Jacobin - March 25, 2021

Facebook is on the brink of deciding whether to formally classify criticism of Israel and Zionism as hate speech. This comes a year after Donald Trump signed an executive order endorsing the use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in all investigations conducted by US federal agencies into Title XI claims. The executive order, like the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, is part of an attempt to enshrine the IHRA definition into law. The definition cites eleven examples of antisemitism, seven of which refer explicitly to criticizing Israel.

As leading figures of the Palestine movement have pointed out, this conflation of antisemitism and anti-Zionism is a blatant attempt to intimidate, persecute, and ultimately silence the Palestinian rights movement in the United States and around the world. It is built on the false assumption that Zionism is synonymous with Judaism, and that Israel’s seventy-three-year occupation of Palestine is a religious movement, not a settler-colonial project propped up by geopolitical conditions and imperial alliances.

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