The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) defines antisemitism as follows:
«Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.»
The SCRA has drawn on its many years of experience in awareness-raising, prevention and intervention work and on feedback from agencies in the field to add to this definition:
Antisemitism encompasses both hate crimes, i.e. racially motivated criminal acts such as attacks on the physical integrity or property of Jewish people and institutions, and hate speech, i.e. spoken and written communications that attack Jewish people and institutions.
In addition to civil law measures such as the right to appeal against anti-Jewish discrimination, the steps taken to register and prosecute criminal offences motivated by anti-Jewish or antisemitic sentiment play an essential role in the measures required to combat antisemitism.
At the same time, antisemitism can also refer to hostile convictions, prejudices and stereotypes that manifest themselves – clearly or otherwise – within a culture or society or in the actions of its members, and which are intended to establish that culture or society’s superiority over Jews as a group, Jewish individuals or Jewish institutions, or to insult, humiliate or disadvantage them.
Efforts to combat antisemitism must take place in every area of life – at the federal, cantonal, communal and, above all, individual level. In Switzerland, the main aim of the government measures tackling discrimination against people who are Jewish, or perceived as Jewish, is to protect individuals and groups of people, and not the religion as such.
(See also Terms used in connection with racism and racial discrimination)