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The Wandering Eternal Jew , colored woodcut by Gustave Doré , 1852, reproduction in an exhibition in Yad Vashem , 2007

As anti-Semitism all forms of flat-rate today is hatred of Jews , the standard anti-Judaism or anti-Semitism called. The expression was coined in 1879 by German-speaking people who were hostile towards Jews in the vicinity of the journalist Wilhelm Marr and since the Holocaust has developed into the generic term for all attitudes and behaviors that individuals or groups have negative characteristics due to their assumed or real belonging to "the Jews" assume. This means that exclusion, devaluation, discrimination , oppression ,Persecution , displacement through to the extermination of Jewish minorities ( genocide ) promoted, prepared and / or justified. Representatives and supporters of anti-Semitism are known as anti-Semites .

General hostility towards Jews has a tradition around 2500 years old in which a multitude of images, rumors, clichés, prejudices, resentments and stereotypes of "the" or "the" Jews are formed, overlapped and permeated. While the occasions, motives, reasons and purposes of the hostility towards Jews changed depending on the circumstances of the time and the supporting groups, the images used show great constancy and similarities. The Antisemitismusforschung therefore avoids a general definition of the phenomenon. German-language research distinguishes at least four main forms:

  • Christian anti-Judaism , which devalues ​​Jews primarily for religious reasons and therefore also excludes them socially and politically. It ruled in church history from late antiquity to modern times .
  • the modern anti-Semitism , the Jews mainly with biologistic and pseudoscientific excludes justifications as "foreign body" from the majority society. It emerged since the Enlightenment and was associated with nationalism , social Darwinism and racism in the 19th century . “Racial anti-Semitism” became a state ideology during the Nazi era and led to the Holocaust.
  • the post-Holocaust anti-Semitism (PHA), the Jews just saying no because of the Holocaust, this denies or relative. In perpetrator societies it feeds on defense against guilt, refusal to remember, needs for relief and perpetrator-victim reversal . It includes stereotypes of “Holocaust exploitation”, “resentful irreconcilability” and an alleged “criticism taboo because of Auschwitz ”. In this way, empirically proven, he adapts classic anti-Semitic stereotypes of “Jewish vengeance, greed and exercise of power” to the current circumstances and thus continues the tradition of hatred of Jews unbroken. Therefore the talk of “primary” and “secondary” anti-Semitism in anti-Semitism research, which is widespread in the German-speaking area, is considered misleading and inappropriate. A special form of the PHA is " anti-Semitism without Jews ".
  • the anti-Zionism , which against founded in 1948, State of Israel depends. Insofar as its representatives dispute Israel's right to exist and transfer anti-Jewish stereotypes with delegitimizing intent to Israel, it is Israel-related anti-Semitism.

In all main forms, religious, social, political, cultural and conspiracy-theoretical motives can be distinguished, which historically, however, mostly occur in connection with one another. In addition, research distinguishes between latent and manifest, oppositional and state forms of expression.

In contrast to general xenophobia , anti-Semitism is based on allegedly unchangeable properties of Jews, which are often labeled and portrayed consistently. Jews are referred to as "enemies of mankind" ( antiquity ), " well poisoners ", " ritual murderers ", " usurers " ( Middle Ages and early modern times ), " parasites ", "exploiters", "conspirators" and secret " world rulers " (since the Enlightenment ), which are supposed to cause all possible negative undesirable developments and man-made catastrophes. Anti-Jewish caricatures are very similar over the centuries. These fictional illusions (chimeras) have proven to be extraordinarily stable and adaptable up to the present day. They have nothing to do with reality, but ideologically distort Judaism for various purposes. Wolfgang Benz interprets hostility towards Jews as a particularly typical and powerful “ paradigm for the formation of prejudices and the political instrumentalization of enemy images constructed from them ”.


The French Revolution of 1789 had promoted the implementation of general human rights and the formation of nation states across Europe. With this, other states began to equate their citizens in legal terms and initiated Jewish emancipation . Nationalist unification movements fought this and looked for reasons adapted to the changed historical situation for the traditional hatred of Jews in the Middle Ages, which was shaped by Christianity.

The expression "anti-Semitism" is a new creation of German anti-Semites in the environment of the journalist Wilhelm Marr (1819–1904). His aim was " to justify the hostility towards Jews with the fact that the Jews belong to the Semitic race and family of nations and to give it the stamp of a scientific doctrine that goes back to ultimate causes". Historically, however, the new term was never directed against the Semites , i.e. the entire Semitic language family comprising many ethnic groups , but always only against Jews, who were thus represented as an ethnic collective. The term is therefore an etymological mistake and is racist and pseudoscientific in origin.

A family of languages ​​and peoples has been referred to as “Semites” since 1771 in order to distinguish them from the “ Aryans ” language family . The Indologist Christian Lassen and the orientalist and religious scholar Ernest Renan both used terms as ideological collective terms for opposing national characters and types of culture. By referring to Jews as "Semites," they were portrayed as an ethnic community with inferior characteristics. In 1860 the bibliographer Moritz Steinschneider rejected Renan's theses that Judaism hindered the political progress of mankind through its dispersion and its religious awareness of election as "anti-Semitic prejudices". Until 1865, “ Semitism ” or “Semitism” was a lexically established catchphrase. It therefore made sense to use the antonym “anti-Semitism” for the ideology and goals of anti-Semitic organizations.

The noun is first used in December 1879 in a newspaper report on the anti-Semite league that Marr founded in September 1879. It referred to their political program to fight "Semitism". The term was used by anti-Semites to differentiate themselves from the emotionally charged hatred of Jews in the Middle Ages and to give their goals a rational, enlightened look. From 1880, "anti-Semitism" also referred to the goals of the " Berlin Movement " around Adolf Stoecker and Heinrich von Treitschke and the signatory of the " anti-Semitic petition ".

Since there was no uniform Jewish ideology or party that the anti-Semites could have combated, they constructed a national-racial antithesis and made the term “the Jew”, used as a dirty word, the epitome of all negatively experienced and interpreted phenomena since the Enlightenment. He owns and directs the critical press, infiltrates the nation with selfish pursuit of profit, cold purposeful rationality, alien ideas and tendencies: rationalism , materialism , internationalism , individualism , pluralism , capitalism ( Manchester liberalism ), democracy , socialism and communism . He is to blame for the disintegration ("decomposition") of traditional social structures, exploitation, economic crises, capital concentration and inflation, disunity and the weakness of the nation. As a summary of such anti-Jewish and racist stereotypes, the term "anti-Semitism" was in the Empire as well as in Tsarist Russia , Empire of Austria and post-revolutionary France soon commonplace. For about 75 years it remained the self-designation of “principled” enemies of the Jews who sought the isolation, expulsion and ultimately the extermination of Jews by fighting “Semitism”.

In order to differentiate European, assimilated Jews as a separate “race” from other “Semitic peoples”, the anti-Semite Eugen Dühring rejected the term “anti-Semitism”. In order to ensure the cooperation of the Nazi regime with the Arabs in terms of tactical power, the Reich Propaganda Ministry asked the German press in August 1935 to “avoid the word: anti-Semitic or anti-Semitism, because German policy is only against the Jews, but not against the Semites absolutely judges. Instead, the word: anti-Jewish should be used. ”In 1943, Alfred Rosenberg asked the German press to refrain from using the term anti-Semitism out of consideration for the Arab world. Hostile foreign countries use the term to show that the Germans “lump Arabs and Jews into one pot”.

Since 1945, “anti-Semitism” has denoted all aspects of anti-Jewish ideology that made the Holocaust possible, prepared, accompanied and justified. Anti-Semitism researchers in Israel , Great Britain and the USA use the word as a generic term for general, also non-racist anti-Semitism with “eliminatory” features. Reinhard Rürup and Thomas Nipperdey (1972), on the other hand, wanted to limit it to the racist hostility towards Jews since 1880, in which the term had emerged. This is a “fundamentally new anti-Semitic movement”, so that its term cannot be transferred to older, non-racist anti-Semitism. Even Alex Bein , Jacob Katz , Helmut Berding and Hermann Greive stressed despite the difference continuity of the "modern" anti-Semitism earlier hatred of Jews and therefore rejected the term as a generic term for "anti-Semitism" from. According to Georg Christoph Berger Waldenegg , the continued use of the term suggests that “ there were and still are specifically Jewish-Semitic characteristics ”.

Ernst Simmel, on the other hand, judged: "Anti-Semitism has remained essentially the same for centuries, even if its forms of expression have changed since the Enlightenment, as have the ethical standards and social structures of each epoch." According to Shulamit Volkov , too, "with the Novelty of modern anti-Semitism not far ”. Rita Botwinick sees “anti-Semitism” as a “modern word for a traditional malevolence”. Eberhard Jäckel calls the term a “linguistically inaccurate term for hatred of Jews”. Léon Poliakov therefore advocated “anti-Judaism” as a generic term for religious and racist hatred of Jews, Steven T. Katz used “anti-Judaism” and “anti-Semitism” interchangeably.

The classification of the no longer religious, not yet explicitly racist anti-Semitism between 1750 and 1880 also remained controversial. Alphons Silbermann differentiates between “classic” and “modern”, Winfried Frey “early” or “premodern” and “modern” anti-Semitism. Wolfgang Altgeld speaks of "enlightened hostility towards Jews" for the period up to 1800, and of "early nationalist anti-Judaism" until 1848. From 1800 onwards, Paul L. Rose calls hostility towards Jews "anti-Semitism".

In colloquial language , the expression "anti-Semitism" has been synonymous with "hatred of Jews" or "hostility towards Jews" since 1945. In research today, “anti-Semitism” is “collective term for negative stereotypes about Jews, for resentments and actions that are directed against individual Jews as Jews or against Judaism as a whole and against phenomena because they are Jewish”.

Main forms


"Anti-Judaism" denotes hostility to the Jewish religion . It is justified by specific Christian theology and often refers to anti-Jewish passages of the New Testament . The starting point for this was the Christian mission among non-Jews, so that a majority of Gentile Christians replaced the predominantly Jewish Christian primitive Christianity . The supersessionism claimed since the 2nd century that God had the election of the Jews to the people of God because of their rejection of the Messiah terminated Jesus Christ and Judaism cursed subject to change, so that Jews salvation only through Christian baptism chosen, so the transition to the now Church could attain.

After this had become the state religion of the Roman Empire with a universal claim to rule with the Edict of the Three Emperor on February 28, 380 , the anti-Judaistic dogmas had a social and religious policy discrimination against Jewish minorities in Europe. Christians excluded Jews from most professions since the 9th century and left them only despised jobs such as junk trading, pawning and credit transactions. This gave rise to clichés like that of the work-shy usury Jews , who also secretly sought to rule over all Christians or even to exterminate them.

The accusation of " murder of God ", known since 180 , which gave all Jews collective guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus , led to ritual murder legends and allegations of alleged " host sacrilege " in the High Middle Ages . The anti-Jewish church policy took on traits of systematic persecution: Jews were forcibly baptized , ghettoized , criminalized and demonized . Jewish pogroms often took place on high Christian holidays, especially during the crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries and the plague pandemic in the 14th century ( plague pogroms ). During the Spanish Reconquista in the 15th century, the concept of the Limpieza de sangre was developed, and in 1492 the Jews were expelled from Spain .

During the Reformation in 1521 , Martin Luther initially seemed to initiate a departure from Christian anti-Judaism, but after successful Jewish missions he called on all princes to destroy the synagogues and Jewish homes, to intern, expel the Jews or to commit them to forced labor ( Von den Juden und seine Lügen 1543; see Martin Luther and the Jews ).

The Enlightenment adopted some anti-Judaistic stereotypes, such as the juxtaposition of a supposedly nationally limited and materialistic Jewish religion of hatred versus a universal and idealistic Christian love religion. In the 19th century, Christian and racist hostility towards Jews merged. Christian and racist anti-Jews revived the medieval ritual murder legends together. Nationalist Christians have also been anti-Semites since 1900, for example the Protestant church party “ German Christians ” during the Nazi era. It was not until around 1960 that some churches gradually turned away from traditional substitution theology as a result of the Holocaust. In the relationship between the churches and Judaism after 1945 , the mission to the Jews remained an issue.

Modern anti-Semitism

Social anti-Semitism refers to the actual or imagined social status of Jews in society. In the past, occupational restrictions pushed Jews into the trades and lending professions. Social anti-Semitism equates the stock exchange, finance capital and greed for money with Judaism.

Political anti-Semitism sees the Jews, thought of as a homogeneous collective, as influential social power who would have come together with political intent to act together in order to achieve domination in a country or world domination . This is to be done through a secret planning in the form of a " Jewish world conspiracy ". An example of this are the Protocols of the Elders of Zion .

Cultural anti-Semitism is closely related to social and political anti-Semitism. Here Jews are held responsible for the supposedly pernicious developments on a cultural level. Antisemites saw irritating innovations in architecture, art, literature or music as a result of Jewish influence, which was assessed as decadent, identified with cultural modernity and rejected with it. An example of cultural anti-Semitism is what the Nazi propaganda called “ degenerate art ”.

In a reversal of the alleged "God's murder" as part have the Enlightenment atheist and agnostic authors such as Voltaire , the Baron of Holbach or Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel , and mainly with them the revolutionary bourgeoisie of the French Revolution, the Jews of the "invention" of God and Accused of monotheism and the reprehensible creation of the Jew Jesus Christ from their point of view. From anticlericals so the Jews will be blamed Christianity. Voltaire said to Jews: “You surpass all nations with your outrageous fairy tales, your bad behavior and your barbarism. You deserve to be punished, because that is your fate. ”And elsewhere:“ I would not be in the least surprised if these people would one day become dangerous for the human race. ”Voltaire's statements were also related to his endeavors , the Judeo-Christian myth of origin of the Bible ( Genesis ) by him in India situate Aryan to replace original home of mankind. He wrote to the astronomer M. Bailly: "For a long time I have considered the ancient dynasty of the Brahmins to be this nation of origin."

Nationalist anti-Semitism sees the Jews as a minority that does not belong ethnically, culturally or socially to the respective nation , is perceived as a foreign body and is accused of disloyalty to the nation. In contrast to racially motivated anti-Semitism in the narrower sense, assimilation and religious conversion could overcome discrimination and achieve integration into society. Nationalist anti-Semitism does not only focus on the alleged ethnic differences, but also emphasizes alleged cultural differences or a lack of loyalty to the respective nation. Due to such exclusion, this form of hostility to Jews also takes on xenophobic traits. In some cases, nationalist anti-Semitism is also subsumed under the narrower definition of anti-Semitism.

Post Holocaust Anti-Semitism

The hostility towards Jews “after Auschwitz”, which relates directly or indirectly to the Shoah and is related to this topic, is also referred to as “defense against guilt” anti-Semitism. The military victory of the Allies over the Nazi state ended anti-Semitism as a German state ideology with the Holocaust.

In the Federal Republic of Germany Semitism was henceforth publicly outlawed, so he within one anti-Semitism against tolerant in the population group continued persisted. Antisemitism assumed in the public debate about the mass extermination of Jews during the Second World War, it serves only the defamation of national identity , the granting of continued reparations was accrued to Israel and the political legitimacy of its policies in the Middle East .


Anti-Zionism denotes the rejection of Zionism and thus of the State of Israel as such; he therefore denies the latter its right to exist . Anti-Zionism often contains or conceals anti-Jewish motives. A large proportion of all Jews worldwide (2010: 43 percent, with an upward trend) have lived in Israel since 1945, which sees itself as a place of refuge for all Jews. Anti-Zionism or "criticism of Israel", which transfers classic anti-Semitic stereotypes to Israel, denies its right to exist, uses Nazi comparisons, reverses perpetrators and victims and equates Zionism with racism, is therefore often judged as "camouflaged" anti-Semitism. A well-known test to distinguish legitimate criticism of the policies of Israel from anti-Semitism, the 3D Test of Antisemitism : If statements Israel d ämonisieren , d elegitimieren, or d scrappy standards create, then they are anti-Semitic.

Anti-Zionism arose since 1918 from conflicts between the Arabs residing in Palestine and the European Jews who immigrated in several waves ( Aliyot ). These conflicts escalated into the Arab uprising in 1936 , after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 led to six wars by Arab states against Israel and to numerous armed conflicts that continue to this day (see Middle East conflict ). These intensified anti-Zionism in and outside the Middle East region. The Soviet Union has viewed Israel as the United States' bridgehead in the region since 1950 . This view has been adopted by sections of the political left since 1967 ; it is still common today in the spectrum of anti-imperialism . Islamic organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas adopted elements of European anti-Semitism. In relation to the Islamic and Arab world, one speaks of Islamic or Islamized anti-Semitism. Even with non-Muslims, anti-Zionism often serves to immunize themselves against accusations of anti-Semitism in order to demonize, delegitimize and isolate Israel semantically and in terms of content in a manner analogous to “the Jews”. The hostility towards Israel combines left anti-imperialism, right-wing extremism and Islamism and acts as a potential threat to all Jews.


1945 to 1990

Since 1945, dictionaries have avoided any definition of anti-Semitism that (such as the Brockhaus Conversationslexikon from 1882) assumes that Jews have the characteristics that anti-Semites attribute to them. Some define anti-Semitism strictly as racist hatred of Jews, which is qualitatively different from other forms, as the singular Holocaust has shown, and is particularly dangerous, since alleged racial characteristics of the Jews make their extermination appear to be the only conceivable solution. However, this definition excludes most virulent forms of religiously based hatred of Jews (anti-Judaism).

Other modern definitions classify anti-Semitism as a mere variant of ethnic prejudice or xenophobia, such as the influential Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary since 1961: Anti-Semitism is "hostility or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic or racial group". Some historians generalize this to “dislike of the unlike ”. Then hatred of Jews would only be distinguishable from other racism (e.g. against dark-skinned people) or ethnocentrism (e.g. against Hispanics ) through the object group . This had practical, political and legal advantages at times, because general minority protection against discrimination also seemed to protect Jews more strongly against persecution. Some historians emphasize a higher intensity of hatred of Jews compared to other minority hatreds, but neglect the cause of this in its particular peculiarity. As a result, they also miss the qualitative difference between simply showing an anti-Semitic symbol such as the swastika and carrying out the industrial extermination of Jews, as in the Auschwitz concentration camp .

In contrast, the authors of the study The Authoritarian Personality (1950) around Theodor W. Adorno defined anti-Semitism as “ ideology with stereotypical negative views about Jews, which they portray as threatening, immoral, categorically different from non-Jews, with acute hostile attitudes and on their own Urge restriction, exclusion and oppression to 'solve the Jewish question '. According to Kenneth L. Marcus ( Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law ), this definition is also applicable to today's anti-Zionism: If the word “Jews” is replaced by the word “Israel”, then it also includes the transfer of classic anti-Semitic stereotypes on the State of Israel (the "Jews among the States") and related demands for the "solution to the Israel problem", which thus turns out to be a problem of the Gentiles.

From 1966, before the Six Day War of 1967, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary added its definition: Anti-Semitism could also mean “opposition to Zionism ” and “sympathy with the opponents of the State of Israel”. This precluded theologically justified rejection of Israel, such as the ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta , rejection of all nationalism and ordinary criticism of substantial Israeli politics. The definition did not gain acceptance, but it did draw attention to the connection between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

The genocide researcher Helen Fein added the sociological-cultural aspects in her definition in 1987: Anti-Semitism is “a persistent latent structure of hostile convictions against Jews as a collective, which manifest themselves in individuals as attitudes and in culture as myth, ideology, folklore and imagery and in actions manifest - social or legal discrimination, political mobilization against Jews and collective or state violence, which leads to and / or is intended to distance, displace or destroy Jews as Jews. "

European Monitoring Center for Racism and Xenophobia

The European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) recorded an increase in anti-Semitic tendencies following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 . In order to facilitate and standardize the criminal law treatment of such tendencies in the EU states , the EUMC published a working definition in 2005:

Anti-Semitism is “hatred of Jews” directed against Jewish or non-Jewish individuals, their property, their institutions or the State of Israel. He "often accuses Jews of conspiracy to harm humanity and is often used to hold Jews responsible for 'when something goes wrong'." ominous stereotypes and negative character traits ", for example:

  • Calls to kill or harm Jews in the name of a radical ideology or extremist religious viewpoint,
  • lying, dehumanizing, demonizing or stereotypical claims about Jews or the collective power of Jews, such as world Jewry or Jewish control by media, governments, etc.,
  • To collectively accuse Jews of real or alleged wrongdoing by one or more Jews or non-Jews ,
  • Holocaust denial ,
  • Accusing Jews as a collective or Israel of inventing or dramatizing the Holocaust,
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel or perceived Jewish priorities worldwide than to their own states,
  • to reject the right of Jews to self-determination, for example to claim that Israel is a racist project,
  • to apply double standards, i.e. to demand behavior from Israel that is not expected of any other democratic nation,
  • to apply classic anti-Semitic symbols and images such as the murder of God or the legend of ritual murder to Israel or Israelis,
  • Compare Israel's current policy with the extermination policy of National Socialism ,
  • to assert collective responsibility of the Jews for Israel's policies.

Criticism that is expressed against Israel in a similar way to other states cannot, however, be classified as anti-Semitic.

International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

The 34 member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) adopted the EUMC definition almost unchanged on May 15, 2016. The decision text and co-authors of the EUMC definition text emphasize that it was "not intended for implementation in European or national law". The European Forum on Antisemitism (EFA) working definition of “anti-Semitism” is also based on the EUMC definition from 2005.

The Austrian Council of Ministers adopted the IHRA working definition on April 21, 2017. The German Federal Government adopted it in September 2017 and included the first example sentence in the definition:

“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews that can be expressed as hatred of Jews. Anti-Semitism, in word or deed, is directed against Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and / or their property as well as against Jewish community or religious institutions. In addition, the State of Israel, which is understood as a Jewish collective, can also be the target of such attacks. "

The IHRA definition lists the following current examples of anti-Semitism in public life, in the media, schools, in the workplace and in the religious sphere, which, taking into account the overall context, can include, but are not limited to, behavior.


  • Calling for the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist religious belief and aiding or abetting or justifying such acts.
  • False, dehumanizing, demonizing or stereotypical allegations against Jews or the power of the Jews as a collective - especially but not exclusively the myths about a Jewish world conspiracy or about the control of the media, economy, government or other social institutions by the Jews.
  • Making the Jews responsible as a people for actual or assumed misconduct of individual Jews, individual Jewish groups or even non-Jews.
  • The denial of the fact, the extent, the mechanisms (e.g. the gas chambers) or the intentionality of the genocide of the Jews by Nazi Germany and its supporters and accomplices during the Second World War (Holocaust).
  • The accusation against the Jews as a people or the State of Israel for inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • The accusation against Jews that they feel more committed to the state of Israel or to allegedly existing worldwide Jewish interests than to the interests of their respective home countries.
  • The denial of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination, e.g. B. by claiming that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • The application of double standards by requiring Israel to behave that no other democratic state expects or requires.
  • Using symbols and images associated with traditional anti-Semitism (e.g., the Christ murder allegation or the ritual murder legend) to describe Israel or the Israelis.
  • Compare the current Israeli politics with the politics of the National Socialists.
  • Making Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the State of Israel. "

The political scientist and sociologist Armin Pfahl-Traughber criticizes the lack of clarity, selectivity and completeness in the working definition and calls for it to be fundamentally revised. It is not clear what exactly the "certain perception" consists of. Anti-Semitism is not criticism, but hostility “against Jews as Jews”. It is to be welcomed in the definition that it is articulated that the hostility towards Jews of the present is often enough expressed via the detour of hostility towards Israel, but this is overemphasized and the other ideological variants of anti-Semitism only appear marginally.

The American Civil Liberties Union in the United States criticized the definition because it was far too broad and could be used to suppress free speech- backed criticism of Israel.

The Israeli historian Moshe Zimmermann also criticizes the “vagueness” of the IHRA definition. It allows any kind of criticism of Israel to be described as anti-Semitic. This leads to an inflationary use of the term and to the fact that "where anti-Semitism is really to be found [...] it may not be recognized".

In a report commissioned by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, the philosopher and sociologist Peter Ullrich describes the IHRA definition's claim to solve all the problems associated with the definition of the term and at the same time be generally applicable as "failed". It is not very precise and contradicting itself and also leaves blatant gaps. It makes it possible to stigmatize unpopular positions on the Middle East conflict and to discriminate publicly, which Ullrich rates "in view of its quasi-legal status as a threat to freedom of expression". In addition, they conceal the fact that the greatest danger comes from the right.

In December 2019, Kenneth S. Stern stated that, as an anti-Semitism expert for the American Jewish Committee , he was the lead author of the working definition. Politically right-wing Jewish groups would have used the definition from 2010 onwards as a weapon against freedom of expression.

In December 2019, 127 Jewish and Israeli intellectuals issued an open letter warning the French parliament to accept the “unclear and imprecise” IHRA definition. This brings "conscious criticism and opposition to the political measures of the State of Israel in connection with anti-Semitism" and introduces an "unjustified double standard in favor of Israel and against the Palestinians".

David Feldman wrote in December 2020 that the IHRA definition was flawed, vague, confusing and unsuitable for protecting Jewish students and teachers at British universities. Nor does it offer a clear answer as to whether calls for boycotts against Israel are inherently anti-Semitic. For example, Joe Mann, the British government's "anti-Semitism guru", wrote that boycotts are not covered by the IHRA definition.

On January 11, 2021, more than seventy British academics in an open letter condemned the government's introduction of the IHRA working definition and urged British universities and students to reject or reject the “inherently incorrect”, “vague” and “poor” definition. take back.

In February 2020, more than 600 Canadian academics signed a petition against the IHRA definition.

In January 2021 there were a number of left-wing Jewish organizations in the US - Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now , Habonim Dror North America, Hashomer Hatzair World Movement, Jewish Labor Committee, J Street , New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel, Reconstructing Judaism, and T 'ruah - issued a statement refusing to accept the IHRA definition.

In March 2021, more than 150 Jewish university professors in Canada wrote an open letter against the adoption of the IHRA definition.

Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism

By March 2021, around twenty scholars wrote the Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism , which around two hundred scholars from all over the world signed. It is intended to offer a coherent and politically neutral definition and thus complement and improve the IHRA definition. It defines anti-Semitism as “discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish)” and provides 15 guidelines on this. Central to her is the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism and the classification of the fight against anti-Semitism in the larger fight against other forms of racism and discrimination. It met with criticism from some anti-Semitism researchers and was received controversially in the media.

See also


Since this article gives an overview of the various forms of hostility towards Jews, the literature here is limited to general descriptions of the phenomenon as a whole. Literature on special terms and epochs is reserved for the linked special articles.

Web links

Commons : Antisemitism  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Anti-Semitism  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Empirical studies

Experiences and perceptions in connection with anti-Semitism - Second survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in the EU - Summary. March 10, 2019.


Individual evidence

  1. Armin Pfahl-Traughber: Anti-Semitism in German history. State Center for Political Education, Leske & Budrich, Berlin 2002, p. 9
  2. Monika Schwarz-Friesel: Jew hatred on the Internet. Anti-Semitism as a cultural constant and collective feeling. Hentrich & Hentrich, Leipzig 2019, ISBN 978-3-95565-328-6 , pp. 38–41.
  3. Marc Grimm, Bodo Kahmann (Ed.): Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: Virulence of an Old Enmity in Times of Islamism and Terror. De Gruyter / Oldenbourg, Munich 2018, ISBN 3-11-053471-1 , p. 237
  4. Armin Pfahl-Traughber: Anti-Semitism in German history. State Center for Political Education, Leske & Budrich, Berlin 2002, pp. 10–13.
  5. Angelika Königseder, Wolfgang Benz: Anti-Semitism as a Paradigm. Studies on prejudice research. Metropol, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-936411-09-3 , p. 15 (foreword)
  6. ^ Edmond Jacob: Antisemitismus , in: Encyclopaedia Judaica , 1928, Sp. 957.
  7. Günter Wasserberg: From Israels Mitte - Heil für die Welt: A narrative-exegetical study on the theology of Luke. De Gruyter, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-11-015864-7 , p. 21 .
  8. ^ A b Thomas Nipperdey, Reinhard Rürup: Antisemitism. In: Otto Brunner, Werner Conze, Reinhart Koselleck (eds.): Basic historical concepts. Historical lexicon on political-social language in Germany, Volume 1. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1972, ISBN 3-12-903850-7 , pp. 129-132.
  9. a b Alex Bein: The Jewish Question: Biography of a World Problem, Volume II. Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart 1980, p. 164f.
  10. Reinhard Rürup: Emancipation and anti-Semitism: studies on the “Jewish question” in bourgeois society. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2016, ISBN 3-596-30933-6 , pp. 95-97 .
  11. Massimo Ferrari Zumbini: The Roots of Evil: Founding Years of Anti-Semitism: From the Bismarck Age to Hitler. Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-465-03222-5 , p. 171 .
  12. Marc Grimm, Bodo Kahmann (Ed.): Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century , Munich 2018, p. 30 .
  13. Alex Bein: Die Judenfrage: Biographie einer Weltproblem, Volume II. Stuttgart 1980, pp. 164 and 217.
  14. ^ Jacob Katz: The Preparatory Stage of the Modern Antisemitic Movement (1873-1979). In: Shmuel Almog (ed.): Antisemitism through the Ages. London 1988, pp. 279-289.
  15. ^ Helmut Berding: Modern anti-Semitism in Germany. 2nd edition, Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1995, ISBN 3-518-11257-0 , pp. 85f.
  16. ^ Hermann Greive: History of modern anti-Semitism in Germany. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1995, ISBN 3-534-08859-X , pp. 1 and 8-10.
  17. Georg Christoph Berger Waldenegg: Anti-Semitism: "A dangerous word"? Diagnosis of a word. Böhlau, Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-205-77096-X , p. 31.
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  48. ↑ Addressing anti-Semitism: Why and how? Guide for educators. (PDF;) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHR); full wording in appendix p. 32 f.
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  50. What is anti-Semitism? Austria adopts IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism.
  51. Press release from the Federal Foreign Office of September 22, 2017: Federal Government supports international working definition of anti-Semitism. ; Federal government approves new definition of anti-Semitism. FAZ, September 20, 2017.
  52. ^ Working definition of anti-Semitism , International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
  53. Armin Pfahl-Traughber: The EUMC working definition of anti-Semitism in criticism. Comments on lack of selectivity and completeness ... HaGalil, July 16, 2017.
  54. ^ Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018. ACLU, June 4, 2018.
  55. Jannis Hagmann: Moshe Zimmermann on criticism of Israel: “Not every boycott is anti-Semitic”. taz, January 11, 2019.
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  57. Kenneth Stern: I drafted the definition of antisemitism. Rightwing Jews are weaponizing it. The Guardian , December 13, 2019; Kenneth Stern: We disagree about the Working Definition. That's OK. Here's what's not. The Times of Israel , February 10, 2021
  58. 127 universitaires juifs contre la définition de l'IHRA. The Times of Israel, December 2, 2019.
  59. David Feldman: The government should not impose a faulty definition of antisemitism on universities. The Guardian, December 2, 2020.
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  61. Open Letter from 600+ Canadian Academics Opposing the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism. Independent Jewish Voices Canada, February 27, 2020; Abigail B. Bakan, Alejandro I. Paz, Anna Zalik, Deborah Cowen: Jewish scholars defend the right to academic freedom on Israel / Palestine. The Conversation , April 8, 2021.
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