PM Netanyahu and PM Zoran Zaev of Macedonia. (Haim Zach/ GPO) (Haim Zach/ GPO)
Netanyahu Zaev Macedonia

Macedonia recently became the latest country to acknowledge that “anti-Israel” is often just a convenient disguise for old fashioned anti-Semitism.

By: United with Israel Staff

“I’m not anti-Semitic, I just oppose Israel.” This is a common refrain in settings in which the Jewish state is demonized and held to a different standard than other nations. Increasingly, however, countries in Europe are adopting definitions of anti-Semitism that include anti-Israel bias and unfair condemnation.

Macedonia is one of the most recent nations to adopt an anti-Semitism definition that incorporates demonization of Israel. This week, the Balkan nation memorialized Macedonian Jews who were deported during the Holocaust, marking the 75th anniversary of this tragedy.

According to the World Jewish Congress, Macedonia is honoring the occasion by adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) anti-Semitism definition, which will be followed next month by the opening of the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia.

Almost the entire population of Macedonia’s more than 10,000 Jews were killed in Treblinka, a Nazi death camp in Poland, after Bulgarian forces deported them with the Nazis’ approval.

In adopting this anti-Semitism definition, Macedonia joined the United Kingdom, Romania, Bulgaria, and the European Parliament, all of whom use this formulation of anti-Semitism.

The European Union’s official body for fighting antisemitism shockingly removed this definition from its website. According to a report in the the Jerusalem Post, pro-Palestinian activists lobbied the EU to pull the definition, with the EU telling JTA in 2013 that the definition was never official. Israel protested the EU’s move.

According to the IHRA definition, anti-Semitism “might include the targeting of the State of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collective,” though “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.”

Throughout Europe, Jews are targeted for harassment and violence by anti-Israel individuals and groups whose “new anti-Semitism” frequently hides behind the veneer of “political protests” against the Jewish state.

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