Democrats Say NO to antisemitism!

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WoMen For All has seen an upsurge in antisemitism making its way into the Democratic party. 

In response, WoMen For All created this petition calling upon the DNC to officially adopt the official IHRA definition of antisemitism. Our petition is offered in honor of Fela Szeps, a true #WomenOfValor and #HolocaustSHEro.

Antisemitism has now become a serious problem in liberal movements worldwide, including the New Democratic Party in Canada and the Labour Party in the UK. The UK Labour Party’s antisemitism problem was left unchecked for years and it has now come to an ugly crescendo and will likely cause the party to split.

In the US, the left is not immune to antisemitism and it has become just as alarming as right wing antisemitism. On the left, antisemitism hides, often cloaked as anti-Zionism. Being anti-Zionist is inherently antisemitic if the person claiming to be anti-Zionist is not against self-determination for any other oppressed group. If one supports Palestinian self-determination, or Armenian self-determination, or Kurdish self-determination, but not Jewish self-determination (Zionism), that would be antisemitic.  

We have seen examples of this antisemitism as anti-Zionism creeping into the Democratic Party. Members of the Democratic Socialists of America organization, in particular, have singled out Israel by including Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) on their platform, and making horrible and libelous remarks about Jews and the Jewish State. This subtle form of antisemitism is hard to detect and has mass appeal because it hides under the guise of reform and progressivism.

For the first time we have Congressional representatives who openly advocate for a one-state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict - which effectively means the dissolution of Israel. These same representatives do not advocate for the dissolution of any other country - Israel, the Jewish State, is singled out. This is antisemitism.

When standing Democratic elected officials are willing to meet with, hug, and otherwise normalize a vicious antisemite like Louis Farrakhan, this is antisemitism. Likewise, it is antisemitism when  Democratic officials praise and stand with “progressive” social leaders who advocate for BDS, call for a one-state solution, ally with known antisemites, denigrate and discriminate against Zionists, attack the “Jewish Media,” spread antisemitic canards, and make antisemitic statements themselves.

To combat the rising surge of antisemitism within the Democratic party, we feel it is important to define antisemitism.  The right wing version of antisemitism is easy to spot, but the left wing version often hides behind a mask. Adopting a definition will provide a tool for the Democratic party to identify antisemitism when it tries to hide.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), based in Berlin, recognized this need to define anti-semitism and adopted this definition at their Plenary meeting in Bucharest, Romania in May of 2016 by vote of its 31-member countries. This definition serves as the gold standard in identifying antisemitism and took years of research to craft.  Since then, several countries and entities have adopted this definition into their own statutes and rules, including the United States Department of State, Israel, the United Kingdom (130 UK local councils, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the judiciary), Austria, Germany, Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Macedonia.

Other forms of racism don’t seem to have the need for definition, but historically and presently, antisemitism has somehow defied those odds and presents in ways that aren’t always clear-cut. By signing this petition, you are urging the Democratic National Committee to adopt the official IHRA definition of anti-semitism.

The Jewish people have been an essential segment of the modern Democratic Party.  Most Jews are both Democrats and Zionists (i.e. supporters of Israel’s right to exist). Jews have successfully led, and fought for, progressive causes in this country for centuries. Jews have earned the respect and support of the Democratic Party, which must take seriously the concerns of the Jewish community.

By endorsing this petition, I am holding accountable the Democratic National Committee, which must adopt the official IHRA definition of antisemitism.

 

That definition in full is as follows:

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of anti-semitic 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.

Anti-semitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.

Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-semitic. 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).

 

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