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Khaled Letter

This anti-democratic move is fitting for the IHRA definition, which poses such a grave threat to democratic principles, of free expression and the right to protest, to cover up Israel’s human rights abuses and violation of international law.

In July 2018 the Israeli Knesset passed the Basic Law: Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People which stipulates that “the exercise of the right to national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish People“; that the State shall act only “to encourage and promote the establishment and strengthening of Jewish settlements “; and that the State shall only be open “for Jewish immigration.”

By doing so this Basic Law subordinates the rights of 22 percent of its citizens who are Christian and Muslim Palestinians and enshrines the systemic inequality that they have faced since Israel’s establishment in 1948.

In effect, the Nation State Law allows the Jewish majority to pass laws that grant Jewish citizens superior rights such as the creation of Jewish-only communities in Israel proper,  allotting 93 percent of the land only to Jewish citizens and  justifying segregation in Israel proper, and the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

The EU strongly criticized the law and was joined by several Jewish groups around the world including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the American Jewish Committee and the U.S.-based Union for Reform Judaism.

Since 1967, Israel controls all of British-mandated Palestine between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea which includes, occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, and rules over 14 million subjects: 6.5 million Jews, 7.1 million Palestinian Christians and Muslims, and 400 thousand others.

On July 7, “Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights,” an Israeli organization that defends the human rights of Palestinians, warned that the crime against humanity of apartheid “is not committed only in the West Bank. That the Israeli regime in its entirety is an apartheid regime. That Israel is an Apartheid state.”

Seven of the examples listed in the IHRA definition conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism and are a flagrant attempt to silence criticism of Israel’s institutionalized discrimination against its Palestinian citizens.

The most blatant IHRA example is the one claiming that “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” is anti-Semitic. By doing so, the example implicitly endorses the Nation State Law’s basic principle that Jewish citizens have an exclusive right to national self-determination in the State of Israel.

Thus, the IHRA example implicitly endorses Israel’s Nation State Law and justifies any action taken by the Jewish majority in Israel’s Knesset that grants superior rights to Jewish citizens.

One can only imagine the reaction of Canadians if the Christian majority in parliament passes a similar law granting superior rights to Christians over Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and others.

Recent EKOS surveys indicate that 80% of Canadians feel that criticism of Israel for its human rights abuses is legitimate criticism and that 76% of Canadians believe that boycotting Israel for its human rights abuses is also not anti-Semitic.

These trends worry the Israel lobby in Canada and they have resorted to waging intensive campaigns in universities, in the media, the political sphere and social interactions to repress the voices of Canadians who support the rights of the Palestinian people for equality, justice and peace in their homeland.

To counter the growing popular support for Palestinian rights, the Israel lobby has successfully pressured several municipalities in Canada to adopt the flawed IHRA definition and have now succeeded in having it imposed by an Order-In-Council of Doug Ford’s Ontario government.

In summary those examples in the IHRA Definition, that conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, aim to justify the institutionalized discrimination practiced by Israel against Christian and Muslim Palestinians and attempt to silence Canadian supporters of Palestinian rights.

Those who claim that Israel represents world Jewry can rightly be accused of anti-Semitism.

Only racists would blame any Canadian Jew for the war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by Israel which are being investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Khaled Mouammar is a Palestinian refugee and served on the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada for 11 years. 
Freedom, equality and justice have been the dreams of every Palestinian since we have been denied these basic inalienable rights for more than 100 years.