Christians United for Israel UK welcomes Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement yesterday that the UK Government has adopted a definition of anti-Semitism.

The decision by the Government comes as anti-Semitism is on the rise. With no existing Government policy on how anti-Semitism is defined, there has been a lack of clarity in how anti-Semitic attitudes can be effectively countered and, in some cases, prosecuted. The issue has been central to CUFI’s Christians Against Anti-Semitism campaign, which received over 10,000 signatures.

The Prime Minister yesterday promised that anyone violating the new standard “will be called out.”

“It is unacceptable that there is anti-Semitism in this country,” May declared, observing “that incidents are reportedly on the rise.”

The official definition adopted by the Government is hopefully a helpful step in countering anti-Semitism in the UK. But what does the definition actually say and how effective will it be?

The definition was originally adopted as non-legally binding by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) on 26 May 2016 in Bucharest.

It states “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, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Further to the statement, it provides illustrations to guide IHRA in its work:

Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

In addition, the IHRA document gives “contemporary examples of antisemitism” in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere. It says it could “taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to”:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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). Adopt the following non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism: “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, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
  • 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 interests of their own nations.
  • 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.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel. 

Jonathan Sacerdoti on SkyNews about Government’s definition of…Journalist Jonathan Sacerdoti has spoken to SkyNews about today’s announcement from the Government that it is adopting an official definition of anti-Semitism. He believes making it government policy will be a good thing. Watch and let us know what you think. #ChristiansAgainstAntiSemitism

Posted by Christians United for Israel – UK on Monday, December 12, 2016

The IHRA responded to Theresa May’s announcement, saying ““This definition will leave people in no doubt when a line has been crossed – a crucial step in the fight against antisemitism. As representatives for the UK to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance we are delighted this has been welcomed and adopted by Theresa May’s Government.”

Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews said,“With anti-Semitism on the rise it has become essential to have a clear definition against which to assess attitudes that are or may be racist.  The adoption of the IHRA formulation will bring clarity and consistency and I warmly welcome its adoption by the Government.”

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Anti-Semitism must be understood for what it is – an attack on the identity of people who live, contribute and are valued in our society. There can be no excuses for anti-Semitism or any other form of racism or prejudice.

“Crimes must always be reported, and the law enforced, but we also want to create an environment that prevents hate crime from happening in the first place.”

Christians United for Israel UK