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The rising tide of anti-Semitism across the globe is undeniable, whether it swells from the radical fringes of the Right or Left, or spreads through the various streams of Islam and Christianity. In 2016, as part of the fight against this trend, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which comprises over 30 governments, adopted a “working definition” of the phenomenon: Alongside recognition of classic anti-Semitism, the definition also recognized de-legitimization of the State of Israel as a new form of anti-Semitism. Among other things, the IHRA also included in its definition phenomena such as denying the right of the Jewish people to self-determination, comparing Israel’s present-day policies to the Nazis, applying double moral standards toward Israel and more.

While countries such as Great Britain and Germany, and international bodies such as the European Union adopted the definition, several bodies still reject it. One of them is the World Council of Churches, an organization of around 350 non-Catholic churches across the globe, which also consists of church-based aid organizations that represent the bulk of foreign humanitarian aid operations in Israel. For years now the WCC has been criticized for its use of anti-Semitic motifs, and at a recent conference, the council said that it rejects the IHRA’s definition.

The WCC operates the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, which recruits activists abroad, sends them to Israel for three months and trains them to lead anti-Israel campaigns. This activity is often buttressed by expressions of anti-Semitism on the part of senior WCC officials and program activists, which together with their dissemination of anti-Jewish theology, violates the IHRA’s definition.