Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism: Jewish groups

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Emre Aytekin

ANKARA (AA) – Several international Jewish organizations have issued a joint declaration rejecting the assertion that pointing out Israeli state's racism or any criticism of it amounts to anti-Semitism.

The joint declaration was led by the International Jewish Voice — a worldwide coalition composed of 40 Jewish organizations; it slammed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism that equates any criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

The declaration stated that restricting freedom of speech, especially during an era in which authoritarianism and racism have peaked, would come up badly and the policies the Israeli state pursue would not be questioned if the IHRA's definition of anti-Semitism gets adopted by other countries.

“The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA] definition of anti-Semitism, which is increasingly being adopted or considered by western governments, is worded in such a way as to be easily adopted or considered by western governments to intentionally equate legitimate criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights with anti-Semitism, as a means to suppress the former.

“Israel does not represent us and cannot speak for us when committing crimes against Palestinians and denying their UN-stipulated rights, ” it said.

“This conflation undermines both the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality, and the global struggle against anti-Semitism. It also serves to shield Israel from being held accountable to universal standards of human rights and international law. ”

The declaration went on to urge governments, municipalities, universities and other institutions to reject the definition set out by the IHRA and called for taking effective measures to defeat “white supremacist nationalist hate and violence and to end complicity in Israel’s human rights violations “.

Since March, more than 140 Palestinians have been martyred — and thousands more injured — in Palestinian protests in the Gaza Strip against the decades-long Israeli occupation and an 11-year blockade, which has gutted the Gaza economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

*Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this story from Ankara.