Criticising Israeli policy is not anti-Semitic

Sir, – Alan Shatter (Letters, December 28th) refers to my, and Jewish Voice for Just Peace's, opposition to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) motion passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly this year but misses the point. The point isn't that anti-Semitism is real and should be opposed. We all agree on this. The point is that opposition to Israel should not be labelled anti-Semitic.

The IHRA definition conflates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and has been used to stifle criticism of Israel, as illustrated by Jewish Labour Party member Diana Neslen (82), who is suing the Labour Party for labelling her anti-Semitic, claiming it has “unlawfully discriminated against her based on her belief in anti-Zionism”.

Jewish Voice for Just Peace – Ireland opposes the use of the IHRA to silence criticism of Israel.

As long as Israel continues to illegally seize Palestinian land to build settlements while evicting Palestinian families from their homes there will be criticism. As long as Israel continues to deny freedom of movement to Palestinians with over 160 checkpoints and roads prohibited to Palestinians many will call it apartheid. As long as Israel continues the siege of Gaza, and its campaign of violence continues to harass, intimidate, humiliate, imprison and kill Palestinian men women and children, there will be opposition.


Time to lift the smokescreen of anti-Semitism and call out the Israeli state for its human rights abuses.

If standing up for justice and dignity is unrepresentative and leaves you on the fringes, it is a badge of honour that I, and Jewish Voice for Just Peace, share with many, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who compared the Israeli occupation to apartheid in South Africa, saying, “I wish I could keep quiet about the plight of the Palestinians, but I can’t!” – Yours, etc,


Jewish Voice

for Just Peace – Ireland,