Combating anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Discrimination
Implementing IHRA’s Operational Definition of anti-Semitism in Poland.
Anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, such as racism, antigypsyism/anti-Roma or homophobia are constantly appearing in the public discourse, whilst they should be met with a clear opposition of the entire society.
Responding to the challenges present in the field of combating anti-Semitism and other manifestations of racism, the organizations Beit Polska – The Union of Progressive Jewish Communities, The Jewish Association Czulent and the Club of Catholic Intelligentsia (KIK), with the support of the Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw, as part of the project Combating anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination. Promoting IHRA’s operational definition of anti-Semitism in Poland have undertaken actions to raise social awareness about anti-Semitism.
The aim of the project is the promotion of educational and research tools for defining anti-Semitism by promoting the operational definition of anti-Semitism and implementing it into educational activities. The implementation of the definition can make it easier for non-governmental organizations, law-enforcement agencies and national and local governmental authorities to monitor hate crimes.
As part of the project the below initiatives were carried out:
- A publication Definicja Antysemityzmu Międzynarodowego Sojuszu Pamięci o Holokauście [The Definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance].
- An article in the Magazyn Kontakt magazine: https://magazynkontakt.pl/antysemityzm-nasz-powszedni/
What is IHRA?
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is an intergovernmental organization established in 1998 in accordance with the Declaration of the International Stockholm Forum on Holocaust – the so called Stockholm Declaration. The Alliance is a platform for developing and exchanging good practices. The aim of the Alliance is to mobilize and coordinate support from political and social leaders for the sake of education, memory preservation and conducting scientific research about the Holocaust at the national and international level.
A non-legally binding working definition of anti-Semitism has been accepted by 31 IHRA member states on May 26th, 2016:
“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Anti-Semitism is manifested both through verbal and physical acts directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious sites.”
To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as illustrations:
Manifestations of anti-Semitism may include attacks on the state of Israel, perceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism is frequently connected with accusing Jews of conspiring against humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and actions and it 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:
- Calling for the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or extremist religious views, aiding in such actions or justifying them; making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective — such as, but not exclusively, the myth about an international Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, the economy, the 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 of Jews, or even for acts committed by non-Jews,
- denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or the 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),
- 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 international Jewish interests rather than to their own country,
- 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 the state of Israel behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic state,
- using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or using the blood of Christian children for religious rituals) to characterize Israel or Israelis,
- comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,
- holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the state of Israel.
Anti-Semitic acts are considered criminal when they are so defined by law (for example in some countries denial of the Holocaust or distribution of anti-Semitic materials).
Criminal acts are considered expressions of anti-Semitism 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 denying Jews opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.
Combating Anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination.
Implementing IHRA’s operational definition of anti-Semitism in Poland.
“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward them. Anti-Semitism is manifested both through verbal and physical acts directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious sites.”
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance