Susan Rice, who last month announced she was leaving her job as director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, on May 2 told the DC conference of the Anti-Defamation League that President Biden was planning to release his national strategy on antisemitism later in May, stressing “actions we all can take throughout society to raise awareness and prevent antisemitism, to protect Jews and to build alliances across communities.”
Since then, the White House has been under intense pressure from the left to use the opportunity of declaring war on antisemitism to “trim” the broadly accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, and, in effect, to turn it against Zionism and Israel.
In early February, Peace Now distributed a mass email boasting that “we and many of our fellow progressive organizations oppose the IHRA definition [of antisemitism], as it has been continually used to delegitimize critics and criticism of Israel and its policies, as well as suppress voices and activism in support of Palestinian rights. We are happy to see the American Bar Association take this action and we are proud to have helped lead the opposition to the use of the IHRA definition.”
A few days earlier, the American Bar Association passed resolution 514 which “urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments in the United States to condemn antisemitism, as referred to in The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, encouraged for use by other governments and international organizations by the US Department of State: ‘Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.’”
These are the IHRA clauses the ABA, and by extension, Peace Now and every enemy of the Jewish State in Washington, DC, want to eliminate:
- Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
- Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
- 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.
- Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
- Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
- Holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the state of Israel.
By removing from the IHRA list the five poignant items that describe antisemitism in its anti-Israel connotation, the ABA weaponizes the IHRA list against Israel.
Susan Rice whom we all remember as President Obama’s national security advisor and later as an ambassador to the United Nations, says she learned about Judaism from her classmates and visited Israel for the first time when she was 18. She told the ADL conference she was “proud to defend Israel against unfair attacks on its legitimacy and security,” and “embraced this role with passion.”
Enter J Street, that ominous friend of Israel that doesn’t want the Jewish State to be destroyed, only diminished, to make life easier for Jewish Democrats.
Dylan J. Williams, J Street Senior Vice President for Policy and Strategy, on May 18 quoted Kenneth S. Stern, Director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, who was initially involved in drafting the IHRA list, and who told the ABA that President Donald Trump’s adoption of the IHRA definition in an executive order related to civil rights law enforcement at educational institutions was “an attack on academic freedom and free speech, and will harm not only pro-Palestinian advocates, but also Jewish students and faculty, and the academy itself.”
Stern added: “To establish that as a principle of law is, to me, abhorrent.”
At which point J Street’s chief advocate Dylan J. Williams, who in August 2022 lobbied to cut Congressional funding for Iron Dome, weaves a familiar conspiracy theory: “So, what explains the singular focus of officials on the IHRA definition? The answer is that influential pro-Israel organizations and the Israeli government have worked ceaselessly to lobby for the adoption of the IHRA definition and its examples into law.”
The Zionist deep state is at work once again.
The Jewish Insider reported that progressive groups are urging the White House to drop the “Zionist” clauses from Biden’s war on antisemitism strategy. Otherwise, they advocate for including alternative definitions, most notably the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism.
The document calls for eliminating the following instances from the definition of antisemitism (I abbreviated them, check the website for the full text):
- Supporting the Palestinian demand for justice and the full grant of their political, national, civil, and human rights, as encapsulated in international law.
- Criticizing or opposing Zionism as a form of nationalism, or arguing for a variety of constitutional arrangements for Jews and Palestinians in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.
- Evidence-based criticism of Israel as a state. This includes its institutions and founding principles.
- Boycotts, divestment, and sanctions are commonplace, non-violent forms of political protest against states. In the Israeli case, they are not, in and of themselves, antisemitic.
- Political speech does not have to be measured, proportional, tempered, or reasonable to be protected under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and other human rights instruments. Criticism that some may see as excessive or contentious, or as reflecting a “double standard,” is not, in and of itself, antisemitic.
As of 2016, the US State Dept. definition of antisemitism includes the complete IHRA list. This has been praised by every mainstream Jewish group in America. At the same time, should President Biden’s announcement veer from this list, for instance, to include the repugnant clauses of the Jerusalem Declaration, we will know we’re dealing with a more anti-Israel White House than we’ve seen since Jimmy Carter.
We’ll keep you posted.