Anti-Semitism is fanaticism against all Semites (Arabs, Christian Arabs and Muslims of the Middle East, Canaanites, some Ethiopians, Aramaeans and Jews). Anti-Zionism opposes the political ideology of Zionism, a movement that insists on all its political manifestations to prioritize the rights of Jews in a homeland to the detriment of Palestinians who have been living there since ancient times.
The Definitions introduced by IHRA also followed by examples suggest that any targeting of Israel or “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” could itself be racist and anti-Semitic and that “applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected of any other democratic nation” is anti-Semitic. Adopting of such Definitions on behalf of several countries around the world including some EU state members comes in complete contradiction with the Democratic values, freedom of speech and violates all civil liberties as well as the founding principles of the European Union. This became clearer last summer, when the Israeli parliament (Knesset) passed a law defining Israel as the State of the Jewish People. The law stipulates that all Jews, even those who have nothing to do with Israel, enjoy the right to self-determination where all Palestinians are deprived of it, including 20% of the Israeli population who are Palestinians and officially citizens of Israel. In other words, this racist law creates a two-speed regime in Israel – as well as in the occupied territories – based on a system of religious classification that gives all Jews superior rights over all Palestinians. Netanyahu’s unprecedented and unacceptable statement condenses the above-mentioned “Israel is not a state for all its citizens, Israel is the nation-state of the Jews only.”
We have never witnessed in recent political history such an attempt to alter and distort the meaning of words so to serve the intentions of an occupying and colonial force. In every case, adopting the IHRA Working Definition and its examples is granting absolute legal impunity and immunity to the Israeli regime to further its violations of International and Humanitarian Law, ignoring completely all the UN and the Security Councils’ resolutions and UN Charter.
Criticizing Israeli politics of terror, ethnic cleansing, displacement, mass arrests and apartheid, even by Israeli groups and humanitarian organizations, is not an attack on Judaism – a religion we respect like any other and cannot be regarded as an act of racism – because we are likewise criticizing ISIS and other far-right political forces in Europe, as well as Trump’s current administration in the US dealing with world issues. Palestinian and Arab rejection of Zionism is not a matter of ethnic, religious or social hostility to the Jews, but rejection of the Israeli regime colonial policies such as the latest events taking place in Gaza where my people are suffering brutal aggressions resulting in more than 25 Palestinian deaths in just two days.
We would like to emphasize that racism, discrimination, hatred, violence or intimidation targeting a specific group of people because of their nationality, race or religion, including anti-Semitism, represent a growing and serious threat to the whole international community and they must be tackled and fought. We would strongly condemn the recent vandalism of Jewish cemeteries in Greece, Thessaloniki but also in France, as well as vandalism of temples and Christian and Muslim sacred places of worship by Israeli Extremist Jewish groups in Israel and Palestine. But let’s not confuse dissent, criticism of Israeli policies and solidarity with the Palestinians are not anti-Semitism and all those who sympathize with our Palestinian people (politicians, activists, artists, humanitarian organizations and movements, including Jewish organizations) should not apologise for their basic positions of principle.