The recent rise in antisemitism during the conflict between Israel and Hamas demonstrates the importance of the definition established with its examples by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor said this week.
Kantor shared his views during an event held by The Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University to mark the fifth anniversary of the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism.
“We are seeing today one of the worst waves of antisemitism in recent times. Antisemitism runs wild on social media and in the streets and hatred of Israel is used to practice hate on all Jews,” Kantor said. “Nothing so clearly demonstrates the importance and value of the IHRA definition than the clear examples we are witnessing today linking hatred of Israel with hatred of Jews.
“When angry mobs gather in front of a synagogue, when rabbis are target, when an antisemitic convoy rides through Jewish neighborhoods, one thing becomes very clear. Just as the definition makes no distinction in its manifestations of Jew hate, neither do the antisemites themselves,” he said.
The event, “Who Is an Antisemite? The Polemic and Its Significance,” brought together leading academics, experts and activists in the arena of antisemitism for a symposium to talk about the significance and necessity of the definition.
“The debate around antisemitism and anti-Zionism is a bit like the one about the chicken and the egg. The result is the same, so it does not really matter which came first,” Kantor continued.
“For antisemites, Israel is the “collective Jew. What better way therefore to target hatred towards the maximum number of Jews than to target the State of Israel?”
“If there was any doubt of what antisemites think of the IHRA definition, we can see that it has been the target of attacks and attempts to come up with alternatives, which focus on protecting antisemites and not Jews.
“Thanks to the IHRA definition, we now have an international, widely accepted standard on what constitutes antisemitism.”
Kantor spoke about the growing success of the IHRA definition and said that 450 leading organizations, including 28 countries, have adopted or endorsed the Working Definition of Antisemitism.
The European Jewish Congress is the umbrella organization of European Jewry, federating over some 2.5 million Jews in 42 national communities.