Photo Credit: wikipedia

Many countries and municipalities have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism, and U.S. President Joe Biden is considering doing so as well. However, he is getting pushback from some anti-Zionist corners, as people feel that the several examples cited in the IHRA definition stymies legitimate criticism against Israel.

In fact, the opposite is true. There are clear examples of antisemitism which are presently excluded in the IHRA definition which would encompass the land of Israel.


Denial of Jewish History

It is outrageous to deny any people their history, and the IHRA definition narrowly covers this topic as it relates to the genocide of European Jews in the Holocaust. However, it omits doing this in a more general manner, such as denying the 4,000 years of history of Jews in the holy land, that the Jewish Temples stood in Jerusalem and that Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem since the 1860s.

These are plain historic truths. Yet antisemites – like Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – deny these facts repeatedly and publicly.

Would anyone ever consider denying the history of Black slavery? To do so would clearly mark such person as a racist.

So it is with denying Jewish history, especially in the land of Israel.

Denying the Right of Jews To Live Somewhere

Redlining where people can live has an ugly history and is known as being part of structural racism. For centuries, many countries barred where Jews could live and confined them to ghettoes.

The world promotes this today, passing laws that Jews are forbidden to live in certain parts of the land of Israel which they consider purely “Arab land.” In 2016, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2334 which labeled Israeli “settlements” east of the 1949 Armistice Lines as “illegal.” While an Israeli Arab is free to move to eastern Jerusalem, an Israeli Jew is considered a “settler” who should be barred from owning land in the center of the Jewish holy land.

It’s a repulsive antisemitic statement. No one would ever consider legitimizing a law that Kurds should be banned from owning land in Istanbul, or Algerian Muslims in Marseilles. Yet somehow, the long antisemitic history of banning Jews from living in certain locations thrives today, in the land of Israel of all places.

Denying the Right of Jews To Pray At Their Holiest Site

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Articles 2 and 18 clearly allows all people the “freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” Such right covers Jews at their holiest site on the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Yet the United Nations and several nations bow to the antisemitic demands of Muslim nations that Jews should be banned from this basic human right. It is a flagrant denial of a basic human right, and doing so specifically and only for Jews reeks of Jew hatred.

The Jewish Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem from the roof of the Hurva Synagogue (photo: First One Through)

People are concerned that the IHRA definition of antisemitism has too many references to the Jewish STATE of Israel when in fact it has too few mentions of the Jewish LAND of Israel. Specifically, denying Jewish history in the land, denying Jews the right to live in the land and denying Jews the right to pray at their holiest sites are blatant and obvious examples of antisemitism which should be covered.

Structural Jew-hatred exists at the highest levels of governments and should be addressed directly as antisemitism gains momentum on the extremes of left and right.

Related articles:

The Anti-Semitism In Anti-Zionism

Bigots In Power, Checked And Unchecked

Biden Enables Anti-Semitism On College Campuses

Antisemitism Includes the Denial of Jewish History

Mahmoud Abbas’s Particular Anti-Zionist Holocaust Denial

{Repsoted from the author’s site}


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Paul Gherkin is founder of the website FirstOneThrough, which is dedicated to educating people on Israel, the United States, Judaism and science in an entertaining manner so they speak up and take action. In a connected digital world, each person can be a spokesperson by disseminating news to thousands of people by forwarding articles or videos to people, or using the information to fight on behalf of a cause because In a connected digital world. YOU are FirstOneThrough.