There has been much chatter of late about the British Labour Party’s refusal to adopt the so-called ‘International’ definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism. This particular definition has been set out by an organization called the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
Immediately, from the name alone, we can see how a group associated with the Holocaust has set itself up as the foremost authority on anti-Semitism. Although there can be no doubt that a huge number of Jewish people were murdered by the Nazi regime, along with many other non-Jews, the question must be posed, Should definitions of anti-Semitism be the sole preserve of those who are wholly invested in remembering the horrors of the Holocaust?
The IHRA definition was adopted in Bucharest in 2016 and runs thus;
‘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.’
As can be seen, the definition is solely confined to the Jewish people. This can be argued to be discrimination, regardless of sophistic reasoning to the contrary. The term ‘non-Jewish individuals’ is included only to demonstrate that language and behaviour is still anti-Jewish when shared among those who are not Jewish.
It should be noted that Jewish people make up the smallest part of the Semitic peoples of this world. Most Semites are Arab, yet this fact is ignored when defining anti-Semitism as including only Jewish people. The exclusion of non-Jews from any definition of anti-Semitism is discriminatory. The IHRA is guilty of this practice.
The IHRA does, on its website, address the issue of who should be included in the term anti-Semitism, and they go so far as to condemn the term and replace it with their own which is antisemitism. However, they do not provide a valid explanation for why non-Jews must be excluded from the terms anti-Semitic or antisemitic.
When the term, anti-Semitic, first came to prominence in the late 19th century, there was no sizable Muslim community in any northern or western European nation. There were, however, Jewish communities, and it was these that attracted the unwanted attentions of bigots, ethnic or otherwise, who subsequently persecuted the Jewish people. The absence of an Islamic population at that time in Europe does not justify the exclusion of such Semites from any term which describes discrimination against Semites.
Yet it is not the definition per se that appears to have caused concern for Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Rather, it is the examples that are set out with the definition that have proved most contentious. These examples, which will be analysed shortly, are listed as being part of the definition of antisemitism. The IHRA website states;
‘Any ‘modified’ version of the IHRA definition that does not include all of its 11 examples is no longer the IHRA definition.’
In this, the IHRA has closed the door to any alternative and/or more accurate definitions of anti-Semitism. The examples they have given are deemed part and parcel of their definition, and thus serve what can be seen to be the IHRA‘s ulterior agenda, which is defence of the state of Israel.
The website proceeds thus:
To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as illustrations:
Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.
The previous passage might seem innocuous but in reality is not. The language used is deliberately ambiguous. It states that Israel can be criticized, but not as a ‘Jewish collectivity’. Yet it will be seen that it is the Zionist state that is responsible for creating this inappropriate perception of one Jewish identity and one group. Israel has, since its bloody inception, attempted and been successful in conflating both Judaism and Zionism. That process continues today. Yet the IHRA appear to ignore this reality. Israel has passed its Nation State Law which effectively creates a racial and sectarian political entity for the benefit of Zionist Jews. This is now the most obvious face of what has been taking place for many years in that Israel seeks to appropriate the entire Jewish identity for its own use. Anti-Zionism is thus described as being anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish when, in fact, it is a political position.
The IHRA definition and the examples given do not once mention the issue of Zionism or anti-Zionism. The entire endeavour, that is the working definition of anti-Semitism as provided by the IHRA, can be seen to be little more than a subtle, or perhaps not-so-subtle, attempt to defend the Israeli state.
Israel has, for too long, used anti-Semitism as a sword to attack its enemies whilst simultaneously hiding behind the shield of the Holocaust. The IHRA strengthens this position. Both of these actions serve only to portray the Jewish diaspora in a negative light on the international stage. As Israel continues to enforce and widen policies of Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and wholesale slaughter of Palestinian people, all the while stealing their land, it is the Zionist state that then knowingly transfers that guilt onto the entire Jewish diaspora, provoking an inappropriate perception, at least in the eyes of those who would act out of ignorance and bitterness without prior thought.
Jewish people and Judaism are not responsible for the killing of a 23-year-old pregnant mother and her 1-year-old child in Gaza, on 9th August, 2018. Israel is responsible. However, as Israel has now set itself up as the Jewish state and de facto face of Judaism, it has hidden behind the collective Jewish identity thus increasing the lamentable incidence of anti-Jewish sentiment, which should always be condemned.
Jewish children have the same rights and entitlements as Muslim children, and Christian children, and Hindu children and all children. It is the Israeli state that has continually acted contrary to this humanitarian position. That the IHRA has not tackled the issue of Zionism openly is one indication of the intent behind the measures it has adopted.
The IHRA website examples are then given. Rebel Voice will deal with those that require attention as they appear on the website.
‘Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
- Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
This point is valid and does not require a challenge other than to point out the exclusion of non-Jewish Semites from the definition of ‘antisemitism’.
- Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
In this point we are lead to believe that highlighting Jewish involvement in the media and/or Entertainment Industries is anti-Semitic. That is a valid argument. Although there is a disproportionately large Jewish involvement in these sectors, especially in the USA, this should be more accurately labelled Zionist activity or even Jewish Zionist activity, rather than inaccurately lumping all Jewish people together.
Ironically, there are many Jews who do not support Israel and/or its conduct in Palestine. Some are Zionists, some are not. When a Jewish person speaks out against Israel, they are labelled a ‘self-hating Jew’ by Israelis and their supporters. Such conscientious objectors are not given any protections by the IHRA. There would appear to be a desire by Zionists to prevent any division of the Jewish diaspora. This runs contrary to the expressed desires of the IHRA in that they wish to avoid any collectivizing of the Jewish people. Such Zionists can therefore be said to be anti-Semitic by the IHRA’s standards and definitions.
- Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
This is a valid point.
- Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
This point is too generalized to be feasible. Whilst the aims, mechanisms and intentionality of the genocidal polices of the Nazis is generally accepted, the numbers involved are not. Querying the numbers, which run into millions, should not be considered anti-Semitic.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to prove exactly how many people died during that terrible episode. Currently, the numbers vary greatly (from six to seventeen million) depending upon who is providing them. It is estimated by some that between five to six million Jews perished. There were also approximately three million Soviet POW’s, two million Soviet citizens, more than one million non-Jewish Polish citizens, more than one million Yugoslav citizens, approximately seventy thousand disabled women and children, more than two hundred gypsies and an unknown number of political prisoners, resistance fighters, members of the gay community and deportees (figures taken form The Telegraph).
Denying the Holocaust and the horrors perpetrated upon the Jewish people, as well as the many others who suffered and died, should be considered crass, idiotic, callous and even anti-Jewish or inhumane. Raising questions about the exact numbers who died should not. If it was four million Jews who died, then that is still a genocide. One thousand Jews is too many. One hundred also. Casting doubts upon the figure, however, should not be construed as anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic. Using such legitimate questions to label researchers as anti-Semitic is an attempt to create and force an uber-sensitivity, regarding the Holocaust, upon the global population. Said uber-sensitivity can then be exploited by Israel to provide cover for its nefarious programs of annexation and Apartheid, as Israel has consistently wedded itself to the Holocaust.
- Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
Here we have the first mention of Israel. This point links into the previous one in terms of the numbers who perished. ‘Israel’ is positioned side by side with ‘Jews as a people’. This is the very approach that the IHRA has stated is anti-Semitic. In this point the IHRA has linked, via wordplay, and if not in practice then certainly in the mind of the reader, the Jewish people (as a whole) to the state of Israel.
- Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
This point is nonsensical. It is stating, through its ambiguous language, that any criticism of a Jewish person who appears more loyal to Israel than their own country, e.g. USA, is anti-Semitic. It is factual that there are many US Jewish Zionists who have greater allegiance to Israel than to the US. Many of them have emigrated to Israel from other nations, in Europe and North America for example, to live as squatters on stolen land. That is the very definition of being more loyal to Israel. Others chose to stay in the US. Israel has persistently facilitated this loyalty to the Zionist state.
- 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.
This is an interesting point which effectively states that any criticism of the state of Israel is anti-Semitic, ergo, criticism of Israel is wrong. That view runs contrary to the previous IHRA point that stated that Israel can be criticized like any other state. ‘self-determination’ of the Jewish people is defined as the state of Israel. It is this point that most readily demonstrates the agenda that lies behind the IHRA and its seizure of authority in matters pertaining to anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.
- Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
Again, this point refers solely to Israel although the Israeli state is not mentioned. It intimates that Israel is a ‘democratic nation’ when, in fact, Israel is a gerrymander. A gerrymander cannot be democratic. Seizing the land of others, expelling them and then filling that land with foreigners is not democracy. Note in this point how the IHRA has taken upon itself the role of determining whether or not Israel is democratic.
- Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
This point has some validity but not enough to warrant inclusion in a definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism. Again Israel is mentioned, and protections are given to Israelis not afforded to groups within other states. In this, Israelis are being elevated above other state populations. That could be interpreted as racism, bigotry and/ or sectarianism. Arabs are again excluded from the term ‘antisemitic’.
- Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
This point is a blatant demonstration of how the IHRA are trying desperately to confer immunity upon the rogue state of Israel. There is an adage, if the shoe fits, wear it. Israel had instigated policies of persecution of Palestinians. It practices Apartheid. It practices ethnic cleansing. It has created a ghetto in Gaza which it is continually bombards, killing thousands of civilians. Israel has also initiated its own policy of Lebensraum as it annexes more Palestinian land. Israel’s propaganda is comparable to that of the Nazis, lying as they do to the international community. Israel is also brainwashing its population in the same way the Nazis did, so that they see Palestinians as less than they are. The Nazis engaged in the same process of dehumanizing the Jewish people. The IHRA has, perhaps deliberately, missed the sick irony in Israel’s conduct. In any event, this point has no place in any international definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism or anti-Judaism. This point on its own is sufficient to ridicule the IHRA to the point whereby they lose all credibility.
- Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
This point has been repeated throughout by the IHRA. It is a valid point, as Israel does not represent the entire Jewish people. Nor does Zionism define the Jewish identity. Yet the main culprit in creating this perception, as mentioned previously, is the state of Israel. As long as Israel is allowed to hijack the Jewish identity, then there will be those who, wrongly, hold ‘Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the state of Israel’. The point is valid, but needs to be clarified, and Israel’s role in the wrongdoing highlighted.
Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).
Laws vary from state to state. Israel’s laws, for example, may be entirely inappropriate given their fanatical position. Laws might transform from state to state. This point is so predicated upon the laws of individual nations as to be unnecessary. It is also too vague to have warranted inclusion in this definition of anti-Semitism.
Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.
This is a reasonably valid point in that attacks on Jewish properties or people are anti-Jewish when they are committed solely because the property or person is Jewish. The point, however, should not be confused and allowed to be used to confer immunity upon Jews or their property if they are guilty of other offences in line with national laws. There should be no discrimination because of a person’s ethnicity, race or religion. However, the descriptions of ‘antisemitism’, and anti-Semitic acts, lack credibility as non-Jewish Semites are again excluded, and it is this which, on balance, invalidates this point.
Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.
Again, this point would be valid if it were not for the exclusion of non-Jewish Semites. Removing non-Jewish Semites from the terms anti-Semitic, or antisemitic, can be said to be a discriminatory act, and should have no place in international acceptance.
The analysis provided demonstrates that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is an exercise in the defence of the Israeli state. It is unfortunate that such an organisation has misappropriated the word Holocaust, as such a piece of Zionist reasoning belittles and demeans the word and all it stands for.
Jews suffered and died at the hands of the Nazi regime of the past. Palestinians are dying at the bloodied hands of the Israeli regime today. It is unfortunate that certain Jewish Zionists would attempt to disrespect the memory of those Jewish victims of fascism, by using their grief-stricken legacy to defend the existence and actions of the fascist state of Israel.
Jeremy Corbyn is morally, ethically and factually correct to avoid adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. In doing so, he has refused to allow himself to be dictated to by a Zionist organisation intent on deceptively providing protections for what is a rogue Zionist state. Rebel Voice can only hope that other political leaders will show as much courage, principle and fortitude in the battle to ensure that humanitarian concerns are to the fore, rather than allow those who wish to live in an embittered past free rein to order our lives, whilst lying to us about their reasons for doing so.
Update: (25 – 09 – 19) Sadly, Corbyn eventually caved in to Zionist pressure and accepted the IHRA definition but with the proviso that criticisms of Israel are still acceptable. There are those who believe his actions to be an indulgence of extreme Zionism in an effort to secure his election to the UK premiership. Is it possible that Corbyn has underestimated the lengths that the -pro-Israel lobby will go to in their deceptive campaign to keep him under their fascist jackboots? Is it possible that since Corbyn has now given pro-Israelis an inch, they will try to take the entire road, just like they have done and are doing in Palestine.
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