Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism 3 – Can Justice Be Found?

“Freedom for wolves means death for sheep”.

Isaiah Berlin

BLOG Conto de Notícias – Friends, I would like to invite you to this interview with the theme of a continuation of previous texts: ” Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism 3 – where can justice be found?

I invited for this interview, André Lajst political scientist, doctoral student in Social Sciences at the University of Córdoba, Spain and director of the non-governmental organization “StandWithUs” Brazil “, and Flávio Goldberg, lawyer and master in law. I asked them to answer and discuss questions and provocations formulated by the Blog.

I begin with an excerpt from the resolution recently approved by the French National Assembly: The National Assembly … believes that the operational definition used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance allows the more precise designation of what contemporary anti-Semitism is ”, the text of the resolution reads partially:

“He considers it an effective instrument to combat anti-Semitism in its modern and renewed form, as it encompasses expressions of hatred for the State of Israel justified only by its perception as a Jewish collective.”

(Times of Israel, 03, 12, 2019)

What is the evident current bias of the UN against Israel – represented by the mathematical disproportion in the number of resolutions hostile to the Hebrew State – in which way? Is it not a paradox that the entity that helped create the state is at the root of such partial and arbitrary resolutions?

FG- A large number of countries are experiencing backward political regimes that identify with oligarchic models such as Muslims in addition to the anti-Semitic appeal with a leftist bias. Israel is a “scapegoat” for virtues, not for ills.

AL – In fact, it is a contradiction. There are several reasons, but I can name a few. First, the proportion of countries aligned with democratic values ​​and freedom in 1947 is greater than it is today. The UN has more than 190 voting members, half of which are not liberal democracies.

A second aspect would mention the cold war, the Soviet axis and the alignment of this superpower with anti-Israel countries. With the end of the cold war, these countries, especially the Arab and Islamic countries, totaling 57 nations, understood that if they voted en bloc, a resolution to condemn Israel would always be passed.

A third aspect, which uses the same logic as the second, is precisely the UN format. A democratic assembly with 190 members, each representing a party (country), which votes solely and exclusively for national interest. In this way, absurdities like Iran presiding over a human rights commission or Syria presiding over a disarmament commission is possible.

BLOG Conto de Notícias – In your opinion, what aspects need to be attended to in order to increase awareness of prejudices and ethnic-racial discrimination? Campaigns have been tried and some bills have been tried, but when it comes to anti-Zionism there seems to be leniency from legislators in relation to the topic. France, where anti-Semitism has revealed itself as a growing and disturbing wave, the law referred to above has been passed, but is that enough?

AL – Who should define what would be the practice of racism against Jews, are the Jews. In the 70’s there was an attempt, perpetuated by the Soviet Union, supported by several Arab countries, when they passed a resolution at the UN that determined that Zionism, the national movement of self-determination of the Jewish people, as a form of racism. In 1991 that resolution was overturned, however, those who want to turn Zionism into something it is not, use that resolution to try to tarnish the true definition of Zionism. The IHRA, International Holocaust Remember Alliance , an international organization recognized by several countries, has written a new and contemporary version of anti-Semitism. In this definition, criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitism. IHRA makes that clear. Criticizing any country or government is legitimate. But to buy Israel with Nazi Germany, to imply that the Israeli army commits genocide or that the Gaza Strip is Auschwitz, saying that the concept of the existence of a national home for the Jewish people is a racist enterprise, that is, it is anti-Semitism. 

To combat this phenomenon, all countries should adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and implement legislation to punish hate crime offenders. What happened in France is a start but it is far from enough.

FG – Anti-Zionism must be characterized as Discrimination against a Jewish State, therefore a crime of racism. It cannot be treated as an ideological position, even because its leaders often belong to bodies composed of terrorists.

BLOG News Story – I wonder how much people understand the Jews’ desire to return to their original habitat, and have a national home. For if they fail to understand, they can very easily be deceived by parties and populists who try to criminalize this desire. Then they resort to slogans against Israel that sometimes “catch”, are the lies that it is a genocidal state, or that it is an apartheid (sic) regime. But we know that at the root of this hostility, contrary to what these people justify, is not the “well-being of the Palestinians”, but an atavistic, ancestral hatred, which psychologists, sociologists, philosophers and jurists have already addressed without reaching a credible consensus. How do you face these dilemmas so alive today?

FG – The existence of a Jewish state attacks the apocalyptic imagery of paranoid Christians and Muslims. Legal repression is the only civilizing remedy to prevent the spread of this hatred.

AL – I believe that the existence of a modern and westernized Jewish State in the Middle East, attacks the humiliation that Islam went through after the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Age, especially after the press revolution. Islam developed much more than Europe in the Middle Ages, which focused on wars and divine theories. Throughout the modern age, with enlightenment, renaissance and science, Europe came to dominate and consequently conquer the East. Islam has seen its empires fall, its culture despised and its honor violated. This feeling of greater resentment is also externalized by the presence of Israel. In the reading of many in the Middle East, Israel is a European colonialist project, when in fact it is a Jewish national movement, Semitic, that is, non-European, which was materialized precisely by the flight of these people from European powers. When Jews are seen as a mere religion that wants to shut themselves up in a country, the conclusions of these people become something simple, superficial and mistaken. The parties and politicians who ignore other human rights violations around the world, ally themselves with dictatorships because they are aligned with his worldview, and accuse Israel of crimes that he never committed, I conclude that this is the most contemporary and politically version correct form of anti-Semitism.

BLOG Conto de Notícias – Inspired by the aforementioned approval of the law by the French National Assembly, is there room in Brazil to propose a bill that makes anti-Zionism a kind of vicarious anti-Semitism?

AL – I believe so. It is necessary for jurists to identify and exemplify the terms defined by the IHRA definition. Criticism of any country is legitimate and it is necessary that freedom of expression be protected within the law. However, as described in French legislation, expressions of hatred of the State of Israel with demonizing connotations, use of discriminatory language, which encourages the public to disapprove and even reject the existence of a national home for the Jewish people, should be seen as a discourse hateful and therefore illegal.

FG – Yes, and also take to the courts for consistent jurisprudence the anti-Semitic root of anti-Zionism. A systematic judicialization of hatred against Israel is urgently needed.

BLOG Conto de Notícias – In the recent electoral election for mayor in the city of São Paulo, a party and its candidate, whose platform is explicitly governed by a hate speech to Israel, sought to quibble when the candidate was asked about what the official posture would be. broken. Shouldn’t public opinion be aware of the candidates’ personal positions on such sensitive matters? What right has a party – which should submit to what the federal constitution advocates – to claim hatred for a country, and therefore for the people who live there? Are there mechanisms in current legislation that can curb the call for hate crime without harming the right to free expression?

FG – PSOL and its candidate for mayor of São Paulo, recently associated Higienópolis, a neighborhood of Jewish concentration to the “elite” and Cidade Tiradentes to poverty in a picture of “miserable Palestinians” and “Zionists”

AL – When a political party expresses different opinions on different subjects, such parties and politicians do this for two reasons: either to establish a specific agenda or to establish a specific ideology. In both cases, it is not just a right as a duty of the population that feels harmed and even offended by these positions, to demand a retraction or clarification regarding these matters. The PSOL, in the figure of certain party figures, has, for many years, exposed prejudices, delegitimizations and dehumanizations in relation to the State of Israel. These exhibitions come to the fore through letters, articles, videos, visits to regions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other manifestations that generate discomfort and even feelings of prejudice among many Brazilian Jews. Obviously, all Brazilian parties and politicians, a democracy, are in their constitutional right to express their opinions on various issues, but there is a fine line between legitimate criticism of any nation and the spread of lies, untruths and the desire for the destruction of a nation. In this context, as it is the only nation of the Jewish people in the world, there should be clear and simple legislation that would prohibit this hate crime. Freedom of speech can never be confused with the free expression of hatred and fakenews about an entire nation. A few years ago, the speeches of many PSOL members were softened for political reasons. However, even with dubious speeches and, at the same time, soft to the ears of many, just read between the lines to realize that the speech of candidates and party leaders are, in fact, the same speech of groups and movements that preach the boycott of Israel and do not support its existence as a Jewish and democratic state.

BLOG Tale of News – Finally I would like you to make considerations and new questions that would lead us to fruitful debates. A parliamentary office that could move people to a state of lesser belligerence, perhaps the improvement of peace, after all the word “shalom” is one of those repeated in the Pentathéuco, the Torah.

FG – Unfortunately, in a situation of pandemic and economic crisis, demagogues even linked to criminal gangs elect “ghosts like Jews or Zionists” as responsible and in these circumstances only legal action has a concrete effect.

AL – Aversion to Zionism is not an aversion to a specific Israeli policy. Zionism is nothing more than the proper name of the national self-determination movement of the Jewish people. Just look at the history of Israel and notice that the country has people from the right, left, liberals, conservatives, religious, seculars, all of them, Zionists and aware of the importance of maintaining Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. Forms of government, public policies and other differences within Israel do not diminish or increase people’s Zionism. Therefore, the aversion to the national movement that created the self-determination of the Jewish people is, in other words, the aversion to the right of the Jewish people to self-determine. Since those who protect this feeling do not oppose, in the gigantic majority of times, the existence of any nation, but focus specifically on Israel, it follows that this aversion is a prejudice against the Jewish people. This prejudice may not be related to your religion, as it was in the Middle Ages in Europe, or your race, as perpetuated by the Nazis, but rather to be related to your nation, as it is with Israel.

BLOG Conto de Notícias – André, from your point of view the use of purposefully dubious language leads the public and the world public opinion to a doubt that establishes a false gradation: anti-Zionism would be just a position of political objection to Israel, while Anti-Semitism would be a prejudiced / racist stance. Is not making language clear that both mean hatred of Israel and Jews would be an important move?

AL – Political polarization created armored agendas, in which a person chooses the entire agenda of a party or candidate. There is no greater ignorance than considering the whole agenda of a party or politician correct without analyzing point by point everything that this agenda protects and believes in. Criticism of Israel is healthy and happens daily inside and outside the country itself. This is not wrong. But we have seen a trend that demonizing the country has been interpreted as a legitimate criticism, when in fact, it is not.

BLOG Conto de Notícias – Could Flávio detail the ways for these legal actions to be articulated at this time?

FG – A criminal action for racism, as already defended by the Federal Supreme Court that the crime of hatred against Jews or spreading anti-Semitic ideas is a crime of racism and knowing that some racists in the constitutional term of the word try to hide their crime using of the word Zionism or addressing “Zionists” which should be punished with the same rigor of the law because it is a teleological and systemic interpretation adopted by the constituents and members of our Judiciary who understand the political, historical and social view to define such conduct .

BLOG Conto de Notícias -Assess how in the definition of the internet (Wikipedia) a bias is already expressed that somehow endorses the posture: “Eventually, the term is also often applied to political opposition to the Israeli government, especially if motivated by denunciations of systematic human rights violations by the Palestinians, including war crimes [citation needed] sic, but also to the denial of the right of existence of the State of Israel. ”

Pay attention to the quote “war crimes (citation needed)” sic. Do you consider it important to monitor and report this type of definition, which is far from neutral information?

FG – Civil society initiatives are welcome worldwide. It turns out that, since the UN, including national and international human rights groups, they tend to disproportionately target Israel. I explain: national states – those Christian, Muslim or syncretic in origin – have condemnable and arbitrary practices. Israel is one more of them. But because it is an openly Jewish state, it is not treated with equal criticism, this reveals an obviously anti-Semitic, discriminatory and cowardly practice, and the worst, in the name of so important Human Rights. The culmination of this is revealed in movements like the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) directed against Israel. Lately, such a movement even targets Israeli intellectuals in the academic field, which in itself is discriminatory, anti-Semitic and cowardly.

AL – In conclusion: I consider anti-Zionism a form of anti-Semitism. This place of speech is present in most Jewish, political and religious organizations worldwide.

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The feeling of contemporary hostility towards Jews, inside or outside Israel, relives dark days that usually start against Jews until they escalate and reach widespread intolerance in the near future. Governments and citizens must fight together against anti-Zionism (hatred of Israel and its inhabitants) and anti-Semitism (animosity against Jews) as well as against all forms of discrimination as a moral duty. Duty that transcends the Hebrew people, because it is not just another battle in favor of the civilizing process, the care now is not to repeat the old mistakes. 

For that, as our guests in this interview suggested, a specific permanent court for the matter may be needed, which is not itself contaminated with an ideological bias against Israel. 

As prosecutor Henry T. King Jr spoke at the final sentence of the Nuremberg trial on August 19, 1947:

“We will strive to establish a permanent court , to give future generations
something they can use to prosecute those who are betting on war against humanity.”