Palestinian protest in the heart of New York
Palestinian protest in the heart of New YorkREUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The International Legal Forum, an Israel-based legal network of over 3,000 lawyers and activists in 30 countries, committed to fighting anti-Semitism, terror and delegitimization of Israel in the international legal arena, has released a groundbreaking report titled: "Recognizing Anti-Zionist Antisemitism".

The report, authored by ILF lawyer Russell Shalev, is the first in-depth study of its kind, to comprehensively examine and summarize recent policy-statements, legislation and case-law on anti-Zionist anti-Semitism.

This report comes in the wake of unprecedented explosion in global antisemitism and violence against Jews in Europe and North America, following the May 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas.

In the UK alone, according to the Communal Security Trust, there was a staggering 500% increase in anti-Semitic incidents since hostilities between Hamas and Israel began, with jarring scenes of a convoy of cars with Palestinian protesters driving through central London, screaming “f*ck the Jews, rape their daughters.” At another rally in London, protesters could be heard chanting “we want the Zionists, we want their blood”, while elsewhere, Jews have been assaulted in broad daylight.

In Germany, Austria, France and elsewhere across Europe, there have been similar scenes of virulent anti-Semitism, incitement and violence, amplified and exacerbated by social media.

Likewise, across the United States and Canada, there have been shocking and sickening scenes of Jews viciously attacked, harassed and beaten in the streets, with the ADL noting there was 75% increase in anti-Semitic attacks since the conflict between Hamas and Israel broke out. In response, President Biden declared “such attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop. I condemn this hateful behavior at home and abroad - it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor.”

The ILF stated: "It is time, once and for all, to dispense with the notion that these acts of wanton intimidation, harassment and violence are anything but Jew hatred and anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism, with a direct correlation between the vilification of Israel and violence against Jews."

Arsen Ostrovsky, Chair and CEO of the ILF said: “Such acts of unhinged violence we are seeing today against Jews in Europe and North America have not occurred in a vacuum. They are the direct result of a pervasive discourse vilifying and demonizing the Jewish state, all under the pretext of purported criticism of Zionism and Israel. As we have seen throughout history, and underscored again in recent weeks, words have consequences, and such hate, incitement and peddling in anti-Semitic tropes directly leads to violence against Jews."

The report states that anti-Semitism cannot be honestly confronted unless public officials and civil society are willing to recognize one of its most powerful modern manifestations - hatred and demonization of the Jewish state.

The report also finds that anti-Zionist anti-Semitism actively threatens the viability and survival of Jewish communities in the Diaspora, by legitimizing the ostracism, exclusion and violence against Jews. This dynamic is particularly prevalent on college campuses, where Jewish students are frequently targeted or excluded from public life.

The report concludes with a number of practical legal tools in order to confront and combat anti-Zionist anti-Semitism, centered around the full adoption and implementation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. The report also encourages closer cooperation with law enforcement officials, training legal professionals and working with university administrations to actively affirm the right of Jewish students to express their Jewish and Zionist identities free from punishment, repercussion or harassment.