination against Jews” is obviously antisemitic, just as any discrimination against any people is bigotry. Notably, the IHRA core definition does not mention discrimination.
I encourage you to give the blog article a read as it is not very lengthy. The author also shared a link to his YOUTUBE presentation on his definition.
I found this new examination of making a definition useful and thought-provoking. I will continue my work to combat antisemitism by identifying it…informing, education and activating Christians to do what they can to stand in solidarity with Jews and that includes my partnerships and activities with organizations such as CAM (Combat Antisemitism Movement) whose mission is to have the IHRA definition adopted and put in to practice by as many entities as possible.
Sharing this article and the graphic with you, examining the thought behind it—it has helped me to learn more about what antisemitism is and how it is manifested. With this, we can better identify and combat it.
Have a great week.