Israel’s Attack on Gaza Is Why Antiracists Should Ditch the IHRA Misdefinition of Anti-Semitism That Protects Israeli Apartheid
Support the Labour Campaign for Free Speech’s Model Resolution that Replaces the IHRA with the Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism
The Jewish Chronicle was hot off the mark with an exclusive no less! ‘EXCLUSIVE: Labour grassroots campaign to jettison IHRA definition of antisemitism’ in the shock horror mode normally adopted by the tabloids. And what was this Exclusive? That the Labour Campaign for Free Speech which lists Chris Williamson, Jackie Walker and myself on its Steering Committee were proposing a motion to Labour Party Conference in favour of replacing the Zionists’ IHRA misdefinition of anti-Semitism with the Jerusalem Declaration of Anti-Semitism.
The IHRA Misdefinition, previously called the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism [WDA], was first proposed by Dina Porat of the Stephen Roth Institue of Tel Aviv University. You can read about the origins of the WDA in a Report on the WDA – Six Years After in a Conference in Paris in August/September 2010.
Particularly interesting is the contribution by Kenneth Stern, the principal drafter of the WDA, “The Working Definition – A Reappraisal” Stern wrote that
the idea for a common definition was, as far as I know, first articulated by Dina Porat, who leads the Stephen Roth Institute,… in April 2004. I recall Dina, who gets very animated when she latches on to a good idea, talking to me, to my colleague Andy Baker, and just about anyone else she could corner about the need for a definition.
Dina Porat is today the Chief Historian at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Propaganda Museum and is one of the leading ideologues of Zionism.
It is useful to read Stern’s article because it explains the thinking behind the IHRA. Stern’s criticism of the previous attempts of the EUMC to formulate a definition of anti-Semitism was that it had constructed a list of Jewish stereotypes and come up with what he described as a ‘clunker of a definition’ because it ‘didn’t know how to deal with the problem of a Jew being attacked on the streets of Paris or anywhere else as a stand-in for an Israeli.’
Stern argued that a definition of anti-Semitism could not be created on the basis of stereotypes of Jews because it was ‘unworkable to require a clear view of what is in the mind of any actor (many of whom are never found) before making a classification.’
Stephen Pollard, Editor of the Jewish Chronicle is mystified why what is happening in Israel should impact on Jews in Britain – perhaps he should have a quiet word with the BOD!
And in this statement you can see why the IHRA, even if Stern was in good faith, went off the rails. Stern created a definition based on people’s political beliefs. It’s difficult to understand his thinking. Stern says that the WDA was created for the collection of statistics but it’s unclear how someone comparing Israeli policy and the Nazis fits into that. But regardless Stern was wrong. It is is essential to understand the motives of someone in order to classify whether it was an anti-Semitic attack.
If someone attacks me in the street because I’m wearing a rolex watch that is not an anti-Semitic attack. It is a straightforward robbery. The fact that I am Jewish is irrelevant. But if I’m attacked because my attacker is of the belief that all Jews are rich and I am therefore singled out, then of course that is an anti-Semitic attack.
If someone is attacked because the attacker believes all Jews support Israel then that is an anti-Semitic attack because the person was attacked because s/he is Jewish. Of course the reason why so many people believe that British Jews are responsible for what happens in Gaza is because Zionist organisations like the Board of Deputies repeatedly support Israeli war crimes whilst, at the same time declaring that they are ‘the voice of the Jewish community.’
No less than Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle had the gall to send me his Editor’s Letter this week which proclaimed:
Could it have something to do with its support for the actions of Israel in Gaza? Whilst most of the world condemns Israel as a Apartheid state, the Board intoned on behalf of all British Jews that:
“We are deeply concerned and saddened by the escalation of violence, and the seemingly unremittent rocket fire against Israeli civilians by Hamas in Gaza. These attacks are abhorrent and, despite the protection of Iron Dome, have sadly already caused loss of life. Israel has the right to defend its citizens and it is the responsibility of Hamas to immediately halt all rocket fire from Gaza.
Not a single word about the devastation and loss of life in Gaza. Palestinian Lives Simply Don’t Matter. So of course some people will be fooled into believing that all Jews support Israeli war crimes and thus it is the Board itself which has placed British Jews in danger.
The Working Definition of Anti-Semitism was foisted in 2005 on the European Union Monitoring Committee. In 2014 the EUMC’s successor body, the Fundamental Rights Agency, removed the WDA from its website and in 2016 the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, an obscure inter-governmental body adopted it or rather it adopted the 38 word core IHRA definition. That too is now shrouded in controversy as the IHRA Secretariat have deliberately misrepresented the decisions of the 2016 Conference in Bucharest.
The IHRA misdefinition of anti-Semitism has been used to close down free speech on Palestine and at the moment there is a particular targeting of academics. This much is admitted by the person who drafted it, Kenneth Stern, in testimony to Congress and an article in the Guardian.
That is why the Labour Campaign for Free Speech is urging local Labour Parties to adopt a Model Motion adopting the Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism.
See Why We Should Critically Welcome The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism [JDA]
You can see all the dishonest ploys of the Jewish Chronicle in one article. We are told that the Zionist Community Security Trust (which acts effectively as an arm of Israel’s Mossad (MI6)) says it “could hamper efforts to tackle antisemitism”. They don’t explain how it will manage this! What they really mean is that efforts to close down campaigns in support of the Palestinians will be less effective.
When Dave Rich of the CST say that the JDA ‘was drawn up without widespread consultation of Jewish community organisations’ what he means of course is Zionist organisations.
The IHRA limits the Palestinian right to define their own struggle by branding it as ‘anti-Semitic’. Palestinians who experience racism every day of their lives, as in the vandalism and destruction of the Al Tafawk Childrens’ Centre last weekend by the Israeli Military, are told that they are anti-Semitic if they complain.
Palestinians struggle for their rights against Zionist oppression not because they are anti-Semitic but because they, like most people, don’t like being oppressed! It really is that simple.
But David Rich, an academic prostitute on hire to Mossad’s CST, gives the game away when he complains that:
While IHRA warns against comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, the Declaration suggests such comparisons are “contentious” but not antisemitic.
That is true. When Jewish demonstrators march in Israel to the chant of ‘death to the Arabs’ we should call them for what they are – Judeo-Nazis. And when people like the late Profess Ze’ev Sternhell wrote an article ‘In Israel, Growing Fascism and a Racism Akin to Early Nazism’ no doubt Rich would call him anti-Semitic despite Sternhell being a child survivor of the holocaust.
Rich also complains that denying the ‘Jewish people their right to self-determination’ would not be anti-Semitic. Why should it? Only nations have such a right and Jews are a religion not a nation.
Clearly the JDA has got the Zionists and their academic puppets worried that their chosen instrument of demonisation of anti-Zionism, the IHRA, is meeting more resistance than they bargained for.
If you are in the Labour Party please move this resolution
Unlike the IHRA Misdefinition of Anti-Semitism the JDA Makes a Clear Distinction Between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism
Why do we need to define anti-Semitism?
Model motion: Abandon IHRA and adopt the Jerusalem Declaration
This motion has been drafted as a model motion to go to Labour Party conference 2021, but it can be tweaked for other purposes. Please note that this has to go through your branch first, then your CLP and needs to be submitted to the NEC by September 13 in order to be heard at Labour Party conference. Remember that a CLP can either submit a rule change (which needs to be submitted by June 11) or a ‘contemporary’ motion like this one.
1. We note
1.1. That the ‘working definition’ published by the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) has been rejected by numerous legal practitioners and academic scholars , because it conflates anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism and has been used to ‘chill’ freedom of speech on campuses.
1.2. Among the many critics of the IHRA are:Its principal drafter Kenneth Stern who explained that: “The definition was not drafted, and was never intended, as a tool to target or chill speech on a college campus. In fact, at a conference in 2010 about the impact of the definition, I highlighted this misuse, and the damage it could do.”
Professor David Feldman (vice-chair of the Chakrabarti Inquiry and director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism) who has described the definition as “bewilderingly imprecise”.
Sir Stephen Sedley, the Jewish former Court of Appeal judge, who has written that the IHRA “fails the first test of any definition: it is indefinite”.
Hugh Tomlinson QC who has warned that the IHRA definition had a “chilling effect on public bodies”.
Geoffrey Robertson QC who has explained that, “The definition does not cover the most insidious forms of hostility to Jewish people and the looseness of the definition is liable to chill legitimate criticisms of the state of Israel and coverage of human rights abuses against Palestinians.” Robertson, a prominent human rights barrister, also wrote that the definition was ‘not fit for purpose’.
Tony Lerman, the founder of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, wrote that “it’s not fit for purpose, but it also has the effect of making Jews more vulnerable to antisemitism, not less, and exacerbating the bitter arguments Jews have been having over the nature of contemporary antisemitism for the last 20 to 25 years.”
2. We believe:
2.1. That the adoption of the IHRA definition and all eleven examples by the Labour Party’s NEC in 2018 has not brought an end to the ongoing claims that the Labour Party is riddled with anti-Semites. In fact, the opposite has occurred. It has encouraged the leadership of the Labour Party to accelerate the expulsion and suspension of critics of the Israeli state and Zionism.
2.2. The government’s threat to defund universities that refuse to adopt IHRA is a serious attempt to shut down free speech and academic freedom
2.3. That unlike the IHRA, the JDA, whilst not without its flaws, is about anti-Semitism not anti-Zionism.
3. We resolve:
3.1. To reverse the Labour Party’s NEC decision and jettison the IHRA definition.
3.2. To adopt the Jerusalem Declaration, which has been “developed by a group of scholars in the fields of Holocaust history, Jewish studies, and Middle East studies to meet what has become a growing challenge: providing clear guidance to identify and fight antisemitism while protecting free expression”. In contrast to IHRA, it has been written “in good faith”, as Professor Moshe Machover said
3.3. To campaign for freedom of speech, which includes the right to call out Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians as racist, discriminatory and oppressive.