The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism has become the standard definition for antisemitism throughout the Western world. Governments, including the UK, have adopted it as part of their laws and accept it as the best way to define hatred towards the Jewish people.

Importantly, the IHRA definition includes examples of antisemitism that relate to Israel. But as you would expect not everyone is happy with this as they claim it limits criticism of Israel and restricts free speech.

The truth, however, is that much of the hatred directed towards Israel is antisemitic. Israel is the world’s only Jewish state. And many of those who seek Israel’s destruction are ideologically driven. They hide behind the guise of freeing the Palestinians when they simply wish to destroy the Jewish people.

UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice Lord David Wolfson said as much last week when speaking to the Jerusalem Post’s London conference.

“It’s a calumny to say that the fight against antisemitism in some way shuts down free speech; it simply doesn’t,” he said.

The minister explained, “I believe that Britain ought to be a country of free speech.” But there was an important distinction to be made.

“Antisemitism is hate speech and all democracies have drawn a line between free speech and hate speech. There are things you cannot say because they are defamatory and there are things you cannot say because they are racist.”

Wolfson explained that the IHRA definition was adopted, “to ensure that British society is free from antisemitism in all its guises.”

However, he explained that some people in the UK “appear to have a blind spot when it comes to anti-Jewish racism, people who pronounce themselves anti-racist in relation to every other form of racism,” he said.

“Antisemitism is Jew-hatred. I also do not like the word antisemitism. I call it anti-Jewish racism. I think it is very important to see the fight against antisemitism as part of the fight against racism.”

One has to distinguish between critical debate and “singling out a country for criticism when you do not apply that approach to any other country, and that is the approach of the IHRA definition,” he said. “It does not shut down criticism of Israeli government policy. What it does do is to say that it is very likely that if you are applying a double standard, that your approach is infected by antisemitism.”

Wolfson is right, it is very easy to criticize the government of Israel without being antisemitic. After all, many Israelis do so every day! But anti-Israel activists seem to find it far more challenging to keep their views ‘kosher’, likely because their anti-Israel hatred is charged with antisemitism.

Become a member of CUFI and receive these 5 mini-books and exclusive lapel-pin

Related Articles:

‘Please bring her home’ – Father of 9-year-old, Emily, asks London rally for help to rescue his ‘sweet, innocent’ daughter

Thomas Hand, father of Emily, who turned 9 in Hamas captivity last week, was among family members of hostages that addressed the crowd at the 'Never Again is Now' rally in London on...

Why did Pope Francis promote hateful propaganda against Israel?

This week we saw an example of why those who are in authority need to be particularly careful with their words because they have the power to influence many people. Sadly, the Pope has...

‘Christians must not remain silent at this time’ – Des Starritt addresses pro-Israel rally in London

Des Starritt, Executive Director of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in the UK, spoke at the Never Again Is Now prayer rally on Sunday 19th November 2023. CUFI was pleased to support...

Thousands rally outside Downing Street for Christian solidarity with the Jewish community

CUFI would like to thank all our supporters who attended the Never Again Is Now prayer rally on Sunday evening in a peaceful stand of solidarity with the Jewish community, and for all...

Comparing Israel to the Nazis is antisemitic

Comparing Israel to the Nazis is antisemitic. It's as simple as that. However, we know the world we live in cannot take a simple truth an all agree to it. In fact, the reason we have to...