Wednesday, April 07, 2021

  • Wednesday, April 07, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon



Last week, I created a definition of antisemitism that I felt addressed shortcomings of the other ones that have popped up.

The definition is:

Antisemitism is
hostility toward
denigration of or 
discrimination against 
Jews 
as individual Jews
as a people
as a religion
as an ethnic group or 
as a nation (i.e., Israel.)

Since then, I've been trying to poke holes in this definition to see if it is complete and accurate. The best way to do that is to find obvious examples of antisemitism and see if they are covered.

So, for example, BDS is covered, since it is discrimination against the Jewish state.

The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is covered because it is hostility towards Jews as a people.

Holding individual Jews as being responsible for actions of other Jews (or Israel) is discrimination against Jews

But what about Holocaust denial? Here is something that is obviously antisemitic, but isn't easily covered by this (or any other) base definition.

Using the "Jerusalem Declaration of Antisemitism" formulations of looking at different examples "on the face of it," Holocaust denial is simply people seeking the truth about a historic event, just like BDS is "on the face of it" simply a quest for justice for Palestinians, or seeking Israel's destruction is "on the face of it" just an anti-nationalist viewpoint.

While JDA adds a separate clause saying that Holocaust denial is antisemitic, their base definition doesn't address it - unless you agree that it is obvious that Holocaust denial cannot be evaluated based on the perspective of the claims of Holocaust deniers.

Why? Because they are liars.

Both JDA and the IHRA working definition discuss "context" in evaluating what it antisemitic, but JDA chooses when to believe the antisemitic lies (BDS, Palestinians who want one Arab majority state) and when not to believe them (Holocaust denial, people who claim that the Rothschilds control the world.) Which means that their definition isn't a definition at all - it is a pretense to allow the types of antisemitism they support and to condemn the antisemitism they dislike. 

Outside of the extreme Right, antisemites rarely say explicitly that they hate Jews because of the stigma against public Jew-hatred. So they hide their hate behind moral arguments - they only want to protect animals from the evils of ritual slaughter (while protecting hunting), they only want to protect innocent babies from the horrors of circumcision (while allowing ear piercing of minors), they only want to protect Palestinians from the terror of the Israelis (while remaining silent about Lebanese and Jordanian anti-Palestinian laws.) We know they are antisemitic because of the lies they say as well as their hypocrisy. Their morality rarely extends beyond the examples that affect Jews. 

I don't like any definition that requires examples, especially when the examples aren't obviously covered in the base definition. And if Holocaust denial isn't covered in the base definition of antisemitism, then it isn't a good definition - for IHRA, JDA or me. One can arguably say that Holocaust denial is denigration of Jews because it indirectly says that Jewish witnesses to the genocide are all liars, but that is not as clear as it should be from a definition. 

So I think I need to add a clause to this definition to include "malicious lies" towards Jews. This would cover not only Holocaust denial but also all sorts of lies about Jewish history that aren't addressed by the other definitions, like the Khazar myth, or claiming that Jews have no historic ties to Jerusalem, or that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis. 

My new definition is:

Antisemitism is
hostility towards
denigration of,
malicious lies about or 
discrimination against 
Jews 
as individual Jews
as a people
as a religion
as an ethnic group or 
as a nation (i.e., Israel.)

(I'm also wondering if I need to add something like "violence against Jews" but I think that it is covered with "hostility towards." )





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