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What is Anti-Sematism

We look into the definition of anti-sematism as the UK government adopts an international definition of anti-Semitism to help tackle hatred towards Jews.

December 12

0:00
2016

London , United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland - 12 Dec 2016 - BBC

The UK government's decision to adopt an international definition of anti-Semitism is aimed at tackling the hatred towards Jews. Police, councils, universities and public bodies will be able to adopt the wording, Theresa May will detail in a speech later this week.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which the UK belongs to, created the definition. It calls anti-Semitism a "perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews." Prime Minister Theresa May will argue that a clear definition means anyone guilty of anti-Semitism in "essence, language or behaviour" will be "called out on it".

As a strong opponent of any hatred and strong proponent of tolerance, I find it quite troublesome that the Government would be so comitted to a specific law on intolerance aimed at a specific group rather than a single, logical law that makes it illegal to discriminate against anyone inlcuding Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Indians, Pakistanis and the hundreds of other minorities in the United Kingdom.

Throughout my childhood, most British comedy simply mocked people, mostly the Indians, Pakistanis and other Asians in the U.K. It was never frowned on and everyone enjoyed the laughs. Likewise, most jokes took aim at the Irish or Jews, and in some cases Arabs. Films always depicted Arabs as terrorist, Arab leaders as morons with a white sheet on their head splashing money around. Jews were often mocked about being stingy and being obsessed with money and since the creation of Israel for being this great demon that controls the world.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance hopes its definition, agreed this year, will be adopted globally. It defines anti-Semitism as "a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews." It adds: "Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."

The danger of a law that attempts to apply a rigourous definition to one that is at best, flawed is likely to result in the abuse of the law, stiffle free speech and clog the courts with unecessary cases. What is needed is common sense, less hyprocrasy and a defusion of the tensions globally that are increasing intolerance amongst different groups especially against jewish people.

Downing Street said anti-Semitic behaviour could be overlooked because the term is ill-defined, with different organisations adopting their own interpretations. Although I agree wholeheartedly with her stance, I do not agree with the definition that has been adopted, unless off-course we want to rewrite history. What I am referring to is the definition of what a Semite is and I believe this is critical if we want to end all discriminations because it is only logical to call a lemon a lemon. So what is a semite? A semite is any person including the Arabs, Hebrews, Assyrians, Arameans as well as other ancient races who spoke a Semitic language as their native tongue. Most people in the world are under the impression that the modern Jew is of Hebrew or Semitic origin, but in reality this belief is unfounded and highly erroneous.

Jews will surely disagree with this definition, but simply not liking something does not do away with truth or reason. If you scour the internet, you will surely come across many different interpretations of the term semite; however as a sane individual I will choose the definition which existed at the time of my birth and that is very similar to the definition above. In this case, many people in the UK, politicians or individuals are guilty of anti-semitism.

Furthermore, if we decide that the IHRA definition is for whatever reason the correct one, then according to the result of a genetic study published in the British journal Genome Biology and Evolution the European Jews (Ashkenazim) don’t belong to the 12 (Semitic) tribes of Israel. So not even the jews agree on who is a semite.

The IHRA - which is backed by 31 countries, including the UK, USA, Israel, France and Germany - set its working definition of what constituted anti-Semitic abuse in May. The group said having a "legally binding working definition" would give countries the "political tools" to deal with anti-Jewish hate crime.

The motives of the IHRA still baffle me; why do we need a group of 31 countries to define what a semite is, what about the other countries that are not part of this IHRA. Furthermore, it is somewhat assumed that only the Jews matter. What about the other minorities, should they not too have a smiliar alliance to define a name for the discrimination they face.

If we are to ensure that hatred does not creep back into society and lead us back to the dark times of the Holocaust, then we should be focusing on ending hatred which is being stoked up by erratic and stupid interventions overseas. While discrimination against jews is rife across Europe, so is discrimenation against Arabs, Muslims or anyone who is not white or Ayran. Therefore, the government should not expend any political capital on fighting one form of hatred, and instead focus on fighting all forms of hatred by doing the exact opposite of what they are doing; which is to make sure that they demonstrate to the entire population that we are all equal as human beings. Therefore a better definition would be,

"Rhetorical and physical manifestations of discriminatory anti-human behaviour directed towards any individuals and/or their property, toward their community institutions and religious facilities."

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid came up with his own definition which is perfect except for the "anti-semitism" part which is not universal. 

"an attack on the identity of people who live, contribute and are valued in our society". "There can be no excuses for anti-Semitism or any other form of racism or prejudice,"

he said. "Crimes must always be reported, and the law enforced, but we also want to create an environment that prevents hate crime from happening in the first place."

Conservative MP and special envoy for post-holocaust issues, Sir Eric Pickles, told the BBC that the new definition "catches up with modern anti-Semitism".

"I think it's important not to conflate Jewish people with Israel," he said. "That actually is the point in the definition."

The point Sir Erik Pickles missed is that anti-semitism has nothing to do with Israel because the Holocaust took place before the creation of Israel. What he is surely referring to is Arab discrimination of Jews because Israel was created by destroying an existing state called Palestine which was under British mandate. Lets call a lemon a lemon. However, you only have to examine history to discover that it was never the Arabs that discriminated against Jews prior to the creation of the State of Israel, quite the contrary it was always the Christians who persecuted, tortured and executed the Jews.

When the Muslim-Arab army invaded Christian Spain in 711 CE, the local Jewish community which was treated as serfs (or slaves) welcomed Muslims as their liberators. American journalist and author, Rose Wilder Lane, wrote that within fifty years of Muslim rule, the former Jewish slaves became part of the middle and upper classes. Some of them even joined the royal court and rose to become commanders in the army.

Police in the UK already use a version of the definition. However, it will now also be used by other bodies, including councils. Mrs May will say: "There will be one definition of anti-Semitism - in essence, language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews - and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it."

She will add: "It is unacceptable that there is anti-Semitism in this country. It is even worse that incidents are reportedly on the rise."

Last week, a man who subjected Labour MP Luciana Berger to an online campaign of anti-Semitic abuse was jailed for two years. It comes as the Community Security Trust said the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK increased by 11% between January and June - from 500 in the same period last year, to 557 this year.

Labour, which has faced accusations that it has failed to tackle anti-Semitism in its own membership, welcomed the move. A spokesman for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said hatred towards Jews was "as repugnant and unacceptable as any other form of racism". Earlier this year Baroness Chakrabarti, the former director of civil liberties group Liberty, chaired an inquiry into anti-Semitism in the party. It found the party was not overrun by anti-Semitism or other forms of racism, but there was an "occasionally toxic atmosphere".

It is about time that we all grow up and stop trying to rewrite history, confuse our future generations with nonsense and start enshrining human values and lead by example. All prejudice, discrimination and hatred is equal no matter to whom it is applied.

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