Friday, October 08, 2021

  • Friday, October 08, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, has issued his final report on antisemitism.

It is actually good.

The litmus test is whether the report admits that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, and it definitely does.


The Special Rapporteur also takes note of numerous reports of an increase in many countries of what is sometimes called “left-wing” antisemitism, in which individuals claiming to hold anti-racist and anti-imperialist views employ antisemitic narratives or tropes in the course of expressing anger at the policies or practices of the Government of Israel. In some cases, individuals expressing such views have engaged in Holocaust denial; in others, they have conflated Zionism, the self-determination movement of the Jewish people, with racism, claimed that Israel does not have a right to exist and accused those expressing concern about antisemitism of acting in bad faith.  The Special Rapporteur emphasizes that it is never acceptable to render Jews as proxies for the Government of Israel. He further recalls that the Secretary-General has characterized “attempts to delegitimize the right of Israel to exist, including calls for its destruction” as a contemporary manifestation of antisemitism.

The Special Rapporteur further notes the claims that the objectives, activities and effects of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement are fundamentally antisemitic. ...He recalls that international law recognizes boycotts as legitimate forms of political expression and that non-violent expressions of support for boycotts are, as a general matter, legitimate speech that should be protected. However, he also stresses that expression that draws on antisemitic tropes or stereotypes, rejects the right of Israel to exist or advocates discrimination against Jewish individuals because of their religion, should be condemned.
The Special Rapporteur received numerous reports that in countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Jews are frequently conflated with Israel and Zionism, even in countries with a deep history of Jewish life. Literature demonizing Jews is prevalent in the media in the region. 31 It was reported that school textbooks in Saudi Arabia contained antisemitic passages, with some even urging violence against Jews.  In August, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed serious concern “about the existence of hate speech, in particular hate speech directed against Israelis, which at times fuels antisemitism towards this group, in certain media outlets, in particular those controlled by Hamas, as well as on social media, in public officials’ statements and in school curricula and textbooks, which also fuels hatred and may incite violence” (CERD/C/PSE/CO/1-2, para. 19 (c))
He is a little more nuanced in his discussion of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism, but he ultimately endorses it:
The Special Rapporteur notes that critics of the working definition have expressed concern that it can be applied in ways that could effectively restrict legitimate political expression, including criticism of policies and practices being promoted by the Government of Israel that violate the rights of Palestinians. Such concerns are focused on three of the illustrative examples attached to the definition, namely, claiming that the existence of Israel is a racist endeavour; requiring of Israel a behaviour not demanded of other democratic States; comparing the government policy of Israel with that of the Nazis. The Special Rapporteur notes that the definition developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance does not designate them as examples of speech that are ipso facto antisemitic and further observes that a contextual assessment is required under the definition to determine whether they are antisemitic. Nevertheless, the potential chilling effects of the use of those examples by public bodies on speech that is critical of policies and practices of the Government of Israel must be taken seriously, as should the concern that criticism of Israel sometimes has been used to incite hatred towards Jews in general, including through expression that feeds on traditional antisemitic stereotypes of Jews. Therefore, the use of the definition, as a non-legal educational tool, could minimize such chilling effects and contribute usefully to efforts to combat antisemitism. When public bodies use the definition in any regulatory context, due diligence must be exercised to ensure that freedom of expression within the law is protected for all.
...The Special Rapporteur recognizes that the working definition of antisemitism developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance can offer valuable guidance for identifying antisemitism in its various forms and therefore encourages States to adopt it for use in education and awareness-raising and for monitoring and responding to manifestations of antisemitism. The Special Rapporteur recommends its use as a critical non-legal educational tool...
Notably, this comes on the heels of the EU 10-year Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life which also supports the IHRA working definition. 

UPDATE: Apologies, this report came out in 2019. I thought it was new because the author's original tweet for it was retweeted.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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