General Antisemitism

British gov’t: Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination is antisemitic.

Since this blog’s founding in 2009, we’ve always had a dual mission:

1. To promote fair and accurate coverage of Israel in the British media.

2. To expose and combat tropes and narratives about Israel in the British media which cross the line from legitimate criticism to antisemitism – what’s known as the ‘New Antisemitism’.

To this latter end, we were always quite clear that when we use the word “antisemitism”, our guide would be the EUMC (European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia) Working Definition (WD). Whilst you can read the entire WD here, here’s how the WD defines antisemitism with respect to Israel:

  1. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  2. Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  3. Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  4. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  5. Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

We’ve been extremely careful about using the word antisemitism with regard to coverage of Israel, and generally only evoked the term if articles or op-eds employed rhetoric or endorsed ideas consistent with the above bullet points.  (Just yesterday, in fact, we called out The Independent  – per the first bullet point – for legitimising the charge that Zionism is a racist movement.)

The WD has been the most widely respected definition for those tasked with fighting the resurgence of anti-Jewish racism, and one which was adopted or recommended (in some form) by organisations, government bodies and agencies including the UK All-Party Inquiry into antisemitism, the US State Department, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

This morning, however, recognition was taken to the next level, as multiple news outlets reported that the British government will officially adopt a version of the WD.  Downing Street said that the WD would assist “in efforts to fight hate crimes and incitement targeting Jews” and ensure that “culprits will not be able to get away with being antisemitic because the term is ill-defined, or because different organisations or bodies have different interpretations of it”.

CST issued the following statement:

“CST welcomes and applauds the government’s adoption of this clear and powerful definition of antisemitism. This is an important step that can help the necessary work of reducing antisemitism and tackling those who promote it. We also appreciate the government’s efforts to encourage the use of this definition in international arenas and we hope that other governments and international bodies will follow suit.”

Beyond the benefits afforded to media monitors like UKMW by the adoption of the WD, the real winners (as the CST statement alluded to) of course will be British Jews.  As we argued in our post yesterday, given the overwhelming support for Zionism within the Jewish community in the UK, and how important Zionism is to British Jewish identity, those who denounce Zionism as an inherently racist (or even Nazi-like) ideology are in effect saying that most Jewish Britons embrace – as part of their very ethnic/religious identity – a racist or Nazi ideology.

Simply put, such ugly, vicious and politically toxic smears should have no place within mainstream British discourse, and it is our hope that such racist manifestations of anti-Zionism are relegated to the dustbin of history. 

92 replies »

  1. Israel also accepted this definition:

    The IHRA – which is backed by 31 countries, including the UK, USA, Israel, France and Germany – set its working definition of what constituted anti-Semitic abuse in May.

  2. Whilst initially I was encouraged that the Government were taking constructive steps to combat Antisemitism, I soon became perturbed at some of the implications relative to the the adoption of a “Working Definition” .

    It is as if the word MINEFIELD has been posted in 50 foot high letters on a road sign together with a skull and crossbones symbol, and we’re all heading straight for it at top speed.

    One cannot stop people thinking Antisemitic thoughts regardless of the language that may become proscribed. Language is a complex medium that is developing continuously. Once the WD has been agreed any number of euphemisms will be introduced into the language to circumvent its scope. Indeed the development of such euphemisms will become an industry. Court cases will ensue in which the court will be required to determine whether or not such euphemistic language is Antisemitic, and courts (being funny things) will not always decide that there is a case to answer.

    Moreover other minorities both racial and religious will also seek WDs of prejudice and antipathy relative to their specific interests. Legal actions will abound in varied and unexpected directions. I really do think that the Government needs to think long and hard about the efficacy of what is proposed.

    UK Media Watch does a great job in the fight against Antisemitism. Of course it is quite frequent that contributors who are themselves either Antisemitic or Judaeophobic appear on these threads. I would rather read what they have to say and have the opportunity to challenge, than for such people to be silenced by some “Working Definition” that would simply be cited as a further example of Jewish control of society.

      • Bellend if you believe that anti-Semitism is a ‘game’ then you are not only a very sick and sad individual but you have no place in any form of civilised society.

    • Michael you are correct that you cannot stop people thinking anti-Semitic thoughts.
      You cannot stop people thinking about robbery, rape or murder either. So should we not have laws that forbid those vile acts as well?

      • oh Stephen, that is the informal fallacy of the conspiracy theorist. The twisted venom of a would-be Jew hunter. Seeking permission to attack the potential victim and then using the protection they receive from society as evidence of sinister intent and hidden global control. You could use the very same logic to suggest the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker or Amur Leopard are part of a hidden group of creatures secretly plotting the introduction of stricter animal protection laws. Absurd.

  3. The government of the UK has consistently opposed that same right and has 100% supported the Islamofascists killing Jews for exercising that right.

    Is that going to change? Never.

  4. It is incredible that a crappy little racist kleptomaniacal basket case of a country can made such inroads against hard won British liberties. Hard won over centuries. There will be mass defiance. Going to be quite fun actually.

    • Bellend what inroad and against which hard won British liberty are you referring to?

      “There will be mass defiance” Bullshit! Have you ever lived in Britain? Mass indifference, maybe, but mass defiance, no!
      You will soon find that very few have the same obsession as you have about Israel and Jews.

      Now off you go and take your medication, failing which climb back on the roof and start howling at the moon again.

      • Well I am totally chilled about this Gerry. Not so you it would seem. A statement from a minister does not a law maketh. A parliamentary Bill ? Well that will be a rocky road. And if it gets through it will be contrary to the European Union Human Rights Act. All in all an unholy mess. Gonna be fun.

        • Bellend there is no such law as “the European Union Human Rights Act.”

          Are you really that stupid, or is your mental illness getting visibly worse?

            • Bellend there is not now, nor has there ever been a “European Union Human Rights Act” which you claimed adopting the guidelines would be contrary too.
              There is a Human Rights Act in the UK so perhaps you can explain how adopting these guidelines will be in contravention of it?

              When these guidelines are adopted I do not know which you will end up in first, a prison cell or a rubber room in an asylum.

            • ?Gerry there is a Human rights Act and the UK is signed up to it.

              Oh dear! The UK is on the way to ‘signing out’ of it now. I feel that the huge Brexit vote was partly predicated on the abomination of the EU’s perception of Human Rights. At least in as much as they allow Islamists to subvert UK born Muslims to become extremists. Islamists have learned how to use the tools of democracy, mostly well meaning Human Rights legislation, to try to destroy democracy which is so clearly, incompatible with true Islam.

              The UK will legislate its own Human Rights legislation which will not allow those who detest those same human rights, to use them to demolish the basic human right to true democracy and equality. So much more than the ‘one person, one vote’.

              • Jezza Bella I am surprised to see you repeating the nonsense of the EU and how it forced its Human Rights on the UK.
                The Human Rights Act that the UK signed in 1999 is based on the European Convention on Human Rights which has been in existence since 1950 and was drawn up by the Council of Europe, a body which has been in existence since the end of WWII and existed BEFORE there was an EU or an EEC, and comprises more than 40+ countries (the EU is 28)
                Leaving, IF it happens, the EU will not mean that the UK Human Rights Act ceases to exist.

                By the way there is no indication that the UK Government intends to withdraw from the Council of Europe even IF the UK withdraws from the EU.

        • And of course all is laid bare. Now it is clearly laid bare how the Israel Lobby is corrupting political life in this country. The State within a state, the CST are going to be drafting this new law for freaking hells sake. Shine the light I say

          • DumBellamy, Yesterday, December 11, was the 75th anniversary of National SOCIALIST Germany declaring War on the US, first by the way. The US responded, by declaring War on National SOCIALIST Germany.

            Still upset that your LOBBY, SURRENDERED, UNCONDITIONALLY, to the US, UK and SU?

      • When Bellamy speaks about mass-defiance he is dreaming about pogroms as a traditional solution of the problem with the pesky Jews. Maybe he has hopes that during the usual looting he can steal a toothbrush – his first.

      • It will be fun. You will be in the dock, explaining to the judge that it’s the jooz what conspired to blacken your good name, and everyone will laugh that sanctimony is no longer a defence against being a crappy little racist kleptomaniacal basket case of a human being.

        • I will be perfectly happy to be the dock groovy. Thats the cool thing about this. You think it shuts down debate. In fact it opens it up. Prosecutions are the last thing the Zios want. They mostly will fail

          • I know Steve, you are a proper keyboard hero, and I’m sure that gives you a lot of personal satisfaction and gains you the respect you deserve with fellow SWP members, but tell me honestly, are SWP meetings the last refuge for bigoted scoundrels who still pretend that using the word zio is not a racist term of abuse? (That might also be a question you need to answer for the magistrate one day). It’s a genuine question, because your circle of social respectability seems to be rapidly diminishing.

            • Groovy a total of nine months slaving under a blazing sun, ten hours a day, making mud bricks to rebuild Bedouin structures demolished by the IOF. What I would have given to be safe at home behind a keyboard.

              Zio has only been antisemitic for about 15 months groovy. It was invented in the Oxford Labour Club scam. Its short for Zionist. I have not been in the habit of using it but now I will. A juvenile act of defiance. Groovy nothing would give me greater pleasure than to answer to a magistrate one day. Bring it on

    • Incredible Bellamy? You didn’t read in your copy of the Protocols that the Jews control EVERYTHING!?
      And Israel is a racist crappy kleptomaniacal country?! Yes Israel stole the natural resources of half Africa and Asia during the centuries keeping completely separated institutions for the colonized and themselves.
      BTW in your case defining antisemitism is really unnecessary – you are a textbook example of a classic wannabe Jew-hating bigot.

    • Bellamy, your language in your opening remark is indicative of that of a real Antisemite. You are attacking 50% of the world’s Jewish population who live in the country you describe. That country was founded upon British principles of freedom and democracy and indeed was hard won. You however would not recognize a ‘hard won British liberty’ if it hit you in the face.

      Returning to my original post however, I would still prefer that you and others however ignorant, prejudiced and downright unpleasant had the right to express a view. So long as that view cannot be interpreted as incitement or conspiracy to commit crime then I can live with that. The ‘working definition’ that has been announced in no way, it seems to me, infringes your privileges in any way.

            • Bellend if you are working for ‘Palestine’ that explains why there is not a state called ‘Palestine’.

              Were you born a loser or did you make a career choice to become a loser?

                • Bellend try reading your original post and my response to it.
                  If you still have a problem in understanding my post and its reference to the non-existence of a state called ‘Palestine’, then that is further evidence of what a stupid waste of space you are.

                • Oh yes you did – on 13/12 in your answer to me: “If you are working for Palestine and you haven’t been called antisemitic you are not working hard enough.” That clearly implies that you are happy to be called an Antisemite on account of your efforts for ‘Palestine’. You implied it and we have inferred it. If you didn’t mean it why say it? Perhaps you have forgotten.

                    • Even if you write stuff without engaging your brain, you can at least read it afterwards. Your arguments, rather like Momentum, are finished. All you are left with is picking and scratching at an open wound. You imply things and then seek to pretend you didn’t when all else fails. This last feeble attempt has even taken you two days to produce. Its over Bellamy – just accept it.

        • Of course you are proud of being a Jew hater Bellamy. Nobody doubted this obvious fact after reading your anti-semitic hate propaganda here.

  5. Now that is a rather stupid comment. The Jewish community may have various views about Russia and the Crimea and I certainly have little idea if there is a consensus about that or a host of other issues. We do not act as a single unit…………not even over the topic that started off these postings. Each one of us can articulate his or her view without fear of physical attack or worse from our (good) fellows! I await your next smartarse contribution with eager anticipation.

      • Your comments appear to be getting sillier and sillier. If someone is talking about a specific Jew it depends obviously on the context of their remarks. If the context suggests that the Jew they are talking about is typical of other or all Jews then such remarks might well cause concern. I would have thought that was obvious.

        You have Jews on the brain. There is an old saying “if you want to beat a dog then it is not difficult to find a stick”. It wouldn’t matter to you one iota what was going on in the world, you would only be concerned about that which in your mind involved Jews. That is the nature of the Judaeophobe. Whilst there are plenty like you I am quite satisfied that you are outnumbered hundreds to one by those of a more balanced state of mind. That, incidentally, was why my original comment on these threads expressed doubt about the wisdom of establishing a working definition of Antisemitism. Many of my co-religionists disagree with me as they are entitled to do. But then of course, as you now know, we hold individual not collective opinions.

          • Now we are getting somewhere. You are “entirely comfortable” with what you admit is a phobia. As with so many phobics you do not accept that the condition requires treatment. I shall not enquire into your “experiences” as these are simply contrived justifications of a psychiatric disorder. You can say anything to justify your position ensuring others will not be in a position to judge the veracity of statements made. Tell me – is your phobia gaining ‘Momentum’ within your social circles?

            • Let put it no more strongly than this. If you want to know who is losing the debate, look to see who seeks to shut it down. I love this new alleged ” definition ” Probably for much the same reasons that you are uneasy about it.

              Your reference to Momentum was ill timed.

              Momentum is finished.

  6. Coming up with your own definition is exactly that, only a definition. Just because someone says it’s true doesn’t make it so. Speaking out against the state of izreel is just that, speaking out against it. It has nothing to do with antisemitism, and has everything to do with an #Apartheid State.

    • Antisemitism like any other word means what we agree it should mean. No words have an intrinsic meaning

      “Speaking out” against Israel is valid unless you demand of it what you do not demand of other states.

      Calling Israel that has total equality for all before the law apartheid is antisemitic because it is a lie, especially when you ignore its neighbor Lebanon whose Palestinian inhabitants have no access to the state’s education health or police services

    • Mr. Hall if we all came up with our own individual definitions then you are probably correct that they would all remain individual definitions. BUT when the ‘someone’ who decides on the definition is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom speaking on behalf of her Government, then that definition carries more weight and authority than a definition that you or I may come up with as individuals.

    • Mr.Hall by the way it is spelt ISRAEL not izreel
      I suggest you have the ‘spell check’ program on your computer fixed as it is clearly malfunctioning.