The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) - in attempting to whitewash European Union (EU) policies directed against Israel in Judea and Samaria being labelled as “antisemitic” – is itself engaging in antisemitic criticism of Israel’s right to claim sovereignty there.
Antisemitic EU anti-Israel policies:
- Require goods produced by Israelis living in Judea and Samaria to be distinctively labelled for sale in the EU: “Product from West Bank (Israeli settlement)”
- Facilitate and finance illegal Arab building in Area C of Judea and Samaria - totally under Israeli control pursuant to the Oslo Accords – without the EU seeking Israel’s approval
ECRI’s 47 members – one from each Council of Europe member state – are appointed:
“on the basis of their independence, impartiality, moral authority and expertise in dealing with issues of racism, discrimination, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance.”
ECRI – in a recent report - clarified when it considers criticism of Israel to be antisemitic:
“Contemporary forms of antisemitism can differ from traditional forms of prejudice against Jewish people, but both forms can also exist in parallel. Nowadays, antisemitism can also be expressed in certain criticism of Israel that is baseless. For example, denying Jews their right to a national homeland, holding the State of Israel to a different standard of behaviour than other states, or demonising the State of Israel and viewing it and its people as inherently evil or racist, may be regarded as antisemitic.”
Under these guidelines:
- Textbooks used in Palestinian Arab and Saudi Arabian schools depicting hundreds of maps without “Israel” being designated on them - are antisemitic
- The Palestine Liberation Organisation and Hamas - whose respective Charters deny Jews have any right to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in their ancient and biblical homeland – are antisemitic organisations and their leaders are antisemites.
- EU criticism of Israel for its responses in protecting Israel’s citizens from rockets fired from Gaza indiscriminately into Israeli population centres - is antisemitic - since European States would act similarly were their countries so confronted
ECRI however shoots itself in the foot when stating what criticism of Israel is not antisemitic:
“However, ECRI strongly emphasises that any attempts to stifle, or stigmatise as antisemitic, legitimate criticism of Israel and its policies, in particular towards the Palestinian people and in the context of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, will jeopardise efforts to combat antisemitism and should therefore be rejected.”
ECRI’s choice of the phrase “Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories” is itself a manifestation of antisemitism – denying Jews have the right to reconstitute their national homeland in any part of Judea and Samaria – even though their right to do so was legally mandated - indeed encouraged - by:
- The San Remo conference and Treaty of Sevres in 1920
- Article 6 and Article 25 of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine
- Article 80 of the United Nations Charter
Labelling these territories “Palestinian territories” – rather than “disputed territories” – denies Israel’s right to establish the Jewish national homeland in these territories and asserts that only the “Palestinian people” – not the “Jewish people” - has such a right.
ECRI’s stated position is antisemitic under its own guidelines.
EU criticism of Israel’s settlement policy in Judea and Samaria also ignores Israel’s right to pursue that policy under the above internationally agreed consensus and is also antisemitic.
EU and ECRI – by their policies, statements and criticism of Israel in Judea and Samaria - are helping to fuel rapidly increasing antisemitism in Europe.
Antisemitism - wherever and whenever it appears – needs to be exposed, condemned and eradicated.
Organizations and their leaders – including the EU and ECRI - who propagate antisemitic criticism of Israel need to be named and shamed.
Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.
David Singer is an Australian lawyer who is active in Zionist community organizations in that country. He founded the "Jordan is Palestine" Committee in 1979.