International working definition of anti‑Semitism supported by the Federal Government

22.09.2017 - Article

Anti‑Semitism has no place – neither in Germany, nor in other parts of the world.

Anti‑Semitism has no place – neither in Germany, nor in other parts of the world. This was the unequivocal message sent by the Federal Government when it decided to endorse the international definition of anti‑Semitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in order to support the fight against this form of discrimination. Germany was a co‑initiator of the definition.

Common understanding important in the fight against anti‑Semitism

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe© picture alliance / dpa

A common international understanding is a prerequisite for fighting anti‑Semitism effectively. The IHRA’s definition is as follows:

“Anti‑Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti‑Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non‑Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.”

Germany is the fifth IHRA member to endorse this definition politically at the national level after the UK, Romania, Israel and Austria. The adoption of this working definition at the Plenary Meeting of the 31 member countries of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in May 2016 had its origins in a German-Romanian initiative.

A strong symbol – against all forms of anti‑Semitism

While this definition is not legally binding, it is highly symbolic. Due to its historical responsibility, Germany strives with firm resolve to counter all forms of anti‑Semitism. Moreover, by including this last sentence on countering anti‑Semitism with respect to Israel, the Federal Government goes beyond the definition agreed by the IHRA.

Key importance for the education sector

In particular, this working definition is intended to be a role model for educational programmes for both adults and young people as well as children. It can therefore help to identify and analyse the various facets of anti‑Semitism.

Germany is also working to ensure that other international organisations and bodies engage with this definition – as was the case during Germany’s OSCE Chairmanship last year, for example.

Find out more:

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) was founded in 2000 as an international organisation seeking to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and promoting Holocaust education around the world. The IHRA has 31 member countries, ten observer countries and seven Permanent International Partners. Its work is supported by the Permanent Office, which is headquartered in Berlin. The IHRA Chairmanship rotates annually. Romania held the Chairmanship in 2016 and Switzerland is the current Chair. Italy is set to assume the Chairmanship in 2018.


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