Re: Israel-Palestine Dialogue (Letters, Feb 25).
No one is saying that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. Fair criticism of Israel is just as legitimate as criticizing any other country. It seems that where letter-writer Peter Stokoe is getting confused is when criticism of Israel morphs into blatant and unambiguous anti-Semitism, yet it tries to shield itself behind the claim of just being “criticism of Israel.”
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism which has been adopted by 34 countries including Canada recognizes this nuance.
The IHRA definition is the most comprehensive and widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism in the world and stipulates that criticism of Israel isn’t anti-Semitic, however, when individuals single Israel out for selective condemnation, deny Jewish self-determination in its historic homeland and seek Israel’s destruction, that’s discriminatory and hateful.
As for the announcement by the International Criminal Court that its prosecutors will be investigating Israel, this represents yet another example of the Jewish state being singled out for selective condemnation, when the real perpetrators of heinous human rights violations, such as China are able to escape such condemnation all together.
It’s imperative for the world to adopt the IHRA definition especially when anti-Semitic incidents have reached near historic levels and as Jews remain the most targeted minority group in Canada. Without a recognized definition for the term, there’s no way for various stakeholders to enforce laws and policies to counter the scourge of anti-Semitism.
Put simply, we need to know how to identify anti-Semitism and its many manifestations, to know how to combat it.