In response to the statement by Palestinian and Arab intellectuals, published in Haaretz (Hebrew), the British Guardian, and al-Quds al-Arabi (Arabic), we have formulated the following statement of support (here in a PDF format).The Arabic version was edited and published in al-Quds al-Arabi (Arabic). The other two newspapers did not publish our response.
To whom it may concern,
We would like to warmly support, emphatically and without reservation, the content of the Declaration on Anti-Semitism and the Question of Palestine, which was recently published in The Guardian in the name of 122 Arab and Palestinian academics, journalists, and intellectuals.
The authors are correct in pointing out the distortions that arise from the definition of anti-Semitism formulated by IHRA and adopted by many bodies in western countries. Critical analyses -- some of which were published in the Guardian -- point out the severe problems that arise from the definition under discussion. One of the central problems is the definition's focus on expressions that are critical of Israel, through the conflation (which, in its sweeping generalization, has its own whiff of anti-Semitism) between being Jewish and being supportive of the State of Israel.
Our shared position is that the State of Israel was established through systematic ethnic cleansing. We hold that the oppressive military regime that has been imposed upon the Palestinians at least since 1967 is incompatible with a democratic state, and, because of this, that the demand brought forth in the IHRA definition not to impose "double standards" on Israel and not to demand of Israel behavior that is not demanded of "every other democratic nation" is a misleading demand based on false assumptions about Israel's seemingly democratic character. We also believe that it cannot be considered anti-Semitic to attribute structural racism to a state which has legislated a Basic Law which, in practice, characterizes it as a Jewish supremacist state.
Following political pressure and the threat of sanctions, universities in the United States and in England have also adopted this harmful definition of anti-Semitism. This means that the freedom of expression and activity of students and faculty members who seek to support the Palestinian struggle for liberation and equality has been denied. In truth, we have already witnessed cases of silencing and persecution that rely on this mistaken definition. We call upon these universities to rescind their policy. Like the signatories of the Declaration on Anti-Semitism and the Question of Palestine, we also believe that human values and human rights are indivisible and that the struggle against anti-Semitism must be combined with the struggle of all oppressed peoples and groups for their human dignity, equality, and liberation.
Many of us identify as Jews, and our adoption of the position expressed in the Declaration on Anti-Semitism and the Question of Palestine is based, among other reasons, on this identification and on our deep concern that this manipulative and distorted definition harms the true struggle against anti-Semitism, which has not yet been defeated.
This letter has been sent on behalf of all members of Academia for Equality, which unites some 600 members of the academic community and works for the democratization of the academic institutions in Israel and of the Israeli society as a whole.
Academia for Equality