“Supporters of a definition of antisemitism which deliberately equates it with opposition to Zionism have already succeeded in chilling political debate, as people move to avoid what they see as a ‘difficult’ topic. Institutions that traditionally host discussions, such as universities, church halls and other public meeting places, are cancelling events because they are frightened that some transgression might take place. It is simply easier not to talk about Palestine. This situation is likely to get worse if the flawed “new definition” is not resisted.”
Free Speech on Israel Briefing
What antisemitism is, and what it is not
Since early in 2016, debate about rights for Palestinians has been under severe threat because criticism of Israel and of its founding ideology, Zionism, has been misrepresented as antisemitic.
Antisemitism is hatred of Jews simply because they are Jews. It must be vigorously combatted, along with all forms of bigotry. Confusing it with opposition to the state of Israel or Zionism is to obscure the real meaning of the term antisemitism and make fighting against it more difficult.
We say that behaviour is antisemitic if:
- it inflicts or incites violence against Jews because they are Jews
- it expresses hatred of Jews because they are Jews
- it stereotypes Jews on the basis of alleged negative personal characteristics such as being mean, sly and avaricious
- it links Jews to conspiracy theories about world domination of media, financial or governmental institutions
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