2018-07-31 23:07:21 UTC
I recognise that Jewish people, having suffered the holocaust within living
memory, are bound to feel insecure with the underlying fear that the whole
thing could rise up again. I sympathise with their fears. But I would like
to ask if several British/Jewish MPs have perhaps gone too far in their
verbal chastisement of Jeremy Corbyn (UK Leader of the Opposition).
NB. I am not a supporter of Corbyn's politics, but I do like to see fair
play and not accuse him of being anti-semitic if he is not.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has produced what it
claims is the internationally accepted definition of anti-semitism,
displayed on webpage
The definition they offer is:-
"Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as
hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism
are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property,
toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."
The only problem I have with this definition is that it includes "Rhetorical
. . . . [criticism. presumably] . . . . toward Jewish community institutions
. . . .". A prominent Jewish community institution is the government of
Israel. Without necessarily agreeing with him, I wish to grant Mr Corbyn the
right to freely criticise the government of Israel if he disagrees with any
of its actions. In fact he can, because the IHRA document goes on to give
examples of anti-semitism, and amongst these examples we find:-
1. Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel,
conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to
that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.
2. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
So item 1 allows that it is alright after all for Corbyn to criticise the
government of Israel. Why, then, is he being tarred with the brush of
ant-semitism? Has he done other things that I do not know about?
Item 2 involves a self-contradiction in the IHRA document. It was quite
acceptable in the 1970s and 1980s to draw comparisons between the white
supremacist government of South Africa and that of the Nazis. Item 1 says
that if it was alright for South Africa, a similar criticism of Israel (if
honestly believed) is allowable. But Item 2 says that it is not allowable.
Treating this as an exercise in precise wording in the English language,
definitely not as an exercise in politics on one side or another, how would
you repair the wording of the IHRA definition of anti-semitism?
Richard Chambers Leeds UK.