QC criticises IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as ‘not fit for purpose’

“A particular problem with the IHRA definition is that it is likely in practice to chill free speech, by raising expectations of pro-Israeli groups that they can successfully object to legitimate criticism of Israel and correspondingly arouse fears in NGO’s and student bodies that they will have events banned, or else will have to incur considerable expense to protect them by taking legal action. Either way, they may not organise such events.”

The definition of antisemitism adopted by the government is not fit for the purpose of decision making, declares Geoffrey Robertson QC in an opinion published today.

The opinion, which was produced to advise the Palestinian Return Centre, states that the definition does not cover the most insidious forms of hostility to Jewish people and the looseness of the definition is liable to chill legitimate criticisms of the state of Israel and coverage of human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Mr Robertson, an expert on freedom of speech and human rights, who has lectured on genocide at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has criticised Theresa May for adopting a definition which was not intended to be binding and which was not drafted as a comprehensible definition. By pivoting on expression that arouses hatred (a “very strong word”) it does not cover speech that arouses hostility, or which “politely spreads the poison of prejudice” against Jews as a race. He evinces surprise that Jewish organisations are advocating acceptance of the full definition by the Labour Party and other organisations have not realised that it fails to protect Jews from many prevalent kinds of antisemitism.

Source: Eminent QC Criticises IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism as “Not fit for purpose” in Opinion Published Today

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10 thoughts on “QC criticises IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as ‘not fit for purpose’

  1. Zippi

    It is important to note that Jews are not a race. I have been corrected on this point by Jews, my best friend of the last 18 years among them.
    Interestingly, the opening paragraph says, more or less, what Kenneth Stern, who was lead drafter of the “working definition” said! It’s about time that somebody listened to him! We’ll see what happens from here but I suspect that the allegations, or accusations, will not cease to propagate.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Anti-Semitism is generally considered to be a form of racism.

      It would be interesting, if we could get away with denying that it was, to see what happens to the arguments of those who try to use the so-called Macpherson principle to avoid the need for proper investigation of anti-Semitism allegations.

      1. Zippi

        If you watch the first episode of Simon Schama’s “The Story Of The Jews,” https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x65yi3v the first thing that he shows is what Jews look like; that should be evidence enough. The fact that you can convert is another. Hajo Meyer said that anti-Semitism was never a thing, it was anti-Judaism, which makes more sense. To be Jewish, you mother has to be Jewish so, the Jews are seen as an entho-religious group but are most definitely not a race.
        So, Gordon Brown has now jumped onto the bandwagon! He said, “the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism is something that we should support unanimously, unequivocally and immediately.” Why? Even John McDonnell has said that he supports it! Why? What is so special about THIS definition that everybody now seems to want to adopt it and all of its examples? What makes this the be all and end all on anti-Semitism? Does nobody left have an independent thought? Why is the entire political debate about Jews? Are there other peoples in the world, in the country, or even in £abour?
        I say, again, if anti-Semitism is as bad as Media claim, where are the criminal investigations? Everybody is so wrapped up in this that they have failed to even look for the facts, let alone see them. I am bitterly disappointed.
        I’m STILL waiting for a response to e.mail of complaint.

  2. Pat Sheehan

    Well that’s all well and good and a long time in coming if you don’t mind me saying so but most reasonable cognitively balance individuals will have known that anyway without reliance or dependence on ‘legal advice’!!!

  3. John.

    The IHRA is perfectly fit for purpose, if you’re a Zionist creep trying to deflect, camoflage and generally conceal the murderous, land grabbing rampage of colonial imposters belonging to a criminal supremacist cult.

    It’s purpose is to silence and ultimately criminalise all voices exposing the truth and seeking justice in Palestine.

    1. Zippi

      The “working definition” is perfectly fit for purpose but this is not the purpose for which it was drafted.

      1. John.

        IHRA is nothing more than a list of political Zionist demands, designed exclusively to defend Israel and the murderous criminal cult running it. It most certainly is not about defending ‘jews’ or Judaism.

        The Holocaust Industry, as Finkelstein identified, is alive and well and has, as needy victims dwindle, moved on from embezzling financial reparation and false accounting.

  4. Barry Davies

    As not all semites are Jewish and not all jews are Semite it refers to an group of Arabs, the idea of being anti Jewish being anti Semitic is flawed.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You aren’t paying attention. The term was specifically coined to refer to Jews.

      Encyclopaedia Britannica tells us: “The term anti-Semitism was coined in 1879 by the German agitator Wilhelm Marr to designate the anti-Jewish campaigns under way in central Europe at that time.”

      It adds that the word is a misnomer, because Arabs and other peoples are also Semites, and yet they are not the targets of anti-Semitism as it is usually understood.

      But that does not change the fact. Anti-Semitism – as a term – refers ONLY to Jews.

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