Thursday 1 November 2007

European Union definition of anti-Semitism

Working definition of antisemitism (16.03.2005)
European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC)
The purpose of this document is to provide a practical guide for identifying incidents, collecting data, and supporting the implementation and enforcement of legislation dealing with antisemitism.
Working definition: "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."
In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for "why things go wrong". It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.
Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
- Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
- Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective - such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
- Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real and imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
- Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and it supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
- 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.
Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:
- Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.
- Applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
- 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 actions of the state of Israel.
However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.
Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (e.g. denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).
Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property - such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries - are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.
Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post, which I've just posted on the Guardian's Comment is Free. Their subject is so-called Christian Zionism (which they don't like) versus Islam, which they do.

I've challenged that and told them I'll be publishing an article about antisemitism in 'liberal' Christianity in the near future.

Nearly all 'liberal' Christianity favours the Palestinians, including HAMAS and even groups such as Hezbollah over Israel, which is both democratic and encourages multiculturalism. If you access my own blog, you will find countless examples of Israeli encouragement of religious and ethnic minorities, which put Britain for one in the shade.

If Liberal Christianity favours HAMAS and suicide bombers, then to my mind it is fascist and Nazi-like, very much like National SOCIALISM in fact.

Philosemite said...

I contacted the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights in Vienna for a French-language translation of the document and was given this reply, which does not explain satisfactorily why the EU definition of antisemitism, since its publication almost three years ago, has not yet been translated into French (it would take at most a couple of hours to do so) and is still "seen as a work in progress":

"The working definition was a product of work between the EUMC, ODIHR/OSCE and some Jewish NGOs. To provide some background please note that, as stressed at the time of the publication of the Working Definition, the working definition was seen very much as a work in progress which required testing and comment by a variety of actors in relation to its practical use and effectiveness to support data collection. The feedback of the initial testing and comments drew attention to a number of issues which impacted on the effectiveness of the working definition as a data collection support tool.

The EUMC due to the transformation process to the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has not yet had the opportunity to follow up on the feedback. FRA does plan to follow up on the feedback in the near future. Once the follow up process has been completed FRA will discuss with ODIHR/OSCE and others its plans for further action.

I am afraid that is the situation at the moment. You may be aware that FRA has yet to appoint a Director and its Scientific Committee - both of which are seen as crucial to taking this process forward."