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

Updated: Jan 31



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, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations, Youngstown State University


Dr. Naya Lekht, Independent Scholar


Dr. Moshe Y. Bernstein, Independent Scholar


Signatories*


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


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


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. 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 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.


If you are a Jewish Studies Scholar and you would like to sign the mission statement, please email us at: jsznetwork@gmail.com

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