Letter: Fears new definition of antisemitism will stifle criticism of Israel

19-12-2016 19:02

Source: The Guardian


You report that the government is going to adopt a “new definition” of antisemitism in order to prevent an “over-sweeping condemnation of Israel” (Britain to pioneer new antisemitism definition, 12 December). The new definition has nothing to do with opposing antisemitism, it is merely designed to silence public debate on Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Antisemitic incidents comprise about 2% of all hate crime. Why then the concentration on antisemitism and not on Islamophobia, which is far more widespread? The suspicion must be that the real concern is not with antisemitism but with Britain’s support for Israel. 


Israel claims to be “the only democracy in the Middle East.” Palestinians who live under Israeli occupation are governed by a wholly different set of laws than Jewish settlers. This makes Israel the world’s only apartheid state and thus deserving of strong condemnation and the target of boycott, divestment and sanctions. We agree that it is antisemitic to associate Jews with the actions of the Israeli state. Unfortunately this is precisely what the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition will achieve through perpetuating the stereotype that all Jews support the Israeli state. The IHRA will strengthen not weaken antisemitism. There is a very simple definition of antisemitism from Oxford University’s Brian Klug. Antisemitism is “a form of hostility towards Jews as ‘Jews’.” The IHRA definition smuggles in anti-Zionism, in the guise of antisemitism, as a means of protecting the Israeli state and thus western foreign policy.

Tony Greenstein
Jacqueline Walker
Miriam Margolyes
Professor Haim Bresheeth
Professor Nira Yuval-Davis
Michael Sackin Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Dr Derek Summerfield King’s College
Professor Roger Iredale
Averil Parkinson Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Dr Vacy Vlazna Coordinator, Justice for Palestine Matters
Vicky Moller Child survivor of the Holocaust
Dr Cathy Rozel Farnworth
Rica Bird
Chantal Cameron
Robert Cohen
Brian Chinnery
Mike Cushman
Deborah Darnes
Patrick Darnes
Helen Dickson
Tony Dickinson
Greg Dropkin
Mark Elf
Deborah Fink
Kenny Fryde
Terry Gallogly
Judy Granville
James Hall
William Hanna
Jenny Hardacre
Abe Hayeem
Alain Hertzmann
Doug Holton
Grahame Humphreys
John Leigh-Brown
Penny Leigh-Brown
Leah Levane
Les Levidow
Richard Lightbown
Beverley Lloyd
Kathy McCubbing
Elizabeth Morley
Diana Neslen
Caroline O’Reilly
Edmond O’Reilly
Juergen Peter
Nicola Pratt University of Warwick
Roland Rance
Janine Reed
Bronwen Roberts
Donald Saunders
Ian Saville
Miriam Scharf
Richard Seaford
Roddy Slorach
Charles Stuart
Jean Sullivan
Bernice Walker
Adam Waterhouse
Eric Willoughby
Dorothy Wilson
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi


 Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Topics : #Antisemitism #Israel #Palestine #UK

Israeli Racism in Quotes

Copyright © 2014-2015 EuroPal Forum - All rights reserved