The Israelization of anti-Semitism
Growing anti-Semitism in Europe and Germany’s special responsibility
Anti-Semitism in Europe is growing. In a working meeting in the German Parliament organized by the “Initiative 27 Januar” i, the EU Anti-Semitism Commissioner, Katharina von Schnurbein, pointed out that, in some countries, such as France and Great Britain, for example, incidents carried out against Jews increased by as much as 36% last year. And yet, parallel to this shocking phenomenon, efforts on the part of state and civil organizations to better study and understand modern anti-Semitism with the goal of limiting and even reversing it are on the increase. A clear definition of anti-Semitism is indispensable to achieving this goal.
What exactly do we understand when we hear the term Anti-Semitism?
The article by Andrew Baker ii of the American Jewish Committee, a globally active Jewish organization, gives a good historical overview of the efforts to establish a working definition of modern anti-Semitism that is recognized on government levels and practically implemented. The Committee’s efforts in this regard have been commendable. After working out and partially implementing a definition at the EU-level – and the subsequent revocation of the same – 31 member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) agreed on a working definition of anti-Semitism at their conference in May 2016 in Bucharest. The definition includes illustrations of how modern anti-Semitism is, or might be, manifested. It is worthy of note iii that 7 of the 11 illustrations relate directly to the Jewish state of Israel - experts speak of the anti-Zionist form of anti-Semitism or of the Israelization of anti-Semitism iv.
Remapping the world
As stormy as the year 2016 ended for world politics and Israel, it doesn’t look like the storm will abate going into 2017 - at least at this point in time. In a desperate, last-ditch closing act, the Obama Administration invested great effort in the attempt to chisel its foreign policy convictions regarding the Middle East peace process in stone – thereby bypassing the will of the American people and the democratically elected US-Congress. To do that, Obama used the same back-road detour he used to push the Iran deal through, the UN Security Council. UNSC resolution 2334 established one single guilty party for the lack of peace – the State of Israel and Israeli settlements in Judea, Samaria and in East Jerusalem. The resolution declared the settlements to be “illegal according to international law” – a step that drew sharp criticism across the political spectrum in Israel as well as from the newly elected, but not yet sworn-in President-elect Donald Trump. The USA withholding its veto and simply abstaining in this vote marked a significant shift in American policy and position up to that point. (http://www.unwatch.org/joining-jackals-open-letter-amb-samantha-power/)