Israeli activist Natan Sharansky blasted so-called progressives for “hijacking human rights” and smearing Jews as “oppressors.”
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
Israeli human rights activist Natan Sharansky told a special forum on anti-Semitism that today’s “progressives” have hijacked human rights and turned the progressive movement into another form of hatred against Jews and Israel.
Sharanksy addressed the forum “Dismantling Anti-Semitism: Jews Talk Justice” that was sponsored by the organizations Combat Anti-Semitism and the Tel Aviv Institute, which was timed to counter an event with a similar name held in the U.S. that featured anti-Israel personalities Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Peter Beinart and cancel culture proponent Prof. Marc Lamont Hill – talking about anti-Semitism.
Tlaib’s panel on Tuesday was labeled “Dismantling Anti-Semitism: Winning Justice” panel, however, Tlaib is known as a strong supporter of the BDS boycott movement that delegitimizes Israel while Hill has endorsed the Palestinian slogan “from the river to the sea,” which calls for a Palestinian state to replace Israel and is commonly viewed as a call to destroy Israel.
The panel’s sole Jewish participant, Peter Beinart, has publicly rejected the need for a Jewish state.
“Today, there is an attempt to hijack the cause of human rights from Jews by so-called progressives … . For the so-called progressives, all the world is the fight between ‘oppressors’ and ‘oppressed,’ Sharansky said.
“Why, if you really want to criticize Israel in order to improve its policy, why do you have to demonize it?” Sharansky asked rhetorically. “Why do you have to compare Israel with Auschwitz. Why do you have to deny the right of Israel to exist? Why do you have to apply to Israel standards which never apply to any other country in the world?”
“Today, when there is kind of attempt to hijack the course of human rights produced by the so-called progressives, it reminds me of my past [in the communist Soviet Union],” Sharansky noted. “There is no such thing as individual justice. Justice has to be for the group of oppressed and it has to be directed against oppression. Well, this practically means that there are whole groups of people who belong to the right identity and those who belong to the wrong identity.”
Sharansky says that according to progressives, “Jews are guilty of belonging to the wrong state, the state of Israel, the wrong group which is responsible for everything between from bringing black slaves hundreds of years ago to America and today bringing in foreign workers to replace American citizens.”
“So it doesn’t matter whether this criticism comes from the left or the right. In both cases, Jews are accused as a group and Israel is accused as a Jewish state.”
“It has nothing to do with human rights,” Sharanksy said, noting that progressives reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which puts red lines and doesn’t permit comments that demonize and delegitimize Israel. Using the IHRA anti-Semitism definition is important, Sharansky emphasized.
“But the fact is that those [progressives] who are behind the denial of [IHRA’s] definition [of anti-Semitism] are those who really want to destroy Israel, and that’s why they want Israel tol be demonized and delegitimized each time.”
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