Anti-Semitism and the IHRA

 

Sir, – Remarkably, Alan Shatter hints that the Government lacks sufficient commitment to “protecting today’s Jews against escalating anti-Semitism in Ireland”, but uncritically cites Hungary, whose long-serving prime minister Viktor Orban has consistently used anti-Semitic propaganda to appeal to right-wing voters, in his roll-call of states that have adopted or endorsed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition. Orban’s regime is one of a number of increasingly illiberal European governments which court anti-Semitic and Islamophobic elements at home, but never mind – his government cultivates close relations with Israel and acts as a bulwark against EU consensus on supporting Palestinian human rights.

Anti-Semitism, like all forms of racism, is contemptible and must be combatted, but one has to wonder whether if, for many of those pushing the IHRA working definition, their priority is protecting Jewish people, or protecting Israel’s regime of anti-Palestinian oppression.

– Yours, etc.

MARTIN O’QUIGLEY,

Drumcondra, Dublin 9.

Sir, – It is unfair of Alan Shatter to criticise the Government for not embracing all of the examples in the IHRA document, especially in the context of current Israeli political actions. After all, eminent Jewish scholars of anti-Semitism have since felt the need to expressly distinguish between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in both the Jerusalem Declaration and the Nexus Document.

Support for a political solution which recognises Palestinian equality in the region whether through a two state or other arrangement is not in itself anti-Semitic, nor is the rejection of the settlement policy of the Israeli government.

Even to compare Israel with other historical cases of settler colonisation and apartheid is not in and of itself anti-Semitism. Mr Shatter does himself no credit by characterising legitimate disagreement in this way.

– Yours, etc,

MICHAEL KENNA,

Knocklyon, Dublin 16.

Sir, – Tomás McBride and Felim O’Maolmhána’s criticisms (Letters, November 30th) are misguided. In particular they criticise the IHRA for categorising as anti-Semitic “denying the right of the Jewish people to self-determination”.

Sadly, anti-Semitism – the world’s oldest hatred – is once again on the rise.

Asserting the right of the Jewish people to self-determination does not deny that right to the Palestinian people. A two state solution has been the only practical means of resolving the Israel/Palestine conflict for over 70 years. However, the continued tragedy remains the repetitive rejection of that solution by Palestinian leaders.

Over the past 14 years Palestinian territory has been governed by two separate bodies: in Gaza, Hamas rejects a two state solution and is dedicated to Israel’s destruction; on the West Bank it’s Fatah, under the presidency of Mahmoud Abbas – and he consistently denies the Jewish people’s historical connection to the land of Israel and Jerusalem.

It is these rejectionist Palestinian leaders who are denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination.

– Yours, etc,

DAVID M ABRAHAMSON,

Glenageary, Co Dublin.