Biden weaponizes anti-Semitism to smother criticism of Israel

Biden weaponizes anti-Semitism to smother criticism of Israel
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Biden weaponizes anti-Semitism to smother criticism of Israel

On Monday, February 3, the Biden Administration announced that it “embraces and champions” the so-called International Holocaust Remembrance Allaince (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, according to a State Department official. AMP recognizes the material and violent existence of anti-Semitism, exemplified most recently in the nazi garb worn at the Capitol Hill insurrection. This definition has been widely criticized, even by the definition’s orginal author, for its danger in application to conflate anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel. 

Many problematic examples are mentioned in this definition, including, “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.”

Such broad and vague language here can be misused to deter any criticism of Israel and its crimes as a state, and therefore it’s an infringement on freedom of expression.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, courtesy of the Joe Biden presidential campaign website

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, courtesy of the Joe Biden presidential campaign website

Another example mentioned was “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.

Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, Executive Director of American Muslims for Palestine, says, “This phrasing is also vague and its implications are not clearly defined. This will undoubtedly censor activists for Palestine and Palestinian rights, and outspoken critics of Israel and Israeli policy. For example, and based on this definition speaking out against Israel’s “Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People,” could be considered a form of Anti-Semitism. This law was passed in 2018 by the Israeli Keenest and it specifies the nature of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, effectively severely undermining the rights of 20% of Israel’s citizens who are Arabs. Thus, this law was widely condemned by the international community, including by major American Jewish organizations.”

This definition lays the groundwork for dangerous territory with constitutional concerns regarding the right to freedom of speech and expression, and the right to organize. AMP strongly condemns this definition as inefficient, threatening, and a political tactic to weaponize anti-Semitism to silence critique of US and Israeli policy.  

AMP educates the US public and media on issues related to Palestine. You can learn more about our work at www.AMPalestine.org. For more information, or to schedule an interview with an AMP spokesperson, please contact AMP’s Media Coordinator, Malak Shalabi, at malak@ampalestine.org or  +1 (888) AMP-1948.

rayhanania


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