Media Release from Alternative Jewish Voices of Aotearoa
The NZ Jewish Council has released a survey which calls hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders antisemitic for expressing views consistent with those of the world’s leading human rights organisations. By conflating legitimate criticism of Israel with the hatred of Jews the survey is weaponising antisemitism in a way that it is more than dishonest. It is dangerous. Their method should not have been funded.
The survey uses a sweeping definition of antisemitism which conflates opposition to the occupation with the hatred of Jews. Known as the IHRA Working Definition, it has no official standing in Aotearoa, none. This survey shows us why it is so dangerous. Of the survey’s 18 attitudes, fully half are attitudes about Israel rather than Jews. Therefore, this survey seeks out public objections to Israel’s occupation of Palestine and calls that racism. The NZ Jewish Council has a history of calling disagreement racist.
If, for example, a respondent simply agrees with the conclusion of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Harvard Law School and others that Israel’s regime constitutes apartheid, that respondent is classed as hating Jews. Literally: the survey has no category called ‘agree,’ only a category called ‘antisemitic.’ If a person understands that Palestinians are indigenous to Palestine, they are antisemitic. If they do not consider Israel democratic because they see that the government of Israel wields power over millions of West Bank and Gaza Strip Palestinians who cannot vote in Israeli elections, they are classed as antisemitic. These are not hateful attitudes to Jews, they are attitudes that show respect for democracy, international law and human rights.
The Jewish Council’s partisan method has undermined what should have been a serious and timely study of antisemitism. Instead, they have used their platform to alienate our neighbours whose concern extends to the rights of Palestinians.
And where does this method leave Palestinians? A Palestinian who asserts her identity and her full human and political rights would fall foul of this survey on several counts. The NZ Jewish Council has published a document that renders Palestinian identity racist. It should not have been funded.
The study’s first category comes closest to a real definition of antisemitism. Those responses give us sufficient concern to work more closely within Aotearoa’s broad antiracist community. It is a travesty that the NZ Jewish Council went on to politicise the exercise and place one more obstacle in the path of a genuine Jewish antiracism.
Alternative Jewish Voices of Aotearoa NZ
4 thoughts on “NZ Jewish Council calls New Zealanders antisemitic for holding views consistent with the world’s leading human rights organisations”
Respect to AJV and warm appreciation of this helpful analysis of the NZ Jewish Council and David Farrar’s ‘survey’.
That the (so-called) Jewish Council is disingenuously using the normal strategy used internationally by the Israeli state and its supporters, conflating ‘anti-semitism’ and criticism of the Israeli state, is already evident.
That AJV so clearly analyses the report and cross-links to source material is extremely helpful.
Another reason for the NZ Govt to reconsider its relationship diplomatically with Israel’s chief propagandist-in-chief the Embassy in Wellington, and take careful note of the propagandist organisations it appears to fund. (Did NZJC use funds from the Embassy to in turn fund this bankrupt survey?).
This is so very very depressing at least and alarming at most. A timely highlight of the issues around calling out the illegal occupation – particularly as the start of Ramadan has heralded yet more abuses in the West Bank; no doubt there will be some bombing of Gaza to go with it….
It is alarming, and we mustn’t turn away. We need to turn our alarm to good, sound actions grounded in law and our love of humanity. Ramadan Kareem to everyone who is celebrating!
Anyone who would defend Zionism and the actions of successive Israeli Governments should be asked: 1) Do you support the system of apartheid in operation from The River to The Sea as highlighted by groups such as the UN; B’Tselem, and Human Rights Watch? 2) Do you support the programme of ethnic cleansing in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem which has seen Palestinians driven off their land, crops – including fodder, livestock, ancient olive groves – destroyed; water resources confiscated or destroyed; roads blocked and travel restricted for Palestinians, all in order to set-up illegal Jews-only colonies, roads and other infrastructure. The existence of the latter are testimony to the fact that ethnic cleansing has taken place and is ongoing today, quite apart from the 1948 Nabka! The role of Christian Zionists particularly of the USA, in supporting this Crime Against Humanity with private and Government subsidies and political influence cannot be understated.
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