Anti-Israel organizations rejected categorizing anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism, despite the fact dozens of Western countries support this definition. 

By: JNS and United with Israel Staff

Some three-dozen far-left pro-BDS Jewish groups from around the world have signed a statement rejecting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s definition of anti-Semitism over its alleged conflation of anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel.

The statement, spearheaded by the anti-Israel US-based group Jewish Voice for Peace, said that the IHRA definition, which has been adopted by tens of Western countries, “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 antisemitism, as a means to suppress the former.”

The statement claims that the conflation “undermines both the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality and the global struggle against antisemitism.”

“It also serves to shield Israel from being held accountable to universal standards of human rights and international law,” the statement said. “Israel does not represent us and cannot speak for us when committing crimes against Palestinians and denying their UN-stipulated rights.”

Among the other US-based groups that signed the letter are Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, Jews of Color & Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews and Jews Say No!

Biased Accusations Equal Anti-Semitism

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – an intergovernmental group comprised of 31 nations – adopted a definition in 2016 based on the 2005 European Monitoring Centre (EUMC) Working Definition, which describes anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews” that can also target the state of Israel.

The definition clearly notes that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.” But accusations of dual loyalty and the use of double standards against the Jewish state, as well as tenets of anti-Zionism like the denial of Jewish rights to self-determination, are also considered manifestations of anti-Semitism.

The statement by the far-left Jewish groups comes amid an intense debate within the United Kingdom’s Labour Party over the adoption of the IHRA definition.

The Labour Party, which has been dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism in recent years centered around party leader Jeremy Corbyn, adopted an amended version of the IHRA definition that omitted some formal examples of anti-Semitism largely dealing with Israel.

The move to adopt the amended version came despite an outcry of opposition from dozens of Jewish leaders, British Jewish organizations and even Labour Party politicians.