Was the endorsement of IHRA by Spain a mere scrap of paper? Our worries are more than reasonable. The announcement of the Government of Spain
On 22 July 2020 the Minister of the Presidency and First Vice President, Mrs Carmen Calvo, announced the decision of the Government of Spain of endorsing the working definition of antisemitism by the IHRA.
The declaration of IHRA points out that any manifestation of generalised hatred or delegitimisation against Israel or its citizens and the application of a double standard against them could be considered as anti-Semitic. Thus, carrying out activities of boycott of delegitimising campaigns, such as BDS, that look to discriminate against those who support the Jewish state and its companies and citizens are included in anti-Semitic behaviours. With the approval of this text, any public financing of those groups and any coverage of their activities could be formally considered in Spain as hatred against Jews.
From ACOM, as could not be otherwise, we received this first step with satisfaction, which should have resulted as soon as possible in a VOTE in Parliament BY MOTION of the Executive; especially taking into account that the Government relies on the support of Podemos, with a long history of antisemitism, as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance defines its programmes and resolutions.
Antisemitism in the Universities
On 1 September we called the attention to a course with a clear anti-Semite nature organised by the Public University of Navarra. The public campaign we started, exposing the error of the UPNA for giving an academic coverage of intellectual validity to a political campaign that seeks to demonize Israel, has been followed by numerous adhesions, as well as been widely broadcasted this fact in the Spanish and international media. The IHRA declaration unmasks as antisemitism the harassment and discrimination against the Jewish state dressed up as “anti-Zionism”, which is precisely what this course does.
The public concession of the organization of the course has been assigned to an organization linked with extremist movements and whose leaders have not doubted in spreading anti-Semitic libels on previous occasions. They shamelessly acknowledge their support of the discriminatory BDS, which in fact is the central pillar of the content of the course. With initials, without initials, under linguistic parapets (“defence of Human Rights”, “solidarity with the Palestinians”), an organised ideology with a clear objective: the sick anti-Israeli obsession, the criminalisation of its representatives, the dehumanization of its citizens, the delegitimisation of its right to exist. In one word: ANTISEMITISM.
The same old hatred, disguised
But, what is BDS? And most of all, what does BDS promote that makes it in fact an anti-Semitic behaviour according to the IHRA declaration?
BDS represents the antisemitism of always under a new disguise. It is the solidary and anti-Zionist mask whose objective is to deny Jews the right to live in peace and safety. Its instruments are the dehumanisation and the double standard, which are Nazi propaganda methods.
BDS poses as a human rights movement, but it is singularly obsessed with Israel in particular and with Jews in general, as it does not discriminate when boycotting as for nationality or ideology. The objective of BDS is to delegitimise Israel with defamations and seeks the destruction of the Jewish state by using radical and racist language, as well as coercing persons and institutions that do not adhere to the boycott, an anti-democratic behaviour that is unacceptable in any Western country.
BDS proposes the PRACTICAL disappearance of the State of Israel. It does not seek PEACE, through the two-state solution. Its own founder and speaker at the course proudly acknowledges it: “We cannot reconcile the right of return of the refugees with a two-state solution. A return of the refugees would be the end of Israel as a Jewish state”. BDS is being persecuted politically and legally around the world: France, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada… The German Parliament, for example, declared in May 2019: «The pattern of reasoning and the methods of the BDS movement are anti-Semitic». The German case is especially revealing for obvious historical reasons when considering the BDS campaign as an expression of antisemitism, analysing is precedents, from the Shoa to the latest years; or Austria, so sadly associated with the antisemitism of the 1930s, which also catalogues BDS as Jew-hating.
In Spain, more than 70 institutions have received condemning sentences of the BDS considering it as an illegal, discriminatory campaign that violates fundamental rights of the Spanish Constitution.
The endorsement of IHRA, in doubt
The bias so intensely anti-Semitic of the course has made numerous international organizations join us in the denunciation we made on 1 September: the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, United with Israel, Fighting Online Antisemitism and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain, among others.
If the Government wants to be taken seriously and that we believe its manifested intention of fighting antisemitism, it has to make a statement and take action against this Jew-hating act in a public university. If they don’t, if they remain silent, it will confirm that they were playing to the gallery, just a façade, if not a fraud.