Hadassah

De-Politicizing Anti-Semitism

Zionist Affairs | Jul 2019

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA), affirms that support for Israel and opposition to anti-Semitism must remain nonpartisan American values. The de-politicization of these efforts is essential to the safety and security of the Jewish community – in the US, Israel, and around the world, and should be championed by any organization or individual invested in fighting hatred.

The United States has recently witnessed the deadliest acts of anti-Semitic violence in American history. Consistent with historical narratives, modern-day anti-Semitism continues to hide behind stereotypes, prejudice, false accusations of blood libels or dual loyalty, and baseless hatred. Politicians’ use of anti-Semitic tropes and symbols have too often been met by attempts to discredit opponents instead of a commitment to addressing the root causes. It should be strongly emphasized that combating hatred toward Jews and showing solidarity with Israel must never be used to score political points or as part of a smear campaign against individuals with opposing views.

As a constituent member organization of the American Zionist Movement (AZM), Hadassah affirms the new AZM Resolution on Anti-Semitism passed on June 3, 2019. “AZM declares anti-Semitism to be among the foremost challenges facing the American Jewish community today, and that the AZM will mobilize its constituent organizations to coalesce in an effort to educate Americans about anti-Semitism and to recognize, identify, call-out, and condemn anti-Semitism where ever it appears…”

As part of the resolution, AZM formally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Anti-Semitism: "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.” The working definition was originally adopted by the U.S. State Department in 2010, and officially endorsed by the U.S Department of Education as of September 2018. Its intention is to distinguish dangerous anti-Semitic rhetoric from legitimate discourse.

While democratic principles allow room for individuals to openly disagree with actions taken by a government, any attempt to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist must be acknowledged as a form of anti-Semitism. This includes making inflammatory remarks or factually inaccurate claims accusing Israel of operating as an apartheid state or a perpetrator of genocide. Stories fabricated to falsely represent international Jewish or Zionist influence and control have become part of the national discourse – engendering dangerous anti-Semitic attitudes that now permeate aspects of the media, academia, and politics. Elected officials and candidates for office – including from major political parties – have adopted anti-Israel and anti-Semitic agendas, rhetoric, affiliations, and associations. Regardless of party affiliation, it is deeply concerning that there is a growing acceptance of such harmful ideologies.

Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.

  • Condemns all acts of hatred against Jews, regardless of the initiator’s political ideology and affiliations.
  • Promotes education about the historical and modern-day manifestations of anti-Semitism.
  • Urges elected officials to refrain from and hold their colleagues accountable for speech and actions that demonize Israel and fuel prejudice against the Jewish people.

Hadassah's Policy Statements represent the organization's official stance on a wide variety of issues facing our nation, Israel and other international matters of concern. Policy Statements are debated and voted on at national meetings by Hadassah’s national board and delegates from our membership. Once approved, statements become official policies of the organization and serve to define Hadassah's overall agenda and advocacy priorities. Hadassah, as a charitable organization classified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is prohibited from any direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, candidates for public office.

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