(New York, N.Y.) — Today, in commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel (Yom HaShoah), the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), including more than one dozen signatories from CEP’s board of global leaders and experts, is officially endorsing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.

CEP CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace stated:

“It is truly shocking that the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust has resulted in a significant increase in antisemitic incidents worldwide, including in Western nations. The hyperbolic  demonization of the world’s only Jewish state, having suffered more loss of innocent life on a single day than any other in its history, has played an unmistakably preeminent role in fueling this hatred.  In view of the demonstrably widespread failure to recognize this link, IHRA’s working definition makes the critical distinction that extreme vilification of Israel is often simply a contemporary manifestation of the world’s most ancient hatred.”

The IHRA definition provides the most comprehensive and widely agreed upon definition of antisemitism in the world, and is already adopted by the governments of at least 40 countries—including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union—as well as more than 160 Jewish organizations globally. It lists several examples of what constitutes antisemitism, including obvious behaviors such as harassment of and physical attacks on Jews as Jews, as well as Holocaust denial and blaming Jews as a whole for global ills. Crucially, IHRA also addresses the delegitimization and demonization of the Jewish state of Israel.  While IHRA recognizes that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic,” it explicitly notes that the application of double standards to Israel and the denial of self-determination to the Jewish people do fall under the rubric of antisemitism.

Nations across the West—including Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States—have recorded a record-high number of incidents targeting Jews since the horrific Hamas attack of October 7, 2023. In the United States alone, antisemitism watchdogs noted a 360 percent spike in antisemitism between October 7 and January 7, 2024, compared to the same period in 2023, while 2023 saw the incidence rate  “breaking all records,” according to the ADL. Antisemitic incidents have surged 598 percent in the United Kingdom since October 7, 320 percent in Germany, and 700 percent across U.S. college campuses. Much of the surge is attributable to anti-Israel activism.

Former U.K. Ambassador to Yemen and CEP Senior Advisor Edmund Fitton-Brown added:

“Antisemitism in all its forms is deplorable. As a reaction to the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7 we have witnessed a resurgence of antisemitism, cautioning us once again that the world’s oldest hatred is also its most enduring. The IHRA definition reminds us that hatred of Jewish people may take diverse forms and is often the connective tissue for extremism in all its forms from the far right and far left, and to extremist Islamism.”

CEP calls on the United Nations, governments, NGOs, and the broader general public to likewise adopt the IHRA definition, and commends the recent passing in the House by 310-90 votes of the Antisemitism Awareness Act (HR. 6090) to require the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to consider the IHRA definition when investigating complaints of discrimination.

To read CEP’s extensive resources on antisemitism, click here.


  • Ian Acheson, former COO of UK’s legal human rights and equality regulator, CEP Senior Advisor
  • Gerhard Conrad, former Director of EU INTCEN, CEP Advisory Board Member
  • Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice and Attorney of Canada, Canada's First Special Envoy for Combatting Antisemitism, CEP Advisory Board Member
  • Edmund Fitton-Brown, former UK Ambassador to Yemen, CEP Advisory Board Member
  • August Hanning, former Director of the German Federal Intelligence Service, CEP Advisory Board Member
  • Gilles de Kerchove, former EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, CEP Advisory Board Member
  • Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director, Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at Swedish Defense University, CEP Advisory Board Member
  • Sir Ivor Roberts, former UK Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Ireland, and Italy, CEP Advisory Board Member
  • Norman T. Roule, former National Intelligence Manager for Iran (NIM-I), CEP Advisory Board Member
  • Hans-Jakob Schindler, former UNSC ISIL, al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Team Coordinator, Senior Director of CEP
  • Mitch Silber, former Director of Intelligence at the NYPD, CEP Advisory Board Member
  • Frances F. Townsend, former U.S. National Security Advisor, President of the Counter Extremism Project
  • Mark Wallace, CEO of the Counter Extremism Project

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On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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