IHRA ‘Antisemitism’ Pseudo-Definition Invades Australia

Protest against the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Antisemitism. (Photo: Video Grab)

By David Faber

The ‘International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’ is an absurd creature of global Zionism.  It actually wantonly distracts people of goodwill from remembering the Shoa. It seeks primarily to criminalize constructive criticism of Israel’s inhuman misbehavior towards the Palestinians.

This criticism is constructive because it contributes to the peaceful resolution of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians, for which settler colonialism is responsible. As such, dissident Israelis can boast a significant minority of such critics among their own ranks, who seek peace in historical Palestine.

The IHRA seeks to deviously undermine such criticism and free speech by promoting a tendentious pseudo-definition of ‘Antisemitism’. This interested-mix definition seeks to defame democratic critics of Israel’s multiple and sustained offenses against the Palestinians, including war crimes. The recent IHRA infiltration of the pseudo-definition in four Australian jurisdictions is a case in point.

By mid-2022, the pseudo-definition had been introduced in an almost clandestine way through two Australian Parliaments, effectively unnoticed and unopposed.

As the pseudo-definition is unhistorical, one practicing historian wrote twice seeking information from the Victorian government as to whether or not the rumor that it had been passed by the Victorian Parliament was true. On both occasions, the alternative, historically based Jerusalem Declaration of Antisemitism was recommended. Neither approach, to the Acting Premier James Merlino or Premier Dan Andrews, received even an acknowledging receipt, let alone was dignified with a reply.

The popular centrist Victorian State Labor government adopted the pseudo-definition, as did the right-wing New South Wales State Liberal government.  This strange agreement between competing political parties demonstrates the institutional power of the Zionist lobby in Australia. It is reflected at the federal level as an aspect of Australia’s bi-partisan foreign policy, aligned with the US empire.

That policy is deliberately ambiguous on the Palestine question, in line with the evasive policy of the Australian Labor Party. This reflects the divided counsels on the question within the Party.

The Commonwealth Labor government, elected on May 21, 2022, considers Australia Israel’s most devotedly loyal ally.  For years the actual hard-line centrist Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong of South Australia, has effectively resisted recognizing Palestine, regarding it as a premature gesture until Palestinians produce what she and the ALP might deem a suitably abject peace policy.  Not surprisingly, the `moderate’ ALP Prime Minister, Anthony Albanesi, has endorsed the pseudo-definition.

In South Australia, the advent of the pseudo-definition in the Upper House of the bicameral Parliament, provoked resistance, having reached the ears of the Executive of the Australian Friends of Palestine, based in the capital city of Adelaide. A motion was introduced to the Legislative Council by the recently elected One Nation Councillor Sarah Game, to the effect that the House endorse the pseudo-definition.

One Nation is a reactionary party with racist tendencies, which appear not to disturb South Australian Zionists. Truly politics makes strange bedfellows, as an Australian aphorism notes.  The hard-line conservative Liberal Opposition, comprehensively dumped from office early in the year, endorsed the motion. At first, the Malinauskus Labor government, led by a `moderate’ Premier and a progressive Deputy Premier, considered a principled stand, being keen to humiliate the mover and supporters of the motion. Thus, a hearing was given to lobbying by the SA Islamic community and the Friends of Palestine.

South Australia has had significant dissenting, progressive tendencies since it was colonized as a Province of the British Empire by Liberal utopians in 1836. In keeping with them, the Friends of Palestine sprang into action, resisting the covert Zionist push and rendering it public. Legislative Councillors inclined to oppose the motion, Greens and Independents in the main, were supported and their resolution was successfully buttressed.

Liaison with progressives in the Labor Party caucus was also maintained. Indeed, the Caucus invited both proponents and opponents of the motion to address it. When the motion was to be moved in the Council, a demonstration with speeches was held on Parliament House Steps, a classical proscenium that is the primary venue for political manifestations in Adelaide. Its object was to remind Councillors that their deliberations were public and that there was resistance to the pseudo-definition in the community.

Debate on the motion was adjourned until July 6, when another demonstration was organized.  It was during these proceedings that news was received that the South Australian Labor Caucus had been told by the federal Party that it was to accept the pseudo-definition, rather than incur Zionist wrath and politically embarrass the Party. It is said that Senator Wong had communicated this, in no uncertain terms.

This was of course disappointing. But impromptu resistance had been organized and otherwise effective. The battle was over, but the struggle is not; the rear-guard action had served to give notice to the Zionists that any future promotion of the pseudo-definition would be contested. If the motion were introduced in the lower house, where government is formed, the House of Assembly, it would be resisted.  The covert dream run of the pseudo-definition was over.

– Dr. David Faber is Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. 

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