Board of Deputies calls for change in EU anti-Semitism definition
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Board of Deputies calls for change in EU anti-Semitism definition

Desecrated Jewish graves
Desecrated Jewish graves

The Board of Deputies has said anti-Israel sentiment should be classed as anti-Semitism and called for a new European Union definition of Jew hatred to reflect it.

Desecrated Jewish graves
Desecrated Jewish graves

Board President Jonathan Arkush made the comments after an American diplomat speaking in Berlin called for a new working EU definition of anti-Semitism to include a section on Israel, noting “the importance of context”.

Ira Forman, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, drew a line between “legitimate opposition of Israeli government policies” and “rhetoric that questions Israel’s right to exist and targets Jewish communities outside Israel”.

Arkush welcomed Forman’s “emphasis that anti-Israel bigotry tends to morph into anti-Semitic hate” and said the speech would “welcomed and cited in the UK”.

Forman cautioned against abusing any wider definition of anti-Semitism, urging community leaders to be “very careful to use this definition appropriately and object to its misuse as part of efforts to silence the legitimate criticism of Israeli policies”.

The current Working Definition of Anti-Semitism was created by the EU’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) to guide law enforcement agencies, but has no legal basis.

It already includes examples, such as “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming Israel is a racist endeavour; applying double standards; using symbols/images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterise Israel/Israelis; drawing comparisons of Israeli policy to that of the Nazis; and holding Jews collectively responsible for Israel’s actions.”

However, it also says that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic”.

Senior figures in the British Jewish community have long argued a link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Anthony Julius, a lawyer, said anti-Zionism “deploys against Jews collectively – in the form of the Jewish state – many of the principal stratagems and tropes” that traditional anti-Semitism directed at the Jews as individuals.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments