With the EU Parliamentary election imminent, EJJP advocates that the parliamentary political groupings and parliamentary candidates decline to sign the McCarthyite loyalty oath being proposed by the European Jewish Association. The Association intends to ask the groupings and candidates to sign a pledge supporting the IHRA ?Working Definition of Anti-Semitism?, and opposing BDS as ?fundamentally anti-Semitic?.
The clear intention of the Association is to use the fear of being called antisemitic to pressure people to sign, as a means of suppressing fundamental criticism of Israel and
Sample Meeting Request Letter
Barbara Kudrycka, MEP
Vice Chair, LIBE
30 November 2018
Dear Ms. Kudrycka,
We are writing to request a meeting to discuss the plan of the European Jewish Association to create an AIPAC-like lobbying operation asking party organisations and prospective MEPs to sign a declaration pledging support for the IHRA ?definition? of antisemitism and opposition to BDS. The plan also says ?All political parties pledge to exclude from government parties or politicians that espouse anti-Semitism as defined by the IHRA definition. (…) All political parties to pass?binding resolutions that reject BDS activities as fundamentally anti-Semitic.? This plan, revealed at their convention on 6-7 November, raises the important issues of antisemitism and the fundamental right to free speech providing it is not hate speech.
The IHRA document inhibits people’s willingness to criticise Israel by creating massive uncertainty as to what is legitimate criticism and what is not. BDS is called antisemitic, whereas it is a perfectly legal, non-violent strategy to enable civil society to bring pressure on Israel to come into compliance with international law. It is aimed at Israel, not at Jews.
The distinction between criticism of Israel and antisemitism should be simple, as it was until a few years ago. Criticism of Israel is not antisemitic if it is couched in terms of what Israel does or has done. As long as there is no slippage from Israel to Jews or Jewish in the language used, criticism of Israel should be taken at face value.
BDS’s legitimacy was recognised by High Representative Mogherini on 15 September 2016. She said: ?The EU stands firm in protecting freedom of expression and freedom of association in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which is applicable on EU Member States’ territory, including with regard to BDS actions carried out on this territory.?
I understand the Association also intends to create a committee of member states’ Special Representatives, including Katharina Von Schnurbein, the Commission’s Coordinator for Combating Antisemitism, who would report progress of the declaration-signing operation to the Council of Ministers. If this becomes a reality, it will institutionalise the operation and make it doubly difficult for MEPs and political parties to speak freely about Israel.
We note that an Israeli Government Minister was billed to speak at the convention, and in fact to propose the text of the declaration. Therefore, there is little room for doubt that the motive is not to fight antisemitism, but rather to protect Israel from serious criticism and civil society campaigning. The pressure to conform or risk being called antisemitic will be severe.
The consequences for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could also be severe. The more successful the plan is in repressing criticism of Israel, the more will right-wing Israeli governments be emboldened to continue acting as if they are above the law. We do not believe MEPs or political parties should lend themselves to supporting the plan.
We are hoping you will be able to meet one of two of us in the week of 3rd December.
Dror Feiler, Chair of EJJP, Judar for Israelisk-Palestinsk Fred (Stockholm).
Arthur Goodman, Diplomatic and Parliamentary Liaison officer, JFJFP (London)
Nov. & Dec. 2018. Consolidated meetings table
Participants, November: Arthur Goodman (JFJFP) and members of ECCP
Participants, December: Arthur Goodman (JFJFP), Illana Sumka (EAJS), Simon Chabrillet (UPJB)
|K. Von Sschnurbein*||EC Coordinator on combating antisemitism|
|press conference in parl.||the EJA convention & plans|
|Claire Moody, MEP||UK, S & D|
|EEAS, 2 staff members||2 junior officials came instead of the senior man we expected|
|Christine Revault d’Aillonnes, MEP||Fr, S&D,, LIBE.|
|Moritz Deutermeyer *||Foreign Affairs Asst. to David McAllister , Gr. EPP, Chair AFET (Despite his name, he is German.)|
|Martina Anderson, MEP||N.I. GUE/NGL, LIBE, Deleg. Palestine|
|Dutch Perm Represent.||Jan Dirk Stam + another|
|Ana Gomez, MEP *||Port., S&D, LIBE. AG helped her with public meeting in parl. prevented blocking|
|Susanna Terstal, with official, EC||Special Rep. for peace process, works directly for Council of Ministers|
|Michael Miller,||Head Unit B1, DG-Near. Controls financial aid to PA, Gaza.,|
|Javier Carlos Ciganda, asst. to MEP||F. A. Asst to Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea MEP, spain, ALDE, Vice Chair, DROI|
|Neil Maccall, EEAS||Head, MENA 2 dept.,|
|Elena Valenciano, MEP||Sp., Vice Chair for Foreign Relations, S&D, AFET, DROI|
|K. Von Schnurbein||2nd meeting with her|
|Tamas Meszerics MEP,||Hu. Green, AFET, SEDE Pal rappoteur|
|Mercedes Alvargonzalez, Alexandra Entrena Rovers||Chef de Cabinet; External Policies Adviser; Manfred Weber MEP, Gr. Chair EPP.|
|Cristina Aron, Assistant to MEP||Foreign Affairs Asst.to Cristian Dan Preda, Rm., EPP, Vice Chair DROI AFET|
|Wajid Khan, ME,||UK, S&D,. AFET, DROI, DARP|