Going almost unnoticed in the Australian media was the news that all 105 members of Australia’s opposition parliamentarians became signatories to the ‘London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism’ during budget week last month.
The Declaration could possibly become the foundation for new laws that might restrict criticism of Israel in Australia as part of the Coalitions proposed revamping of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act – the same act which, under Section 18C, Andrew Bolt was successfully prosecuted when he racially vilified a number of indigenous Australians.
The Declaration, based on the European Union’s EUMC ‘Working Definition of anti-Semitism’, consists of some 34 recommendations that it says governments should enact to combat anti-Semitism.
The problem with the Declaration is that embedded in it are recommendations that suggest that not only should vilification of Jews as a race, ‘individually’ or ‘collectively’, become illegal but criticism of Israel as a state, presumably because it calls itself a ‘Jewish State’ and is, therefore, collectively Jewish, should also be considered as anti-Semitism and so should be made illegal. For example, the ‘Working Definition of anti-Semitism’ says that “claiming the State of Israel is a racist endeavour” is “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination” and such criticism should be labelled as ‘anti-Semitic’. The Declaration ignores entirely the fact that Israel is not a ‘Jewish state’ as some 22% of its population are Arab.
The ‘Working Definition’ also suggests that “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is also ‘anti-Semitic’. So too, according to the ‘Working Definition’, is “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel… than to the interests of their own nations”.
While there are many appropriate recommendations that go toward combating anti-Semitism within the documents, those mentioned above, and others, are wholly inappropriate and should not be included in either the ‘Declaration’ or ‘Working Definitions’ and completely excluded from any future legislation in Australia or anywhere else on the planet.