When does criticizing Israel veer into antisemitic territory? In May 2021, as tensions heightened during the conflict between Israel and terrorist groups in Gaza, we saw two examples: beating Jews down in the streets and telling them to go back to Israel. Across the globe, protesters—some maliciously, some unwittingly—employed and spread antisemitic themes and tropes.
Fast forward to October 7, 2023, as thousands of Hamas terrorists funded by Iran and fueled by hatred for Jews attacked Israel with one goal: to indiscriminately butcher and kidnap as many Israelis as possible—women, the elderly, children, and babies. The numbers now stand at 1,400 murdered and over 200 held hostage in Gaza, their fate unknown.
As Israel rightfully responds to terrorism and defends its people, we must be prepared for rising antisemitism. We must anticipate false moral equivalencies. Double standards. Misinformation. Outright lies. We’re already seeing this from certain media outlets and prominent voices.
There’s a source that offers clear guardrails about what can constitute antisemitism: the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism adopted by more than 1,000 entities, including more than 40 governments, the EU, the Organization of American States, recommended for use by the UN, used by the U.S. Departments of State and Education and embraced by the White House.
The Working Definition is a clear and compact description of antisemitism in its various forms, including where and how anti-Israel animus can become a form of antisemitism, separate and apart from criticism of Israel.
American Jewish Committee (AJC) created its signature tool: Translate Hate – a glossary of dozens of antisemitic terms – many dating back to medieval times, others either born or given new life in recent years – to shine a light on antisemitism that can hide in plain sight.
Here are seven antisemitic terms, tropes, and themes that pervaded anti-Israel protests during the last significant conflict between Hamas and Israel in May 2021, and new examples already seen since Hamas prompted its brutal, unprovoked war on Israel in October 2023. To be clear, these trends make life more dangerous for Jews in America and around the world. Today, as this dangerous rhetoric ramps up and as Jewish communities across the globe increase security, we must be prepared to recognize and respond to antisemitism no matter the source.
Read the full article at American Jewish Committee.