Commonwealth Jewry

Jewish Advocacy

The CJC is one of the few fully accredited Commonwealth organisations. We participate as a member of the Commonwealth family in high-level programmes and institutional events. We are the only Jewish organisation with this status within the Commonwealth.

We provide support at national and international levels to address antisemitism and hostility that challenges the freedom of Jewish citizens in the Commonwealth to practice Judaism, and threatens their physical and emotional security.

Together with our ever-growing network of reliable and helpful contacts and allies across the Commonwealth’s 56 nations, the CJC is now able to raise issues of concern to the Jewish community, whether of specific Jewish significance, or wider issues of general importance. Such connections have ensured that we are able to assist our communities when the need arises, not least to address the growing scourge of renewed antisemitism worldwide. We are also better positioned to support our communities to engage with their national and local governments.

Defending Jewish Communities

The CJC works to intervene and defend our Jewish communities around the Commonwealth. 

IHRA Adoption

Combatting antisemitism is fundamental to supporting our communities and we will increase support for the safety and security for all our Commonwealth Jewish communities, no matter how small.

The CJC is leading efforts to have the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism adopted by governments and non-governmental organisations throughout the Commonwealth. 

We have established an international high-level working group to collaborate and build wider partnerships across our four regional hub communities (Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the UK). This group engages directly with ministers, civil servants and parliamentarians on behalf of our affiliated communities to influence public policy to combat antisemitism. For many of our communities, the most important relationships are with their local governments, so we also support our members’ advocacy and bring them together with decision-makers to drive adoption of the working definition at the local level.

About IHRA

The IHRA is the only intergovernmental organization mandated to focus solely on Holocaust-related issues, so with evidence that the scourge of antisemitism is once again on the rise, we resolved to take a leading role in combatting it. IHRA experts determined that in order to begin to address the problem of antisemitism, there must be clarity about what antisemitism is.

The working definition

In the spirit of the Stockholm Declaration that states: “With humanity still scarred by …antisemitism and xenophobia the international community shares a solemn responsibility to fight those evils” the committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial called the IHRA Plenary in Budapest 2015 to adopt the following working definition of antisemitism.

On 26 May 2016, the Plenary in Bucharest decided to:
Adopt the following non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism:

“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.”

To read about IHRA in more detail, click here

In view of the fact that the working definition was devised by an intergovernmental international group of statesmen and academics, it has become regarded as the gold standard definition of antisemitism around the world, not least by all Jewish communities. The CJC notes that one of the first moves on the part of antisemites, is to challenge the validity of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.

Relations with Israel

The CJC acts as a bridge to build relations between Commonwealth countries and Israel wherever possible, or simply to recognise the many ways that Israel does this itself and can contribute towards global well-being. We have showcased Israel’s technological advances in our “Small Islands; Big Challenges” campaign, and promoted Israeli innovations in Africa.

Commonwealth Jewish Women's Network (CJWN)

CJWN Steering Group

Diplomacy: Connections with High Commissioners

We run a rotating programme of meetings with High Commissioners. It allows the limited number of national representatives to meet with us and with each other in an informal setting where we can all share ideas and concerns.

In particular, our Annual Model Seder for senior diplomats, where we share not only the ancient Passover ritual, but discuss contemporary issues in a convivial setting, is rapidly becoming a noted feature in the calendar of Commonwealth High Commissioners.