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What is Israel-related antisemitism?

Israel-related antisemitism is a current problem

Antisemitism has many faces, Israel-related antisemitism is one of them. While antisemitism has been around for ages, Israel-related antisemitism is a rather new phenomenon. Israel serves as a target for antisemitic projection, and this antizionist form of antisemitism puts real life humans in danger everyday.

As Israel-related antisemitism is a pressing problem, education and information are necessary. Some even claim Israel-related antisemitism is blown out of proportion or made up entirely. Here, we present information on the issue and short, concise answers to questions surrounding the matter.

Israel, Why

Judaism originated in the area that today is the state of Israel. The Jewish population that has settled in the area for thousands of years have been persecuted and displaced time and time again.

“We have decided that the name of the state will be Israel” –

On May 14, 1948, the Israeli Declaration of Independence was issued and the State of Israel was founded. Its first Prime Minister was David Ben-Gurion (1886 – 1973).

3D test of antisemitism

One possible way to distinguish Israel-related antisemitism and criticism of Israeli government policies is the 3D test as proposed by Natan Sharansky: 1. Demonization, 2. Delegitimization and 3. Double Standards.

The three D’s were incorporated into the Working Definition of Antisemitism as formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The definition gives concrete examples of antisemitism, helping local authorities and other actors to recognize and prosecute antisemitism and antisemitic codes.


The State of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank are all located between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. Hence, the slogan that is often being chanted in pro-Palestine rallies calls into question Israel’s right to exist. The claim, Palestine could only be free when Israeli statehood ceases to exist entirely, delegitimizes Israel (cf. 3D test).

Within the framework of antisemitic logic, the delegitimization of the Jewish state justifies different types of resistance against the illegitimate state. These encompass the (supposedly) peaceful boycott of Israeli culture and goods by the BDS campaign (“Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions”) as well as violent intifadas. “Intifada” refers to two series of terror attacks against Israel and its civil population between 1987 and 2005, each stretching over multiple years.



The slogan “Israel ist unser Unglück!” (“Israel is our misfortune!”), widespread especially among the Far Right, demonizes the State of Israel (cf. 3D test). It varies the slogan “The Jews are our misfortune!”, coined in 1879 by historician and politician Heinrich von Treitschke. During National Socialism, Treitschke’s slogan was used as the subheading for antisemitic propaganda weekly “Der Stürmer”.

Nowadays, antisemitic conspiracy ideology is mixed with anti-American ideology, as is exemplified in the codes of “Jewnited States” or “USrael”. It goes to show that today, the word “Israel” is used instead of “Jews” a lot when people want to hint at a Jewish world conspiracy. They say Israel but really are talking about “the Jews”.

What can we do!?


Tackling antisemitism is a complex issue. There are many sources, and reliable ones have to be identified. The German language tool helps to counter antisemitic narratives. Our handout “deconstruct antisemitism!” explains antisemitic images and codes.




In debates surrounding Israel-related antisemitism, nuance is key. Easy answers are rare. Nevertheless, there are red lines. One of them is Israel’s right to exist, others are marked by the 3D test.




Reliable information is the base to recognize Israel-related antisemitism. If Israel-related antisemitism manifests itself, the incident should be reported to give visibility to the problem. The Departments for the Research and Information on Antisemitism (RIAS) are one point of call to report incidents of antisemitism (




During and after an antisemitic incident, it is vital to gather support. Potential allies should be addressed directly and asked for their support. OFEK e.V. offers counseling free of charge (




No matter if it is in rallies, at a family gathering or on Social Media: When Israel-related antisemitism is being spread, it is important to object. Objection is vital because it shows you take a firm stance to everyone who is involved.

The article is a translation of the leaflet "Was ist israelbezogener Antisemitismus". Translation by Fabian Schroers. The publication is available in German here.


Bildungs- und Aktionswochen gegen Antisemitismus (Weeks of Action against Antisemitism) are Germany’s largest coalition against antisemitism. They receive funding from Beauftragter der Bundesregierung für jüdisches Leben in Deutschland und den Kampf gegen Antisemitismus (Comissioner of the Federal Government for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism)


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