The debate over the IHRA in the media, especially the BBC, has been deliberately skewed towards supporters of Israel and Zionism. It has totally obliterated the views of Jews who are not Zionists or those in the Palestine solidarity movement. The British press has behaved no differently to how the Chinese press would treat a controversial topic.
Nowhere is it mentioned that the IHRA is the old Working Definition of Anti-Semitism that the Fundamental Rights Agency junked in 2013.
Nowhere is the threat the IHRA poses to freedom of speech mentioned. Even the IHRA’s author, Kenneth Stern, accepted that the IHRA was “never meant to provide a framework for eviscerating free speech or academic freedom, let alone labeling anyone an antisemite.” Yet that is what is happening.
Hugh Tomlinson QC described it as having “a potential chilling effect on public bodies”. Professor David Feldman of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism described it as ‘bewilderingly perplexing’. Sir Stephen Sedley, the Jewish former Court of Appeal Judge wrote that the IHRA ‘fails the first test of any definition: it is indefinite.’
The IHRA is over 500 words. The OED defines it as ‘hostility to or prejudice against Jews.’ Why the difference? Because that is how long it takes to conflate anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.
The IHRA defines anti-Semitism as calling Israel as racist yet how else do you describe a state where segregation is the norm in education, employment and housing? Where just one month ago hundreds of Israeli Jews demonstrated against the sale of a house in the Jewish city of Afula to Arabs?
Only last week the Knesset passed the Jewish Nation State Bill which has been widely criticised in Israel’s sole liberal daily Ha’aretz as an apartheid law which will make Israel a state of Jews not its own citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish.
Critics of the Labour Party don’t even hide what their real agenda is. Stephen Pollard, Editor of the Jewish Chronicle, was quite frank:
‘instead of adopting the definition as agreed by all these bodies, Labour has excised the parts which relate to Israel and how criticism of Israel can be antisemitic.’
Even Pollard accepts that the IHRA has nothing to do with hate of Jews and everything to do with criticising a State which discriminates against non-Jews.
Yes the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism has been adopted by 31 governments. They include the anti-Semitic governments of Poland and Viktor Orban’s Hungary, both of which are ardent supporters of Netanyahu. Need one say more?
- For further information contact:
Tony Greenstein 01273 660313/07843350343