Palestinian rights and the IHRA definition of antisemitism

A Palestinian perspective on the IHRA definition, raising some legitimate concerns regarding how the definition is being applied, interpreted and in some cases, weaponized.

The least controversial aspect is that antisemitism should be viewed as being part and parcel of fights against all forms of racism and discrimination. The other elements raise some uncomfortable truths and  reflect some of the more intractable issues:

We, the undersigned Palestinian and Arab academics, journalists and intellectuals are hereby stating our views regarding the definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), and the way this definition has been applied, interpreted and deployed in several countries of Europe and North America.

In recent years, the fight against antisemitism has been increasingly instrumentalised by the Israeli government and its supporters in an effort to delegitimise the Palestinian cause and silence defenders of Palestinian rights. Diverting the necessary struggle against antisemitism to serve such an agenda threatens to debase this struggle and hence to discredit and weaken it.

Source: Palestinian rights and the IHRA definition of antisemitism

The worst time for Jews to abandon Europe – Avraham Burg

Avraham Burg on European Jews:

In a generation in which we Israelis have forgotten how to be sensitive and empathetic to minorities, to those who are different, to the persecuted, and many American Jews are swallowed up in their comfort zones of white society and are abandoning their partnership with the “others,” in America, the “United States of Europe” is presenting a new model of identity – a union between those who are different, and the “other.” It’s a model no different from the American one which seeks to assimilate all into a monochromatic American democracy.

Further, Europe is the current meeting point between Islam and the West. Some of that encounter involves clashes, and some involves learning. The Christian continent is learning to make space for other, rich and varied identities. My friends, Ziya from Bangladesh, Shaida whose family is from Turkey and Rob from Jamaica, are impressive Europeans, and Europe is better off with them. Just like Shaul from Venice, Yoop from Amsterdam and Brian from London – there is no dissonance between their Jewish heritage and their European identity. The discourse between white, Christian Europe and those who are different is fascinating. More important is the dialogue between Western Europe and the Muslim forces in its midst.

The Muslim world and some of its members are embarking on a long journey toward the Western values of freedom, equality and brotherhood. The institutionalization of Western Islam in the heart of Europe – that which is absorbing values of democracy while remaining true to Muslim tradition – is where the strategic potential exists for bridging the gaps peacefully in the generations to come. It’s not happening in the Middle East or North America, but only in Europe. That is where the vanguard of humanity and humaneness is to be found. There has never been a worse time for Jews to abandon Europe.

The challenge facing the West and Europe is no longer military or economic, but rather an intellectual challenge of values. The philosopher Hans-George Gadamer said that he regards abundance of diversity as the most precious treasure which Europe managed to save from the conflagrations of the past, to offer to the world today.

“To live with Another, live as Another for Another, is the fundamental task of man – both on the highest and the lowest level …therein perhaps dwells that specific advantage of Europe, which could and had to learn the art of living with others,” Gadamer is quoted in Zygmunt Bauman’s book “Culture in a Liquid Modern World.”

A fight for the future of the West without the Jews of Europe would be almost tragic, and must be avoided at all costs.

The worst time for Jews to abandon Europe – Opinion – Israel News | Haaretz.