Jewish Community Relations Council

Antisemitism & Jewish Trauma

Antisemitism, the Oldest Hate 

Antisemitism—more currently referred to as “Jew-hatred”—and hate of all forms have surged in recent years, highlighting the critical need to improve tracking, response to, and prevention of hate crimes, white supremacist violence, and the spread of online hate. 

Defining Antisemitism

Antisemitic activity includes overt acts or expressions of anti-Jewish bigotry and hostility. Unfortunately, as cataloged by the ADL, antisemitic occurrences happen far too often. Jewish Community Relations Council has compiled a list of resources to help you identify antisemitism, including symbols and language that signal hate. (Note: This list is not exhaustive or exclusive.)

Speech: Written or verbal communication by groups or individuals—including public, elected, or religious figures—publicly or privately directed letters, phone conversations, articles, speeches, e-mail, or other Internet communication (see example).

Vandalism: Damage or other criminal activity against public or private property (see example)
Visit the ADL's Hate Symbols Database.

Harassment, Threats, and Assaults: Attacks directed at individuals or institutions.

Discrimination: Denial of employment, education, services, housing, or organizational membership.

Hate Group Activity: Rallies, recruitment, or other activities organized or sponsored by groups such as the Ku Klux Klan or other white supremacist groups.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism has been adopted widely as non-legally binding guidance for recognizing antisemitic activity or determining whether an alleged act was motivated by antisemitism. This recognition includes an executive order by the President of the United States. The IHRA purports that antisemitism manifests in a variety of ways, including:

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor).
  • Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Examples of how the IHRA definition can be used:

  • As a tool when engaging and educating policymakers, law enforcement, educators, and community leaders, as well as other Jewish and non-Jewish community partners.
  • As guidance for educators, judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials in recognizing antisemitic activity or determining whether an alleged act was motivated by discriminatory antisemitic intent.

What to do if you are a victim of antisemitism or hate:

No one should be mistreated because of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or disability. If you or your child have experienced or witnessed an incident of bias, hatred, or bigotry, follow these steps.

Note: All criminal hate activity should be reported to law enforcement; if you or someone you know has been harmed or threatened, or if this is an emergency, please call 911.

Report the incident

  • Notify the school or business where the event took place.
  • Give as much detail as possible regarding the incident; if graffiti or vandalism was involved, take pictures.
  • Notify Rochester Jewish Federation Regional Security Director, Mark Henderson (
  • Mark has relationships with all levels of law enforcement on the local and federal levels and is dedicated to supporting the security needs of the Rochester Jewish community.

Find local advocates and assistance

Report local incidents of antisemitism via this form.

No incident is “too minor,” including microaggressions, statements of intention to harm, online and in-person statements of hate, and physical threats or intention to cause harm.

Tools for Understanding and Coping With Antisemitism

Unfortunately, antisemitism and Jewish trauma are not new topics, and need to be approached head-on. Federation has gathered recommended online resources, podcasts, films, books, videos and guides that can serve as helpful tools for people at different ages who are grappling with, or would like to learn more, about this issue. See a complete list here.

Contact Us


Monica Gebell

Director of Community Relations


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