Protect Palestinian students and their allies from the IHRA definition of antisemitism

Protect Palestinian students and their allies from the IHRA definition of antisemitism

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Northeastern SJP started this petition to Students and

As supporters of both Jewish and Palestinian members of the Northeastern community, we are concerned by aspects of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which was adopted by Northeastern SGA this past fall. We believe that certain components of this definition weaponize antisemitism in order to unfairly suppress pro-Palestine activism on campus. 

This is problematic in two primary ways:

  • using antisemitism as a political tool takes away from its true meaning and significance
  • stifling pro-Palestinian voices would be detrimental to the activist community at Northeastern, of which they are an integral part

We are most troubled by the IHRA definition’s inclusion of the following “examples of antisemitism”:

  • "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 [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation."

By endorsing the notion that these actions are inherently antisemitic, Northeastern SGA:

  • Falsely equates Judaism with support for the State of Israel, erasing the voices of Jews who have opposed a Jewish state in historic Palestine since the 1800s
  • Shields Israel from the assertion that its current form is inherently racist, a critique leveled at all nations established through mass displacement and settler-colonialism, including Canada and the United States
  • Implies that Israel is a “democratic nation,” despite the fact that over four million Palestinians under Israeli control have no say in the Israeli government
  • Ignores the role the white supremacy plays in perpetuating antisemitism

The Trump administration used these so-called “examples of antisemitism” to suppress Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movements at colleges around the country, intended to peacefully protest Israel’s apartheid policies. This article from an organization called Independent Jewish Voices details 30 instances in which the IHRA has specifically been used to repress student organizing for Palestine. 

To ensure that Palestinian students and their allies are able to speak up for themselves and their causes without fear of harassment or censorship, Northeastern University and Northeastern Student Government Association must officially adopt explicit protections for students and faculty to do the following:

  • Publicly oppose Zionism/the State of Israel in its current form
  • Promote the viewpoint that Israel does not fit the criteria to be a democratic nation
  • Spread awareness of Israel’s role in many of the problems faced by Palestinians
  • Advocate for boycotts of and divestment from the State of Israel in a similar manner to the campaign against apartheid South Africa during the 1990s
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