A motion moved by Reverend Fred Nile to endorse International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism was passed in the NSW parliament on Wednesday 23 March 2022 with the support of the ruling coalition and the Labor opposition.
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.”
A large number of academics, journalists and intellectuals including Arabs and many Jews have, both in Australia as well as overseas rejected this definition of antisemitism saying that it protects the state of Israel against valid criticism for its discriminatory policies against non-Jews and the ongoing brutal oppression of the Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza.
NSW MLA Shaoquett Moselmane, while condemning all kinds of racism including antisemitism, passionately spoke against the motion saying, “the motion is no more than a tool pushed by Israel and its lobbyists around the world to silence criticism of Israel’s human rights violations. It is about silencing people of the Jewish faith and others who are critical of Israel’s apartheid practices.”
A report published by Oxford University in 2021 on IHRA definition found that what is supposedly intended to protect Jews against antisemitism was twisted to protect the State of Israel against valid criticism. This definition conflates criticism of Israel, an apartheid State and settler colonial State, as being antisemitic.
“It is a political tool being used to deflect criticism of Israel as an apartheid State, which for the past 70 years has subjugated, oppressed and dehumanised the Palestinian people. Palestinians are made to walk on separate footpaths, drive on separate roads, eat in separate eateries and wait in long lines at checkpoints on their way home from work or on their way to work, and the sole aim is to denigrate and humiliate them into submission,” Mr Shaoquett Moselmane further explained.
There has been great disappointment by the support for the motion by the Labor Party specially in Labor electorates in Western Sydney with the fear that now the Israeli lobby will try to get a bill passed based on this IHRA definition of antisemitism that will simply silence any one criticising Israel and advocating for restoration of human rights for the Palestinians and their self determination.
Watch/Read full speech of Mr Shaoquett Moselmane: