We the undersigned reject any attempt to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s IHRA definition of antisemitism and express our deepest concern at the fact that on 22 November 2020 the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Penny Wong, asserted federal Labor’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in her keynote speech at the Zionist Federation of Australia’s 2020 Biennial Conference.

The IHRA definition is frequently used to equate criticism of Israel with hatred of Jews and even its author, Kenneth Stern, has expressed his concern about the “McCarthy-like” use of the IHRA definition which he says  is being “weaponized to suppress — rather than answer — political speech.”

IHRA Definition: Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

It is argued that this formulation is both vague in language and lacking in content, to the point of being unusable. On the one hand, it relies on unclear terms such as “certain perception” and “may be expressed as hatred”.

On the other hand, it fails to mention key issues such as “prejudice” or “discrimination”. See Vashti | We 66 British academics and Israeli citizens reject the government’s imposition of the IHRA (vashtimedia.com)

In November last year, a group of 122 Palestinian and Arab academics, journalists and intellectuals expressed their concerns about the IHRA definition, and the way this definition has been applied, interpreted and deployed. Letter by Palestinian and Arab Academics

The letter compellingly stated: “The fight against antisemitism should not be turned into a stratagem to delegitimise the fight against the oppression of the Palestinians, the denial of their rights and the continued occupation of their land.”

It continued: “The fight against antisemitism must be deployed within the frame of international law and human rights. It should be part and parcel of the fight against all forms of racism and xenophobia, including Islamophobia, and anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism.”

On 10 December 2020, a group of some 50 prominent Jewish figures around the globe released a statement supporting this letter and applauding the set of principles expressed by those Arab intellectuals. Statement by global Jewish leaders

Additionally, a wide range of international Jewish and human rights organisations have expressed the same sentiment in condemning the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism. 40+ Jewish Groups oppose IHRA definition

We call on you to uphold the fundamental principles of free speech and respect for human rights and international law in relation to Palestine and reject or revoke any adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism in a clear and unequivocal statement.

See list of individuals and organisations.

Individuals:

Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees AO – Founder Sydney Peace Foundation, Co-founder Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies University of Sydney, author and academic.

Bishop George Browning – (Retired) Bishop of Canberra, President of Australia Palestine Advocacy Network

Dr Mohamed Mohideen OAM, JP President Islamic Council of Victoria.

Abraham Zoabi, President of Islamic Council of Muslim Associations of NSW

Sheikh Azam Misto, Imam of Rahma Mosque – Guildford

Sheikh Khalid Talib, Imam of Al-Salam Mosque – Guildford

Sheikh Yousef Nabha, Imam of Arrahman Mosque – Kingsgrove

Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad OAM, Bonnyrigg

Rev Gregor Henderson AM, Past President, Uniting Church in Australia

Rev James Barr, Senior Minister, Box Hill Baptist Church, Victoria

Pat Power, Retired Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Canberra

The Right Rev Dr Richard Condie, Bishop of Tasmania

Rev Dr Ray Williamson OAM, President, NSW Ecumenical Council

Rev Ian Smith, ordained minister of Churches of Christ, President Jewish, Christian Muslim Association and secretary of Faith Communities Council of Victoria

Rev Dr Avril Hannah-Jones, Uniting Church in Australia

Rev Joan Fisher, Uniting Church in Australia

Helen Rainger, President of Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network

Fuzz Kitto – International Church Consultant

Brother Peter Bray FSC, EdD, Vice Chancellor, Bethlehem University in the Holy Land.

Rev Dr Katherine Rainger Anglican Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn

Dave Andrews, Waiters Union

Merrill Kitchen, OAM

Greg Barns SC, Barrister and former National President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance

Sister Susan Connelly PhD, Sisters of St Joseph

Dr Scott Burchill, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, School of Humanities & Social Sciences
Deakin University

Mary Kostakidis, Journalist and human rights advocate, former Chair, Sydney Peace Foundation

Miriam Margolyes, actress and human rights advocate

Professor Wendy Bacon, academic, investigative journalist, and political activist. Former Head Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, UTs

Jeff Sparrow, Walkley award-winning writer, editor and broadcaster

Dr Rateb Jneid, President, AFIC
Keysar Trad, CEO, AFIC

 

Organisations:

Australian National Imams Council (ANIC)

Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC)

Australasian Muslim Times AMUST

Independent Australian Jewish Voice

Jews Against Occupation

Australians for Palestine

Josephine Justice Network

Women for Palestine

Australian Palestinian Professionals Association

Australian Friends of Palestine

Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine

Friends of Palestine Western Australia

Federation of Italian Migrant Workers and their Families (FILEF)

Islamic Forum for Australian Muslims (IFAM)

Australian MEFF Consortium

Islamic Foundation for Education & Welfare (IFEW)
United Australian Palestinian Workers

Islamic Council of Western Australia Australian Palestinian Club

Australian Palestinian Graduates

Australian Forum for Kashmir

Friends of Hebron

Bhanin Association Australia

El Dunnieh Sons Charity Association

El Minieh Assocation

El Mina Australia Association

Seena Incorporated
Tripoli and El Mina Association

Tripoli Fayhaa Muslim Association

Iraqi Renaissance Incorporated

Kfarsaroun Charity Association

Rockdale Bint Jbeil Sister City Committee

Maroun Alras Association

Bint Jbeil Association Australia

Barachitt Charitable Association

South West Lebanese Australian Association

Alzahra Muslim Association