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City council withdraws controversial anti-semitism resolution

Press release from PSNA
The Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa welcomes the withdrawal of the hugely controversial resolution on anti-semitism from the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting of the Wellington City Council. It is a victory for free speech and human rights.

PSNA looks forward to working with other organisations and human rights groups to develop a comprehensive anti-racism resolution which can be passed unanimously by the council.

Press Release – Joint Press Release = February 24
A group of Wellington Jews (named below) are in the process of forming a collective to provide alternatives to the current narrow range of voices that speak publicly in the name of the Jewish community. We believe it is important for us to speak out publicly to better represent the diversity of views on Jewish issues, especially on matters of Zionism, the occupation of Palestine, and anti-Semitism.

We have been prompted to speak out now, having learned of the Wellington City Council’s Agenda item this week to consider adopting a controversial definition of anti-Semitism.

We do not support WCC’s consideration of the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of anti-Semitism for reasons of process and of substance:

1. The Council is proceeding to consider a definition of anti-Semitism without consultation with the public or Jews in the region. The document under consideration is hugely controversial and has been the subject of furious debate, global petitions and activism across Europe, Canada and the USA. A key concern is the risk that anyone who airs legitimate criticism of Israeli Government Policy may be labelled as anti-Semitic. Jewish leaders and Talmudic scholars feature on both sides of this debate.

2. In substance, this document is simply a wrong response to racism. It is wrong to imagine that any definition can protect anyone. We believe that the response to racism must be a common, steadfast, loving embrace of justice and diversity. Racism is not just a Jewish issue, and there will be no separate Jewish resolution. Muslims and other marginalised groups face racism and bigotry. The community must support a strategy to address racism against all groups.

Therefore, we urge WCC Councillors to reject the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, explain what it hopes to achieve in combatting racism, and put the issue out for public and community consultation.

Supported by

David Weinstein

Fred Albert

Marilyn Garson

Jeremy Rose

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1 comment:

  1. Johnny Overton, 25. February 2020, 20:49

    For those who may find this issue confusing here is a brief definition of Semite, “a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs”. Now think this through. So could it not be said that the Zionist state of Israel, by dispossessing & oppressing its Palestinian brothers & sisters, is itself being anti-Semitic. These are extremely complex matters, so I suggest you all take a breath & take the time to read “The Jewish Century” by Yuri Slezkine.