Antisemitism? Jews are not qualified to recognize or define it
It's been a long time since I followed the war against the Jews waged by British University Unions against their Jewish members. Here is the most recent development, as explained by David Hirsh of Engage.
The case boils down to the question of what constitutes antisemitism in the present day realities. The Tribunal determined that it has the authority to reject the definition of Antisemitism, as it is defined in the WORKING DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM.
According to this definition, certain forms of anti-Zionism can be regarded as antisemitic:
Back to the Tribunal:
Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests
itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the
overall context could include:
However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.
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.
the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g.,
claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
In paragraph 150 of its judgment, the Tribunal said
“It seems to us that a belief in the Zionist project or an attachment to Israel or any similar sentiment cannot amount to a protected characteristic. It is not intrinsically a part of Jewishness and, even if it was, it could not be substituted for the pleaded characteristics, which are race and religion or belief. "
have some random thoughts about this case which I’ll just throw out here:
The Tribunal purports to define antisemitism based on its
own understanding of what Judaism is. For the overwhelming majority of Jews,
the love for Israel (Zion) is an integral part of their religious identity and
affirmation. In every prominent prayer or ritual or ceremony, Jerusalem is
mentioned. The Tribunal has got some nerve attempting to redefine Judaism by
excluding this central tenet and sentiment as if they are not integral to
Jewish identity. Seems to me they would favour the Nazi definition of a Jew,
based on bloodlines (an accident of birth). Long before the Nazis, medieval
Spaniards were checking out a Jew by the degree of his “limpieza de sangre”.
It’s not the principles of the belief that matter but the racial/biological
affiliation to a tribe.Unlike the Nazis and the Spaniards, however, the
Tribunal appears to consider benignly this blood classification of Jewish. If
you are born to Jewish parents, that makes you a Jew. The intellectual content
of Judaism is of no importance or relevance to the case. Therefore it follows
that if you are attacked as a Jew for your intellectual emotional attachment to
Israel then the attack is not antisemitic. It’s what’s in your mind that is
being attacked, not your body. Nobody attacked you by pointing out your crooked
nose. That’s THEIR conception of what constitutes antisemitism. From that point
onward, the self-exoneration follows naturally.
Note how neatly this type of definition excludes Jews in the
same way that the Nazis’ or Spaniards’ did. The Nazis couldn’t care less about
the qualitative contents of the Jewish mind. The case of Irene Nemirovsky
exemplifies that. This Tribunal seems to suggest that Fraser is a born Jew and
as such, and only such, is he entitled to protection against antisemitic
attacks. If his home were to be sprayed by neo-Nazi antisemitic graffiti, the
Tribunal would be outraged. If his home were to be sprayed by BDSers’, the
Tribunal would probably condemn the vandalism of the act but would not call it
an antisemitic attack. If you apply their logic, it would be just an extreme
case of criticism against Israeli policies and a comment on Fraser’s own
culpability for being a supporter of Israel.
What the Tribunal is doing is — artificially and
irresponsibly and without a shred of historical awareness or just simple basic
self-reflection– shrinking the definition of Judaism to the bare minimum.
Ironically, integral to the Tribunal’s approach and a necessary concomitant
element is the need to expand and stretch the definition of Apartheid and
colonization, so that Zionism could fit into them, thus criminalizing Israeli
identity and those who support them.
In the original Cinderella story, when one of the evil sisters
could not insert her foot into the small glass sandal, she amputated her toes
in order to achieve that. I’m thinking that perhaps the other evil sister,
faced with the same incommensurabilty between foot and sandal, might have
bribed or persuaded the prince’s servant (her hypothetical co-conspirator) to replace the
small sandal with a bigger one, so that it would fit her own proportions. If
the case had been brought before this Tribunal, both these "solutions" would be deemed plausible and legitimate means by the evil sisters to pursue personal happiness, and Cinderella would find herself in the same
place Fraser is: De facto accused of frivolousness, bad-faith and striving to abuse her step-sisters' human rights.