Defend free speech! Stop the criminalization of solidarity with Palestine!

Statement by Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment (CRIR)

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Thanks to international protest and opposition inside Israel, the military offensive to strip the Palestinian people of a third of its territory in the West Bank was put on hold on July 1st. This annexation is part of Donald Trump’s plan known as The Vision, the so-called “deal of the century,” made public last February and designed to strengthen his image as he faces re-election in November.

Trump intended to hand over West Bank land where Jerusalem, a sacred city for Christians, Jews, and Muslims, is located. In exchange, Trump promised economic aid for what is left of the Palestinian State and its inhabitants, who today are condemned to survive in ghetto conditions. This is how the U.S. president hoped to fulfill his 2017 promise to move Israel’s capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, there is no way the Palestinians will give up their territory, nor will they let Israel expel them from the sacred city of Jerusalem.

Trump’s colonialist plan is designed to boost an increasingly weakened Netanyahu, who is currently facing both corruption charges and resistance from the Palestinian solidarity movement. This movement continues to exist and to mobilize and function as an obstacle to Israel’s expansionist efforts, despite divisions between the political leaderships in the Gaza Strip (Hamas) and the West Bank (Fatah).

To implement Trump and Netanyahu’s plan, it would be necessary to undermine international solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) seeks to accomplish this by advocating adopting into law its definition of anti-Semitism in order to prosecute those who organize and protest Israel’s expansionist policy.

Palestinians have suffered violence since the creation of the state of Israel more than 70 years ago. Israel was established on and has been sustained by the lie that Palestine was an uninhabited expanse waiting for a people without land–the Jewish people. But this falsehood is unsustainable as today millions around the world recognize Palestine’s right to exist and call on the Israeli state to stop the genocide!

To silence these voices, Zionists created the IHRA, an organization led by Israel. Today, the IHRA consists of 31 member nations including the United States, Canada, Australia, France, England, Germany, and twenty-six other European countries. Argentina is the only IHRA member in Latin America. In June 2020, Argentina approved the IHRA’s new definition of anti-Semitism that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and adopted measures to criminalize all activism in solidarity with the struggle of Palestinians.

This is how IHRA is redefining anti-Semitism: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews that can be expressed as hatred of Jews. The physical and rhetorical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed at Jewish or non-Jewish persons and/or their property, the institutions of Jewish communities and their places of worship.”

In this maneuver, IHRA is attempting to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, a form of racism against peoples of Semitic origin, in this instance, Jews. We oppose Zionism, the political movement that led to the creation of the state of Israel with the support of the UN in 1948, and since then has maintained the occupation of the land inhabited by Palestinians and other Arab peoples by means of persecution and genocide.

IHRA’s efforts to equate the institutions of the Jewish religion and its cultural tradition with the policies of the state of Israel will only intensify the oppression, exploitation and genocide suffered by the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli government, parliament and army. This campaign’s goal is to provide immunity for Israel’s actions while criminalizing all those who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

The origin and existence of the state of Israel is intricately linked to the geopolitical interests of the Western powers. That is why Israel functions as a regional police force for the United States, aiming its guns at the peoples of the Middle East and helping to maintain the status quo in a deeply anti-U.S. region with enormous, strategic oil reserves. This is the reason why the imperialist powers back the existence of the State of Israel, even though it is a religious state where the condition of being or not being Jewish determines full access to democratic freedoms. This is something that should be rejected, especially by Western nations such as France, the United States or Argentina, which after defeating the monarchy and the Catholic Church, gave rise to a deep tradition of struggle for the separation of Church and State. The collusion with Israel, in contradiction to the rejection of the theocratic Muslim states, is yet another example of the double standard of the imperialist powers for whom democratic values and principles are not universal, but merely pawns to promote their own interests.

We must stop this Zionist international campaign that has already made progress in France, Argentina, Italy, and Spain!

As governments all over the world are looking the other way, the state of Israel is subduing the Palestinian people with weapons, walls and laws that would be the envy of Nazi Germany or the apartheid regime in South Africa. We reject the policies of Trump and Netanyahu!

It is the task of all democratic organizations and people’s rights advocates to stop Israel’s outrage.

We stand for forging broad unity to demand that every government reject this new definition of anti-Semitism whose aim is to criminalize activism in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle!

We demand that every country reject all measures that jeopardize the individual rights of its citizens to organize and protest!

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