Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism
February 8, 2007
“Working Definition” of Anti-Semitism
In its 2004 report on anti-Semitism, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) called attention to the lack of a common definition of anti-Semitism and sought to obtain one. As a result, a working definition was written collaboratively by a small group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In light of the longstanding commitment of the U.S. to free speech and other individual freedoms as demonstrated within our Constitution, the Office of the Special Envoy believes that this definition provides an adequate initial guide by which anti-Semitism can eventually both be defined and combated, and therefore presents this "working definition" as a starting point in the fight against anti-Semitism.1
In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. Anti-Semitism 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.
Contemporary examples of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
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:
However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.
Anti-Semitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (e.g., denial of the Holocaust or distribution of anti-Semitic materials in some countries).
Criminal acts are anti-Semitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property--such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries--are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.
Anti-Semitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.
1 The recitation of the EUMC "working definition" of anti-Semitism should not be construed as an acceptance of that definition, or the statements and examples thereunder, as United States policy.