While Jews have been arguing among themselves over the differences between the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism and the Nexus definition, the Palestinian Authority has been broadcasting anti-Jewish accusations so extreme that they easily fit both definitions.
Three times in recent months, official P.A. Television has featured a “researcher” named Muhammad Al-Yahya whose attacks on Jews repeated numerous classic antisemitic accusations. And a second featured guest on P.A. TV, “journalist” Muhammad Al-Burini, has spouted similar antisemitic sentiments:
— “The Jews are arrogant by nature. They don’t accept the other. They always stick to themselves.” (Al-Yahya)
— “Their [Jewish] thinking is based on racism that caused them to be hated everywhere.” (Al-Yahya)
— “In ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ in what was leaked of [it], there is a parenthetical sentence that they are fulfilling that has caused them to be hated by all peoples: ‘God created the land, and afterwards He created man to prepare the land for them [the Jews], and afterwards He created them so that they would be masters over them.’ ” (Al-Yahya)
— “I want to note a very important point regarding the fabricated Holocaust, truly fabricated. … Hitler and the Zionist movement cooperated to spread [those] claims … ” (Al-Burini)
(Translations courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch)
These statements are unquestionably antisemitic. They fall within both the category of “mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing or stereotypical allegations about Jews” to which IHRA refers, and the “anti Jewish beliefs (and) attitudes” to which Nexus alludes.
Buttressed by this consensus, Jewish groups across the political spectrum need to join hands and insist on international action against these outbursts of Palestinian antisemitism.
Because such statements are not only deeply insulting, they are also profoundly dangerous. They are inspiring an entire generation of young Palestinian Arabs to hate and murder Jews. They constitute the single biggest obstacle to achieving a meaningful and durable peace between Israel and the P.A.
It must be remembered that it is the silence of the international community that makes such antisemitism possible. If there had been a worldwide outcry after Al-Yahya’s appearance on P.A. TV on Jan. 17, the P.A. would have hesitated to invite him back to repeat his antisemitic slurs on Feb. 27 and May 14.
If the countries that fund the P.A. or pay its bills had spoken out, the P.A. would have had to reconsider the price of spreading antisemitism. The Biden administration has sent the Palestinian Arabs more than $900 million in the past two years. That would be a lot of money to lose.
But there was no outcry. No protest. Not even a verbal slap on the wrist from the State Department officials who always rush to loudly condemn Israel at the drop of a hat. No, the P.A. antisemitism was met with silence. And that enables it to continue.
For more than a decade, the United States, including the Biden administration, has used the IHRA definition. In addition, the administration’s recently announced U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism praised the Nexus definition. Which means that U.S. officials now have an obligation to speak out when foreign governments make statements that constitute antisemitism according to both definitions.
The administration cannot reasonably claim to be defining and countering antisemitism unless it denounces governments that are promoting antisemitism according to the administration’s own terms. And that’s what the P.A. is doing.
Antisemitic outbursts by street-corner thugs are bad enough. But the official promulgation of antisemitism by a governing regime is far more dangerous. The P.A. rules more than 98% of the Palestinian Arabs. The P.A. is using its financial resources and communications networks to promote attacks on “Jewish arrogance” and “racist Jewish thinking,” to champion The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and to deny the Holocaust. A united American Jewish community must insist that the Biden administration use its financial and diplomatic leverage to bring an end to this hate-mongering.