May 27, 2020

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French parliament adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism

Terrific news from France, as a Motion for a resolution to combat antisemitism, No. 2403, passed, 154-72, with 43 abstaining.

The resolution says:

The national assembly,

Having regard to Article 34-1 of the Constitution,

Having regard to Article 136 of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly,

Considering the European Parliament resolution of 1st  June 2017 on the fight against antisemitism,

Having regard to the declaration of the Council of the European Union of 6 December 2018 on the fight against antisemitism and the establishment of a common approach to security in order to better protect Jewish communities and institutions in Europe;

Believes that the operational definition used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance makes it possible to identify as precisely as possible what contemporary anti-Semitism is;

Considering that it would constitute an effective instrument for combating antisemitism in its modern and renewed form, encompassing manifestations of hatred of the State of Israel justified solely by the perception of Israel as a Jewish community;

Approves the operational definition of anti-Semitism used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance as a useful guidance tool for education and training and to support judicial and law enforcement authorities in the fight against terrorism. their efforts to detect and prosecute antisemitic attacks more efficiently and effectively;

Invites the Government, in its pedagogical work, to disseminate it to educational, law enforcement and judicial services.

The explanatory statement is pretty good as well:

Ladies and gentlemen,

For several years, France, all of Europe, but also almost all Western democracies, are facing a resurgence of anti-Semitism probably unprecedented since the Second World War.

Antisemitic acts increased by 74% in 2018 in France. Again, for several years, anti-Semitism has been killing in France.

The hatred of Jews still tends today to perpetuate itself in its most terrible manifestations: murders, profanations of graves, sequestrations of fellow Jews on the sole ground that, because they are Jews, they “would have money”.

It is also the aggressions of the everyday that multiply. Today in France, wearing a Kippa is tantamount to exposing oneself to insults or even physical aggression, which develops in our countrymen of Jewish confession a feeling of insecurity and ill-being in our Republic.

Anti-Semitism of the 21st century has changed. If the old French anti-Semitism has survived, new forms have developed.

Antisemitism is a negation of the Republic, a serious threat to national cohesion. He must be fought in his roots.

But anti-Zionist acts can sometimes obscure antisemitic realities.Criticizing Israel’s very existence as a community of Jewish citizens is tantamount to expressing hatred of the Jewish community as a whole, as well as collectively holding Jews accountable for Israeli political actions is a manifestation of anti-Semitism. Increasingly anti-Zionism is “one of the contemporary forms of anti-Semitism,” to use the words of the President of the Republic. To point to such drifts does not prevent any free criticism of the policies and positions taken by Israeli governments.

These new expressions of anti-Semitism, perverse because they are hidden, insidious because they are dishonest and hypocritical, have given rise to an important work by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Its thirty-one Member States, including France, adopted an operational definition of anti-Semitism on 26 May 2016:

“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews that can be manifested by hatred against them. The rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism target Jewish and non-Jewish individuals and / or their property, community institutions and places of worship.”

While this definition qualifies anti-Zionist attacks motivated by Jewish hatred as antisemitic, it does not recognize criticism of Israel’s policies as anti-Semitic.

“It is a matter of clarifying and strengthening the practices of our police forces, of our magistrates, of our teachers, to enable them to better fight against those who hide behind the rejection of Israel the very negation of the existence of Israel “, as the President of the Republic has pointed out.

Faced with the return of the anti-Semitic scourge, the national representation must take a strong action and put words on what is the new anti-Semitism, in line with the European Parliament in 2017 and the Council of the European Union in 2018 , who recognized the accuracy and efficiency of the operational definition of the Alliance. This is the meaning of this motion for a resolution.

(h/t Gerald Steinberg)

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