Private Sector Action Items

Recommendations for the Private Sector, including companies, corporations, and businesses, as part of AJC's Call to Action Against Antisemitism in America.

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AJC's Call to Action Against Antisemitism - A Society-Wide Nonpartisan Guide for America - Learn More

According to AJC’s State of Antisemitism in America 2023 Report, more than six in 10 (63%) American Jews say the status of Jews in the United States is “less secure than a year ago”– more than a 20 percentage point increase in just one year (and a 30 percentage point increase over two years). 78% of American Jews who heard something about the October 7th Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel, said the attack made them feel less safe as a Jewish person in the U.S. 

Notably, one in five (19%) American Jews reported local businesses where they live have been the target of antisemitism in the past five years. 

American leadership in the private sector plays a critical role in fighting all forms of hatred, including anti-Jewish hate, and promoting inclusive environments. Fostering greater sensitivity to concerns of Jewish employees can prevent antisemitism in the workplace and increase the sense of belonging of Jewish employees. 

Please note that the suggestions offered below are not exhaustive. There is always more that can be done.

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Understanding Antisemitism

Define what constitutes antisemitism | The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which defines antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews,” is the best tool for those with a practical need to identify antisemitism. It includes practical examples to determine whether something is antisemitic, such as discrimination and hatred of Jews, conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial and distortion, and antisemitism related to Israel. Internationally recognized as the authoritative definition, the IHRA Working Definition has been adopted by more than 1000 bodies, including more than 40 countries and multilateral organizations such as the European Union and the Organization of American States. This same educational tool can be employed to better understand incidents in the workplace and for educating employees about antisemitism. In addition, AJC’s Translate Hate, a visual glossary of antisemitic tropes and phrases, can be an invaluable tool to understand antisemitism for corporations within their anti-discriminations policies and employee trainings. 

Know antisemitism “looks different” than other forms of hate | While many American Jews identify as a vulnerable minority group, especially as antisemitism surges in the aftermath of Hamas’ attacks against Israel on October 7, 2023, Jews today collectively tend to be assailed for having too much privilege or too much power. This is what makes antisemitism different from other forms of hate: it rests on a conspiracy theory. Especially in today’s context of anti-racism and social justice movements, which deal explicitly with questions of power, companies must have a plan to address antisemitism specifically when Jews are attacked or face a double standard because of their perceived power. Double standards in the workplace are not only morally wrong but also expose the company to legal liability under federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws. Refer to American Jewish Committee’s short, animated film called “What is antisemitism?” to understand how antisemitism has changed over time and what it looks like today. 

Increase awareness and understanding of who Jews are | Successful incorporation of Jews and antisemitism within company training (including DEI) must recognize the diversity of the Jewish people. In order to ensure Jewish inclusion, companies must acknowledge Jewish peoplehood. Jews reflect diverse racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds and express their identity in a variety of religious and cultural ways. The majority practice Judaism, or at least are culturally associated with Jewish traditions, but others are not. Many Jews are secular or atheist, but they are still Jews. At a time when antisemitism against Jews, including violence, is soaring, it is recommended that employers focus specifically on antisemitism in their education and communication as opposed to only including it within broader conversations about religious or interfaith understanding. Refer to AJC’s short, animated film called “Who are Jews?” to better understand Jewish history and identity. 

Recognize Jewish ties to Israel | According to AJC’s State of Antisemitism in America 2023 Report, 80% of Jews say caring about Israel is an important part of how they think about their Jewish identities. Many American Jews feel a historical, religious, or cultural connection to Israel, regardless of politics. Judaism as a religion is integrally tied to the land, to the city of Jerusalem, and other holy sites. Jews have lived continuously in the region for thousands of years. Coming out of two millennia of persecution, not least the Holocaust, many Jews see Israel as the only place where they can live free from fear and persecution. Hamas’ brutal attacks against Israel on October 7, 2023, the most deadly against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, have reopened deep wounds for many in the Jewish community. For example, the latest data reveals 24% of American Jews in the workplace have avoided expressing their views on Israel because of fears of antisemitism. It is important for employers to recognize that while it is not antisemitic to criticize actions of the State of Israel, denying Jews’ right to national self-determination, calling for the elimination of Israel, solely focusing on Israel but no other country, and/or attributing to Jews actual or perceived wrongs by the Israeli government is antisemitism. Leaders in the private sector should be sensitive to these concerns, which are exacerbated by surging global antisemitism and often guised in the language of criticism of Israel. 

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Responding to Antisemitism

Issue unequivocal condemnations, starting at the top | When an antisemitic incident occurs at the company, within the industry, or in the area, corporate leadership should call it out unambiguously, unequivocally, and specifically. Unfortunately, it has become all too common for companies to issue universal condemnations of hate that fail to even mention the anti-Jewish character of the incident, or list antisemitism among a list of hateful “isms” when it was just the Jewish community targeted. Company CEOs and senior leaders must immediately speak out loudly and clearly against all forms of antisemitism whenever it occurs. When the C-suite of a company issues these swift and strong condemnations, it sends a message to the entire organization that antisemitism is a serious issue worthy of attention. For an external corporate condemnation, please see MRC Entertainment’s powerful statement on Kanye West’s antisemitic rhetoric and behavior.

Address harassment | The EEOC’s fact sheet, “What To Do If You Face Antisemitism At Work,” outlines Title VII requirements from the 1964 Civil Rights Act for religious accommodation and outlines prohibition of disparate treatment, segregation, harassment, and retaliation toward Jewish employees. 

Policies and training are necessary, but they are not sufficient. For cultural and legal reasons, management generally must respond to anti-Jewish harassment—even if there is no complaint or objection—if management sees, hears, or otherwise becomes aware of it, even if it was intended as a “joke.” If an internal antisemitic incident or series of anti-Jewish attacks occurs, the company should publish a statement or resolution condemning antisemitism, at the very least internally, to the same degree that other forms of hate are called out. For a template, please see the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) resolution

Encourage reporting | All employees, managers, and non-managers alike should also be given alternative ways to raise concerns, both internally and externally. Encourage employees to report incidents of antisemitism and hate at their businesses to the proper internal and/or external authorities, including local law enforcement and community organizations, when appropriate. 

Listen to Jewish employees | According to AJC’s State of Antisemitism in America 2023 Report, antisemitism is affecting American Jews in the workplace. For Jewish adults who are employed full-time or part-time, and not self-employed, 15% have avoided wearing or displaying something that would identify them as Jewish because of fears of antisemitism, 13% have felt uncomfortable or unsafe because of their Jewish identity, and six percent reported being told they could not take time off work for the Jewish holidays

Regularly connect with Jewish employees and seek their opinions and recommendations to create a culture of inclusion and respond to antisemitism. As with others raising concerns about bias, treat Jewish individuals alleging anti-Jewish bias with respect, take their complaints seriously, and investigate and take corrective action as appropriate. Support Jewish employees by promoting employee resource groups, including one for Jewish staff.

Consult AJC as a resource | When an incident of antisemitism occurs within your company or there is a need to respond to an external antisemitic event, employers can reach out to AJC. AJC’s experts are trained to provide guidance when internal issues need addressing or external events demand response. To schedule a discussion, please contact

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Preventing Antisemitism

Strengthen education on Jews and antisemitism | Companies should hold trainings on antisemitism for their employees. These trainings and educational programs can also proactively address antisemitism by generating an improved understanding of Jewish history, identity, and heritage. To schedule a training with AJC on how to recognize antisemitism, raise awareness, and address it using various tools, contact AJC can also be consulted as a resource that Jewish or interfaith ERGs can turn to for content, training, and resources on antisemitism, Jewish history and diversity, and allyship. 

Include Jewish holidays and celebrations on company calendars | Acknowledge Jewish holidays and other important days and events to the Jewish community, such as Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27) and Jewish American Heritage Month which occurs every May. Invite Jewish employees to share their stories in the same way other groups are invited to do so. Accommodate Jewish religious beliefs, practices, and observances where reasonable and without an undue hardship. That is a legal duty. Bottom line: include Jewish employees in the rich mosaic of diversity.

Plan ahead | Have a plan to address antisemitism, specifically when Jews are attacked or face discrimination, such as a double standard, because of their perceived power. Antisemitism often increases during elections and political incidents, Jewish holidays, and flare-ups of issues in the Middle East. Since the Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7, 2023, antisemitic incidents have risen roughly 400% in the U.S, and similar trends are found around the world.

Be aware of these patterns and prepare to provide additional support for Jewish employees, if necessary. Employers should respond quickly and firmly to any and all forms of antisemitic attacks.

Create clear policies and practices on discrimination and harassment | As more companies engage in social justice issues, they need a firm policy that elucidates the company’s zero tolerance stance toward antisemitism. When providing examples of harassment in company policy and training, also include obvious and more subtle examples of anti-Jewish harassment. When providing training on conscious and implicit bias, include examples involving Jews. Such actions not only will help minimize legal exposure but will help assure Jewish employees that their workplace is a safe space to express their full identity and that anti-Jewish bias has no place in the company.

Refine hiring practices | Evaluate applicants to favor cooperative competency. Companies should favor those applicants who can display a respect for the diversity of ideas, an ability to engage in respectful ways during disagreements, and a basic grasp on communications literacy.

Promote allyship | Even before instances of antisemitism occur, provide support to Jewish colleagues in a similar way as other minority groups. While external and internal statements against antisemitism are critical, substantive prevention happens through ongoing conversations and maintained relationships. Once this foundation is set, one can better understand how antisemitism is a harbinger for hate and discrimination of other groups.

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