(August 7, 2019 / JNS) The U.S. State Department has amended its website after a critical omission on its page defining anti-Semitism.
The State Department’s website “Defining Anti-Semitism,” which is based on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism that was adopted in 2016, originally omitted the line, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”
However, after some pro-Israel activists noticed the omission, it appears that the State Department has updated the site to include it.
Comparing Israel’s policies to that of Nazis is a familiar anti-Israel trope often used by BDS supporters and other critics of Israel.
“This can be an important tool against those who make a cynical and horrific use of the Jewish holocaust for the purpose of delegitimizing the Jewish state and promote anti-Semitic sentiments in the general public,” Yifa Segal, director of the International Legal Fund, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, many studies show that this rhetoric is widely used in the U.S. today, and including this legal definition will make clear that this type of comparison originates in anti-Semitism and is not a legitimate discourse.”
Anti-Israel politicians, not only in the United States but elsewhere, have been using this comparison quite regularly.
In July, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) drew criticism for comparing the anti-Israel BDS movement to previous boycotts of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In Canada, a political candidate from the New Democratic Party in Nova Scotia was also recently ousted for this comparison, and British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was criticized for speaking at a 2009 protest likening Israel to Nazi Germany.