Open letter to Facebook: Adopt the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

August 11th, 2020

To download this press statement in PDF format, please click here.

Facebook, Inc. Board of Directors                                                                                                                                                                     August 7th, 2020

1 Hacker Way

Menlo Park, CA 94025

Dear Facebook Board of Directors,

We applaud your recent announcement regarding the revision of Facebook policy standards on hate speech, misinformation, and disinformation. We are confident that Facebook can successfully protect and support users, meet corporate social responsibility concerns of stakeholders, and continue to lead the social media industry.

As part of your efforts, we call on you to fully adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism as the cornerstone of Facebook’s hate speech policy regarding antisemitism.

Facebook’s Director of Content Policy Stakeholder Engagement, Peter Stern, recently attested to the usefulness of the IHRA working definition when Facebook first developed its hate speech policy. However, Mr. Stern admitted that Facebook does not have a policy aimed at combatting online antisemitism. He further admitted that Facebook does not embrace the full adoption of the IHRA working definition because the definition recognizes that modern manifestations of antisemitism relate to Israel.

In accordance with the recommendations outlined in the “The New Antisemites” report, which call on social media platforms to eliminate antisemitic content by adopting the IHRA working definition as the basis for content removal policies, we the undersigned coalition of 124 organizations, urge Facebook to implement a hate speech policy on antisemitism that includes the full IHRA working definition at its core.

Nearly 40 countries have already endorsed or adopted the IHRA working definition in some official capacity, either through their membership in the IHRA or independently. In the United States, in addition to the adoption by the State Department, the recent Executive Order on Combatting Anti-Semitism instructs the Department of Education to consider the IHRA definition when evaluating Title VI Civil Rights Act complaints of discrimination.

The overwhelming majority of civil society organizations at the forefront of efforts to combat antisemitism endorse and encourage the use and adoption of the IHRA working definition. Today’s antisemitism undoubtedly includes the delegitimization of Israel’s right to exist. This bigotry is expressed in various ways, such as the rejection of Jewish self-determination, Holocaust revisionism and denial, and the application of double standards toward the Jewish state and people.

Will Facebook join the ranks of the historians, advocates, activists, lawmakers, and leaders who compiled the IHRA working definition? Will Facebook take responsibility and move toward removing the scourge of antisemitism from today’s most important online public square?

Jews today, like many other minority communities, are being targeted and attacked in record numbers. They experience physical violence, harassment, and discrimination offline and online.

Jews overwhelmingly report that online antisemitism is the most acute form of Jew-hatred they experience.

The full IHRA working definition of antisemitism provides Facebook an effective, neutral, and nuanced tool to protect Jewish users from hate speech and imagery that incites hate and oftentimes leads to violence. While the impact of online hate speech, misinformation, and disinformation on our society continues to be researched and explored, we cannot afford to lose any more time in fighting this bigotry and preventing violence.

We urge Facebook to put words into action and power behind commitment — and fully adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.


  1. Academic Engagement Network – United States
  2. Acción y Comunicación sobre Oriente Medio (ACOM) – Spain
  3. IL – Worldwide
  4. ACT Zionist Council – Australia
  5. Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) – United States
  6. Alums for Campus Fairness – United States
  7. Am Yisrael Foundation – United States
  8. American-Israeli Collaboration Enterprise (AICE) – United States
  9. Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) – United States
  10. Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) – Australia
  11. Belgian Federation of Jewish Organizations – Belgium
  12. Belgian Friends of Israel (BFOI) – Belgium
  13. B’nai B’rith Canada – Canada
  14. Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) – United Kingdom
  15. Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) – United Kingdom
  16. Center for Information and Documentation Israel (CIDI) – The Netherland
  17. Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) – Canada
  18. Christians and Jews United for Israel (CJUI) – United States
  19. Club Z – United States
  20. Coalition for Jewish Values – United States
  21. Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) – Worldwide
  22. Comunidad Chilena De Israel – Israel
  23. Con Israel Y Por La Paz – Argentina
  24. Conexión Israel – Latin America
  25. Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) – United States
  26. Eagles Wings – United States
  27. Education Without Indoctrination – United States
  28. Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) – United States
  29. Europe Israel Public Affairs (EIPA) – Europe
  30. European Jewish Association (EJA) – Europe
  31. European Leadership Network (ELNET) – Europe
  32. Feldman Foundation – California – United States
  33. Feldman Foundation – Texas – United States
  34. Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) – United States
  35. Freedom Center – United States
  36. Fuel for Truth – United States
  37. Fuente Latina – Worldwide
  38. God’s Heaven Universal Church – Brazil
  39. Hasbara Fellowships – United States
  40. Hatzad Hasheni – Latin America
  41. Haym Salomon Center – United States
  42. Hebraica – Brazil
  43. Hochberg Family Foundation – United States
  44. Honest Reporting – Worldwide
  45. Honestly Concerned – Germany
  46. I Like Israel (ILI) – Germany
  47. InfoEquitable – France
  48. Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE)
  49. Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP)
  50. International Movement for Peace and Coexistence – Belgium
  51. Ireland Israel Alliance – Ireland
  52. Israel Advocacy Movement – United Kingdom
  53. Israel Always – United States
  54. Israel Britain Alliance – United Kingdom
  55. Israel Christian Nexus – United States
  56. Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) – United States
  57. Israel Sin Fronteras – Ecuador
  58. Istituto Milton Friedman – Italy
  59. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) – Israel
  60. Jewish Community Council of Victoria – Australia
  61. Jewish Policy Center – United States
  62. Jewish Student Union Germany (JSUD) – Germany
  63. Jewish War Veterans of the USA – United States
  64. Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA) – United States
  65. Licra Paris – France
  66. Maccabee Task Force (MTF) – United States
  67. Maccabi World Union – Worldwide
  68. Makkabi Deutschland – Germany
  69. Med Israel for Fred (MIFF) – Norway, Denmark & Iceland
  70. Middle East Forum (MEF) – United States
  71. Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (MFFB) – Germany
  72. Michael and Andrea Leven Family Foundation – United States
  73. My Truth – Israel
  74. Nahost FriendsForum e.V. (NAFFO) – Germany
  75. National Council of Young Israel – United States
  76. National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) – United States
  77. NC Coalition for Israel – United States
  78. New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies – Australia
  79. Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust – United States
  80. NGO Monitor – Israel
  81. North West Friends of Israel – United Kingdom
  82. Northern Ireland Friends of Israel – United Kingdom
  83. Online Antisemitism Taskforce
  84. Online Hate Prevention Institute – Australia
  85. Organisation Juive Européenn – France
  86. Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce – United States
  87. Osservatorio Antisemitismo of the CDEC Foundation – Italy
  88. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) – Israel
  89. Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies – Australia
  90. Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights – Canada
  91. Reservists on Duty (ROD) – Israel
  92. RI Coalition for Israel – United States
  93. Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) – United States
  94. Simon Wiesenthal Center – Worldwide
  95. Solomon – osservatorio sulle discriminazioni – Italy
  96. StandWithUs – Worldwide
  97. State Zionist Council of Queensland – Australia
  98. State Zionist Council of Western Australia – Australia
  99. org – United States
  100. Students Supporting Israel (SSI) – Worldwide
  101. Sussex Friends of Israel – United Kingdom
  102. Sweden Israel Alliance (SIA) – Sweden
  103. Swedish Zionist Federation – Sweden
  104. The Executive Council of Australian Jewry – Australia
  105. The Gemunder Family Foundation – United States
  106. The International Legal Forum (ILF) – Worldwide
  107. The Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC) – Israel
  108. ca – United States
  109. The Lisa and Michael Leffell Foundation – United States
  110. The Lawfare Project – United States
  111. The Milstein Family Foundation (MFF) – United States
  112. The Philos Project – United States
  113. The Pinsker Centre – United Kingdom
  114. The Reut Group – Israel
  115. Thirty (30) Years After – United States
  116. UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) – United Kingdom
  117. United Nations Watch
  118. United with Israel
  119. WerteInitiative – jüdisch-deutsche Positionen (Values Initiative, promoting Jewish-German interests) – Germany
  120. World Values Network (WVN) – United States
  121. Zachor Legal Institute – United States
  122. Zionism Victoria – Australia
  123. Zionist Federation of Australia – Australia
  124. Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) – United States


Peter Wertheim AM | Co-CEO
ph: 02 8353 8505 | m: 0408 160 904 | fax 02 9361 588