November 15, 2023 — New York, NY
American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI) this week issued a new call to action: Global Leaders, Experts Must Reject Surging Antisemitism Worldwide and Affirm Jews’ Equal Rights. The appeal provides examples from 25 countries of incidents of antisemitic hate speech, discrimination, and physical attacks against Jews and Jewish sites that have occurred since Hamas’s October 7 attack against Israel.
“Over the past four-plus weeks, it has become clear that Jews worldwide are facing an alarming and unprecedented surge in hatred and threats of violence,” said Felice Gaer, JBI’s Director. “In this context, international authorities must do more than condemn antisemitism. They must recognize that Jews around the world have legitimate and heightened security concerns and take action to address these real security needs. The failure of so many leaders to explicitly recognize that heightened antisemitism triggers heightened governmental responsibility to protect Jews has been deeply alienating for already traumatized Jewish communities, and must be corrected urgently.”
JBI’s appeal calls on United Nations leaders, experts, and others to clearly and unambiguously reaffirm that international and political developments never justify antisemitism and to clarify that while criticism of Israel is not per se antisemitic, it crosses that line when it reflects, fuels, or incites identity-based hatred of or violence or discrimination against Jews.
The appeal also urges leaders and experts to:
- Affirm the value and utility of the non-legally binding International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism as a training and awareness-raising tool. Many Jewish communities and organizations worldwide have embraced the IHRA definition because it reflects their experience in past periods of heightened tension in the Middle East. The Working Definition clarifies that, for example, “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel,” can constitute antisemitic hate speech.
- Call on governments to assess Jewish communities’ needs in coordination with them and provide the necessary security assistance they require at this time of crisis.
- Call on governments to ensure that police and law enforcement are aware of the urgent need to protect Jews from threats of violence and ensure police and law enforcement receive training and instruction that Jewish people are not responsible for the words and actions of the Israeli or any other government, and that acts directed against them on this basis are antisemitic.
- Call on social media and technology companies to prohibit antisemitic content on their platforms and services, including misinformation and disinformation that has the effect of conveying antisemitic stereotypes and conspiracies, and take the necessary steps to fully enforce their harmful content and misinformation policies across all languages and dialects.
- Urge university administrators to condemn antisemitic acts and ensure the safety of Jewish students, like all other students.
- Call on other non-state actors, including faith leaders and civil society organizations, to reject and counter antisemitic statements, including those that imply that Jewish people are responsible for the words and actions of the Israeli government.
The full appeal is available here.
AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI) works to combat religious intolerance, end torture, and oppose all forms of discrimination, issues of central importance to the Jewish community and beyond. We protect human rights around the world by engaging with governments, diplomats, the United Nations and other international organizations, and civil society partners.