A definition of anti-Israeli antisemitism
Source: Arutz Sheva
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
Alliance in May 2016 mentions, among its various illustrations, several examples of anti-Israeli antisemitism. Yet the definition mainly focuses on antisemitism against Jews, not Israelis. The more one applies the original IHRA definition, the more one realizes that a special definition for anti-Israeli antisemitism is required.
The following text may be used as a first draft for organizations or countries who wish to adopt such a definition.
The definition of anti-Israeli antisemitism, in line with the IHRA definition of antisemitism, could read:
“Anti-Israeli antisemitism is a certain perception of Israel which may be expressed as hatred toward Israel and Israelis, or discrimination against them. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Israeli antisemitism are directed toward Israel or Israeli individuals and or their property, and toward Israeli facilities."
The following examples may serve as illustrations.
Manifestations might include targeting the state of Israel in a way that is not aimed at any other country, such as by labeling policies of products from Israel or the disputed territories. However, criticism of Israel, similar to that leveled against any other country, is not anti-Israeli antisemitism.
Anti-Israeli antisemitism frequently charges Israel, Israelis, or Zionists with conspiring to harm humanity and it is often used to blame Israel for why things go wrong in other countries or parts of the world. It is expressed in actions, speech, writing, visual forms, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.
Contemporary examples of anti-Israeli antisemitism in public life, media, universities and schools include but are not limited to:
- Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Israelis. This comprises support of anti-Israeli terrorist organizations in any way, including providing them with weapons and finance as well as promoting their legitimacy.
-Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Israelis as such or the power of Israel or what is often called the Israeli Lobby as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Israeli, or Zionist conspiracy or of Israel, Israelis or Zionists controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
-Accusing Zionists, the state of Israel, or Israelis as a people, of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by individual Israelis or even for acts committed by non-Israelis.
-Accusing Israelis as a people, Zionists, or Israel as a state, of inventing, exaggerating, or abusing the Holocaust.
-Denying Israelis their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel should be abolished, lacks legitimacy, or is a racist endeavor.
-Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other nation. This includes the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, when it is exclusively targeting Israel. It also includes moral relativism by applying to Israel different moral criteria than to other countries, and in particular its enemies.
-Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism such as comparisons with the killing of Jesus, the blood libel, and contemporary mutations of it to characterize Israel or Israelis.
- The use of false moral equivalences against Israel or Zionism, including but not only those between Zionism and racism or colonialism/imperialism or fascism, comparison of the Holocaust and the Nakba, considering as equal the targeted killings of terrorists with intentional murder of civilians, and equivalencies drawn between the kidnapping of soldiers and imprisoning terrorists, as well presenting moral equivalence between Israel's actions as a legitimate sovereign state and the illegitimate actions of terrorists.
- Inversion of the Holocaust, i.e drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy and behavior to that of extreme criminal bodies such as the Nazis as well as comparing Palestinian locations to Holocaust locations, such as Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto or Auschwitz. Additionally, likening Israel or Israelis to others who commit genocide or aim to do so as well as the Islamic State movement, and the South African apartheid regime. This can also be done indirectly, for instance, by claiming that Israel conducts a war of destruction against the Palestinians.
- Holding all Israelis collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel or its government.
- Organizations appointing commissions with biased mandates to investigate alleged-Israeli criminal activities while ignoring the acts of its enemies. Furthermore, the accepting to serve on such biased commissions.
Anti-Israeli acts are criminal when they are defined as so by laws in the specific country. Criminal acts are anti-Israeli antisemitism when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, and places of worship – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Israeli or linked to Israelis.
Anti-Israeli discrimination is the denial to Israelis of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in a number of countries.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has been a long-term adviser on strategy issues to the boards of several major multinational corporations in Europe and North America.He is board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recipient of the LIfetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.