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The IHRA Is the Most Coherent and Flexible Guideline Available for Combating Antisemitism

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

As Jewish Studies scholars and educators worldwide, consistent with the Jewish Studies Zionist Network’s Mission Statement, we, the undersigned, support the working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA WDA) and its adoption by the United Nations. We further reject the attempt by some scholars to substitute the IHRA WDA with the more recent Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA), ostensibly drafted to enable unjustified critique, targeting the State of Israel as a collective. The IHRA definition makes it quite clear that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

The IHRA WDA is a non-binding, working definition intended for guidance. It does not have the force of law, neither is it rigid in its analysis of anti-Zionism and antisemitism. The definition is fully consistent with legitimate criticism of Israel and does not silence the voice of Palestinians.

Moreover, it has been adopted by 37 member states and 865 organizations, with more governments and institutions considering its approval. Conversely, few have accepted the JDA, which has been publicly rebuffed by the Biden administration in favour of the IHRA’s more reliable model.

For over 50 years, the United Nations has consistently taken an anti-Zionist stance, including a 1975 resolution that defined Zionism as “racism” (revoked in 1991) with complete disregard that Zionism represents the movement for Jewish national self-determination, which the UN had endorsed in 1947.

The UN has applied double standards to Israel. It has passed (or attempted to pass) hundreds of resolutions targeting Israel, far exceeding the number criticizing any other country in the world, including China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

The adoption of the IHRA WDA will help ensure that Israel is treated in the same fashion as other UN member states.

The JDA states “Criticism that some may see as excessive or contentious, or as reflecting a ‘double standard’ is not, in and of itself, antisemitic. In general, the line between antisemitic and non-antisemitic speech is different from the line between unreasonable and reasonable speech.” This principle is ambiguous, nebulous, and implies that the bar for labelling something antisemitic is far higher than for any other form of racism. Whatever the authors’ intent, it leaves the door open for “unreasonable” and intimidating situations for Jews, whose sense of vulnerability has increased dramatically in recent years.

Moreover, despite contentions that the IHRA WDA is a politicized definition of antisemitism, the JDA is no less so. It contains numerous points that allow the targeting of Jews for their identity, especially on college campuses, which has increased at an alarming rate in recent years. More broadly, it will also have a chilling effect on Zionists who fear that such a definition will not protect them from harassment for their views.

There is no other diaspora community that has been targeted in such a manner. The IHRA definition will safeguard that Jews get treated in a manner consistent with every other minority group.

To date, there have been no instances of the IHRA definition having been used to target, silence, or persecute anyone exercising their freedom of speech.

Unfortunately, the UN’s human rights instruments have been insufficient in combating antisemitism. We therefore urge the UN to follow in the footsteps of so many of its member states and global institutions in adopting the IHRA definition.

Jewish Studies Zionist Network Coordinating Committee*

Dr. Jarrod Tanny, Associate Professor and Block Distinguished Scholar in Jewish History, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Dr. Adam L. Fuller, Clayman Professor of Jewish Studies and Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations

Dr. Naya Lekht, Independent Scholar

Dr. Moshe Y. Bernstein, Independent Scholar


Dr. Victoria Aarons, O.R. & Eva Mitchell Distinguished Professor of Literature, Trinity University

Dr. Massimo Longo Adorno, Independent Scholar

Dr. Baruch Alster, Senior Lecturer, Givat Washington Academic College of Education, Israel

Dr. Seth Armus, Professor of History, St. Joseph's University

Dr. Steven Bayme, American Jewish Committee (Retired)

Dr. Katherine Barbieri, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of South Carolina

Dr. Raphael BenLevi, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Haifa

Dr. David Berger, Ruth and I. Lewis Gordon Distinguished Professor of Jewish History, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, Yeshiva University

Dr. Corinne E. Blackmer, Professor of English and Judaic Studies, Southern CT State University

Dr. Emmanuel Bloch, Research Fellow, Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Yaakov Borut, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

Dr. Gabriel Noah Brahm, Professor of English and World Literature, Northern Michigan

University; Senior Research Fellow, Herzl Institute for the Study of Zionism, University of Haifa

Dr. Susan R. Breitzer, Independent Scholar

Dr. David Brodsky, Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Judaic Studies, Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Dr. Daniel Burston, Associate Professor of Psychology, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh

Dr. Steven J. Cahn, Professor of Music Theory, Judaic Studies, University of Cincinnati

Dr. Justin Cammy, Professor of Jewish Studies and World Literatures, Smith College

Dr. Ellen Cannon, Professor of Political Science and Jewish Studies at Northeastern Illinois University

Dr. Michael Chernick, Professor Emeritus, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion

Dr. Boaz Cohen, Western Galilee College

Dr. Yoram Cohen, Distinguished Professor, UCLA Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Department and Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Former Director of the UCLA

Nazarian Center for Israel Studies (2015-2020)

Dr. Zvi Y. Cohen, Independent Scholar

Dr. Shimon Dar, Emeritus Professor of Classical Archaeology of the Land of Israel, Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Bar Ilan University

Dr. Avram Davis, Independent Scholar

Baroness Deech DBE KC (Hon) Hon Fellow, St. Anne’s College, Oxford

Assaf Derri, Lecturer in Law, Haim Striks Law Faculty, The College of Managment, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa

Rabbi Dr. Eliezer Diamond, Department of Talmud and Rabbinics, The Jewish Theological Seminary

Dr. James A. Diamond, Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Chair of Jewish Studies, University of Waterloo

Dr. Donna Robinson Divine, Morningstar Professor Emerita of Jewish Studies and Professor Emerita of Government, Smith College

Rabbi Dr. Elliot Dorff, Rector and Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy, American Jewish University

Dr. Erika Dreifus, Adjunct Associate Professor, Baruch College of The City University of New York

Dr. Stanley Dubinsky, Professor of Linguistics, University of South Carolina

Dr. Samuel Edelman, Professor Emeritus, CSU Chico, former Dean at American Jewish University

Dr. R. Amy Elman, Professor of Political Science and Weber Chair of Social Science, Kalamazoo College

Dr. Ari Engelberg, Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem

Dr. Menachem Feuer, Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, University of Waterloo

Dr. Paul B. Fenton, Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies, Sorbonne Université, Paris 

Rivkah Fishman-Duker, Lecturer Emerita, Jewish History , Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Dr. Steven Frankel, Department of Philosophy, Xavier University

Dr. Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl C.M., Independent Scholar

Dr. Christoph Gassenschmidt, Associate Professor, Department of History, Philosophy and the Ancient World, DEREE, The American College of Greece

Dr. Jerome Gellman, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, Ben-Gurion University

Dr. Jane Gerber, Professor Emerita of History, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Past President of the Association for Jewish Studies

Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Giller, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University

Dr. Lewis Glinert, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, Dartmouth College

Dr. Norman J.W. Goda, Norman and Irma Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies, University of Florida

Dr. Elaine Goodfriend, Lecturer, California State University Northridge

Dr. Adam Gregerman, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, Dept. of Theology and Religious Studies, and Associate Director of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations, Saint Joseph’s University

Dr. Lenn E. Goodman, Professor of Philosophy, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, Vanderbilt University

Dr. Daniel Gordon, Professor of History, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dr. David L. Graizbord, Professor, Associate Director, Judaic Studies, University of Arizona

Dr. Alyssa Gray, Professor of Codes and Responsa Literature, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Dr. Kenneth Hart Green, Professor, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto

Rabbi Dr. Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, Retired Professor of Jewish studies, The City College of New York, CUNY

Dr. Haskel Greenfield, Distinguished Professor, University of Manitoba

Dr. Marat Grinberg, Professor of Russian and Humanities, Reed College

Dr. Elvira Groezinger, Emerita, Lecturer in Yiddish and Jewish Studies, University of Potsdam

Professor David Halahmy, Middle Eastern History, History Department Chair, Cypress College

Dr. David Hazony, Independent Scholar

Dr. Yoram Hazony, President, The Herzl Institute, Jerusalem

Dr. Joel Hecker, Professor of Jewish Mysticism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Dr. Elana Heideman, Executive Director, The Israel Forever Foundation

Dr. Jeffrey Herf, Distinguished University Professor, Department of History, University of Maryland, College Park

Dr. Geoffrey Herman, Directeur d'études, Chair of Ancient Judaisms and Classical Rabbinic Literature, École Pratique des Hautes Études, PSL

Dr. Peter C. Herman, San Diego State University

Dr. Alexandra Herzog, Independent Scholar

Dr. David Hirsh, Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London

Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Professor, School of Foreign Service and Director, Center for Jewish Civilization, Georgetown University

Dr. Motti Inbari, Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Dr. Timothy L. Jackson, Professor of Music Theory, Distinguished University Research Professor, College of Music, University of North Texas

Dr. Timothy P. Jackson, Bishop Mack B. and Rose Stokes Professor of Theological Ethics, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

Dr. Martin Jander, Lecturer, Freie Universität Berlin (FU-BEST)

Dr. Günther Jikeli Erna B. Rosenfeld Professor in Jewish Studies, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Germanic Studies, Indiana University

Dr. Raphael Jospe, Professor of Jewish Philosophy (retired), Bar Ilan University

Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish, Oranim Academic College of Education, Kiryat Tivon

Dr. Sergei Kan, Professor of Anthropology, Dartmouth College

Ellen Kaplan, M.F.A., Professor of Theatre, Smith College

Dr. Lawrence Kaplan, Associate Professor, Department of Jewish Studies, McGill University

Dr. Joshua Karlip, Denenberg Associate Professor of Jewish History, Associate Director of the YU Center for Israel Studies, Yeshiva University, New York and Jerusalem

Dr. Stephen Katz, Professor, Modern Hebrew Language and Literature, Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, Indiana University

Dr. Steven T. Katz Alvin, J. and Shirley Slater Professor of Jewish Holocaust Studies, Department of Religion, Boston University

Dr. Menachem Kellner, Chair, Department of Philosophy and Jewish Thought, Shalem College

Dr. Victoria Khiterer, Professor, History Department, Millersville University

Dr. Olga Kirschbaum-Shirazki, Independent Scholar

Dr. Nancy Koppelman, American Studies, The Evergreen State College

Dr. Eugene Korn, Independent Scholar

Dr. Melissa Landa, Independent Scholar

Dr. Berel Dov Lerner, Associate Professor, Western Galilee College

Dr. Jon D. Levenson, Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Harvard University

Dr. Holli Levitsky, Director of Jewish Studies, Professor of English, Loyola Marymount University

Dr. Risa Levitt, Professor & Chair, Department for the Study of Religion, Classics & Humanities Department, Director of the Jewish Studies Program, San Diego State University

Dr. Robert J. Lieber, Professor Emeritus of Government and International Affairs, Georgetown University

Dr. Victor Lieberman, Raoul Wallenberg Distinguished University Professor of History, University of Michigan

Dr. Howard Lupovitch, Professor of History and Director of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies, Wayne State University

Dr. Linda Maizels, Independent Scholar

Dr. Peter Margolis, Independent scholar

Dr. Shellie McCullough, NorthWest Arkansas Community College

Dr. Gerald R. McDermott, retired from the Anglican Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School

Dr. David A. Meola, Director, USA Jewish & Holocaust Studies program, Fanny & Bert Meisler Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies, University of South Alabama

Rabbi Scott Meltzer Lecturer, Department for the Study of Religion, San Diego State University

Dr. Diane Mizrachi, Librarian for Jewish & Israel Studies, University of California Los Angeles

Dr. Joshua Muravchik, Adjunct Professor, Institute of World Politics

Dr. Meir Muller, Associate Professor, University of South Carolina

Dr. Cary Nelson, Jubilee Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Josef Olmert, Professor of Middle East Studies, University of South Carolina

Dr. Jason M. Olson, Independent Scholar

Dr. Monica Osborne, Independent Scholar; Editor-at-Large, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles

Jon Papernick, MFA, Senior Writer-In-Residence, Emerson College

Dr. David Patterson, Hillel Feinberg Distinguished Chair in Holocaust Studies, Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies, University of Texas at Dallas

Dr. Judea Pearl, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Cognitive Systems Lab, University of California Los Angeles

Dr. Jordan S. Penkower, Professor of Bible, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Dr. Andrew Pessin, Professor of Philosophy, Connecticut College

Dr. Juliana Geran Pilon, Senior Fellow, The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization

Rabbi Dr. Haim Rechnitzer, Professor of Jewish Thought, Hebrew Union College - JIR

Dr. Walter Reich, Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Professor of International Affairs, Ethics and Human Behavior, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The George Washington University

Dr. Ira Robinson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Religions and Cultures, Concordia University

Dr. Neil Rogachevsky, Clinical Assistant Professor, Yeshiva University

Dr. David M. Rosen, Professor of Anthropology, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Dr. Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Professor of English and Jewish Studies, Irving M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies, and Director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, Indiana University

Dr. Jeffrey Rubenstien, Skirball Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Literature, Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University

'Dr. Suzanne D. Rutland, OAM, Professor Emerita, Department of Hebrew, Biblical & Jewish Studies, University of Sydney

Dr. Daniel Rynhold, Dr Mordecai D. Katz Dean, Bernard Revel Graduate School, Yeshiva University

Dr. Nahma Sandrow, Professor Emerita, Bronx Community College, City University of New York

Rabbi Jacqueline Romm Satlow, Department of Western Civilization, Providence College

Dr. Adi Schwartz, Independent Scholar

Dr. Daniel B. Schwartz, Professor, Department of History, The George Washington University

Dr. Joshua Schwartz, Emeritus Professor of Historical Geography of Ancient Israel, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel and, Chair, Board of Directors, Israel Antiquities Authority

Dr. Kay Schweigmann-Greve, Research Assistant at the Faculty of Law of Leibniz University Hanover

Dr. Miriam Shenkar, Visiting Professor, College of Education and Human Ecology, Ohio State University

Dr. Maxim D. Shrayer, Professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies, Boston College

Dr. Brandy Shufutinsky, Director of Education and Community Engagement with the Jewish Institute of Liberal Values

Dr. Malka Z. Simkovich, Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies, Director of Catholic-Jewish Studies Program, Catholic Theological Union

Dr. Natan Slifkin, Director, the Biblical Museum of Natural History

Dr. Cherryl Smith, Professor Emerita, California State University, Sacramento

Dr. Paul Socken, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo

Dr. Saba Soomekh, Independent Scholar

Dr. Haim Sperber, Senior Lecturer of Jewish History, Western Galilee College

Dr. Harvey Starr, Dag Hammarskjold Professor in, International Affairs Emeritus, Department of Political Science, and Jewish Studies Program Emeritus Scholar, University of South Carolina

Dr. Nehemia Stern, Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ariel University of Samaria

Dr. Gerald Steinberg, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Bar Ilan University

Dr. Sherry Sufi, Independent Scholar

Dr. Stephen Sussman, Professor of Public Administration, Barry University

Dr. Marvin A. Sweeney, Professor of Hebrew Bible, Claremont School of Theology

Dr. Gil Troy, Professor, Distinguished Scholar of North American History at McGill University

Dr. Rivka Ulmer, Professor of Jewish Studies, Bucknell University

Dr. Jeremiah Unterman, Resident Scholar, The Herzl Institute, Jerusalem

Dr. Tamás Visi, Associate Professor, Kurt and Ursula Schubert Center for Jewish Studies, Palacky University, Olomouc

Dr. Seth Ward, Senior Lecturer, Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Wyoming (Retired)

Dr. Einat Wilf, Former Member of Knesset, Writer and Goldman Visiting Professor 2021-2022

Dr. Jeffrey R. Woolf, Associate Professor, Talmud Department, Bar Ilan University

Dr. Elhanan Yakira, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

*Any referenced titles or affiliations are included for identification purposes only. Signing this statement reflects personal views; we are not speaking for or in the name of any university, department, or program.

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