Saturday, 6 March 2021

We need to decolonise our understanding of antisemitism

 My latest post at Patheos

Here are some extracts:

If the IHRA illustrations are now considered so central to defining antisemitism, then by implication they must also define what it is to be Jewish.

By that reckoning, to be Jewish is to deny the possibility that Zionism has played out in racist ways, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. And to be Jewish is to believe that the State of Israel is a democratic nation like any other, despite Israel’s own constitutional laws defining it as the nation state of the Jewish people rather than the state of all its citizens. And that’s before we get to the not insignificant fact of an occupation of Palestinian land which has lasted for most of the State’s entire history.

So to be Jewish, according to the IHRA, is to deny the truth, ignore reality, and defend the indefensible. Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t need or want this colonised version of Jewish identity to define me or what it is to be Jewish. And nor should anyone else.

There’s no point in a definition of antisemitism which embeds within it another form of racism. So we urgently need to de-politicise and decolonise our formulation of anti-Jewish racism. To achieve that we need to decolonise mainstream modern Jewish identity too.

So, if you want a constructive and unifying debate about antisemitism; if you want to decolonise Jewish identity; and if you want to chart a route to a reconciled Israel/Palestine, then for the love of God, ditch the IHRA.

Read the full post at Patheos