Earlier this Week, the Zionist conservative Theresa May, British PM, made the time out of her Brexit schedule to attend a ‘Conservative Friends of Israel’ (CFI) meeting, where she made a grand speech about anti-semitism. Theresa May also announced that the UK is formally adopting a definition of anti-Semitism within laws, agreed on earlier this year by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The policy looks to infringe on free speech, the very criticism of Israeli policies and all of this will be fast tracked in order to avoid being scrutinized.
“It is unacceptable that there is anti-semitism in this country. It is even worse that incidents are reportedly on the rise. As a government, we are making a real difference and adopting this measure is a ground-breaking step,” May said.
With Israeli ministers calling to annex the entire west bank if the United Nations intervenes, many Palestinian human rights agencies are very concerned with the news that they may have to remain silent, on certain key points when discussing Israeli settlements. Theresa May and her team failed to elaborate on the small print which makes this definition problematic, especially for anti-Zionists. The IHRA’s small print moves immediately to bring criticism of Israel into the definition as an example of anti-Semitism stating that “manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. Some of the examples could be considered bigoted for sure, but just have a look at some of these examples given by the IHRA;
Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations
Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour
Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
The text of the IHRA definition is based on a draft document first circulated by a pro-zionist agency back in 2005, only to be subsequently abandoned as not fit for purpose. That particular definition, drafted with the help of pro-Israel advocacy groups, was the subject of serious critique for its conflation of genuine anti-Semitic bigotry on the one hand, and criticism of or opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel on the other. It raises a lot of concern about the true intentions behind silencing criticism of Israel. The new definition of anti-Semitism has been adopted without consultation with the Palestinian people or British Palestinians to ascertain its impact on them. They were not put in place by going through the usual routes, where people can discuss its effectiveness. At the very least, Brexit should have made an impact assessment, to assess the unintended consequences of silencing Palestinians and their supporters through the adoption of the new definition – unless of course that was the intention. Where does this leave the UK as a proudly democratic society that values freedom of speech?
In response to a bit of backlash, Theresa May has announced that she will be going ahead with the plans and that one of the motivations behind doing so, was the need to combat an increasing level of anti-semitism among the left side of politics. Labour has had to suspend 18 members, including one MP and a former mayor of London, because of their alleged anti-semitic attacks in parliament. It leaves British parliamentarians caught between a rock and a hard place, following the vote to exit the European Union, where upsetting Muslims and other non-whites is fine. Upsetting friends of Israel is not allowed, however – especially, but not exclusively, if they are Jewish.
What is Zionism?
Political Zionism is a Jewish Nationalist movement, which has been around since about 1865, Its followers are made up of Jewish and non Jewish people who embrace cultural colonialism. The fundamental purpose of Zionism, has always been to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine and beyond this region. The ideology of Zionism can be seen as far back in history as 200 CE, within Rabbinic Judaism’s Oral law, commonly refereed to as the The Talmud. Political Zionism is most commonly believed to have started officially in 1896 by Theodor Herzl, whose goal (As a cultural Jew, not a religious one) was the return of Jews to ‘Eretz Yisrael’, or ‘Zion’, the Jewish synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel (Palestine).
Nowadays, many things can be attributed toward the inception of a Jewish state in Palestine, but none more perhaps than the influential drive behind Zionism. Israel is perhaps one of the most nationalist and ethnocentric nations on earth and yet it receives the most financial aid of any country in the world.The success of Zionism has meant that the percentage of the world’s Jewish population who live in Israel has steadily grown over the years and today 40% of the world’s Jews live in Israel. There are currently 6.1 million Jews living in modern day Israel (around 75% of the population). Israel also have one of the most advanced armies in the world, boasting some of the most sophisticated technological advancements in air and ground combat.