The government is planning to adopt a controversial definition of anti-Semitism which will effectively crack down on those who question Israel’s “right to exist” or call the Zionist entity “racist.”
Many pro-Palestinian activists in the UK and around the world believe that Israel has no right to exist in its present form. This is because, they argue, Israel is an Apartheid State which stole Palestinian land through ethnic cleansing and has sustained itself since through brutality, occupation and war.
These activists also say that Israel is a racist entity because of its exclusivist nature and its treatment of non-Jews. And they would prefer Israel to be replaced by a secular, democratic or Islamic state.
Yet Theresa May is announcing today that official bodies in Britain – including police, councils and universities – will adopt a definition of anti-Semitism agreed upon by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
This definition, which analysts believe is rather vague, states: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish
community institutions and religious facilities.”
However, the IHRA then goes onto give examples of what may constitute anti-Semitism, some of which may be highly contentious. These include:
- The targeting of the Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.
- Charging Jews with conspiring to harm humanity and blaming Jews for “why things go wrong.”
- Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
- Talking about a world Jewish conspiracy or Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
- 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.
- Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of Nazis.
- Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
- 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.
- Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of Israel is a racist endeavor.
- Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis.
- Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
- Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of Israel.
According to the BBC, May will argue that a clear definition means anyone guilty of anti-Semitism in “essence, language or behaviour” will be “called out on it.”
Mrs May will say: “There will be one definition of anti-Semitism – in essence, language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews – and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it.”
She will add: “It is unacceptable that there is anti-Semitism in this country. It is even worse that incidents are reportedly on the rise.”
It comes as the Community Security Trust said the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK increased by 11% between January and June – from 500 in the same period last year, to 557 this year.
Labour welcomed the move. A spokesman for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said hatred towards Jews was “as repugnant and unacceptable as any other form of racism”.