Late last year we noted that Ali Abunimah – an American born, anti-Zionist commentator who’s been legitimized by both the New York Times and the Guardian despite a record compromised by antisemitism – falsely characterized the Working Definition of Antisemitism as “an abandoned draft text.”
While it’s narrowly true that the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the successor to the European Union Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), doesn’t include the Working Definition on their website (since their mandate differs from EUMC), a significant number of American and EU government and law enforcement agencies continue to use it to help determine whether incidents are antisemitic.
Here are the relevant bullet points from the Working Definition:
Abunimah, who used to be a regular commentator at the Guardian on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and continues to use his platform at Electronic Intifada to endorse terrorism and legitimize antisemitic extremism, is again in for a bit of bad news.
A major report (Government Action on Antisemitism) by the UK Department of Communities and Local Governments, in response to the dangerous upsurge of antisemitism recorded in the UK over the summer, revealed that the professional body in the UK for policing now includes the definition in their Hate Crime Operational Guidance (2014).
Here’s the relevant passage from the UK Government report:
The [Hate Crime Operational Guidance] includes the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia definition in full and states that the ‘European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia definition helps to explain some of the characteristics that may be present in antisemitic hate crime. These include circumstances that amount to hate crimes and those that are likely to be non-crime hate incidents’.
Though most manifestations of antisemitism included in the Working Definition shouldn’t even need to be pointed out (such as ‘justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology’), many who oppose it (such as Abunimah) seemingly do so because it defines as antisemitic the equating of Zionism with Nazism and defines as antisemitic calls for the end of the Jewish state.
Despite the protests from a few marginal, extremist voices, the Working Definition continues to represent a widely respected tool for understanding modern antisemitism, and this blog will continue to use it in our fight against such manifestations of racism within the UK media.