The IHRA Definition of Antisemitism is an Exercise in Political Fraud

The IHRA Definition of Antisemitism is an Exercise in Political Fraud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

Theresa
May’s antisemitism fraud

Conflating and confusing anti-Semitism and
anti-Zionism is the key to the defence of Israel

Theresa May has demonstrated total support for Zionism and Israel –  this is perfectly compatible with her support for supplying the Saudis with weaponry in order to perpetrate war crimes in the Yemen.  That makes May also a war criminal.

It is, after all, hard to
defend the ongoing murder of Palestinian children, the theft of land, the
apartheid economy and Zionism’s other crimes other than by demonising critics of Israel and
Zionism as ‘anti-Semitic’.  False accusations of anti-semitism are a staple of Israeli and Zionist propaganda. 

The reactionary and racist Eric Pickles, former Chair of Conservative Friends of Israel who was happy to exonerate the anti-Semitic Michal Kaminski whilst pontificating about false ‘antisemitism’

That is why it is disappointing that Jeremy Corbyn
followed in the footsteps of Theresa May when she adopted the IHRA definition
of anti-Semitism.  Corbyn only adopted the
short 39 word introduction to the IHRA, as opposed to the full 450 word versin,
but nonetheless it was a mistake. The IHRA in its
totality is poisonous. The
whole purpose of the IHRA is to demonise criticism of Israel and Zionism. Why? Because
Israel is a lynchpin of US and Western foreign policy.  The IHRA has nothing to do with
anti-Semitism.  The reason why anti-Semitic
world leaders such as the Poland and Hungarian governments support it is
precisely because it is aimed at leftist criticism of a Israel – a key ally of
western imperialism.

If Theresa May
was seriously interested in combating anti-Semitism there is a much shorter 21
word definition which Professor
Brian Klug gave in a lecture at the Berlin Jewish Museum in 2014, on the
anniversary of Kristallnacht, ‘What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Antisemitsm’?
Echoes of shattering glass’
. he defined anti-Semitism thus:

‘antisemitism
is a form of hostility to Jews as Jews, where Jews are perceived as something
other than what they are.’


It is a 21 word definition, whereas the IHRA is 450 words.  Why? 
Because you need 450 words in order to conflate anti-Semitism and
anti-Zionism.

One of the key movers behind this false definition of anti-Semitism is
the far-Right former Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel Sir Eric
Pickles. Pickles it was who defended the tie up between the Tories and the
far-Right European Conservative and Reform group in the European Parliament. The
ECR group was chaired by Michal Kaminski, a Polish MEP who was the mainstay of
the
Committee to Defend the Good Name of
Jedwabne
.  Jedwabne was a village
where on 10th July 1941, Poles supporting the Polish Nationalist
Party herded up to 1600 Jews into a barn which they then set alight. Polish
historians Jan Thomas Gross and Anna Bikont wrote Neighbours and The Crime and
the Silence describing what happened.  On July 10th
2001, on the 60th anniversary of the pogrom, Polish president Aleksander Kwaśniewski attended a ceremony
at Jedwabne where he made a speech stating the murderers were Poles whose crime
was both against the Jewish nation and against Poland.  A memorial to the murdered Jews was also erected.
Jan Thomas Grosz, the historian of Jedwabne, faces being stripped of Poland’s Order of Merit by Poland’s anti-Semitic and Zionist government

The
person who led the campaign against this national apology was Kaminski. He went
as far as to state that far from Poles apologising to Jews it was the Jews who
owed the Poles an apology.  Presumably
those Polish Jews who hadn’t been exterminated in the Holocaust since less than
10% of Poland’s 3.3 million survived World War II.  See Once
no self-respecting politician would have gone near people such as Kaminski

The
Polish government is currently considering whether to strip Gross of the Order
of Merit, Poland’s highest award, from Gross for saying that the Poles killed more Jews than
they killed Germans.

The Jewish Chronicle, which is so hot on ‘antisemitism’ in the Labour Party was remarkably supportive of an actual anti-semite

Another
member of the ECR who Pickles defended is Roberts Zile, Latvian MEP for the
National Alliance/LNNK. In March every year he marches with the veterans of the
Latvian Waffen SS. [Jewish Chronicle March 8, 2012 Calls
to ban Baltic neo-Nazi marches
] Zile told the Latvian
parliament that he was against the trial of Konrads Kalejs, a close assistant
of Viktors Arajs, chief of the Arajs Commando, which participated in the
killing of tens of thousands of Jews in Latvia and Belarus.  

Pickles told the BBC that ‘the Latvian Waffen-SS were only conscripts
fighting for their country, and to say otherwise was a Soviet smear.
’  Pickles omitted the fact, as Jonathan
Freedland noted, that ‘a substantial
minority of the Latvian Waffen-SS were eager volunteers, including veterans of
pro-Nazi death squads who had already taken part in the first phase of the
Holocaust.’

Despite confirming that only the short introduction has been adopted by the Labour Party, crooked Iain McNicol’s monkeys in the Compliance Unit are using all of the definition
It
is the Tories that should be attacked for their willingness to work with anti-Semites.  Indeed Theresa May has only just visited Poland
to give comfort to their government in their battles against the European
Union.  This has given the green light to
Iain ‘Crooked’ McNicol and the Compliance Unit to apply the IHRA anti-Semitism
definition inside the Labour Party, including its 11 examples of
‘anti-Semitism’, 7 of which relate to Israel.

The
IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is not only nonsense but is, by its own
definition anti-Semitic!  One of the
examples of ‘anti-Semitism’ is:
‘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.’ 
Leaving aside the fact that the Jews are not a
nation and therefore have no right to self-determination, it begs the question
why it is racist to oppose their self-determination anyway?  People oppose the right to
self-determination of the Scots or the Catalans, is that racist?  All that
self-determination means is the right to form a state.  
A memorial to the dead Jews of Jedwabne that the Zionist supporting Kaminski did his best to stop going up
What the IHRA is saying is that
Israel is the national embodiment of all Jews. 
That means all Jews, including me, owe their loyalty to Israel.  That in itself is anti-Semitic.  But according to another of the IHRA’s 11
examples of ‘anti-Semitism’ Holding Jews
collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel’

is anti-Semitic.  If Israel is
the national state of all Jews then it is quite right to hold Jews responsible
for it.  So according to one section of the
IHRA, the IHRA itself is anti-Semitic!!
Sir
Stephen Sedley, a Jewish former Court of Appeal Judge has written an excellent
article Defining
anti-Semitism
for London Review of Books.  Sedley first homes on the introduction to the
IHRA:

‘Anti-Semitism
is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews.
Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed towards
Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, towards Jewish
community institutions and religious facilities.
’  Sedley notes
that “‘A certain perception of Jews,
which may be expressed as hatred’ invites a string of questions. Is
anti-Semitism solely a matter of perception? What about discriminatory
practices and policies? What about perceptions of Jews that are expressed
otherwise than as hatred?”
  Sedley
observed that ‘These gaps are unlikely to
be accidental. Their effect, whether or not it is their purpose, is to permit
perceptions of Jews which fall short of expressions of racial hostility to be
stigmatised as anti-Semitic.’

Hugh
Tomlinson QC also gave an Opinion
on the IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism. 
He too attacked the introduction saying that
‘The phrase “a certain
perception” is vague and unclear in the context of a definition. The use of the
word “may” is also confusing. If it is understood in its usual sense of
“possibility” then the definition is of little value: antisemitism “may be
expressed as hatred towards Jews but may also be expressed in other
(unspecified) ways”. This does not work as a definition.’
The
reason that the definition is deliberately left vague, open-ended and unclear
is because in order to define criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic it is
necessary to make the definition as unclear as possible.  The lack of clarity is deliberate.

The Zionist EUMC definition of anti-Semitism was like the hydra Hercules faced.  No sooner had one head been killed than another grew
As Mike
Cushman’s article on the Free Speech on Israel site explains, the IHRA
definition is not new.  It arose
originally as the so-called EUMC [European Union Monitoring Committee] Working
Definition on Anti-Semitism in 2003.  It
was drawn up by Kenneth Stern of the American Jewish Committee.  Its purpose was to confuse people by
labelling criticism of Israel as ‘anti-Semitic’.  It had no other purpose.  In 2013, having been largely rejected by
civil society groups like the lecturers union, UCU and the National Union of
students, the successor group to the EUMC, Europe’s Fundamental Rights Agency,
took it down from its website. Israel
lobbyists finally concede that EU has ditched anti-Semitism “definition”
  However no sooner had the EUMC definition of
anti-Semitism died than the IHRA surfaced. 
Like a many headed Hydra, the EUMC resurfaced as the IHRA.  Like Hercules, we need to kill it again and
this time to make sure that it is dead and buried.

Theresa
May’s antisemitism fraud

Mike Cushman
Theresa May misled the British
public by pretending that the IHRA definition of antisemitism included the
examples linking antisemitism to criticism of Israel and urging all public
bodies to collude in this chilling of free speech.

A year ago, Theresa May urged all
UK public bodies to adopt the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance
Alliance) document on antisemitism. The document contained a 39 word
definition:
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
It also 11 illustrative examples
of antisemitism, seven of them relating to Israel.
It has always seemed strange that
the IHRA website contained no details of the document’s adoption and the only
record of it is a press release from the Romanian chair. ECCP (European Coordination of
Committees and Associations for Palestine
) has pressed hard to discover
what lay behind this strange lack of documentation and has finally obtained confirmation from the IHRA secretariat that, while
the 39 word definition was adopted, the examples were not.
While the Government press release announcing the Government’s
adoption of the definition is ambiguous about its scope, the Government’s
response to the Home Affairs Select Committee leaves no room for doubt. The
Committee wished to add ‘without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic
intent’ to three of the most contentious examples. The Government’s response makes clear that they, like the
Committee,  assert the definition includes the examples.
Theresa May announced the
adoption, not in Parliament where she might have been challenged, but at a
meeting of Conservative Friends of Israel. At the meeting, she described Israel
as a state that “guarantees the rights of people of all religions, races and
sexualities”. Not only is that manifestly untrue in relation to both
Palestinians and Jews of Ethiopian descent; it deliberately confuses criticism
of Israel with antisemitism experienced by British Jews.
Robert Zile, MEP for Latvia’s LNNK, marches every year with the veterans of the Latvian Waffen SS – he is part of the same political group in the European Parliament as the Tories
May must have known that only the
short definition had been adopted but her Government has been rolling it out as
including the eleven exemplars. The definition itself is poor: what is ‘a
certain perception’; why is ‘hatred towards Jews’ reduced to a disposable
extra; what is antisemitism towards non-Jews or their property? The exemplars,
however, are beyond doubt an attack on the free expression guaranteed by UK and
European law as demonstrated by Hugh
Tomlinson QC
. Use of them to restrict activity or speech would, in the QC’s
opinion, be unlawful. May and her Government have not ceased urging public
bodies to adopt the examples despite their dubious legality and fraudulent
provenance.
Sajid Javid’s letter to Local
Authorities urging IHRA adoption
In January 2017 Sajid Javid,
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, wrote to all local authorities urging them to adopt the definition and commending
the examples, saying: ‘it gives examples of the kind of behaviours which
depending on the circumstances could constitute anti-Semitism’.

Regrettably many Councils have
responded to Javid’s call. All too often they have done this by forcing
through adoption without consultation or debate
and refused to
respond to criticisms
of their actions.
While some Councils such as
Newham have amended and mitigated some of the worst aspects of the document,
others have made it worse. The strident advocacy group We Believe in Israel —itself
an offshoot of BICOM, the Israel promotion organisation from which
leading members of Labour Friends of Israel graduated—promoted a doctored
version. Their version omitted, silently, the qualifier ‘depending on context’
from the preamble to the examples. This more aggressive text, going beyond
Javid’s encouragement, has been adopted by several councils.
Government minister Jo Johnson
tells Universities to clamp down on free speech
In February 2017, Jo Johnson, Minister
for Higher Education, urged the whole document on Universities, particularly in
relation to Israel Apartheid Week activities. As a result, students and staff
in several universities have had their rights
to free expression curtailed
for partisan reasons and risked disciplinary
action.
In May the Zionist Federation urged all parliamentary candidates to
back the definition.
When the Labour Party NEC
discussed adoption they, singularly, restricted adoption to the 39 words.
The examples themselves are bad
enough but they are marginally limited by their introduction: “Contemporary
examples of antisemitism  … could, taking into account the overall
context, include, but are not limited to…”. Even this constraint is too much
for Israel’s more militant apologists. They have become fond of stating that an
activity they disapprove of is, without qualification, antisemitic under the
definition; urging churches, Local Authorities, universities, the police and
others to take punitive action on this amplified interpretation. We have not
noted any occasion on which a Government spokesperson has criticised them for
this unmandated extension.
Labour Party bureaucrats, despite
the Party’s restricted adoption of the IHRA definition, extended its reach
still further in their action against Moshé Machover. They redefined the
IHRA to include ‘pejorative language which may cause offence to Jewish people’.

The definition itself has a
troubled history. It is a mildly revised version of a draft working definition
circulated by, but never adopted by the European Union Monitoring Committee on
Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) in 2005. It was widely criticised and formally retired by the EUMC’s successor body. Despite
that Israel’s defenders continued to promote it and use it and behind the scenes
sought its revalidation by another body.
The EUMC definition was based on
a draft by Kenneth Stern of the American Jewish Committee. In 2016 Stern testified to the US Congress that he opposed his definition
being codified into law; it was only intended as an aid to diplomats.
May’s shameless fraud is
achieving its desired result, the emboldening of all those who wish to suppress
criticism of Israel. It is an attempt to allow only convenient historical
analysis and anodyne commentary on the mistreatment of Palestinians. Early
British assertion of the inclusion of the examples in the definition is being
used in Europe and beyond by forces wishing to bolster Israel. The document is
regularly cited by those who attempt to disrupt
and close down
public meetings on Palestine and Israel.
May has also energised those who
wish to remove Zionist blinkers and freely debate Israel and Palestine. We will
continue to speak out and defy those who would brand ethical campaigning as
antisemitic.
– Posted on 18 décembre 2017

A policy advisory accompanying the fact
sheet
about the
IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance)
Working Definition of Antisemitism
ECCP and Free Speech on Israel,1 December
2017

Antisemitism is commonly
understood in accordance with the International Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) as racism or racial
discrimination directed at persons or a group of persons because of their
Jewish religion, origin or identity.
Governments, political parties
and public and private institutions, however, are being approached to adopt
so-called “new and universal working definitions of antisemitism” which have
one common theme: all stipulate that not only Jews but also the State of Israel
can be the target of antisemitism.
Formulated in almost identical
language, these “working definitions of antisemitism” are promoted
alternatively as official definitions of the EUMC
(the EU’s European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia) or the IHRA
(International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance). In the United States, a similar
document is presented as the “State Department
Working Definition of Antisemitism”.
None of these “working
definitions” should be adopted by anyone
, because:
  1. The definition of
    antisemitism promoted in these “working definitions” has already been
    dismissed as invalid by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). The
    EU has adopted neither the so-called “EUMC working definition” nor that of
    the IHRA. No one has any legal obligation to adopt either of these
    definitions.
The so-called “EUMC
working definition” was never adopted by EUMC. In 2007, EUMC was closed down
and replaced by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). A document entitled
“EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism” was removed from FRA’s website in
2013; FRA explained that it had never been viewed as a valid definition of
antisemitism; that the Agency was not aware of any official EU definition of
antisemitism; and that the document was removed in a clear-out of non-official
documents.
Nevertheless, the
“EUMC Working Definition” continues to be presented as if it were an official
EU document. Since 2016 moreover, the same text has also been promoted as the
“IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism”. No one is
obliged to endorse either of these definitions which have indeed already been
dismissed as invalid by the EU FRA. They have no legal force.
  1. The so-called
    “IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism” hasn’t even been adopted by the
    IHRA itself.
The IHRA is an
inter-governmental organization disseminating information about the holocaust.
Established in 1998, it currently has 31 member states and a permanent office
in Berlin.
The IHRA website
features a press
release
publicising the adoption in Bucharest
in May 2016 of a “ non-legally binding IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism”
by the plenary of member states.
The content of the
IHRA press release is identical with the language of the document falsely
called the “EUMC Working Definition”. The entire press release has been cited
publicly, including by the UK government and the European Parliament, as the
IHRA definition. This is incorrect.
In response to
enquiries, the IHRA’s Berlin office has clarified that the Working Definition
of Antisemitism adopted by the IHRA at its meeting in May 2016 is the 40-word
definition cited below in Section 3. See this
document
for further details. To be precise and
clear – the Working Definition adopted formally by member states of IHRA is not
the entire press release, but only the two sentences (which appear in a
box in the press release).
The remainder of the
press release repeats the guidance and ‘illustrative examples’ from the EUMC
definition, most of which identify a range of criticisms of Israel as prima
facie
examples of antisemitism. For the avoidance of any uncertainty, the
guidance and examples were not adopted by the IHRA. Naming the whole bundle
(formal definition plus guidance and examples) as ‘‘the definition of the
Holocaust Remembrance Alliance‘‘ has undoubtedly added to its apparent
authority and emotional force, but we now know that this attribution is
invalid.
  1. The definition
    adopted by the IHRA is so vague and unspecified as to have no value for
    the fight against antisemitism.
The wording of the definition
adopted by the IHRA is:

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.”
[Emphasis added]

These two sentences and forty
words are characterized by quite inappropriate and unnecessary vagueness,
verging on obscurity, indicated above by the emphasised words and phrases. What
is this certain perception? Why is it not explained in clear language?
If antisemitism may – but doesn’t necessarily – express itself as hatred
toward Jews, what are its other expressions? Under what circumstances and why
would antisemitic acts be directed also toward non-Jewish individuals and/or
their property
, and who are these individuals?
We suggest (see point 4 below)
that this vagueness and obscurity of wording can only be seen as deliberate. It
is of no value in identifying antisemitic acts or statements. But it does
provide an apparent necessity to accompany the definition with an
interpretative explanation, that is, an opportunity for introducing concepts
that would otherwise be unconnected with the understanding of antisemitism.
The illustrative examples
circulated with the IHRA Working Definition suggest that antisemitism can be
directed not only toward Jews but also toward the State of Israel and its
supporters. This interpretation does appear to make sense of the otherwise
obscure IHRA definition. However, the clarification now provided by the IHRA
reveals that these examples and the extended interpretation of antisemitism
were not adopted by the IHRA plenary.
4. All “working definition”
documents suggest, through their ‘examples’, that antisemitism can be directed
not only toward Jews but also toward the State of Israel (“a Jewish
collectivity”) and its supporters. However, these examples and the extended
interpretation of antisemitism were not adopted by the IHRA and have, indeed, no
basis in international law.

Both the so-called “EUMC working
definition” and the IHRA press release provide very similar examples to claim
and illustrate that antisemitism can manifest itself as hatred against the
State of Israel. The clarification provided by the IHRA now reveals that these
examples were never adopted by the plenary of its members. However, they have
been widely perceived and handled as if they were part of the “IHRA Working
Definition of Antisemitism.”
These illustrations begin by
stipulating that the “State of Israel, which is perceived as a Jewish
collectivity”, may be the target of antisemitism. This is followed by a list of
examples of allegedly antisemitic attacks against the State of Israel,
including, among others, “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”, or, “applying double standards by requiring of the State
of Israel a behavior not demanded of any other democratic nation”.
The assertion that the State of
Israel must be viewed as a “Jewish collectivity” underlies all these
‘illustrations’. This assertion in fact reflects Israel’s discriminatory laws
and Zionist ideology which define Israel as the state of a “Jewish nation”, a state
that includes and represents Jews both in Israel and worldwide, and excludes
its Palestinian population of citizens and refugees.
Under public international law,
however, Israel, like any other state, represents all its citizens and not a
“Jewish collectivity”. In fact, many Jews worldwide are not – and do not wish
to be – represented by Israel. Under public international law, Israel is,
moreover, bound by the prohibition on racial 
discrimination, and has to respect
and protect the human rights of all its population. These include the fundamental
rights to return, property and equality of its Palestinian refugees and
citizens
. There is no basis in international law for a right to
self-determination of a “Jewish people” at the expense of these fundamental
rights of Palestinians or of the UN-
recognized right to self-determination of the Palestinian people
;
and no right for Israel as occupying power to carry out a policy of population
transfer in order to colonize and annex
occupied Palestinian territory.
Accordingly, necessary criticism of Israel’s
system of racial discrimination, segregation and apartheid
does
not constitute hatred toward Jews; nor do civil society campaigns and
resolutions of the UN and EU apply double standards, demonize the State of
Israel or pose threats to its existence, when they hold Israel accountable to
the universal standards of international law.
5. In practice, adoption of the
“EUMC” or IHRA Working Definition tends to undermine:
  • respect for the right to
    freedom of expression;
  • respect for international
    law related to Israel and the Palestinian people
    , and
  • the fight against
    antisemitism.
European local,
regional and central governments and authorities, parliaments and public
institutions have a legal duty under their respective domestic laws and
constitutions, EU law and international customary and treaty law to:
  • Respect and protect the right to
    freedom of expression in their country;
  • Uphold international humanitarian
    and human rights law including with regard to Israel and the Palestinians.
    This includes, at least, the duty
    to give no recognition, aid or assistance
    to Israeli policies or practices which
    violate the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people and/or
    the universal prohibitions on racial discrimination and on permanent
    acquisition of occupied Palestinian territory.
On this basis, more
than 200
legal scholars
have called on European governments to
recognize that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a
legitimate movement for Palestinian human rights, independent of whether they
themselves support it. In fact, the EU,
as well as the governments of the Netherlands, Ireland and Sweden and the Spanish parliament
have publicly confirmed that, while not in support of boycotts or sanctions
against Israel, they consider non-violent BDS campaigning to be a guaranteed
right of citizens that falls under freedom of expression.
In the same vein,
legal experts (Dubuisson,
2005
; Tomlinson, 2017) have alerted decision makers to the flaws in the “EUMC”
and IHRA Working Definitions of Antisemitism, in particular the conflation of
political criticism of the State of Israel with antisemitism. Their analyses
and legal opinions have warned of the risk that adoption and application of
these definitions could undermine legitimate criticism of, and freedom of
expression and democratic debate about, the State of Israel and its policies.

Practical experience
meanwhile shows that these “working definitions” are being used almost
exclusively to restrict the freedom of expression of European individuals,
groups and organizations that criticize Israel and/or work for Palestinian
rights.
In Germany, for example, political
parties are tabling policy
motions
for adoption by city governments –
based on the IHRA Working Definition and under the pretext of the fight against
antisemitism – which would prevent German cities from granting public space and
subsidies to groups, organizations and events deemed supportive of the
“antisemitic BDS movement.” Everyone who speaks out against Israeli policies
that violate 
Palestinian rights or criticizes Israel’s self-definition as
“state of the Jewish people”, including
Jewish citizens of Germany and Holocaust survivors
,
is liable to be smeared and targeted as antisemitic. In the UK, France,
Austria, Switzerland and Denmark also the IHRA Working Definition has been used
by governments, authorities, political parties, parliaments and universities in
an attempt to discredit as antisemitism, or to restrict or criminalize,
legitimate criticism of Israeli policies and support of Palestinian rights.
Adoption and
application of the “EUMC” or IHRA Working Definition also undermines the fight
against antisemitism itself. By muddying the waters about what antisemitism is,
these fabricated definitions encourage false allegations and entail a risk that
genuine claims of attacks motivated by anti-Jewish sentiments are not taken
seriously. Moreover, the claim that Israel and all Jews are one and the same
obstructs recognition of the diversity among Jewish communities and of the many
Jews who support efforts for Palestinian rights; it also encourages the
perception that all Jews are responsible and accountable for Israel’s
oppression of Palestinians. Finally, the conflation in these “working
definitions” of political criticism of Israel with antisemitism supports the
converse (and erroneous) notion that uncritical support of the State of Israel
is an indicator of commitment to the fight against antisemitism. In this way it
gives legitimacy to and encourages alliances with political forces that express
support of Israel’s policies against the Palestinian people while pursuing a
racist or even anti-Semitic agenda. One example is the increasing public
tolerance and legitimacy in the United States of the racism of white
supremacists who are also staunch supporters of the State of Israel.
These and other
related issues are discussed by the renowned political philosopher and activist
with Jewish Voice for Peace Judith Butler in this video
about BDS and the fight against antisemitism.

6. The “EUMC” or IHRA Working
Definition of Antisemitism is a tool for an Israeli political agenda that
should be rejected by everyone
The “working
definition” was developed in the context of Israeli debate in the early 2000s
about a “grand strategy toward the European
Union
” that would strengthen EU-Israel
relations, while also allowing Israel to maintain its illegal settlement
enterprise and thwart EU pressure for a two-state solution and respect of the
rights of its Palestinian citizens. Israeli and US-based Zionist Jewish
charities, think tanks and lobbyists adopted a propagandistic initiative aimed
at silencing criticism of Israel’s policies by branding
it as “new antisemitism”
. They claimed that
“new antisemitism” among European civil society, the EU and the United Nations
takes the form of “double standards” and the “demonization and
de-legitimization” of the State of Israel. The “EUMC” or IHRA “Working
Definition of Antisemitism” is a tool of this initiative.
Drafting of the
“working definition” was completed in 2004. Since then, it has been promoted by the 
Israeli government and, among others, the American Jewish Committee (AJC),
Simon Wiesenthal Center, European Jewish Committee (ECJ), NGO Monitor and UN
Watch in particular, but not only, in their fight against the growing,
Palestinian civil society-led BDS movement.
Meanwhile, the
willing governments of Romania, the UK and Austria have adopted what is now
called the “IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism”, while the European
Parliament has undermined the EU’s principled position by passing a resolution
calling on member states to adopt and apply the definition, despite its
dismissal as invalid by the EU’s own Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) .
Efforts to achieve
official endorsement of the “working definition” have been spearheaded by
individuals affiliated with these Israel-lobby groups who also serve as
“experts on antisemitism” in the Organization of Security and Co-operation in
Europe (OSCE), the IHRA and/or the European Union, including its Commission,
Parliament and, formerly, EUMC. Since neither the OSCE nor the EU has so far
been willing to adopt the fabricated definition, the inter-governmental IHRA
was selected as the body that would give it some official standing.

1*
ECCP (European Coordination of
Committees and Associations for Palestine)
is a network of 42 European
committees, organizations, NGOs, unions and international solidarity movements
from 19 European countries, dedicated to the struggle of the Palestinian people
for freedom, justice and equality.

Please also see Blake Alcott’s

The Antisemitism Fallacy; Let’s Focus on Palestinians

* Free Speech on Israelis
a Jewish-led UK organisation which was founded to counter the use of claims of
antisemitism to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel.

 

 

 

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