The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: The Evidence

  evidence-based reports | authored and compiled by
constantine kaniklidis
scholars for peace in the middle east (spme) | director, progressive voices for peace in the middle east (pvpme)


antisemitism


The Problem of Definition
There is currently no single definition of antisemitism with broad international consensus that has also been adopted into active use by multiple recognized international, national, and regional authorities. The EUMC Working Definition1 is the best known as we discuss below (the definition itself is appended below) but it is important to bear in mind its limitations:

(1) It remains a working definition and therefore a prototype that was neither adopted as a final adopted definition by the  EUMC itself via submission to its members, as made clear by  Beate Winkler, the EUMC Director, who explicitly stated it to be a ‘work in progress’2.
(2) Nor was it adopted by its successor, FRA (the name of the EUMC was changed to European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on March 1, 2007):  The FRA explicitly states that:
    "The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which replaced the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) in 2007, is not a standard setting body and undertakes its work on fundamental rights on the basis of EU and international definitions and standards. More specifically, the FRA applies the terms racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance as developed and used by the Council of Europe, namely the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). FRA also applies the concept of racial discrimination from the European Union's Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (Racial Equality Directive)"3
(3) Nor has it been adopted by the  EU itself.
(4) Nor has it been adopted by any other extra-EU international, national or regional authority. 

Nonetheless, Units of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) concerned with combating antisemitism employ the definition.

The US State Department’s stance is somewhat less clear: in its report, Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism4,  it makes use of this definition for the purpose of its analysis, but is explicit in regarding it solely “as a useful framework” for "identifying and understanding the problem" [of antisemitism], and not as an operative formal definition, and it has never been used by the State  Department or any U.S. agency for any legal or prosecutorial purpose or action.

It is clear from the above that FRA now no longer uses the EUMC Working Definition (and there is accordingly no further reference whatsoever to it in its latest reports), but treats antisemitism as a species of racism, as does this author (C. Kaniklidis) in keeping with current international human rights law, and for that reason rather relies on:

(1) The ECRI General Policy Recommendation's definition of racism5:
    a) “racism” shall mean the belief that a ground such as race, colour, language, religion, nationality or national or ethnic origin justifies contempt for a person or a group of persons, or the notion of superiority of a person or a group of persons.
    b) “direct racial discrimination” shall mean any differential treatment based on a ground such as race, colour, language, religion, nationality or national or ethnic origin, which has no objective and reasonable justification. Differential treatment has no objective and reasonable justification if it does not pursue a legitimate aim or if there is not a reasonable relationship of proportionality between the means employed and the aim sought to be realised.
    c) “indirect racial discrimination” shall mean cases where an apparently neutral factor such as a provision, criterion or practice cannot be as easily complied with by, or disadvantages, persons belonging to a group designated by a ground such as race, colour, language, religion, nationality or national or ethnic origin, unless this factor has an objective and reasonable justification. This latter would be the case if it pursues a legitimate aim and if there is a reasonable relationship of proportionality between the means employed and the aim sought to be realised.
(2) European Commission. European Union. Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 Implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin6, the Racial Equality Directive, which treats antisemitism as a species of (racial) discrimination and holds that:
    The Concept of Discrimination
    1. For the purposes of this Directive, the principle of equal treatment shall mean that there shall be no direct or indirect discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin.
    2. For the purposes of paragraph 1:
      (a) direct discrimination shall be taken to occur where one person is treated less favourably than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on grounds of racial or ethnic origin;
      (b) indirect discrimination shall be taken to occur where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put persons of a racial or ethnic origin at a particular disadvantage compared with other persons, unless that provision, criterion or practice is objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.
    3. Harassment shall be deemed to be discrimination within the meaning of paragraph 1, when an unwanted conduct related to racial or ethnic origin takes place with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. In this context, the concept of harassment may be defined in accordance with the national laws and practice of the Member States.
    4. An instruction to discriminate against persons on grounds of racial or ethnic origin shall be deemed to be discrimination within the meaning of paragraph 1.
The definition of racism therefore as stated in the ECRI General Policy Recommendation now entertains the broadest consensus and practical applicability of any authoritative international approach to antisemitism, as a species of racism.  There  are also, as we will discuss later, subspecies or subtypes of antisemitism, as for instance the distinctions made by Irwin Cotler, human rights lawyer and former Minister of Justice, and Attorney General, of Canada, of genocidal versus political versus ideological antisemitism, but to appreciate these categories, we must now turn to the task of differential definition, in order to discriminate what we characterize as antisemitic animus or acts (including speech) as distinct from anti-Zionist animus or acts, in turn as distinct from anti-Israel animus or acts.

Antisemitism versus Anti-Zionist and Anti-Israel Animus
A
nti-Zionism is not necessarily antisemitic and the challenge is to determine how and to what extent is  anti-Zionism different from legitimate criticism of Israel as a nation-state. The most  authoritative definition of anti-Zionism remains that presented in the 2002 Report of the Berlin Technical University’s Centre for Research on Antisemitism, entitled Manifestations of Antisemitism in the European Union. Anti-Zionism is seen as “the portrayal of Israel as a state that is fundamentally negatively distinct from all others, which therefore has no right to exist.”, where this existential denial is of Israel  as a uniquely Jewish state. The anti-Zionist agenda of bringing about the eclipse of the Jewish state is now sometimes referred to as the “new antisemitism”, and as articulated recently by Lesley Klaff7, and independently by Robert Wistrich8, the antisemite versus anti-Zionist distinction is one of that the traditional antisemite "wants to rid the world of the Jew, to bring about the "state" of being Judenrein" (Jew-free), whereas the anti-Zionist  "wants to rid the world of the Jewish state or "Zionist entity", to bring about the "state" of being Judenstaatrein" (Israel-free) by denial to Israel - and Israel alone - the right of nation self-determination, and hence constitutes a profound anti-Jewish-nationalism form of discrimination in order to undermine through savage criticism the moral and historic legitimacy of a Jewish state.

We however disagree with Klaff, Julius and other authorities in our not perceiving anti-Zionism as ipso facto antisemitism: the animus is against a Jewish state defined by certain significa of "Jewishness" where the objection is often to the perceived intrinsically preferential treatment of the Jewish polity over other citizens of the State, not in terms of discrimination against others (either Arab Israeli citizens or Arab non-Israeli citizens) but against the elevation of certain Jews (immigrant) for candidacy of citizenship, and its associated benefits, over others.  In this respect the core of offense as seen by this strain of anti-Zionism is often the Law of Return (LOR) (distinct from the unrelated concept of the claimed Right of Return (ROR) of Palestinian refugees) - we discuss the Law of Return separately, and offer several rebuttals to claimed inequities as well as proactive defense of LOR even despite certain putative illiberal aspects - and other regulations and governmental actions that are design to maintain the Jewish character of the State independent of so-called "natural demographics.  Anti-Zionism so construed may be a highly objectionable stand to take, as it exhibits "pure" prejudice against not Israel as just another state, but against Israel as a/the Jewish state, but it does not of itself necessarily constitute antisemitism.
 
However, we can see that (1) anti-Zionist criticism and/or (2) anti-Israel criticism may be also antisemitic.  Consider the BDS (Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign in specifically their call for boycott of Israeli academic scholars.  Is it  antisemitic?  As David Hirsh's authoritative seminal examination of  antisemitism versus anti-Zionism notes9:
    Yes. It is an antisemitic policy because it aims to punish Israeli academics, the majority of whom are Jewish, according to different standards to academics in other states. If a North Korean mathematician wants to come to a conference in Britain, we will be happy to discuss mathematics with her; we will not demand that she repudiates her state’s constitutional claim that North Korea is a socialist paradise on earth nor that she admits that she lives under one of the most repressive and inhumane states on earth. . . . But if an Israeli wants to come to the same conference, she won’t be allowed . . . unless she first passes some kind of test, such as repudiating her university or ritually ‘criticizing’ the ‘apartheid’ policies of her state. The North Korean will be allowed in, the Israeli will not. This is an antisemitic policy. . . . The boycott of Israeli academics is not motivated by antisemitism but it is nevertheless antisemitic in effect. Any kind of impact assessment would demonstrate that it is a policy which would impact on Jews – both Israeli and not – much more heavily than anybody else. And there is no morally, politically or legally relevant reason which could mitigate or excuse this racist impact.
Another example would be for an anti-Zionist, not to object to the Law of Return (LOR), which as I have indicated above is insufficient to necessarily rise to antisemitism, but rather to embrace the Right of Return (ROR) of second or greater generation Palestinian refugees to Israel.  This rises to antisemitism as a species of racism on the ECRI Definition of  Racism since it is "differential treatment based on a ground such as . . . nationality or national or ethnic origin, which has no objective and reasonable justification, given that under international .

Given that anti-Zionism is not per se antisemitic but may constitute legitimate criticism of Israel, we need to be able to distinguish between the two. The best known articulation of how to  distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and the new antisemitism, Natan Sharansky, former Israeli minister for Diaspora affairs, has formulated the 3-D Test, in which D stands for Demonization, Delegitimation, and Double Standards. Where criticism of Israel employs any one of these Ds, it crosses the line from legitimate criticism of Israel into the new antisemitism because these are the three facets of anti-Zionism and together they constitute the new antisemitism (Sharansky, 2004). An example of demonization would be the Israel/Nazi trope. Jews were traditionally demonized as the embodiment of evil, and now Israel is demonized as the embodiment of evil in equating her with Nazis, the consummate perpetrators of evil. It can be seen how traditional antisemitic sentiment morphs into the new antisemitic sentiment. An example of delegitimization would be presenting Israel as the last vestige of colonialism. This is comparable to the way the Jewish religion was delegitimized for centuries. Traditional antisemitic attitudes to the Jewish religion are transferred to the Jewish state. An example of double standards would be the United Nations singling out Israel for human rights abuses but ignoring countries like China, Iran, and Syria, and many others. Jews were treated differently from other people for centuries. Discriminatory laws against them were passed. Now Israel is being judged with a different yardstick. Traditional antisemitism becomes the new antisemitism. The extent to which anti-Zionism differs from legitimate criticism of 2010] SELECTED CONFERENCE PAPERS 441 Israel is further evident from the Working Definition of Antisemitism drawn up by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) in 2005. The Working Definition states that the following are antisemitic: 1. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavor; 2. Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation; 3. Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or the blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis; 4. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis; 5. Holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the State of Israel. The Working Definition ends with the following statement: “However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.” With the help of the definition of anti-Zionism in the 2002 Report of the Berlin Centre, the 3-D test, and the 2005 EUMC Working Definition, we can learn to distinguish between anti-Zionism, which is antisemitic, and legitimate criticism of Israel, which is not. As Natan Sharansky once said, “The only way to recognize evil is to draw clear moral lines.” REFERENCES Gerstenfeld, M. 2007. “Anti-Israelism and Antisemitism: Common Characteristics and Motifs,” Jewish Political Studies Review, 19 (online). Julius, A. 2010. Trials of the Diaspora. New York: Oxford University Press. Sharansky, N. 2004. “Antisemitism in 3-D: Differentiating Legitimate Criticism of Israel from the So-Called ‘New’ Antisemitism.” Jewish Political Studies Review, 16 (online). Wistrich, Robert. 2010. A Lethal Obsession. New York: Random House.
   

References
1.   Working Definition of Antisemitism. European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).Vienna 2005. 
2.   Antisemitism Summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2001-2005 (updated version December 2006).  European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).Vienna 2006. p. 22. 
3.   Working Definition of Antisemitism (Comment on).  EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). 16 March 2005.
4.   U.S. Department of State. Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism – A Report Provided to the United States Congress.  Washington D.C. 2008. [Also as: PDF]
5.   European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). Council of Europe. ECRI General Policy Recommendation No. 7. On National Legislation To Combat Racism And Racial Discrimination. Adopted On 13 December 2002. Strasbourg, 17 February 2003.
6.   European Commission. European Union. Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 Implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.  29 June 2000. 
7.   Lesley Klaff. Anti-Zionist Expression on the UK Campus: Free Speech or Hate Speech? Jewish Political Studies Review 22:3-4 (Fall 2010).
8.   Robert S. Wistrich, European Anti-Semitism Reinvents Itself. New York: The American Jewish Committee, 2005. [PDF]
9.   Hirsh, David. 2007. Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism: Cosmopolitan Reflections. Working Paper. Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA) Occasional Papers, New Haven, CT.: Goldsmiths Research Online.
 


► THE EUMC WORKING DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM

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 or 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 its 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 endeavor.
    • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior 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 leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, 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.”

 
 

evidence-based reports: our reporting


Imperative in this context is a new equity in geopolitics that eschews disproportionate approbation of one actor to the exclusion of all others while also acknowledging the competitive narratives of national ambition and identity in the Middle East, with the need for new engagement and negotiation. 

This misplaced and uncritical reliance on ideological and prejudicial sources has evolved to be a formidable obstacle to peace in the Middle East. It has led to what others have termed a new “soft powerlessness” for Israel whose legitimacy has been successively eroded and who stands accused and convicted in the international arena. And it helps account for the current moribund state of peace negotiation. We therefore realized that what is needed to overcome these barriers to peace is effective confrontation through the exposure and refutation of lawfare as practiced by anti-peace NGOs and obstructionist initiatives like BDS. This will in turn require a new rational and equitable discourse in addressing the clash of competitive nationalist aspirations for self-determination in the same land, in order to achieve a fair and durable peace in the Middle East for Israel, and for the Palestinians.

To that end, I as Director of Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East (PVPME) and a member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), have authored and compiled a series of evidence-based reports (EBRs) on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict which are founded on an objective critical systemic review of the core issues and a critical appraisal of the relevant arguments, sustained by scrupulous attention to and respect for principles of international and human rights law.  This demands (1) systematic review of all credible sources on an issue, (2) critical appraisal of all sources extracted for factual basis, (3) cross-confirmation of accuracy wherever viable, and (4) use of the highest caliber of sources available, with preference to peer-reviewed literature.

These evidence-based reports hone to the principles of the evidence-based paradigm and methodology as it has evolved from initial domain of application (medicine) into a broad spectrum of evidence-based practice and research
, in the form of evidence-based sociology, evidence-based education and evidence-based teaching, evidence-based psychology, evidence-based crime policy / policing, evidence-based  decision making /policy, evidence-based social work, among many others. We  also commit to industry-standards promulgated by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in their SPJ Code of Ethics, the guidelines for online  journalism issued by Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism in their What are the ethics of online journalism?, and the elements of PIRC (Public-Interest Responsible Communication), especially the Verification Of The Reliability Of Sources, the Independent Verification of Factual Assertions, the Transparency with Sources, and Assessing Objectivity. (For a good summary, see Elements of "Responsible" Journalism of the Canadian Journalism Project, a project of The Canadian Journalism Foundation in collaboration with leading Canadian journalism schools and organizations). 



progressive voices for peace (PVPME)

Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East (PVPME), a Brooklyn based initiative, grew out of the recognition that these next-generation obstacles to peace require effective confrontation through counter-lawfare initiatives and the need for a new rational and equitable discourse in addressing the clash of competitive nationalist aspirations for self-determination in the same land.

Director, Constantine Kaniklidis



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Constantine Kaniklidis | Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East | 2016.  All rights reserved.