Antisemitism, Radicalism and Extremism

Antisemitism is one the world’s oldest hatred. Today, antisemitism is on the rise and Europe is not immune. Jewish communities, institutions, and individuals have faced a growing number of physical attacks. Though Central European Jews are much less likely to fall victim to physical violence, antisemitic conspiracy theories and anti-Israel resentment are fueled both by classical religiously motivated and modern hatred of Jews.

Our Tool to Combat Antisemitism

AJC advocates for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism (2016) as a crucial first step in addressing the rise in antisemitism. AJC was involved in the drafting of the original definition over a decade ago.

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

– International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

The Working Definition offers several examples, including common antisemitic stereotypes and tropes, such as alleging Jewish control of governments and the media, Holocaust denial, charges of dual loyalty, collectively holding Jews responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person, attributing collective responsibility for the actions of Israel, or claiming that Israel’s very existence is a racist endeavor. On its practical implementation we follow the Handbook for the Practical Use of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism published by the European Commission in cooperation with the German Presidency of the IHRA.

Antisemitism sometimes manifests itself as Holocaust denial or distortion, as stated by the IHRA. Those who claim the Shoah never happened or is a hoax often hold antisemitic views; Holocaust distortion frequently resonates with those who use antisemitic tropes.

AJC’s advocacy

Of the seven countries AJC Central Europe covers, Czechia, Hungary, Lithuania, and Slovakia have already adopted the IHRA definition. AJC helped convince the European Union to create a new position—Coordinator for Combating Antisemitism. In June 2018, AJC renewed its call on the European Union and its Member States to express their commitment to combatting antisemitism.

It is the mission of our office to monitor cases of antisemitism in Central Europe, whether physical violence or vandalism, problematic public discourse, or in the political sphere. We raise our voice when needed, working together with decision makers to counteract the deadly spread of antisemitism.

Antisemitic graffiti in Poland (Courtesy of Never Again Association, 2019)

Radicalism and Extremism

The far-right and far-left both target Jews and Israel. We have seen both ultra-nationalist organizations and radical anti-Israel leftists spread false claims regarding Jews in Europe and Israel’s policies. While AJC is open to cooperating with parties from across the political spectrum, we do not work with radical parties. We call out radicalism and fight extremism, standing up for not only the Jewish community but for other vulnerable minorities as well.

Extreme antisemitic and anti-Israel propaganda in Europe is also spread by Hezbollah and its sympathizers. AJC advocates for the European Union to label Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, as a terrorist organization in its entirety. We support policies to counter radicalism and defend values threatened by the rise of radical Islam, extremist political parties, and illiberal NGOs.

Learn more about AJC’s position on:

The IHRA Definition Antisemitism

Hate CrimesHezbollah