November 18, 2019

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A challenge to the UK’s "Free Speech" Palestinians

The Guardian published a letter from major Palestinian leaders in the UK rejecting the IHRA definition of antisemitism that includes:

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.

Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

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.

Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.

Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

The letter says:

Any use by public bodies of the IHRA examples on antisemitism that either inhibits discussion relating to our dispossession by ethnic cleansing, when Israel was established, or attempts to silence public discussions on current or past practices of settler colonialism, apartheid, racism and discrimination, and the ongoing violent military occupation, directly contravenes core rights. 

I once made a list comparing classic antisemitic speech with contemporary anti-Israel speech.

I would like to ask the signatories of this letter to kindly inform us which of these criticisms of Israel on the right side of this list are considered OK in their view, or if they consider all of them legitimate criticism of Israel.

Antisemites Anti-Zionists
“Jews should go back where they came from” “Israeli Jews should go back where they came from”
“Jews control the USA” “Israel controls the USA”
“Jews control the banks” “Zionists control the money supply”
“Jews control the media” “Zionists control the media”
“Jews are inferior Semites” “Israeli Jews are not native to the region”
“Jews poison the wells” “Israel poisons the water supply”
“Jews were behind the Black Plague “Israel is creating anti-Arab biological weapons
“Jews murder Christian children” “Israel targets and murders Arab children”
“Jews use blood of gentile children for rituals” “Israeli doctors steal organs from gentile patients
“Jews cannot be trusted” “Israel cannot be trusted”
“Jews exploit their workers” “Israel exploits Arab labor”
“The Star of David offends me” “The Star of David offends me
“We don’t want Jews in our clubs” “We don’t want Israel in international bodies”
“Jews controlled the slave trade” “Zionism is racism”
“Jews are not white” “Jews are guilty of white privilege” 
“The Holocaust never happened” “Zionist Jews were complicit in the Holocaust
“Jews are behind all wars” “Israel is the reason for all terrorism and ME unrest”
“Jews arrogantly believe they are ‘chosen’” “Israel arrogantly believes it is above the law”
“Greedy Jews always want more money” “Greedy Israel always wants more land”
“Jews have secret plans to control the world” “Israel plans to expand from the Nile to Euphrates
“Jewish businesses must be boycotted” “Israeli businesses must be boycotted”
Jews not allowed in this hotel Israelis not allowed in this shop”
“Universities must limit Jewish students” “Universities must not work with Israelis”
“Germans had good reasons to hate Jews” “Palestinians have good reason to hate Israelis”
“People I don’t like must be secretly Jewish” “People I don’t like must be associated with Israel”
“If everyone hates Jews, there must be a reason” “If everyone hates Israel, there must be a reason”
“’Jew’ is the ultimate insult” “’Zionist’ is the ultimate insult”

I would like to add that when anti-Zionists say anything bad about Israelis, they always only mean Israeli Jews. Israeli Arabs who live across the Green Line are not “settlers.” Israeli non-Jews who service in the IDF are not baby killers. Israeli Arabs are not boycotted by universities or shops, as far as I know.

So, please, let us know which of the expressions on the right side are legitimate criticism and not hate speech. While you are at it, let us know which ones on the left are considered antisemitic to you as well, and explain the difference between the two sides.

I don’t think any of the esteemed academics and entertainers who signed the letter has the guts to actually expose the specifics of that they consider acceptable. I think they are cowards.

Please, anti-Zionists, prove me wrong.

Here are the signatories:

Omar Al-Qattan Chairman of the board of trustees, AM Qattan Foundation,Atallah Said Chairman, British Palestinian Policy Council, Professor Kamel Hawwash University of Birmingham, Professor Karma Nabulsi Univerity of Oxford, Nadia Hijab Author and human rights advocateDr Aimee ShalanCharity chief executiveBen Jamal Director, Palestine Solidarity Campaign,Mazen Masri Managing director, Edgo, philanthropistSawsan AsfariPhilanthropist, founder educational charitiesZaher Birawi Chairman, Europal Forum, Salma Karmi-Ayyoub Barrister, Professor Suleiman Sharkh University of Southhampton, Professor Izzat Darwazeh UCL, Dr Adam Hanieh Reader in development, Soas, Dr Dina Matar Soas, Feras Abu Helal Editor-in-chief, journalistDr Nimer Sultany Senior lecturer in public law, Soas, Dr Ghada Karmi Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, Akram SalhabRefugee and migrant organiserKarl Sabbagh Author and publisher, Dr Ahmed Khalidi Academic visitor, St Antony’s College, Oxford, Samir Eskanda Musician, Selma Dabbagh Author, Ahmed Masoud Writer and director, Omar Shweiki Director, HE educational charity, Hanna Khalil Playwright, Kareem SamaraMusician Ahmed Ziat Humanitarian aid coordinator

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