Stifling the Debate on Israel

The British government of Theresa May officially adopted on December 12 a new definition of anti-Semitism that includes legitimate criticism of Israel.

The definition was adopted earlier in the year by a pro-Israeli group IHRA, although it was considered but abandoned by the European anti-racism agency in 2005.

It is also a rather dangerous move which will most likely lead to an expanding chasm between British civil society and Britain’s political elite.

Israeli and pro-Israeli groups in the West have always been keen on conflating genuine racism and genuine criticism of the state of Israel, which stands accused of violating scores of United Nations resolutions and of war crimes in the occupied territories, especially Gaza.

Adopting the new definition comes on the heels of a manufactured crisis in British politics, in which the Labor Party under Jeremy Corbyn was falsely accused of being ‘soft’ on anti-Semitism among its members. This ‘crisis’ was engineered by pro-Israeli groups to detract from genuine campaigning among Labor supporters, in order to bind Israel to its international obligations, and end the siege and occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Last October, a cross-party group issued a report that contributed to the confusion of ideas, condemning the use of the word ‘Zionist’ as pejorative, and claiming that such a use “has no place in civil society.’

While efforts to protect Israel from freedom of speech in Britain…

Read more