EU agency’s working definiton of antisemitism includes denial of Jewish right to self-determination

“Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is a manifestation of antisemitism, according to the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).

Indeed, in a recently published working definition of antisemitism, the EUMC, whose mission it is to collect “objective, reliable” data on racism and xenophobia for European Union (EU) Member States, included as antisemitic a number of attitudes and discourses related to Israel:

  • 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 it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel

The EUMC is, however, careful to point out “that criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic”. It explains that its controversial report on antisemitism published last year “highlighted (…) the lack of operational definitions of antisemitism in most EU Member States”. Its new working definition was elaborated, it says, in consultation with “Jewish organizations like the European Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee , other major Jewish NGO’s and prominent academics”.

The working definition has been sent to primary data collecting agencies for review of its functionality. It will then be further discussed with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Jewish organizations.

Though its goal is to support the “implementation and enforcement of legislation dealing with antisemitism”, contrary to some media reports, the definition itself has no legal or policy-making basis.