[O]ur kitchen windows looked north across the leaded rooftops—among which, just over a hundred metres away, was the roof of the Bataclan music hall, in which on the evening of November 13, 2015, eighty-nine people were massacred by terrorist gunmen, and a larger number grievously injured.Read More
This translation by Oscar Mina of my article “Criminalizing Criticism of Israel in Canada: A Hate-Propaganda Trojan Horse in Bill C-13,” was first published in Eurasia: Rivista di Studi Geopolitici (17 May 2014), http://www.eurasia-rivista.org/criminalizzazione-della-critica-disraele-in-canada/21625/.
La campagna internazionale di boicottaggio, disinvestimento e sanzioni (BDS) contro Israele—quale mezzo pacifico di persuasione nei confronti di Israele ad abbandonare le sistematiche violazioni del diritto internazionale e le politiche di apartheid, espropriazione, colonizzazione e blocco nei territori palestinesi occupati—ha riscontrato ultimamente numerosi successi.1
Ad inizio febbraio 2014, The Economist sottolineava che la BDS “sta diventando una tendenza dominante,”2 mentre l’ex portavoce alla Knesset israeliana, Avraham Burg, scriveva su Haaretz che “il movimento BDS sta guadagnando terreno e si avvicina il momento […in cui] le sanzioni contro Israele diverranno fatto compiuto.”3
Il Primo Ministro israeliano Benjamin Netanyahu ha affermato che lui e i suoi alleati risponderanno con forza a tale tendenza. Alcuni resoconti relativi a una riunione del consiglio, dove si discussero le “tattiche”, mettono in luce le divisioni intestine più che la sostanza stessa della riunione: “Netanyahu indìce riunioni strategiche per contrastare i boicottaggi”—ma ha escluso di proposito alcuni Ministri più esperti:
“Ministri di sinistra tenuti fuori dalla seduta straordinaria del consiglio sulla BSD.”4 Tuttavia, sebbene la stampa israeliana sostenne “che ‘la discussione fu tenuta in segreto’, con un imposto ‘oscuramento televisivo’,” una delle fonti che riportarono il fatto diede un significato piuttosto preciso a ciò che accadde a porte chiuse:
A quanto pare, le idee discusse dai Ministri inclusero cause “in corti europee e nordamericane contro organizzazioni [pro-BDS]” e “azioni legali contro istituzioni finanziarie che boicottano gli insediamenti israeliani… e compagnie israeliane [complici]”. Vi è anche la possibilità di “promuovere leggi anti-boicottaggio in capitali amiche nel mondo, come Washington, Ottawa e Canberra” e, a tale scopo, “attivare la lobby pro-Israele negli Stati Uniti”.5
Questa specie di “guerra legislativa”, com’è a volte chiamata, non è una novità (né, si può aggiungere, lo è il concetto, altresì discusso in tale riunione, di sostenere la sorveglianza di organizzazioni pro-BDS da parte dei servizi segreti militari—la Shin Bet Security Service e il Mossad). È altrettanto evidente che la lobby pro-Israele ha mobilitato politici nelle “capitali amiche” di Washington, Ottawa e Canberra per molti anni.
Recenti sviluppi di queste iniziative hanno portato alle minacce perpetrate a Canberra, nel giugno 2013, da Julie Bishop—membro del nuovo governo australiano di Julia Gillard—secondo le quali “i sostenitori di un boicottaggio accademico di Israele” vedrebbero “sommariamente tagliati i fondi per la ricerca pubblica.”6 A Washington, è stata sottoposta all’attenzione del Congresso una legge chiamata “Protect Academic Freedom Act”, la quale negherebbe l’accesso a fondi federali “per college ed università che partecipano al boicottaggio di istituzioni accademiche o di studiosi israeliani.”7
E cosa dire del Canada, il cui Primo Ministro è l’amico più fidato del signor Netanyahu?8
Questo saggio stima che le revisioni del codice penale canadese, proposte dal governo Harper, contengono espressioni usate ad arte al fine di consentire procedimenti legislativi contro attivisti per la difesa dei diritti umani, esattamente come voluto dal signor Netanyahu e collaboratori.
1. Disegno di legge C-13 e relativi sotterfugi
Il disegno di legge (DDL) C-13, la legge che protegge i canadesi da crimini sulla rete, ha ricevuto una prima lettura presso la Camera dei comuni nel novembre del 2013. In una pagina web dedicata a “miti e fatti” del progetto di legge in questione, il dipartimento della giustizia rigetta il “mito” secondo cui “il DDL C-13 è un’antologia di diritto penale che tratta qualcosa di più del bullismo in rete”.
Il DDL C-13 non è un’antologia di diritto penale. Esso propone un nuovo reato di distribuzione non consensuale di immagini a contenuto intimo per affrontare il bullismo virtuale mediante strumenti legali autorizzati ad aiutare polizia e procuratori nell’investigare non solo il nuovo illecito proposto, bensì anche altri reati che vengono commessi via internet o includono prove elettroniche. […] Il DDL non contiene il vecchio e controverso emendamento del DDL C-30, relativo all’accesso illegittimo ad informazioni circa i firmatari e alla modifica dell’infrastruttura delle telecomunicazioni.9
Ciononostante, il dottor Michael Geist—preside Canada Research di Diritto informatico e commercio elettronico all’Università di Ottawa—osserva che in realtà il DDL C-13 conserva provvedimenti che permettono un maggior accesso illegittimo ad informazioni personali, ben oltre ciò che è previsto dall’odierno codice penale.10 L’avvocato penalista Michael Spratt stigmatizza il DDL come un “cavallo di Troia digitale per la sorveglianza statale”:
Gran parte del C-13 ha poco a che fare col proteggere chi è vittima [del bullismo virtuale]. Questo DDL espanderebbe a dismisura i poteri di sorveglianza dello Stato. Sacrifica la privacy della persona. Limita o elimina il controllo giudiziario. È incompatibile con la giurisprudenza della corte suprema. È un DDL pericoloso.11 (11
L’affermazione del Dipartimento della giustizia che “il DDL C-13 non è un’antologia di diritto penale” è evidentemente falsa. Come sottolinea un altro critico, Terry Wilson, sebbene promossa “come legge di prevenzione del bullismo virtuale, il DDL ha in realtà molto poco a che vedere con i bulli, inoltre prevede sezioni che vanno dal furto di cavi, dalla pirateria informatica, dalla sorveglianza, fino al terrorismo (il bullismo virtuale conta due pagine del DDL su cinquanta totali) […]. Il DDL include persino ‘crimini d’odio’…”.12
In questo senso, il DDL C-13 costituisce, ancora una volta, un cavallo di Troia. Il DDL aggiunge alcuni enunciati a quelle sezioni del codice penale relative alla propaganda dell’odio che sembrano, a giudicare dalle apparenze, non fare altro che conformare quelle sezioni ad altri testi paralleli—con molteplici documenti rilevanti in materia di diritto internazionale e con provvedimenti di condanna, successivi nel codice penale, dove già compaiono le stesse espressioni. Ma in questa parte del DDL C-13, v’è presumibilmente un secondo fine in atto, poiché si ha motivo di pensare che le nuove espressioni mirino, evitando ingannevolmente qualsivoglia dibattito pubblico sulla questione, a rendere penalmente perseguibili come incitamento all’odio il discorso e la difesa dei diritti umani – in relazione al trattamento oppressivo dei palestinesi da parte dello Stato d’Israele.
Questa visione dell’intento sottostante il DDL C-13 è sostenuta dal Primo Ministro Harper nel suo discorso alla Knesset tenuto il 20 gennaio 2014 (che verrà discusso più avanti). Essa trova poi supporto anche dal fatto che un’identica modifica alla formulazione del codice penale francese, implementata nel 2003 dalla cosiddetta legge Lellouche, ha permesso la condanna per incitamento all’odio razziale di ben venti attivisti francesi per i diritti umani.13
In Francia, il risultato è stato paradossale. La Francia è, come il Canada, un’Alta Parte contraente della Quarta convenzione di Ginevra del 1949—il cui primo articolo recita che “le Alte Parti contraenti s’impegnano a rispettare e a far rispettare la presente Convenzione in ogni circostanza.”14 Le persone condannate dalla legge Lellouche per incitamento all’odio razziale, partecipano ad un movimento consistente nel fermo ripudio dell’antisemitismo e di qualunque altra forma di razzismo.15 Questo movimento raccomanda un esercizio pacifico di pressione economica, allo scopo di persuadere lo Stato d’Israele a mettere fine alle molteplici e sistematiche violazioni del diritto internazionale, in particolare della Quarta convenzione di Ginevra, per la cui trasgressione Israele è stato ripetutamente condannato da commissioni e rapporti dell’ONU, nonché da agenzie indipendenti come la Human Rights Watch e Amnesty International. La realtà dei fatti è dunque inequivocabile: applicando la legge Lellouche e ridefinendo i suddetti attivisti in qualità di persone colpevoli di crimini d’odio, lo Stato francese ha simultaneamente violato il precedente impegno “a rispettare e a far rispettare” la Quarta convenzione di Ginevra “in ogni circostanza”.
Uno degli obiettivi del DDL C-13 sembra essere quello di mettere il Canada in una situazione simile, in piena violazione di uno dei principali strumenti del diritto internazionale.
2. Modifiche al significato delle sezioni 318 e 319 del codice penale
La sezione 12 del DDL C-13 propone svariate aggiunte, di minor entità, a quella parte del codice penale (sezioni 318-321.1) che porta il titolo di “Propaganda all’odio”. La sezione 12 recita come segue:
12. La sottosezione 318.(4) della legge è sostituita dalla seguente:
(4) In questa sezione, l’espressione “gruppo identificabile” rappresenta qualsiasi settore del pubblico distinguibile per colore, razza, religione, identità nazionale o etnica, età, sesso, orientamento sessuale o disabilità mentale e fisica.16
(Il grassetto indica la formulazione aggiunta all’attuale codice penale tramite il DDL B-13).
Queste aggiunte alla sezione 318 del codice penale, riguardante il reato di “esortazione al genocidio”, impattano anche su significato ed applicazione della sezione 319, riguardante il reato di “pubblico incitamento all’odio” e “intenzionale promozione dell’odio”, in cui—come enuncia la sottosezione 319.(7)—“‘gruppo identificabile’ ha lo stesso valore presente nella sezione 318”. Le clausole rilevanti della sezione 319 sono:
319. (1) Chiunque, attraverso dichiarazioni pubbliche, inciti all’odio contro quale che sia gruppo identificabile, dove tale incitamento risulti in una violazione della pace, è considerato colpevole di
(a) un’offesa incriminabile che prevede la reclusione per una durata di non più di due anni; oppure
(b) un’offesa incriminabile, punibile con una condanna sommaria.
(2) Chiunque, per mezzo di dichiarazioni, oltre ad altre forme di conversazione privata, promuova intenzionalmente l’odio contro quale che sia gruppo identificabile si rende colpevole di
(a) un’offesa incriminabile che prevede la reclusione per una durata di non più di due anni; oppure
(b) un’offesa incriminabile, punibile con una condanna sommaria.17
L’aggiunta più importante al concetto di “gruppo identificabile” risiede nella categoria d’identità nazionale, che non ha legami evidenti con il verosimile obiettivo del DDL C-13, ma che potrebbe essere percepita come legata ad un’altra agenda, enfaticamente pronunciata dal Primo Ministro Stephen Harper nel suo discorso alla Knesset israeliana nel gennaio 2014—ossia quella di ridefinire, come propaganda all’odio, la critica di politiche e comportamenti dello stato-nazione di Israele nei confronti dei cittadini palestinesi e degli abitanti dei territori palestinesi occupati.
Come evidenziò il principale quotidiano israeliano, Haaretz, in un servizio del febbraio 2014, le condanne per crimini d’odio promulgate in Francia, parecchi mesi prima, contro dodici attivisti per i diritti umani—sostenitori della campagna internazionale esortante al boicottaggio, disinvestimento e sanzioni (BDS) contro Israele—furono assicurate grazie alla legge Lellouche, la quale “estendeva la definizione di discriminazione oltre i previsti parametri di razza, religione ed orientamento sessuale, per includere membri appartenenti ai gruppi nazionali”.18
3. Legge Lellouche: un altro cavallo di Troia?
Intenzionalmente o meno, la legge Lellouche ha funzionato come una specie di cavallo di Troia. Il dottor Jean-Yves Camus ha osservato che questa legge, “approvata il 3 gennaio 2003, a seguito di un’ondata di violenza antisemita senza precedenti, permette ai giudici di imporre pene più severe nei confronti degli autori di violenze a stampo razzista, rispetto a quelle che riceverebbero normalmente nel caso di violenze simili non motivate da razzismo.”19 Come nota Haaretz, in un rapporto sulla criminalizzazione del movimento BDS in Francia, l’obiettivo apparente della legge—in un’epoca in cui l’apertamente antisemita e neofascista Fronte Nazionale di Jean-Marie Le Pen vedeva crescere il proprio supporto, specialmente nel sud della Francia—era di “rafforzare i valori repubblicani e contrastare le tendenze settarie”.
La legge passò nel 2003, poco dopo i successi strabilianti del Fronte Nazionale di estrema destra alle elezioni presidenziali.
La misura fu adottata per rispondere al clima sociale caratterizzato non solo da un crescente sentimento antisemita, ma anche da discriminazione antiaraba e xenofobia.20
Il “quadro dei motivi” che introduce la legge Lellouche al momento della presentazione all’assemblea nazionale, nel Novembre del 2002, fu esplicito nelle sue ripetute dichiarazioni che le aggiunte al codice penale proposte dalla legge erano prettamente volte a combattere la violenza di chiara matrice razzista:
“Violenze chiaramente razziste”, “atti di violenza volutamente razzista”, “violenze di carattere razzista”, “aggressioni di stampo razzista”.21 Sebbene il testo specificasse che la violenza razzista poteva essere sia “morale” che fisica,22 i due esempi suggeriti ai deputati dell’assemblea nazionale erano uno, nell’ottobre del 2002, “l’omicidio chiaramente razzista” di un giovane francese di origine marocchina nel nord della Francia; l’altro, ad inizio novembre, un’aggressione razzista rivolta contro giovani studenti di una scuola privata ebraica della tredicesima circoscrizione di Parigi.23 Ponendo l’attenzione sul fatto che in Francia esistono già leggi che si occupano di discriminazione razziale, incitamento all’odio o alla violenza e negazionismo dell’Olocausto, il quadro introduttivo definisce il fine della legge come tentativo di incrementare sensibilmente le pene imposte nei casi in cui gli attacchi a cose o persone siano di matrice razzista – come quando il razzismo si fa movente di atti di tortura e barbarie, violenza con morte preterintenzionale, atti che sfociano in mutilazioni o disabilità permanenti e, ancora, atti che comportano danno o distruzione di proprietà.24
Nonostante l’esplicita dichiarazione di intenti, la legge Lellouche è stata applicata in ben altra maniera—col pretesto che, in otto dei nove articoli, viene inclusa la categoria di “nazione” nella definizione di gruppi percepibili come vittime. Come osserva il servizio di Haaretz, la legge “è stata invocata ripetutamente contro attivisti anti-Israele. In Francia, hanno avuto luogo dieci processi contro sostenitori della BDS, iniziati per mano della legge Lellouche”.25
Pascal Markowitz, capo dell’unità legale della BDS, facente parte del consiglio rappresentativo delle istituzioni ebraiche di Francia (CRIF), è chiaro nel dare un giudizio al valore strumentale della legge Lellouche. Haaretz lo cita testualmente: “la legge è ‘ad oggi, la più efficace legislazione in materia di BDS’. ‘C’è stata una sola assoluzione, perciò le statistiche sono positive’, ha detto”.26 Ma in Francia, altri personaggi politici sostengono posizioni differenti sulla questione:
“Queste condanne sono irragionevoli,” si esprime a proposito del caso Nicole Kiil-Nielsen—membro francese del Parlamento europeo—durante una sessione straordinaria a Strasburgo nel 2011. “I governi non stanno facendo nulla per mettere fine all’occupazione illegale [dei territori palestinesi] da parte di Israele e la corte francese sta ingiustamente negando ai cittadini la possibilità di agire attraverso la BDS”.27
È essenziale capire cosa significhi, nel contesto odierno, “cavallo di Troia”. In ogni versione della storia antica, da Omero a Virgilio,28 il punto nodale è sempre lo stesso. Il cavallo vuoto fatto di legno fu uno sleale stratagemma utilizzato dall’armata greca che assediava Troia da dieci anni; ebbe successo perché il cavallo era un’ingannevole artifizio dalla duplice natura. Fingendo di disertare l’assedio, i greci lasciarono indietro l’enorme oggetto: la funzione manifesta più plausibile era quella di un’offerta fatta agli dei, che i troiani furono persuasi a trasportare all’interno della città come celebrazione per la loro presunta vittoria. Tuttavia, l’artefatto aveva una seconda funzione segreta—quale sleale espediente per portare un manipolo di greci armati entro le mura di Troia, cosicché costoro potessero poi aprire le porte di notte, quando il resto dell’esercito avrebbe fatto ritorno.
La legge Lellouche è servita come cavallo di Troia perché, quando fu promulgata, sembrò un mezzo verosimile ed appropriato per far fronte ad un aumento della violenza razziale in Francia, che coincideva con un brusco sollevamento a sostegno di un partito politico di estrema destra, incline a posizioni nettamente razziste. Ma da allora la legge viene usata per uno scopo alquanto diverso: criminalizzare le posizioni degli attivisti per i diritti umani, i quali affermano palesemente la necessità di rispettare e far rispettare le norme di diritto umanitario internazionale.
4. Inserimento di “nazionale” nelle sezioni 318 e 319: semplice “messa in regola”?
Secondo un rapporto di Paul McLeod dell’Halifax Chronicle-Herald, l’aggiunta della parola “nazionale” alle sezioni 318 e 319 del codice penale si deve, spiega il dipartimento della giustizia, al fatto di essere stata “adottata per uniformarsi alla formulazione di un protocollo del Consiglio d’Europa, un’organizzazione per i diritti dell’uomo”.29 Si fa qui riferimento al Protocollo addizionale alla Convenzione sulla criminalità informatica, riguardante l’incriminazione di atti di natura razzista e xenofobica commessi a mezzo di computer, adottato a Strasburgo nel gennaio del 2003. Nel capitolo I, all’articolo 2.1 di questo testo, la parola “nazionale” ricorre in una definizione dei gruppi percepiti come vittime di “materiale razzista e xenofobico”.30
McLeod afferma che alcuni esperti di diritto hanno inteso che la modifica è “probabilmente un mero emendamento di messa in regola al fine di portare il codice penale in linea con le formulazioni di altre normative”.31 La parola “nazionale” appare, infatti, in contesti similari, nel Patto internazionale sui diritti civili e politici dell’ONU (articolo 20) e nella Convenzione sul genocidio (articolo 2), sempre dell’ONU. Inoltre, il DDL C-13 adegua le sezioni 318 e 319 del codice penale alle disposizioni di condanna della sezione 718, che include già tutti i gruppi (identità nazionale, età, sesso e disabilità mentale e fisica) che non erano inclusi nella sezione 318.(4), ma che ora sono stati aggiunti.
Una decifrazione delle modifiche in chiave “riassestamento” risulta così totalmente plausibile.
Ad ogni modo, non vi è stata poi troppa meticolosità nella messa in regola. Nella sua forma attuale, la sezione 318 del codice penale, che definisce la giusta pena per il crimine di difesa o promozione del genocidio, è un testo alquanto particolare—dato che la relativa sottosezione 2, malgrado derivi chiaramente dall’articolo 2 della Convenzione sul genocidio dell’ONU, omette però le clausole (b), (d) ed (e) attinenti alla definizione di quello stesso articolo.32
David MacDonald e Graham Hudson sottolineano che quando il parlamento ratificò la Convenzione sul genocidio nel 1952, risparmiò il codice penale canadese da alcune delle clausole pertinenti all’articolo 2, in virtù del fatto che tematiche come quella dell’allontanamento forzato di bambini non sono rilevanti per questo paese. (Siccome il sistema canadese prevede l’esistenza di istituti scolastici gestiti dalla Chiesa, sotto la cui custodia vengono forzatamente trasferiti bambini indigeni, pare ovvio che l’ultima clausola dell’articolo 2 della Convenzione fu esclusa in cattiva fede). MacDonald e Hudson rilevano altresì che quando il parlamento adottò, nel 2000, la Legge sui crimini contro l’umanità e i crimini di guerra, inglobò lo Statuto di Roma della Corte penale internazionale del 1998 (che include la definizione completa di genocidio in seno alla Convenzione sul genocidio) all’interno della Legge canadese.33 La sezione 318 del codice penale è pertanto anomala nella sua forma corrente, in quanto la sua definizione di crimine di genocidio esclude clausole che, tuttavia, non sono parte della Legge canadese, a causa della loro assimilazione nella Legge sui crimini contro l’umanità e i crimini di guerra.
Uno scrupoloso riassestamento di questa parte del codice penale avrebbe di certo incluso le tre clausole omesse dall’articolo 2 della Convenzione sul genocidio.
Dico ciò non per dare contro all’interpretazione in chiave “riassestamento” dell’aggiunta della parola “nazionale” alle sezioni 318 e 319 del DDL C-13 del codice penale: come si è visto prima, tale spiegazione rimane totalmente credibile. Invece, ciò che l’esempio suggerisce è che gli estensori del DDL C-13 potrebbero non essere stati risolutamente concentrati sulla messa in regola.
Il discorso del Primo Ministro Harper, tenuto il 20 gennaio 2014 alla Knesset israeliana, ci porta ad una seconda lettura riguardo ai propositi dell’inserimento della parola “nazionale” nella definizione di gruppi potenzialmente vittimizzabili dalla propaganda all’odio. Nel suggerire che il discorso rivela, con un certo grado di chiarezza, il pensiero sottostante tale aggiunta al testo del codice penale, non intendo insinuare che la spiegazione primaria e manifesta della modifica come “messa in regola” sia rimpiazzata da questo secondo intento—poiché non è così che funzionano i cavalli di Troia.
Un cavallo di Troia è, per sua natura, sleale; ma questa slealtà può avere successo solamente nella misura in cui l’obiettivo primo e dichiarato del cavallo rimanga credibile.
5. Il discorso del Primo Ministro Harper alla Knesset israeliana il 20 gennaio 2014
Durante il suo discorso, il Primo Ministro chiese, in modo retorico, cosa sia oggi a minacciare società che, come Israele, abbracciano “gli ideali di libertà, democrazia e stato di diritto”. La sua risposta fu piuttosto ampia:
Coloro che aborrono la modernità, che minacciano la libertà altrui e che guardano con disprezzo alle diversità di popoli e culture. Coloro che, spesso cominciando con l’odiare gli ebrei, finiscono—la storia ce lo insegna—con l’odiare chiunque sia diverso da loro. Quelle forze che hanno minacciato lo stato di Israele ogni singolo giorno della sua esistenza e che, oggi—l’11/9 ne è la riprova—minacciano tutti noi.34
Ciò può sembrare approssimativo. Ma il Primo Ministro Harper continuò dicendo che “viviamo in un mondo in cui […] il relativismo morale dilaga incontrollato”.
E nell’orto di siffatto relativismo morale, possono essere piantati facilmente i germi di concetti ben più sinistri.
Così abbiamo assistito, negli ultimi anni, alla mutazione dell’antico male dell’antisemitismo e alla progressiva affermazione di una nuova tensione.
Tutti conosciamo lo storico antisemitismo.
Fu rozzo ed ignorante e condusse agli orrori dei campi di concentramento.
Certo, in molti angoli bui, ci persegue ancora.
Ma, in gran parte del mondo Occidentale, l’antico odio si è trasformato in un più sofisticato strumento di comunicazione delle società civilizzate.
Le persone non diranno mai di odiare ed accusare gli ebrei per i loro propri fallimenti o problemi del mondo; al contrario, dichiareranno il proprio odio verso Israele, trovando in esso soltanto la causa delle problematiche mediorientali.
Come un tempo venivano boicottate le aziende israeliane, oggi i capi di società civilizzate chiedono il boicottaggio di Israele.
In alcune sedi universitarie, argomentazioni intellettuali contro Israele mascherano debolmente le realtà sottostanti, quali la repulsione di professori israeliani e la molestia di studenti ebrei.
La cosa più vergognosa, è che alcuni definiscono Israele come stato-apartheid.35
A parere del il Primo Ministro, qualsiasi aspra critica di politiche ed amministrazione di Israele può essere solamente il risultato dell’odio antisemita da parte di persone alla ricerca di ulteriori mezzi con cui accusare gli ebrei. Dal resoconto traspare che gli ebrei, in veste di membri di un gruppo nazionale—in quanto cittadini di Israele, presenti o futuri che siano—, vengono accusati da questi nuovi antisemiti raffinati. Gli stessi ebrei canadesi sono vittima di tali accuse, visto che secondo la Legge del ritorno, anche coloro che non possiedono la cittadinanza israeliana sono comunque potenziali cittadini d’ Israele.
L’assunto che le critiche di Israele siano motivate da una “nuova tensione” antisemita, e che quindi possano essere legittimamente categorizzate e stigmatizzate come forma di propaganda all’odio, non è un’invenzione del Primo Ministro. Come scrive nel 2005 lo storico Norman G. Finkelstein, “l’accusa di neo-antisemitismo non è né nuova né riguarda l’antisemitismo”: è, piuttosto, un’ideologia plasmatasi nei primi anni settanta con il chiaro scopo di allentare la pressione sullo stato di Israele circa l’occupazione dei territori palestinesi di Gaza e Cisgiordania, conquistati da Israele nella guerra dei sei giorni del 1967.36
Le sezioni seguenti mostrano che l’ideologia e la retorica del “neo-antisemitismo” è stata decisamente rigettata da molti accademici e intellettuali pubblici ebrei contemporanei, di cui una parte significativa ha riconosciuto, nel dibattito etico interno alla comunità ebraica a proposito del trattamento dei palestinesi da parte di Israele, una ragione per appoggiare il crescente movimento di boicottaggio, disinvestimento e sanzioni contro Israele. Questa divisione intestina della comunità ebraica fornisce prove extra alla condanna delle affermazioni del Primo Ministro come fuorvianti e false. Si dimostrerà inoltre che l’etichetta affibbiata ad Israele quale stato-apartheid (che il signor Harper reputa “la cosa più vergognosa”) è stata effettivamente avallata da eminenti studiosi e personaggi pubblici sia in Israele che a livello internazionale – compreso il Sudafrica, ove esperti legali e funzionari pubblici possono tranquillamente affermare di sapere meglio del signor Harper cosa significhi la parola apartheid.
6. Rifiuto del cosiddetto “neo-antisemitismo”
Il neo-antisemitismo può essere brevemente definito come stratagemma retorico consistente nell’affermare che i tropi dell’antisemitismo, una delle cui funzioni è stata (e continua ad essere) quella di giustificare l’esclusione degli ebrei dal diritto di cittadinanza in qualunque paese abitino, vengono ora a ritorcersi contro la “collettività ebraica”, incarnata nello stato di Israele—con l’intento, questa volta, di impedire agli ebrei, intesi come collettività, di godere di pieni diritti di partecipazione alla famiglia delle nazioni. Lo scopo di tale atteggiamento retorico è di difendere azioni e politiche d’Israele, asserendo che i corrispettivi critici stiano esclusivamente fingendo di agire sulla base di princìpi universali quali giustizia e uguaglianza. In realtà, queste persone sono antisemiti che hanno “educatamente” riversato il proprio odio contro lo stato-nazione di Israele.
Ritroviamo le medesime dinamiche del suddetto stratagemma in tre istanze recenti, riguardanti attribuzioni di reimpiego di alcuni dei più crudeli tropi circa l’antisemitismo: “ebreo” come incarnazione di degrado, lerciume ed escremento; “ebreo” come presenza contaminatrice o avvelenatrice (specialmente di fonti d’acqua comuni); “ebreo” come assassino di bambini.37 Nel corso dei secoli, gli antisemiti hanno usato queste ripugnanti accuse, in particolar modo la terza (conosciuta come la “calunnia del sangue”), per sollevare violenze di massa e persecuzioni di stato delle comunità ebraiche.
Il primo di questi tropi fu usato contro il giornalista inglese Johann Hari quando, nel 2008, scrisse di non poter prendere parte ai festeggiamenti del sessantesimo anniversario della fondazione di Israele, a seguito degli accertati abusi nei confronti di palestinesi all’interno dei territori occupati—come lo scarico di acque di scolo non trattate su colture palestinesi dalla cima di insediamenti illegali sulle colline e l’embargo su attrezzature necessarie alla riparazione del sistema fognario di Gaza, con conseguenze potenzialmente devastanti per la salute. La Community Security Trust britannica (simile per certi aspetti alla B’nai Brith Canada) accusò Hari di “strumentalizzare la questione dei ‘liquami non trattati’ e della ‘merda’ israeliana per spiegare il perché non potesse festeggiare i sessant’anni dalla creazione di Israele” – lasciando così supporre ai lettori, siccome non venne fatta menzione del reportage di Hari né di riferimenti ad inchieste sul tema, di essersi cimentato in una vera e propria turpe apologia antisemita contro la collettività ebraica di Israele.38
Il secondo tropo fu introdotto dall’ex Ministro alla giustizia canadese Irwin Cotler in uno scritto sui “Diritti umani e la nuova anti-ebraicità”, pubblicato sul Gerusalem Post nel 2004. Egli dichiarava che “in un mondo in cui i diritti umani sono comparsi come la nuova religione secolare del nostro tempo, il ritratto di Israele [da parte dell’ONU] come metafora del violatore di diritti umani vale ad additare Israele quale ‘nuovo anticristo’, ‘avvelenatore dei pozzi internazionali’…”.39 Notevole il fatto che Cotler non offra alcuna prova di tali traslati antisemiti, adottati da chiunque all’interno delle commissioni ONU che egli attacca—ci si può solo rammaricare che un esperto di legge, famoso a livello internazionale per essere un difensore dei diritti umani, sia diventato ostile a questo discorso al punto da caricaturizzarlo come pseudo-religione pervasa di antisemitismo.
Il terzo tropo venne usato il 22 marzo 2009 da Jonathan Kay, quando protestò sul National Post che “dall’avvio della campagna di Gaza [Operazione Piombo fuso], le calunnie del sangue quali ‘massacro’ e ‘genocidio’ si sono susseguite spesso e volentieri”; lo stesso giorno Melanie Philips, scrivendo sullo Spectator, accusava il quotidiano israeliano Haaretz di calunnia di sangue per aver pubblicato la testimonianza di soldati israeliani rei di aver partecipato a crimini di guerra contro civili di Gaza.40
Comune a tutti e tre i casi l’intenzionale omissione di prove materiali relative alle accuse di illecito contro Israele: simili prove vengono puntualmente fatte sparire da un’inversione retorica che trasforma lo stato d’Israele da persecutore di palestinesi in vittima dei propri accusatori antisemiti; e che trasforma giornalisti o attivisti per i diritti umani—che raccolgono e denunciano prove su crimini di guerra e crimini contro l’umanità—in qualcuno che deve invece rispondere alle accuse di diffusione di odio antisemita.
In breve, la strategia retorica dell’ideologia di questo “neo-antisemitismo” è di allontanarsi tempestivamente da prove materiali per nascondersi nell’inversione retorica e nella diffamazione. Nel 2009, Yuli Edelstein, Ministro della Diplomazia pubblica e degli affari sulla diaspora, spiegò come approcciare il problema durante il Forum globale per la lotta all’antisemitismo a Gerusalemme. Le parole in maiuscolo sono sue:
Dobbiamo ribadire più volte questi dati di fatto—ESSERE ‘anti-Israele’ significa ESSERE ANTISEMITA. BOICOTTARE ISRAELE, I PROFESSORI ISRAELIANI e le aziende ISRAELIANE, non sono mosse politiche, sono atti di odio, atti di antisemitismo! L’isteria anti-Israele è isteria antisemita. Sono la stessa identica cosa.41
Massimi intellettuali israeliani hanno screditato l’ideologia da cui si genera codesta retorica “neo-antisemita”. Dei molti che si potrebbero citare, ne menziono solo due.42 Il filosofo dell’Università di Oxford, Brian Klug, scrisse in un saggio sul “Mito del neo-antisemitismo” che “quando ciascun antisionista è antisemita, non sappiamo più distinguere la verità—l’accezione antisemitismo perde di significato”.43 La filosofa e teorica letteraria americana Judith Butler, insistendo sul fatto che ci si debba “rifiutare di bollare l’istinto critico come antisemita o di accettare il dettame antisemita come attendibile sostituto della critica”, analizza con estrema lucidità la maniera in cui false accuse di antisemitismo “servono ad immunizzare la violenza di Israele contro la critica, rifiutando di tollerare l’integrità delle affermazioni fatte contro tale violenza”. Ha denunciato il bisogno di “un certo coraggio collettivo” per dar modo al pubblico di “dichiararsi fermamente contrario all’ovvia ed illegittima violenza…”.44
Un tentativo di riaccendere questa già rifiutata ideologia “neo-antisemita” fu intrapreso in Canada fra il 2009 ed il 2011 per mano di un gruppo di deputati—guidati da Irwin Cotler e dal Ministro della Cittadinanza, immigrazione e multiculturalismo Jason Kenney—che formò una Coalizione parlamentare canadese per la lotta all’antisemitismo (CPCCA). Il tentativo fallì. Le prove fornite da ufficiali di polizia ed amministratori universitari alla commissione d’inchiesta, rappresentata dalla CPCCA, confutano le affermazioni di quest’ultima secondo cui il Canada sta assistendo ad un incremento di incidenti antisemiti e che gli ebrei (specie quelli che sostengono Israele) vengono regolarmente perseguitati e molestati nelle università canadesi. La CPCCA, che inizialmente godeva di rappresentanza in ogni partito, perse l’appoggio dei membri del Blocco del Québec, i quali non approvarono il rifiuto della CPCCA di concedere spazio, durante le sue sedute, a gruppi per la difesa dei diritti umani aventi opinioni contrastanti con quelle dei principali organizzatori. La pubblicazione del rapporto finale della CPCCA maturò un ritardo di molti mesi dovuto a disaccordi creatisi, in parte, dallo scandaloso tentativo (per il quale Jason Kenney rifiutò di scusarsi) del Partito conservatore di danneggiare Irwin Cotler nella sua campagna di robo-chiamate e, in parte, dalla campagna diffamatoria che lo accusava, ironicamente, di prestare troppo poco sostegno a Israele. Seppure la CPCCA si premurò di non accettare alcuna presentazione d’istanza alla propria inchiesta che fosse critica nei confronti dei suoi stessi presupposti, diciotto di quelle petizioni furono pubblicate in un libro che uscì svariati mesi prima del tardivo rapporto della CPCCA e che fu consigliato dal Globe and Mail quale lettura estiva “per Tories desiderosi di imparare”.45
7. Il dibattito fra ebrei circa l’eticità del trattamento dei palestinesi da parte di Israele
Come si è detto sopra, molti professori ed intellettuali ebrei, sia in Israele che nel mondo, si sono schierati in ferma opposizione alle politiche israeliane di apartheid nei confronti dei palestinesi e alla continua colonizzazione dei territori occupati. In tali circostanze, assieme al fatto che in Canada e altrove si uniscono a queste posizioni anche vari cittadini ebrei attivisti, vi è un profondo rifiuto della ripetizione retorica “antisemita” del Primo Ministro Harper.
Come ci si poteva aspettare, le opinioni in Israele circa il significato delle parole di Harper non furono unanimi. In attesa delle dichiarazioni di Harper, Benjamin Netanyahu lo definì “un amico che sta sempre dalla nostra parte”.46 Altri israeliani, sebbene siano di certo una minoranza, la pensano diversamente. Uri Avnery, ex membro della Knesset, figura importante del (purtroppo vacillante) movimento per la pace israeliano, nonché rispettato giornalista a livello mondiale, rigetta il discorso di Harper come “ridicolo”.47
Due settimane dopo quel discorso, uno dei massimi sociologi in Israele, la professoressa Eva Illouz dell’Università Ebraica di Gerusalemme, pubblicò un lungo saggio su Haaretz che esplorava la profondità e l’importanza della divisione fra gli ebrei riguardo alla problematica morale del trattamento dei palestinesi da parte di Israele. Il titolo del saggio, “Quarantasette anni schiavo: una nuova prospettiva sull’occupazione”, è alquanto impressionante;48 lo studio della Illouz lo è ancora di più.
Illouz inizia ricordando che, ogni giorno, tre quarti delle notizie presenti su Haaretz “girano regolarmente attorno agli stessi due argomenti: persone che lottano per proteggere il buon nome di Israele e persone che si battono contro le sue violenze ed ingiustizie”. Poi menziona due sorprendenti caratteristiche di questa lotta: primo, benché ci si cerchi di infangare a vicenda, “il fango è lanciato da ebreo a ebreo”; secondo, “i valorosi combattenti per il buon nome di Israele dimenticano un fatto essenziale: le critiche a Israele negli Stati Uniti provengono sempre più da ebrei, e non da antisemiti”.49
Affermando che “se Israele viene certamente identificato fra le molte nazioni che registrano scarsi risultati in materia di diritti umani, ciò è dovuto al sentimento di vergogna e imbarazzo che gran parte degli ebrei in Occidente prova verso uno Stato che, con le sue politiche e i suoi costumi, non li rappresenta più”, Illouz cita l’osservazione di Peter Beinart secondo cui “gli ebrei sembrano essere divisi in due fazioni distinte…”.50 Diversamente dalle più comuni divisioni della storia, questa, dice la Illouz, è avvenuta a causa di un problema morale, e cioè quello del trattamento dei palestinesi nei territori occupati da Israele. Entrambe le parti affermano di dover rispondere ad imperativi morali. Quello che lei chiama il gruppo di “sicurezza come moralità” crede che “siccome gli ebrei furono le grandi vittime della storia e vista l’intrinseca vulnerabilità dello Stato d’Israele, accerchiato da un mare di nemici”, Israele “è doppiamente irredarguibile”. Il secondo gruppo, invece,
si basa su princìpi universali di giustizia, sottolineando che Israele si sta allontanando rapidamente dalle pacifiche, multietniche e pluralistiche democrazie del mondo. Israele smise di rappresentare una valida fonte di identificazione per questi ebrei, non perché essi odino se stessi, ma perché molti di loro hanno partecipato attivamente, a parole o con i fatti, alla liberazione delle rispettive società—cioè, all’estensione di diritti umani, economici e sociali ad una più vasta gamma di gruppi.51
Illouz sostiene, precisamente, che il miglior esempio di parallelismo storico utile a comprendere questa divisione comunitaria è dato dalla disputa del diciannovesimo secolo che ebbe luogo negli Stati Uniti intorno al tema della schiavitù.
Due elementi rendono convincente tale analogia. Il primo è suggerito dal sociologo di Harvard Orlando Patterson, “esperto di storia e sociologia della schiavitù”, secondo cui il fulcro della questione della schiavitù non è rappresentato dal fatto che le persone vengono comprate e vendute come proprietà, ma piuttosto dal fatto che esse vengono obbligate a sopportare condizioni di “dominazione permanente, violenta e personale” e “isolate dalla nascita e generalmente disonorate”.52 Illouz osserva che “quello che iniziò come un conflitto militare nazionale” fra israeliani e palestinesi
si è trasformato in una forma di dominazione dei palestinesi che sfiora le condizioni di schiavitù. Se concepiamo la schiavitù come condizione di esistenza e non come proprietà e commercio di corpi umani, la dominazione che Israele esercita sui palestinesi risulta aver creato il contesto di dominazione che definisco “condizione di schiavitù”.53
Come spiega in dettaglio, il contesto di dominazione include l’assoggettamento ad arresti arbitrari, incarcerazione e tortura; imposizione di un sistema legale kafkiano, alquanto diverso da quello che regola la vita degli israeliani; attacchi militari (che comprendono l’uso di palestinesi come “scudo umano”), violenza e distruzione di proprietà senza inflizione di pena nei confronti dei colonizzatori; rigorose restrizioni al movimento, accompagnate strangolamento economico; contenimento dei matrimoni e sistematica violazione della proprietà privata; imposizione di “un costante senso di disonore” su persone che “conducono una vita imprevedibile e discontinua, che vivono nel terrore ebraico e nella violenza delle milizie israeliane e che temono di non trovare lavoro, riparo o famiglia”.54
Il secondo elemento è la sconcertante ideologia predicante l’intrinseca superiorità ebraica rispetto agli arabi—totalmente analoga a quella delle dottrine fondate sulla Bibbia relative alla supremazia bianca propugnata da sostenitori della schiavitù nell’America del diciannovesimo secolo—adottata in Israele per giustificare l’assoggettamento dei palestinesi, oggi tendenza dominante circa il tema degli insediamenti. “Come i bianchi in Sudamerica,” scrive Illouz, gli ebrei d’Israele “si considerano evidentemente più virtuosi, superiori, civilizzati e tecnologicamente ed economicamente più avanzati rispetto agli arretrati arabi”; “parimenti alla controparte sudista del diciannovesimo secolo, i coloni hanno largamente santificato la loro terra attraverso predicazioni bibliche e credono, come i proprietari schiavisti, di eseguire la volontà di Dio”.55
Da professore responsabile, Illouz descrive con precisione sia le limitazioni di quest’analogia, sia—mediante ampie analisi e citazioni piene di dettagli sulle condizioni di schiavitù sopportate dai palestinesi e sul motivo della dominazione ormai radicato in Israele—il suo potere esplicativo.
Le sue conclusioni sono infatti convincenti. Israele, pur essendo “lo stato maggiormente preoccupato al mondo in materia di sicurezza,”
ha fallito nel tramutare il conflitto coi palestinesi in conflitto militare. Viceversa, è stato trasposto in un disastro umanitario che ha provocato una guerra morale ed un’incolmabile frattura in seno alla comunità ebraica. Le strategie di relazioni pubbliche dello stato non metteranno a tacere questa guerra morale.
Ciò implica un crescente isolamento internazionale:
L’Israele sta pericolosamente salpando dal vocabolario etico della maggioranza dei Paesi civilizzati di questo pianeta. A riprova di ciò sta il fatto che molti lettori giudicheranno inaffidabili le mie fonti poiché provengono da organizzazioni che difendono i diritti umani. Israele non parla più la comune lingua etica delle nazioni illuminate. E rifiutandosi di parlarla, si sta di fatto condannando all’isolamento.56
Dovrebbe dunque risultare ovvio quanto duramente il saggio della professoressa Illouz critichi le false pietà del discorso tenuto alla Knesset da Stephen Harper. Alla radice dei fatti, la dichiarazione di Harper che i critici delle politiche e dell’amministrazione di Israele siano per definizione antisemiti si dimostra sventuratamente falsa—qualcheduno auspicherà che il parallelismo, sviluppato in maniera così puntuale ed esauriente dalla professoressa Illouz, farà torcere il naso persino a qualcuno della sua (di Harper) stessa obliquità mentale.
8. La cosa più vergognosa di tutte… un stato-apartheid
Nella parte finale del saggio, Eva Illouz sottolinea che gli israeliani non realizzano l’entità della loro colonizzazione ed occupazione “perché la lingua stessa è stata colonizzata”. Molti Israeliani interpretano l’occupazione in quanto “terroristi e nemici; il mondo vede gente debole, nullatenente e perseguitata. Il mondo reagisce indignandosi alla persistente dominazione israeliana dei palestinesi, mentre Israele dileggia tale indignazione in quanto espressione di doppia morale…”. A causa di questa “colonizzazione” della parola, “la disputa che divide gli ebrei è più complicata della disputa sulla schiavitù, perché non esiste accordo nemmeno su come definire adeguatamente l’enorme iniziativa di dominazione creata nei territori”.57
In realtà, vi è un’intesa piuttosto diffusa sull’appropriatezza del nome—almeno circa i “princìpi universali di giustizia” pertinenti al divario, analizzati dalla professoressa Illouz.58
Il termine “apartheid” venne adoperato con distaccata accuratezza da Marwan Bishara, nel 2001, per descrivere ciò che Israele ha fatto nei territori occupati dai primi anni Novanta in poi: “ha diviso fisicamente e demograficamente la Cisgiordania e Gaza in isole di povertà o bantustan, mantenendo dominazione economica e controllo diretto su territori e risorse naturali palestinesi”.59 Fu poi riutilizzato nel 2006 dall’ex presidente degli Stati Uniti Jimmy Carter; utilizzo approvato nel 2007 dall’insignita del Premio Israele ed ex ministra dell’istruzione Shulamit Aloni.60 Nel gennaio 2010, Henry Siegman—ex direttore esecutivo del Congresso ebraico-americano ed attuale Presidente del Progetto USA/Medio Oriente del Consiglio sulle relazioni estere—scriveva che “l’inarrestabile” edificazione di nuovi insediamenti da parte di Israele “sembra essere finalmente riuscita a fissare l’irrevocabilità del progetto coloniale. Come conseguenza di tale 'conquista', che i successivi governi israeliani hanno inseguito per molto tempo con l’intento di precludere la soluzione a due Stati, Israele è passato dall’essere 'unica democrazia in Medio Oriente' a unico regime apartheid del mondo Occidentale.”61
Come rileva il dottor Jason Kunin, si fa pungente ironia sul fatto che mentre esponenti accademici—per non parlare di politici—condannino come inaccettabile ogni accostamento del termine “apartheid” a pratiche di furto di terreno, acquartieramento ed assoggettamento, separazione ed oppressione raziale di un popolo soggiogato che caratterizzano il trattamento israeliano dei palestinesi, “professori di diritto sudafricani—da cui ci si aspetterebbe una più diretta comprensione delle dinamiche dell’apartheid—non hanno esitato a descrivere il comportamento dello stato d’Israele, nei territori palestinesi occupati, come ‘un sistema coloniale che instaura un regime di apartheid’.”62 (Il suo riferimento è legato ad un articolo di professori e giuristi sudafricani pubblicato dallo Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa nel maggio 2009: Occupazione, colonialismo, apartheid? Una rivalutazione di diritto internazionale sulle politiche di Israele nei territori palestinesi occupati).63
Una delibera che veda lo Stato di Israele instaurare un regime di apartheid si ripercuote sul diritto internazionale—ove l’apartheid è definita come crimine contro l’umanità. È dunque poco sorprendente che il vincitore del Premio Nobel per la pace, l’arcivescovo Desmond Tutu, abbia osservato: “Alcune persone sono furibonde per il paragone fatto tra il conflitto israelopalestinese e ciò che accadde in Sudafrica…”. Ma Tutu andò avanti insistendo che “per quelli di noi che hanno vissuto gli orrori disumanizzanti dell’epoca dell’apartheid, il paragone non sembra appropriato, […] ma è pur necessario se vogliamo continuare a sperare che le cose cambino”.64
Il paragone non implica alcuna dichiarazione di identicità fra il regime di apartheid israeliano e quello avutosi in Sudafrica. Secondo Naomi Klein,
la domanda non è “Israele è uguale al Sudafrica?”, bensì “la condotta di Israele soddisfa i criteri internazionali che determinano cosa sia l’apartheid?”. Se si guarda a quelle condizioni che includono il trasferimento di persone, i diversi usi della legge, la segregazione ufficiale di stato, allora sì, quei criteri vengono soddisfatti—il che è diverso dal dire che è uguale al Sudafrica.65
Ma i sostenitori delle politiche di Israele cadrebbero in errore se pensassero di poter trovare consolazione od incoraggiamento nelle differenze tra i regimi di Israele e Sudafrica. Secondo Ronnie Kasrils, che fu uno dei molti ebrei sudafricani a combattere l’apartheid con onore e che, successivamente, diventò Ministro durante il governo Mandela:
Senza dubbio, noi sudafricani che combattemmo l’apartheid consideriamo, unanimemente, molto molto peggiori i metodi di repressione e punizione collettiva di Israele rispetto a qualsiasi cosa vissuta durante la nostra lunga e difficile lotta per la liberazione. I diffusi ed indiscriminati bombardamenti di Israele su aree popolate, con scarso riguardo per le vittime civili, furono assenti in Sudafrica perché il regime di apartheid si affidava all’economica forza lavoro nera. Israele rifiuta completamente un intero popolo e mira ad eliminare del tutto la presenza palestinese, non importa se in maniera collaborativa o tramite “trasferimento” forzato. È proprio questo che contraddistingue la maggior brutalità duratura di Israele rispetto all’apartheid del Sudafrica.66
Forse, alla luce dell’analisi di Eva Illouz, dovremmo integrare la voce “apartheid” parlando anche di “condizioni di schiavitù”. Ma che si accetti o meno quest’intensificazione del vocabolo, dovremmo ricordare qualcos’altro che viene evidenziato in un recente articolo dal professor Jake Lynch, direttore del Centro per gli studi sulla pace e sul conflitto dell’Università di Sydney. Come fa notare, il rapporto del South African Human Sciences Research Council che giudicava Israele quale trasgressore della Convenzione internazionale sulla soppressione e punizione del crimine di apartheid, dichiarava inoltre che tale sentenza obbligava i governi a “cooperare per mettere fine alla violazione, a non riconoscere l’assetto illegale scaturito da quest’ultima e a non porgere aiuto né assistenza allo Stato che se ne faceva artefice”.67
Non appare necessario commentare la visione del Primo Ministro Harper che giudica vergognosa l’applicazione del termine “apartheid” a ciò che Israele sta facendo. Uri Avnery potrebbe avere ragione nel credere che la miglior risposta a tali fanfaronate sia ridicola.
Ma qualcosa che vada oltre il ridicolo risulta doveroso per far fronte ad un’evidente minaccia al diritto dei cittadini di protestare pacificamente e boicottare quando lo si reputi necessario ad attirare attenzione pubblica sul fallimento del nostro governo (e di molti altri) nell’onorare i propri obblighi in ambito di diritto internazionale.
Due passi paiono fondamentali per rispondere a ciò che ho definito un cavallo di Troia relativamente alle modifiche delle sezioni 318 e 319 del codice penale canadese, apportate dal DDL C-13. Il primo dovrebbe essere indiscutibile e può essere compiuto immediatamente. La sezione 12 del DDL C-13 (la sezione che contiene queste revisioni) può essere facilmente modificata al fine di includere la dichiarazione che “nulla in questa sezione dev’essere interpretato in contrasto con la responsabilità del Canada, ai sensi dell’articolo 1 della Quarta convenzione di Ginevra, ‘di rispettare e far rispettare’ quella Convenzione ‘in ogni circostanza’; né nulla in questa sezione dev’essere interpretato in contrasto con le responsabilità assunte dal Canada sotto altri strumenti di diritto umanitario internazionale di cui il Canada è firmatario”.
Il secondo passo che raccomanderei ai canadesi è di sostituire il governo che si imbarca in simili legiferazioni in stile cavallo di Troia con uno migliore.
Michael Keefer è professore emerito presso la School of English and Theatre Studies dell’Università di Guelph. Laureato presso il Royal Military College of Canada, l’Università di Toronto e l’Università del Sussex, è l’ex presidente dell’Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English, membro del Seriously Free Speech Committee e socio dell’Independent Jewish Voices Canada.
1 Vedi, ad esempio, Michael Deas, “Norway’s pension fund divests from Israel’s largest real estate firm”, The Electronic Intifada (19 giugno 2012), http://www.electronicintifada.net/blogs/michael-deas/norways-pension-fund-divests-israels-largest-real-estate-firm; “Major US pension fund divests ethical fund from Veolia”, BDS Movement (22 novembre 2013), http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/tiaa-cref-social-choice-veolia-11431; “Veolia Campaign Victories: Total value of lost Veolia contracts: €18.122 billion ($23.97 billion)”, Global Exchange (febbraio 2014), http://www.globalexchange.org/economicactivism/veolia/victories; Asa Winstanley, “Dutch pension giant divests from 5 Israeli banks”, BDS Movement (13 gennaio 2014), http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/dutch-pension-giant-divests-from-5-israeli-banks-11594; Elena Popina, “SodaStream Drops Amid Sanctions Over Jewish Settlements”, Bloomberg (3 febbraio 2014), http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-03/sodastream-slumps-on-sanction-campaign-over-jewish-settlements.html.
2 “Sanctions against Israel: A campaign that is gathering weight”, The Economist (8 febbraio 2014), http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21595948-israels-politicians-sound-rattled-campaign-isolate-their-country/.
3 Avraham Burg, “What’s wrong with BDS, after all? Israel will be helpless when the discourse moves from who’s stronger/tougher/more resilient to a discourse on rights and values”, Haaretz (3 febbraio 2014), http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.572079; citazione del reverendo Robert Assaly, “BDS movement scores huge in Superbowl victory over Sodastream”, NECEF: Near East Cultural & Educational Foundation (20 febbraio 2014), www.necef.org.
4 Herb Keinon, “Netanyahu convenes strategy meeting to fight boycotts”, Jerusalem Post (10 febbraio 2014), http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Netanyahu-convenes-strategy-meeting-to-fight-boycotts-340904; Gil Ronen, “Leftist Ministers Kept Out of Secret Cabinet BDS Session”, Arutz Sheva 7 (10 febbraio 2014), http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/177294#.UwZ3FkJdUfJ. Il fatto che personaggi del calibro di Tzipi Livni vengano descritti come “sinistroidi” è sintomo di uno spostamento verso posizioni di estrema destra all’interno dello spettro politico israeliano.
5 “Israeli ministers discuss using lawyers and Mossad to fight BDS”, Middle East Monitor (10 febbraio 2014), https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/9666-israeli-ministers-discuss-using-lawyers-and-mossad-to-fight-bds.
7 Abdus-Sattar Ghazali, “Academic Freedom Act threatens academic freedom?”, OpEd News (16 febbraio 2014), http://www.opednews.com/articles/Academic-Freedom-Act-threa-by-Abdus-Sattar-Ghaza-Academic-Freedom_Associations_Backlash_Boycott-140216-464.html.
8 Campbell Clark, “Netanyahu calls Harper a ‘friend that always stands by us’,” Globe and Mail (19 gennaio 2014, aggiornato il 20 gennaio 2014), http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harper-arrives-in-israel-on-inaugural-middle-east-visit/article16398905/.
9 “Myths and Facts: Bill C-13, Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act”, Dipartimento di Giustizia Canadese (novembre 2013, modificato il 5 dicembre 2013), http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2013/doc_33002.html.
10 Vedi Michael Geist, “The Privacy Threats in Bill C-13, Part One: Immunity for Personal Info Disclosures Without a Warrant”, Michael Geist (25 novembre 2013), http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/7006/125/; e “The Privacy Threats in Bill C-13, Part Two: The Low Threshold for Metadata”, Michael Geist (11 dicembre 2013), http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/7028/125/.
11 Michael Spratt, “C-13: A Digital Trojan horse for the surveillance state”, iPolitics (28 novembre 2013), http://www.ipolitics.ca/2013/11/28/c-13-a-digital-trojan-horse-for-the-surveillance-state/.
12 Terry Wilson, “The Dangers Hidden in Bill C-13 ‘Protecting Canadians From Online Crime Act’”, Canadian Awareness Network (23 novembre 2013), http://www.canadianawareness.org/2013/11/the-dangers-hidden-in-bill-c-13-protecting-canadians-from-online-crime-act/.
14 Quarta convenzione sulla Protezione delle persone civili in tempo di guerra. Ginevra, 12 agosto 1949, http://www.icrc.org/ihl/nsf/385ec082b509e76c41256739003e636d/6756482d86146898c125641e004aa3c5, Articolo 1.
15 Vedi, ad esempio, Omar Bargouti, “Besieging Israel’s Siege”, The Guardian (12 agosto 2010), http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/aug/12/besieging-israel-siege-palestinian-boycott: “Creata e guidata da Palestinesi, la BDS si oppone ad ogni forma di razzismo, incluso l’antisemitismo, e si ispira a quei valori universali di libertà, giustizia e parità di diritti che motivarono le lotte anti-apartheid e per i diritti civili negli Stati Uniti”.
16 Bill C-13. An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Docid=6311444&File=4.
17 Codice penale (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46. Legge del 14-01-2014, ultima modifica al 12-12-2013, Justice Laws Website, http://www.laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-46/FullText.html.
18 “BDS a hate crime?” Haaretz (15 febbraio 2014).
19 Jean-Yves Camus, Racist Violence in France (Bruxelles: European Network Against Racism, 2011), http://www.cms.horus.be/files/99935/MediaArchive/Racist%20Violence%20Report%20France%20-%20online.pdf, p. 4.
20 “BDS a hate crime?” Haaretz (15 febbraio 2014).
21 “Proposta di legge che mira ad aggravare le pene per i reati a sfondo razzista e a consolidare l’efficacia del codice di procedura penale”, N° 350, presentato dai signori Pierre Lellouche e Jacques Barrot, deputati dell’assemblea nazionale (7 novembre 2002), http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/12/propositions/pion0350.asp, “Quadro dei motivi”.
22 Ibidem: “Morali o fisiche, le violenze razziste offendono non soltanto le persone che ne sono vittime, ma attentano altresì alla coesione nazionale e ai princìpi fondamentali della nazione”.
23 Ibidem: “Resta il fatto che il fenomeno può risorgere in qualsiasi momento, come lo testimoniano svariati casi recenti, particolarmente preoccupanti, come l’omicidio dichiaratamente razzista, del mese di ottobre, di un giovane francese d’origine marocchina in un dipartimento del nord, o l’aggressione di inizio novembre contro i giovani allievi di una scuola privata ebraica della XXX circoscrizione di Parigi, per il solo motivo di essere ebrei”.
24 Ibidem: “L’oggetto della presente proposta, senza aggiungere nuove incriminazioni al codice penale, prende in considerazione l’intenzionalità razzista e, dunque, aggrava pesantemente le pene per i colpevoli di attentato alla persona e alla proprietà in caso esse siano di matrice razzista. Questi aggravamenti delle pene vanno ad applicarsi agli atti di tortura e barbarie, alle violenze culminanti in omicidio preterintenzionale, mutilazione, infermità permanente o incapacità di lavorare, così come agli atti di distruzione, degrado e deterioramento della proprietà”.
25 “BDS a hate crime?” Haaretz (15 febbraio 2014).
28 La prima versione dell’episodio del cavallo di Troia si trova nell’Odissea di Omero, libri IV. 271-89, e VIII. 492-520. La vicenda fu raccontata ancora da poeti successivi, fra cui Quinto Smirneo, in La Caduta di Troia, libri XII. 104-520, e XIII; e Virgilio, nella sua Eneide, libro II. 13-267.
29 Paul McLeod, “Hate law favours Israel, critics charge”, Chronicle-Herald (19 marzo 2014), http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/canada/1194592-hate-law-bill-favours-israel-critics-charge?from=most_read&most_read=1194592.
30 Protocollo addizionale…, http://www.conventions.coe.int/Treaty/en/Treaties/Html/189.htm, cap. I, art. 2.1: “Ai fini di questo Protocollo: ‘materiale razzista e xenofobico’ sta per ogni scritto, immagine o altra rappresentazione di idee e teorie che difendano, promuovano o incitino all’odio, alla discriminazione o alla violenza contro quale che sia individuo o gruppo di individui, sulla base di razza, colore, estrazione, identità etnica o nazionale, ma anche su base religiosa quando questa viene usata come pretesto per qualunque dei succitati elementi”.
31 McLeod, “Hate law favours Israel, critics charge”.
32 Nel Codice penale, 318.(2), “‘genocidio’ sta per ciascuno dei seguenti atti commessi intenzionalmente per distruggere, interamente o in parte, quale che sia gruppo identificabile, cioè (a) uccidere membri del gruppo, (b) imporvi, di proposito, condizioni di vita pensate per ottemperare alla sua distruzione fisica”.
L’articolo 2 della Convenzione sul genocidio dichiara che “genocidio sta per ciascuno dei seguenti atti commessi intenzionalmente per distruggere, interamente o in parte, un gruppo nazionale, etico, razziale o religioso, quali (a) uccidere membri del gruppo, (b) causare grave danno fisico o mentale a membri del gruppo, (c) imporvi, di proposito, condizioni di vita pensate per ottemperare alla sua distruzione fisica, totale o parziale, (d) imporvi misure intese a prevenire le nascite, (e) trasferire forzatamente bambini da un gruppo all’altro”. (Vedi Convenzione per la prevenzione e punizione del crimine di genocidio. Adottata mediante la Risoluzione 260 [III] A dell’Assemblea generale delle Nazioni Unite il 9 dicembre 1948, https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%2078/volume-78-1-1021-English.pdf.)
33 David MacDonald e Graham Hudson, “The Genocide Question and Indian Residential Schools in Canada”, Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue Canadienne de Science Politique 45.2 (giugno 2012): 427-49, http://www.journals.cambridge.org/action/display/Abstract?fromPage=online&aid=8649111; vedi in particolare pp. 434-38. MacDonald e Hudson sottolineano che la Legge sui crimini contro l’umanità e i crimini di guerra del 2000 esclude esplicitamente la possibilità di procedimenti retroattivi per crimini di genocidio commessi in Canada prima del 1998.
34 “Leggi l’intero testo dello storico discorso di Harper alla Knesset d’Israele”, Globe and Mail (20 gennaio 2014), http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/read-the-full-text-of-harpers-historic-speech-to-israels-knesset/article16406371/?page=1.
36 Norman G. Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), pp. 21 sgg.
37 Seguendo l’esempio di Brian Klug, faccio riferimento a “ebreo” tra virgolette per rendere chiaro che ciò a cui ci si riferisce in questa frase è il personaggio di fantasia creato dallo stereotipare antisemita. Vedi Klug, “What do we mean when we say ‘antisemitism’?”, Conferenza plenaria presso il Museo Ebraico, Berlino, 8 novembre 2013, YouTube (21 novembre 2013), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytzSZxIS3OI. Klug cita il sopravvissuto alla Shoah Imre Kertész: “In un ambiente razzista, un ebreo non può essere umano, ma non può nemmeno essere un ebreo, poiché ‘ebreo’ è un appellativo ambiguo agli occhi dell’antisemita soltanto”.
38 Questo incidente è discusso in Michael Keefer, “Data and Deception: Quantitative Evidence of Antisemitism,” in Antisemitism Real and Imagined: Responses to the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (Waterloo, Ontario: The Canadian Charger, 2010), pp. 183-85. Vedi Johann Hari, “Israel is suppressing a secret it must face”, The Independent (28 aprile 2008), http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-israel-is-suppressing-a-secret-it-must-face-816661.html; Hari, “The loathsome smearing of Israel’s critics”, The Independent (8 maggio 2008), http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-loathsome-smearing-of-israels-critics-822751.html; e Community Security Trust, Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2008 (CST, 2009), http://www.thecst.org.uk.docs/Antisemitic%20discourse%20Report%202008.pdf, p. 24 (corsivo nel testo originale).
39 Vedi Keefer, “Desperate Imaginings: Rhetoric and Ideology of the ‘New Antisemitism’”, in Antisemitism Real and Imagined, pp. 212-15; e Irwin Cotler, “Human Rights and the New Anti-Jewishness,” Jerusalem Post (5 febbraio 2004); disponibile presso SPME: Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, http://www.spme.net/cgi-bin/articles.cgi?ID=128.
40 Ibidem, p. 211; vedi Jonathan Kay, “Here is the difference between Israel and its Arab enemies”, National Post (22 marzo 2009), http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/03-kay-here-is-the-difference-between-israel-and-its-arab-enemies-aspx; e Melanie Phillips, “The Ha’aretz Blood Libel”, Spectator (22 marzo 2009), http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3464331/the-haaretz-blood-libel.html.
41 Citato in Keefer, Antisemitism Real and Imagined, “Introduzione”, p. 15.
42 Altri che potrebbero essere citati sono: Shulamit Aloni, Max Blumenthal, Noam Chomsky, Marc Ellis, Richard Falk, David Theo Goldberg, Neve Gordon, Amira Hass, Tony Judt, Sir Gerald Kaufman, Baruch Kimmerling, Naomi Klein, Joel Kovel, Gideon Levy, Ilan Pappe, Harold Pinter, Yakov Rabkin, William I. Robinson, Jacqueline Rose, Israel Shahak, Avi Shlaim e David Shulman. (Molte di queste persone hanno anche sostenuto la BDS).
43 Brian Klug, “The Myth of the New Anti-Semitism”, The Nation (15 gennaio 2004), http://www.thenation.com/article/myth-new-anti-semitism.
44 Judith Butler, “The Charge of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and the Risks of Public Critique”, in Precious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (2004; Londra e New York: Verso, 2006), pp. 126-27.
45 Gerald Caplan, “A Mideast reading list for Tories willing to learn”, Globe and Mail (27 agosto 2010, aggiornato il 15 novembre 2010), http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/second-reading/a-mideast-reading-list-for-tories-wlling-to-learn/article1314259/. Il libro Antisemitism Real and Imagined: Responses to the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism contiene, nella prima delle sue tre parti, undici petizioni da parte di professori ed attivisti per i diritti umani (si dà il caso che la maggior parte di costoro sia ebraica) e, nella seconda parte, petizioni respinte di sette organizzazioni per la difesa dei diritti umani; la terza parte è costituita da tre saggi dell’autore (la cui petizione alla CPCCA fu altrettanto rifiutata).
46 Campbell Clark, “Netanyahu calls Harper a ‘friend that always stands by us’”, Globe and Mail (19 gennaio 2014). Quest’affermazione fu fatta un giorno prima del discorso di Harper alla Knesset. Ma, come Netanyahu sapeva, le dichiarazioni di Harper facevano da eco a ciò che lui diceva da anni. Nel marzo 2014, Netanyahu dichiarò all’AIPAC che i sostenitori della BDS “dovrebbero essere contrastati perché sono contrari alla pace e perché la BDS è semplicemente sbagliata. Quelli che portano lo stemma della BDS dovrebbero essere trattati allo stesso modo degli antisemiti e dei bigotti. Andrebbero smascherati e condannati” (video riprodotto da Lia Tarachansky, “Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase”, The Real News [23 marzo 2014], http://www.therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11633).
47 Uri Avnery, “Nothing New Under the Sun”, Gush Shalom.org (25 gennaio 2014), http://www.zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1390578868.
48 Eva Illouz, “47 years a slave: a new perspective on the occupation”, Haaretz (7 febbraio 2014), http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.572880. Illouz è autrice di otto libri e più di ottanta articoli e capitoli di libri; i suoi lavori sono largamente tradotti, e hanno vinto importanti premi in Germania, Francia e Stati Uniti, compreso, nel 2013, il Premio Anneliese Meier della Fondazione Alexander von Humboldt. È anche presidentessa, dal 2012, della Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, accademia di belle arti del proprio paese.
50 Ibidem. Illouz si riferisce al saggio di Peter Beinarts, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment”, New York Review of Books (10 giugno 2010), http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jun/10/failure-american-jewish-establishment/; e probabilmente anche al suo libro, The Crisis of Zionism (New York: Times Books, 2012).
52 Illouz cita queste espressioni di un’altra rispettata autorità internazionale in tema di schiavitù, David Brion Davis, il quale cita Patterson nel proprio libro Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). Il libri di Orlando Patterson include lo studio classico Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1982).
53 Illouz, “47 years a slave.”
58 I due paragrafi seguenti sono estrappolati dal mio saggio, “Desperate Imaginings: Rhetoric and Ideology of the ‘New Antisemitism’”, in Antisemitism Real and Imagined, p. 231.
59 Marwan Bishara, Palestine/Israel: Peace or Apartheid (2001; seconda edizione, Londra e New York: Zed Books, 2002), p. 4.
60 Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (2006; New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007); vedi anche “Canada’s withholding funds from Palestinians ‘criminal’: Carter”, CBC News (9 dicembre 2006), http://www.cbca/ca/canada/story/2006/12/08/carter-israel.html; e Shulamit Aloni, “Yes, There is Apartheid in Israel”, CounterPunch (8 gennaio 2007), http://www.counterpunch.org/aloni01082007.html. Aloni è anche autore di Demokratia ba’azikim [Democracy or Ethnocracy] (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 2010).
62 Jason Kunin, “Freedom to Teach, Freedom of Speech: Israel-Palestine”, in Antisemitism Real and Imagined, pp. 58-59 n. 2.
63 Middle East Project of the Democracy and Governance Programme, Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law (Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, maggio 2009), pp. 302; disponibile su http://www.electronicintifada.net/files/090608-hsrc.pdf.
64 Citato da Ronnie Kasrils, “Sour Oranges and the Sweet Taste of Freedom”, in Audrea Lim, The Case for Sanctions Against Israel (Londra e New York: Verso, 2012), p. 109 (citazione dell’arcivescovo Desmond Tutu, “Realizing God’s Dream for the Holy Land”, Boston Globe [26 ottobre 2007]). Vedi anche “Palestinian ‘humiliation’ by Israel reminds Tutu of apartheid”, Mail & Guardian (10 marzo 2014), http://www.mg.co.za/article/2014-03-10-palestinian-humiliation-by-israel-reminds-tutu-of-apartheid.
65 “Trascrizione del seminario di Naomi Klein a Ramallah”, BDS Movement (10 luglio 2009), http://www.bdsmovement.net/2009/transcript-of-naomi-klein-lecture-in-ramallah-465; citata da Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien e Paul Laverty, “Looking for Eric, Melbourne Festival, and the Cultural Boycott”, in Lim, The Case for Sanctions Against Israel, p. 200.
66 Ronnie Kasrils, “Sour Oranges…”, in Lim, The Case for Sanctions Against Israel, pp. 109-110.
67 Jake Lynch, “Coalition plans to punish those who boycott Israel”, The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), (25 giugno 2013). La sezione rilevante della Convenzione internazionale sulla soppressione e punizione del crimine di apartheid è l’articolo IV: “I paesi che aderiscono alla presente Convenzione s’impegnano a: (a) adottare qualunque misura legislativa necessaria a sopprimere e prevenire ogni incoraggiamento al crimine di apartheid e a simili politiche segregazionistiche o loro manifestazioni e di punire le persone colpevoli di tale crimine…”. Il testo è disponibile su http://www.oas.org/dil/1973%20International%20Convention%20on%20the%20Suppression%20and%20Punishment%20of%20the%20Crime%20of%20Apartheid.pdf.
First published as “Criminalizing Criticism of Israel in Canada: Bill C-13, A 'Digital Trojan Horse for the Surveillance State',” Centre for Research on Globalization (2 April 2014), http://www.globalresearch.ca/criminalizing-criticism-of-israel-in-canada/5376306.
This essay is also available online as “SFSC Article: Bill C-13—Criminalizing Criticism of Israel in Canada,” Seriously Free Speech (6 April 2014), http://www.seriouslyfreespeech.ca. Critical comments from fellow members of the Seriously Free Speech Committee, especially Brian Campbell, Sheila Delany, Sid Shniad, and Paul Tetrault, were most helpful to me in shaping my analysis. A version of this text was sent to the parliamentary committee charged with reviewing Bill C-13 as a joint submission from the Seriously Free Speech Committee and Independent Jewish Voices.
The international campaign calling for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, as a peaceful means of persuading that state to abandon its systematic violations of international law and its policies of apartheid dispossession, colonization, and blockade in the occupied Palestinian territories, has recently enjoyed a burgeoning number of successes.1
In early February 2014, The Economist noted that BDS “is turning mainstream,”2 and former Israeli Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg wrote in Haaretz that the “BDS movement is gaining momentum and is approaching the turning point [.... at which] sanctions against Israel will become a fait accompli.”3
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a point of indicating that he and his allies would respond vigorously to this trend. Some of the reports about a cabinet meeting where tactics were discussed revealed more about internecine divisions between those ministers invited to take part and those who were excluded than about the substance of the meeting.4 Yet although Israeli media indicated “that 'the discussion was held in secret', with an imposed 'media blackout',” one source that reported this fact was able to give a fairly precise sense of what went on behind closed doors:
Ideas apparently discussed by senior ministers included lawsuits “in European and North American courts against [pro-BDS] organizations” and “legal action against financial institutions that boycott settlements ... [and complicit] Israeli companies”. There is also the possibility of “encouraging anti-boycott legislation in friendly capitals around the world, such as Washington, Ottawa and Canberra”, and “activat[ing] the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S.” for such a purpose.5
This kind of “lawfare,” as it is sometimes called, is nothing new (nor, one can add, is the notion, also discussed at this meeting, of bolstering surveillance of pro-BDS organizations by military intelligence, the Shin Bet Security Service, and the Mossad). It's also evident that the pro-Israel lobby has been active in mobilizing politicians in the “friendly capitals” of Washington, Ottawa, and Canberra for many years.
Recent fruits of that labour have included, in Canberra, threats made in June 2013 by Julie Bishop, a senior member of Julia Gillard's Australian government, that “supporters of an academic boycott of Israel” would have their “access to public research funds summarily cut off.”6 In Washington, a bipartisan “Protect Academic Freedom Act” that would deny federal funding “to colleges and universities that participate in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions or scholars”7 has been brought before Congress.
But what of Canada, whose Prime Minister is Mr. Netanyahu's most faithful friend?8
This essay will argue that revisions to the Canadian Criminal Code proposed by the Harper government contain wording that is designed to enable lawfare prosecutions of human rights activists in precisely the manner desired by Mr. Netanyahu and his associates.
1. Bill C-13 and its deceptions
Bill C-13, the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, received first reading in the House of Commons in November 2013. In a web page devoted to “Myths and Facts” about this bill, the Department of Justice rejects the “myth” that “Bill C-13 is an omnibus crime bill that deals with more than cyberbullying.”
Bill C-13 is not an omnibus crime bill. It combines a proposed new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images to address cyberbullying with judicially-authorized tools to help police and prosecutors investigate not only the proposed new offence, but other existing offences that are committed via the Internet or that involve electronic evidence. [....] The Bill does not contain the former Bill C-30's controversial amendments relating to warrantless access to subscriber information and telecommunication infrastructure modification.9
However, Dr. Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, has observed that Bill C-13 does indeed retain provisions that permit an increased warrantless access to personal information, far beyond what is envisioned by the current Criminal Code.10 Criminal lawyer Michael Spratt has denounced the bill as a “digital Trojan horse for the surveillance state”:
most of C-13 has little to do with protecting victims [of cyber-bullying]. This bill would recklessly expand the surveillance powers of the state. It sacrifices personal privacy. It limits or eliminates judicial oversight. It is inconsistent with recent Supreme Court jurisprudence. It's a dangerous bill.11
The Department of Justice's claim that “Bill C-13 is not an omnibus crime bill” is transparently false. As another critic, Terry Wilson, has remarked, despite being promoted “as legislation to prevent online bullying, the bill actually has very little to do with bullies and has sections ranging from stealing cable, hacking, surveillance, to terrorism (cyberbullying accounts for 2 out of the 50 pages in the bill) [...]. The bill even includes 'hate legislation'....”12
In this latter respect Bill C-13 incorporates, once again, a Trojan horse. The bill adds wording to the Hate Propaganda sections of the Criminal Code that seems, on the face of it, to do no more than to bring these sections into conformity with other parallel texts—with several important documents of international law, and with a sentencing provision later in the Criminal Code where the same wording already appears. But a second intention is also arguably at work in this part of Bill C-13, for there is good reason to believe that the new wording is intended, while deceptively avoiding any public debate over the matter, to make it possible to prosecute human rights discourse and advocacy relating to the oppressive treatment of Palestinians by the state of Israel as hate speech or incitement of hatred.
This view of the intention underlying Bill C-13 is supported by Prime Minister Harper's speech to the Israeli Knesset on January 20, 2014 (which will be discussed below). It can draw support as well from the fact that an identical change to the wording of the French penal code made in 2003 by the so-called Lellouche Law has permitted the conviction of some twenty French human rights activists for incitement of racial hatred.13
The results in France have been paradoxical. France is, like Canada, a High Contracting Party of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949—whose first article states that “The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.”14 The people convicted for incitement of racial hatred under the Lellouche Law are participants in a movement that has been consistent in its firm rejection of antisemitism and all other forms of racism.15 This movement advocates a peaceful exertion of economic pressure with the aim of persuading the Israeli state to end its multiple and systematic violations of international law, including in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention, which Israel has been repeatedly been condemned for flouting by UN committees and reports, as well as by independent agencies such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The facts of the matter are thus unambiguous: in enforcing the Lellouche Law, and redefining human rights activists as people guilty of hate crimes, the French state has simultaneously been violating its prior solemn commitment “to respect and to ensure respect for” the Fourth Geneva Convention “in all circumstances.”
One of the aims of Bill C-13 appears to be to place Canada in a similar situation of openly violating one of the central instruments of international law.
2. Alterations to the meaning of Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code
Section 12 of Bill C-13 proposes several small additions within that part of the Criminal Code (Sections 318-321.1) that carries the subtitle “Hate Propaganda.” Section 12 reads as follows:
12. Subsection 318.(4) of the Act is replaced by the following:
(4) In this section, “identifiable group” means any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or mental and physical disability.16
(The underlining here indicates the wording being added to the current Criminal Code by Bill B-13.)
These proposed additions within Section 318 of the Criminal Code, which is concerned with the crime of “Advocating genocide,” also have an impact on the meaning and application of Section 319, which is concerned with the crimes of “Public incitement of hatred” and “Wilful promotion of hatred,” and in which—as Subsection 319.(7) states—“'identifiable group' has the same meaning as in section 318”. The relevant clauses in Section 319 read as follows:
319. (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
(2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.17
The most noteworthy addition to the concept of “identifiable group” is that of the category of national origin, which has no evident connection to the ostensible purpose of Bill C-13, but may be understood as linked to another agenda that was forcefully enunciated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in his January 20, 2014 speech to the Israeli Knesset—namely, that of re-defining criticism of the policies and behaviour of the nation-state of Israel in relation to its Palestinian citizens and to the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territories as hate propaganda.
As a February 2014 report in the leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz indicated, the hate-crime convictions in France several months previously of twelve human rights activists, supporters of the international campaign advocating boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, were secured under the Lellouche Law, which “extended the definition of discrimination beyond the expected parameters of race, religion and sexual orientation to include members of national groups.”18
3. The Lellouche Law: another Trojan horse?
Whether intentionally or not, the Lellouche Law has functioned as a kind of Trojan horse. Dr. Jean-Yves Camus has remarked that this law, “passed on 3 February 2003, in the wake of an unprecedented wave of anti-Semitic violence, allows judges to impose harsher sanctions upon perpetrators of racist violence, than those they would normally receive in the case of a similar act of violence not motivated by racism.”19 As the Haaretz report on the criminalization of BDS activism in France indicates, the law's ostensible purpose, at a time when the openly antisemitic, anti-immigrant and neofascist Front National of Jean-Marie LePen had been attracting increased support, in southern France especially, was “to strengthen French republican values and counter sectarian tendencies”:
The law was passed in 2003, shortly after unprecedented gains by the far right National Front party in the presidential election.
The measure was designed to respond to a social climate of not only mounting anti-Semitism, but also anti-Arab discrimination and xenophobia.20
The “Outline of motives” that prefaced the Lellouche Law when it was presented to the Assemblée Nationale in November 2002 was explicit in its repeated statements that the additions to the Penal Code proposed by this law were primarily intended to target openly racist violence: “violences ouvertement racistes,” “actes de violence intentionellement racistes,” “violences à caractère raciste,” “agressions à caractère raciste.”21 Although this text specified that racist violence could be “moral” as well as physical,22 the two recent examples it offered to the deputies of the Assemblée Nationale were the “openly racist murder” of a young Frenchman of Moroccan origin in northern France in October 2002, and racist aggression directed against young students of a private Jewish school in the 13th arrondissement of Paris in early November.23 Noting that existing French laws already targeted racial discrimination, the incitement of hatred or violence, and Holocaust revisionism, the prefatory outline defined the purpose of this law as being to significantly enhance the penalties imposed in cases where attacks on people or property are racist in character—as when racism is involved in acts of torture and barbarism, violence resulting unintentionally in death, and acts leading to mutilation or permanent disability, as well as acts involving damage to or the destruction of property.24
Despite this explicit statement of intention, the Lellouche Law has been applied in another manner altogether—on the pretext that in eight of its nine articles it includes the category of “nation” in the definition of groups that can be understood as victimized. As the Haaretz report indicates, this law “has been invoked repeatedly against anti-Israel activists. France has seen 10 trials against BDS supporters based on Lellouche.”25
Pascal Markowitz, head of the BDS legal task force of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF), is frank in his assessment of the Lellouche Law's instrumental value. He is quoted by Haaretz as saying that “the law is 'the most effective legislation on BDS today.' 'We had only one acquittal, so the statistics are looking good,' he said.”26 But other political figures in France have taken a different view of the matter:
“These convictions are unconscionable,” Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, a French member of the European Parliament, said at a special session on the case in Strasbourg in 2011. “Governments are doing nothing to end Israel's illegal occupation [of the Palestinian territories] and the French court is wrongfully denying citizens from acting through BDS.”27
It's important to understand what is meant, in the present context, by a “Trojan horse.” In every version of the ancient story, from Homer to Virgil,28 the essential point is the same. The hollow wooden horse was a duplicitous stratagem used by the Greek army that had for ten years been besieging Troy; it succeeded because the horse was deceptively dual-purpose in nature. Pretending to abandon their siege, the Greeks left this huge artefact behind: its plausible overt function was as an offering to the gods, which the Trojans were persuaded to drag into their city in celebration of their supposed victory. But it also had a second concealed function—as a treacherous means of getting a body of armed Greeks inside the walls of Troy, so that they could open the city gates at night when the rest of their army returned.
The Lellouche Law has served as a Trojan horse because when it was passed it seemed an appropriate and plausible means of dealing with an increase in racially motivated violence in France that coincided with an upsurge in support for a frankly racist far-right political party. But the law has since been used for a quite different purpose: that of criminalizing the discourse of human rights activists who speak out in support of respecting and ensuring respect for international humanitarian law.
4. The insertion of “national” into Sections 318 and 319: just “housecleaning”?
According to a report by Paul McLeod of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, the addition of the word “national” to Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code is explained by the Department of Justice as being “designed to match the wording of a protocol from the Council of Europe, a human rights organization.”29 The reference is to the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems, adopted in Strasbourg in January 2003. In Chapter I, Article 2.1 of this text the word “national” occurs in a definition of the groups understood to be victimized by “racist and xenophobic material.”30
McLeod indicates that some legal experts have proposed that the change is “likely a mere housecleaning amendment to bring the Criminal Code in line with the wording of other statutes.”31 The word “national” does indeed occur in similar contexts in the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 20, and in Article 2 of the UN Convention on Genocide. Moreover, Bill C-13 brings Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code into conformity with the sentencing provision in Section 718, which already includes all the groups (national origin, age, sex, and mental and physical disability) that were not included in Section 318.(4) but have now been added.
A “housecleaning” explanation of the changes is thus entirely plausible.
However, the housecleaning has not actually been very thorough. In its current form, Section 318 of the Criminal Code, which defines the appropriate punishment for the crime of advocating or promoting genocide, is a somewhat peculiar text—for its subsection 2, while clearly derived from Article 2 of the UN Convention on Genocide, omits clauses (b), (d), and (e) of that article's definition.32
David MacDonald and Graham Hudson have remarked that when Parliament ratified the Convention on Genocide in 1952, it excluded some of the clauses of Article 2 from Canada's Criminal Code, on the grounds that matters such as the forcible removal of children are not relevant to this country. (Given the existence of Canada's system of church-run residential schools, into whose custody native children were forcibly transferred, it seems obvious that the last clause of the Convention's Article 2 was excluded in bad faith.) MacDonald and Hudson note as well that when in 2000 Parliament adopted the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, it thereby made the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (which includes the Convention on Genocide's full definition of genocide) a part of Canadian statutory law.33 Section 318 of the Criminal Code is thus anomalous in its current form, in that its definition of the crime of genocide excludes clauses which are nonetheless part of Canadian statutory law because of their incorporation into the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
In a thorough housecleaning of this part of the Criminal Code, the inclusion of the three omitted clauses from Article 2 of the Convention on Genocide would have been an obvious step to take.
I mention this not because it tells with any force against a “housecleaning” explanation of Bill C-13's insertion of the word “national” into Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code: as noted above, that explanation remains wholly plausible. But what this example does suggest is that the framers of Bill C-13 may not have been single-mindedly focused on housecleaning.
Prime Minister Harper's January 20, 2014 address to the Israeli Knesset leads us toward a second explanation of the purpose of Bill C-13's insertion of the word “national” into the definition of groups that can be victimized by hate propaganda. In suggesting that this speech reveals with some clarity the thinking that underlies this addition to the text of the Criminal Code, I do not mean to imply that the primary and overt explanation of the change as a “housecleaning” matter is displaced by this second underlying intention—for that is not how Trojan horses work.
A Trojan horse is by its nature duplicitous, but that duplicity can only be successful to the degree that the horse's overt and primary purpose remains plausible.
5. Prime Minister Harper's January 20, 2014 address to the Israeli Knesset
In this speech the Prime Minister asked, rhetorically, what it is today that threatens societies that, like Israel, embrace “the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.” His answer was sweeping:
Those who scorn modernity, who loathe the liberty of others, and who hold the differences of peoples and cultures in contempt. Those who, often begin by hating the Jews, but, history shows us, end up hating anyone who is not them. Those forces, which have threatened the state of Israel every single day of its existence, and which, today, as 9/11 graphically showed us, threaten us all.34
This might seem imprecise. But as Prime Minister Harper went on to explain, “we live in a world where [...] moral relativism runs rampant.”
And in the garden of such moral relativism, the seeds of much more sinister notions can easily be planted.
And so we have witnessed, in recent years, the mutation of the old disease of anti-Semitism and the emergence of a new strain.
We all know about the old anti-Semitism.
It was crude and ignorant, and it led to the horrors of the death camps.
Of course, in many dark corners, it is still with us.
But, in much of the Western world, the old hatred has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society.
People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East.
As once Jewish businesses were boycotted, some civil-society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel.
On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students.
Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state.35
In the Prime Minister's view, any profound criticism of Israeli policies and governance can only be a product of antisemitic hatred, spewed forth by people who are simply looking for further ways of victimizing Jews. By this account it is, very precisely, as members of a national group—as potential or actual citizens of Israel—that Jews are being victimized by these devious, sophisticated new antisemites. Canadian Jews could be counted among those victimized in this manner, for those who do not actually hold Israeli citizenship are all potentially Israeli nationals, under Israel's Law of Return.
This claim that criticisms of Israel are motivated by a “new strain” of antisemitism, and can therefore legitimately be categorized and stigmatized as a form of hate propaganda, is not an invention of the Prime Minister. As the historian Norman G. Finkelstein wrote in 2005, “the allegation of a new anti-Semitism is neither new nor about anti-Semitism”: it is, rather, an ideology formulated in the early 1970s for the explicit purpose of deflecting pressures on the state of Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank that had been captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Days War.36
The following sections will show that the ideology and rhetoric of the “new antisemitism” have been decisively rejected by many contemporary Jewish scholars and public intellectuals, a significant number of whom have come to recognize in the moral debate within the Jewish community over Israel's treatment of the Palestinians a reason for adding their support to the growing international support for the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. This division within the Jewish community provides further grounds for recognizing the Prime Minister's claims as misleading and untrue. It will be shown as well that the judgment that Israel has become an apartheid state (which Mr. Harper regards as the “most disgraceful of all”) has in fact been endorsed by prominent scholars and public figures both in Israel and internationally—including in South Africa, a country whose legal experts and public figures could surely claim with some cause to know better than Mr. Harper what apartheid is.
6. Refuting the so-called “new antisemitism”
The “new antisemitism” can be briefly defined as a rhetorical gambit which consists in claiming that the tropes of antisemitism, one of whose traditional functions has been (and continues to be) to justify the exclusion of Jews from the full rights of citizenship in whatever country they inhabit, are now being turned against the “collective Jew,” as embodied in the state of Israel—with the purpose this time of excluding Jews as a national collective from enjoying their full rights of participation in the family of nations. The aim of this rhetorical turn is to defend Israeli policies and actions by proposing that their critics are only pretending to be acting on the basis of universal principles of justice and equity; these people are instead antisemites who in a “sophisticated” manner have redirected their hatred against the Jewish nation-state.
We can sample the workings of this gambit in three recent instances involving allegations of a re-deployment of some of the most vicious traditional tropes of antisemitism: the 'Jew' as embodiment of abjection, filth and excrement; the 'Jew' as a contaminating presence or poisoner (most especially of communal water sources); and the 'Jew' as child-murderer.37 Over the centuries, antisemites have used all of these foul accusations, especially the third (known as the “blood libel”), to arouse mob violence and state persecutions of Jewish communities.
The first of these tropes was turned against English journalist Johann Hari when he wrote in 2008 that he could not join the celebrations of the sixtieth year since Israel's founding because of Israel's well-documented mistreatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories, which has included the flushing of untreated sewage from illegal hilltop settlements onto Palestinian farmland, and an embargo on equipment needed to repair Gaza's sewage system, resulting in potentially catastrophic health hazards. Britain's Community Security Trust (parallel in some respects to B'nai Brith Canada) accused Hari of “us[ing] the themes of Israeli 'raw untreated sewage' and 'shit' to help explain why he could not bring himself to celebrate 60 years since Israel's creation”—thus leaving readers to suppose, since no mention was made of Hari's on-site reporting and references to reports on the subject, that he had engaged in a literally filthy piece of antisemitism aimed at the Jewish collectivity of Israel.38
The second trope was activated by former Canadian Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler in a paper on “Human Rights and the New Anti-Jewishness,” published in the Jerusalem Post in 2004, in the course of which he declared that “in a world in which human rights has emerged as the new secular religion of our time, the [UN] portrayal of Israel as the metaphor for a human rights violator is an indictment of Israel as the 'new anti-Christ'—as the 'poisoner of the international wells'....”39 It is noteworthy that Cotler provides no indication of these antisemitic tropes being used by anyone in the UN committees he attacks—and one can only regret that a legal expert who earned an international reputation as an advocate of human rights has turned against that discourse to the point of caricaturing it as a pseudo-religion suffused with antisemitism.
The third trope was used on March 22, 2009 by Jonathan Kay, when he complained in the National Post that “From the opening days of the Gaza campaign [i.e. Operation Cast Lead], the blood-libels of 'massacre' and 'genocide' have flown thick and fast”; on the same day Melanie Phillips, writing in the Spectator, accused the Israeli newspaper Haaretz of a blood libel for having reported the testimony of Israeli soldiers that they had witnessed and participated in war crimes against Gaza civilians.40
Common to all three cases is a deliberate avoidance of the material evidence relating to allegations of Israeli wrong-doing: any such evidence is conveniently made to vanish by a rhetorical inversion which turns the state of Israel from the victimizer of Palestinians into the victim of its antisemitic accusers, and turns the human rights activist or journalist who has gathered or reported on evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity into someone who must instead answer to charges of being an antisemitic disseminator of hatred.
The rhetorical strategy of this ideology of the “new antisemitism,” in short, is to move expeditiously away from material evidence and into the domain of rhetorical inversions and slander. In 2009, Yuli Edelstein, Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, explained at the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem how to go about it. The capital letters are his:
We must repeat again and again these basic facts—TO BE 'anti-Israel' IS TO BE ANTI-SEMITIC. TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL, ISRAELI PROFESSORS and ISRAELI business, these are not political acts, these are acts of hate, acts of anti-Semitism! Anti-Israel hysteria is anti-Semitic hysteria. They are one and the same.41
Leading Jewish intellectuals have been dismissive of the ideology out of which this rhetoric of a “new antisemitism” arises. Of the many who could be mentioned, I will cite just two.42 University of Oxford philosopher Brian Klug wrote in an essay on “The Myth of the New Antisemitism” that “when every anti-Zionist is an anti-Semite, we no longer know how to recognize the real thing—the concept of anti-Semitism loses its significance.”43 And American philosopher and literary theorist Judith Butler, while insisting that one must “refuse to brand as anti-Semitic the critical impulse or to accept anti-Semitic discourse as an acceptable substitute for critique,” has analyzed with characteristic lucidity the manner in which a false charge of antisemitism “works to immunize Israeli violence against critique by refusing to countenance the integrity of the claims made against that violence.” She has called for “a certain collective courage” to enable the public to “speak out, critically, in the face of obvious and illegitimate violence....”44
An attempt to re-activate this already-refuted ideology of the “new antisemitism” was undertaken in Canada between 2009 and 2011 by a group of MPs, led by Irwin Cotler and by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, who formed themselves into a Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA). This attempt failed. Evidence given by senior police officers and university administrators to the inquiry held by the CPCCA refuted its claims that Canada is experiencing a surge of antisemitic incidents, and that Jews (especially those supportive of Israel) are routinely persecuted and harassed on Canadian campuses. The CPCCA, which had initially had all-party representation, lost its Bloc Québécois members, who resigned over the CPCCA's refusal to give space in its hearings to human rights groups whose views differed from those of its principal organizers. The CPCCA's final report was delayed for many months due to dissension prompted in part by the Conservative Party's disgraceful attempts (for which Jason Kenney refused any apology) to undermine Irwin Cotler in his own riding with robocalls and a whispering campaign that charged him, ironically, with being insufficiently supportive of Israel. And although the CPCCA took pains not to accept any submission to its inquiry that was critical of its own announced presuppositions, eighteen of those submissions were published in a book that appeared many months before the CPCCA's own belated report, and that was recommended in the Globe and Mail as late-summer reading “for Tories willing to learn.”45
7. The debate among Jews over the morality of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians
As mentioned above, many Jewish scholars and public intellectuals, both in Israel and internationally, have placed themselves firmly in opposition to Israel's policies of apartheid treatment of the Palestinians and of ongoing colonization of the occupied territories. The mere fact that this is so, and that in Canada and elsewhere they are joined in this by many Jewish citizen activists, amounts to a living refutation of Prime Minister Harper's repetition of the rhetoric of the “new antisemitism.”
As one might expect, Israeli opinions as to the value of Harper's speech were not unanimous. In confident anticipation of Harper's declarations, Benjamin Netanyahu called him “a friend who always stands by us.”46 Other Israelis, though they are certainly in a minority, think differently. Uri Avnery, a former member of the Knesset, a founding figure in Israel's (sadly faltering) peace movement, and an internationally respected journalist, dismissed Harper's speech as “ridiculous.”47
A fortnight after that speech was delivered, one of Israel's leading sociologists, Professor Eva Illouz of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, published a long essay in Haaretz that explored the depth and significance of the division in Jewish opinion over the moral issue of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. The title of that essay, “47 years a slave: a new perspective on the occupation,” is striking enough;48 Illouz's analysis is more so.
Illouz begins by remarking that on any given day, half or three-quarters of the news items in Haaretz “will invariably revolve around the same two topics: people struggling to protect the good name of Israel, and people struggling against its violence and injustices.” She points to two surprising features of this struggle: first, that while it involves copious mudslinging, “this mud is being thrown by Jews at Jews”; and secondly, that “the valiant combatants for the good name of Israel miss an important point: the critiques of Israel in the United States are increasingly waged by Jews, not anti-Semites.”49
Claiming that “If Israel is indeed singled out among the many nations that have a bad record in human rights, it is because of the personal sense of shame and embarrassment that a large number of Jews in the western world feel toward a state that, by its policies and ethos, does not represent them anymore,” Illouz cites the observation of Peter Beinart that “the Jewish people seems to have split into two distinct factions....”50
Unlike most communal divisions in history, this one, she says, has occurred over a moral issue, that of Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Both sides claim to be impelled by moral imperatives. What she calls the “security as morality” group feel that “because Jews were the super victim of history and because of Israel's inherently vulnerable state amidst a sea of enemies,” Israel “is twice morally beyond reproach.” The second group
derives its positions from universal standards of justice, and from the observation that Israel is fast moving away from the pluralistic, multiethnic, pacific democracies of the world. Israel stopped being a valid source of identification for these Jews not because they are self-hating, but because many of them have been actively involved, in deed or thought, in the liberalization of their respective societies—that is, in the extension of human, economic and social rights to a wider variety of groups.51
Illouz then argues, at length, that the best historical analogy for understanding this communal division is the nineteenth-century debate in the United States over slavery.
Two factors make this analogy persuasive. The first follows from the view of Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson, “a specialist in the history and sociology of slavery,” that the central fact about slavery is not that people are bought and sold as property, but rather that they are forced to endure a condition of “permanent, violent and personal domination” and of being “natally alienated and generally dishonored.”52 Illouz observes that “what started as a national and military conflict” between Israelis and Palestinians
has morphed into a form of domination of Palestinians that now increasingly borders on conditions of slavery. If we understand slavery as a condition of existence and not as ownership and trade of human bodies, the domination that Israel has exercised over Palestinians turns out to have created the matrix of domination that I call “a condition of slavery.”53
As she explains in detail, this matrix of domination includes subjection to arbitrary arrest, incarceration, and torture; the imposition of a Kafkaesque legal system quite unlike the one under which Jewish Israelis live; military attacks (which have included using Palestinians as “human shields”), as well as violence and property destruction inflicted with impunity by settlers; severe restrictions on movement and an accompanying economic strangulation; restrictions on marriage, and a systematic undermining of property ownership; and the imposition of “a permanent sense of dishonor” on people who “conduct their lives without predictability and continuity, live in fear of Jewish terror and of the violence of the Israeli military power, and are afraid to have no work, shelter or family.”54
The second factor is the shocking degree to which an ideology of inherent Jewish superiority to Arabs—fully analogous to the biblically-supported doctrines of white supremacy preached by pro-slavery advocates in nineteenth-century America—has been adopted in Israel to legitimize the subjugation of Palestinians, in a now-mainstream settlers' discourse. “Like the whites in the American south,” Illouz writes, Israeli Jews “view themselves as obviously more moral, superior, civilized, technologically and economically far more accomplished than the inferior Arabs”; and “exactly like their southern 19th-century counterparts the settlers have abundantly sanctified the land through Bible narratives and see themselves, like the proslavery owners, as executing God's will.”55
As a responsible scholar, Illouz explains very precisely both the limitations of this analogy and also—through extended analysis and citation that unfold full details of the conditions of slavery endured by Palestinians and the discourse of domination that has become implanted in Israel—its explanatory power.
Her conclusions are indeed forceful. Israel, although it is “the most security-conscious state on the planet,”
has failed to make its conflict with the Palestinians into a military one. Instead, it has been dragged into a humanitarian disaster that has provoked a moral war and unbridgeable rift within the Jewish people. The public relations strategies of the state will not silence this moral war.
This also implies an increasing international isolation:
Israel is dangerously sailing away from the moral vocabulary of most countries of the civilized world. The fact that many readers will think that my sources are unreliable because they come from organizations that defend human rights proves this point. Israel no longer speaks the ordinary moral language of enlightened nations. But in refusing to speak that language, it is de facto dooming itself to isolation.56
It should be obvious how strongly Professor Illouz's essay tells against the false pieties of Stephen Harper's Knesset speech. On the most basic level of fact, Mr. Harper's claim that critics of Israel's policies and governance are by definition antisemites is exposed as wretchedly untrue—and one might hope that the analogy Professor Illouz develops at such length and with such precision would make even someone of his moral obliquity to squirm.
8. Most disgracefully of all ... an apartheid state
In the concluding section of her essay, Eva Illouz remarks that Israelis fail to understand the nature of their colonization and occupation “because language has itself been colonized.” Most Israelis interpret the occupation in terms of “terrorists and enemies, and the world sees weak, dispossessed and persecuted people. The world reacts with moral outrage at Israel's continued domination of Palestinians, and Israel ridicules such moral outrage as an expression of double standards....” Because of this “colonization” of discourse, “the debate dividing the Jewish people is more difficult than the debate about slavery, because there is no agreement even on how to properly name the vast enterprise of domination that has been created in the territories.”57
There is in fact quite widespread agreement—at least on the “universal standards of justice” side of the divide analyzed by Professor Illouz—as to an appropriate name.58
The term “apartheid” was applied with clinical accuracy by Marwan Bishara in 2001 to describe what Israel has done in the occupied territories from the early 1990s onward, “physically and demographically divid[ing] up the West Bank and Gaza into islands of poverty, or bantustans, while maintaining economic domination and direct control over Palestinian land and natural resources.”59 It was re-used by former US President Jimmy Carter in 2006—a usage validated in 2007 by Israel Prize laureate and former Minister of Education Shulamit Aloni.60 And in January 2010, Henry Siegman, the former Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress and current President of the US/Middle East Project of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote that Israel's “relentless” construction of new settlements “seems finally to have succeeded in locking in the irreversibility of its colonial project. As a result of that 'achievement,' one that successive Israeli governments have long sought in order to preclude the possibility of a two-state solution, Israel has crossed the threshold from 'the only democracy in the Middle East' to the only apartheid regime in the Western world.”61
As Dr. Jason Kunin has remarked, there is a pungent irony to the fact that while Canadian university administrators—not to mention politicians—denounce as unacceptable any application of the term “apartheid” to the structures of land theft, cantonment, and racialized subjugation, separation, and oppression of a subject-population that characterize Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, “South African legal scholars, who might be expected to have a more immediate understanding of the nature of apartheid, have not hesitated to describe the state of Israel's behaviour in the occupied Palestinian territories as 'a colonial system that implements a system of apartheid.'”62 (His reference is to a report by South African scholars and jurists published by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa in May, 2009: Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A reassessment of Israel's policies in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law.)63
A finding that the state of Israel has implemented a system of apartheid has consequences under international law—in which apartheid is defined as a crime against humanity. It is scarcely surprising, then, that as Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has observed, “Some people are enraged by comparison between the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and what happened in South Africa....” But as Tutu went on to insist, “For those of us who lived through the dehumanizing horrors of the apartheid era, the comparison seems not only apt, it is also necessary [...] if we are to persevere in our hope that things can change.”64
This comparison does not involve any claim that the Israeli system of apartheid is identical to the one that existed in South Africa. In the words of Naomi Klein,
the question is not “Is Israel the same as South Africa?”, it is “do Israel's actions meet the international definition of what apartheid is?” And if you look at those conditions which include the transfer of people, which include multiple tiers of law, official state segregation, then you see that, yes, it does meet that definition—which is different than saying it is South Africa.65
But supporters of Israeli policies would be mistaken to think that they can draw consolation or encouragement from the differences between the Israeli and the South African systems. In the words of Ronnie Kasrils, who was one of the many South African Jews who struggled honourably against apartheid, and who subsequently served as a minister in Nelson Mandela's government:
[W]ithout a doubt, we South Africans who fought apartheid have been unanimous in finding Israel's methods of repression and collective punishment far, far worse than anything we saw during our long and difficult liberation struggle. Israel's indiscriminate, widespread bombing and shelling of populated areas, with scant regard for the civilian victims, was absent in South Africa, because the apartheid system relied on cheap black labor. Israel rejects outright an entire people, and seeks to eliminate the Palestinian presence entirely, whether by voluntary or enforced “transfer.” It is clearly this that accounts for Israel's greater degree of sustained brutality in comparison to apartheid South Africa.66
Perhaps, in view of Eva Illouz's analysis, we should supplement the term “apartheid” by speaking as well of “conditions of slavery.” But whether or not we accept this intensification of the term, we should remember something else that is underlined in a recent article by Professor Jake Lynch, Director of the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. As he notes, the South African Human Sciences Research Council report that found Israel to be in breach of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid also declared that such a finding obliges governments to “co-operate to end the violation; not to recognise the illegal situation arising from it; and not to render aid or assistance to the State committing it.”67
There seems no need to comment on Prime Minister Harper's view that it is disgraceful to apply the term “apartheid” to what Israel is doing. Uri Avnery may be right in thinking that the best response to such vapourings is ridicule.
But something more than ridicule is required to deal with an evident threat to the right of citizens to engage in nonviolent protests, boycotts, and the like when they find it necessary to draw public attention to the failure of our government (and many others) to fulfil their formal obligations under international law.
Two actions seem appropriate in response to what I have argued is a Trojan horse in Bill C-13's revisions to Sections 318 and 319 of the Canadian Criminal Code. The first should be uncontroversial, and can be undertaken at once. Section 12 of Bill C-13 (the section that contains these revisions) can simply be amended to include the statement that “Nothing in this Section shall be interpreted as conflicting with Canada's responsibility, in accordance with Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, 'to respect and ensure respect for' that Convention 'in all circumstances'; nor shall anything in this Section be interpreted as conflicting with Canada's responsibilities under other instruments of international humanitarian law of which Canada is a signatory.”
The second action I would recommend is for Canadians to replace the government that engages in Trojan-horse lawfare of this kind with a better one.
1 See, for example, Michael Deas, “Norway's pension fund divests from Israel's largest real estate firm,” The Electronic Intifada (19 June 2012), http://www.electronicintifada.net/blogs/michael-deas/norways-pension-fund-divests-israels-largest-real-estate-firm; “Major US pension fund divests ethical fund from Veolia,” BDS Movement (22 November 2013), http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/tiaa-cref-social-choice-veolia-11431; “Veolia Campaign Victories: Total value of lost Veolia contracts: €18.122 billion ($23.97 billion),” Global Exchange (c. February 2014), http://www.globalexchange.org/economicactivism/veolia/victories; Asa Winstanley, “Dutch pension giant divests from 5 Israeli banks,” BDS Movement (13 January 2014), http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/dutch-pension-giant-divests-from-5-israeli-banks-11594; Elena Popina, “SodaStream Drops Amid Sanctions Over Jewish Settlements,” Bloomberg (3 February 2014), http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-03/sodastream-slumps-on-sanction-campaign-over-jewish-settlements.html.
2 “Sanctions against Israel: A campaign that is gathering weight,” The Economist (8 February 2014), http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21595948-israels-politicians-sound-rattled-campaign-isolate-their-country/.
3 Avraham Burg, “What's wrong with BDS, after all? Israel will be helpless when the discourse moves from who's stronger/tougher/more resilient to a discourse on rights and values,” Haaretz (3 February 2014), http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.572079; quoted from Rev. Robert Assaly, “BDS movement scores huge in Superbowl victory over Sodastream,” NECEF: Near East Cultural & Educational Foundation (20 February 2014), www.necef.org.
4 See Herb Keinon, “Netanyahu convenes strategy meeting to fight boycotts,” Jerusalem Post (10 February 2014), http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Netanyahu-convenes-strategy-meeting-to-fight-boycotts-340904; and Gil Ronen, “Leftist Ministers Kept Out of Secret Cabinet BDS Session,” Arutz Sheva 7 (10 February 2014), http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/177294#.UwZ3FkJdUfJ. The fact that figures like Tzipi Livni can be described as “leftist” is one sign of a far-right skewing of the Israeli political spectrum.
5 “Israeli ministers discuss using lawyers and Mossad to fight BDS,” Middle East Monitor (10 February 2014), https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/9666-israeli-ministers-discuss-using-lawyers-and-mossad-to-fight-bds.
7 Abdus-Sattar Ghazali, “Academic Freedom Act threatens academic freedom?” OpEd News (16 February 2014), http://www.opednews.com/articles/Academic-Freedom-Act-threa-by-Abdus-Sattar-Ghaza-Academic-Freedom_Associations_Backlash_Boycott-140216-464.html.
8 Campbell Clark, “Netanyahu calls Harper a 'friend that always stands by us',” Globe and Mail (19 January 2014, updated 20 January 2014), http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harper-arrives-in-israel-on-inaugural-middle-east-visit/article16398905/.
9 “Myths and Facts: Bill C-13, Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act,” Department of Justice Canada (November 2013, modified 5 December 2013), http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2013/doc_33002.html.
10 See Michael Geist, “The Privacy Threats in Bill C-13, Part One: Immunity for Personal Info Disclosures Without a Warrant,” Michael Geist (25 November 2013), http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/7006/125/; and “The Privacy Threats in Bill C-13, Part Two: The Low Threshold for Metadata,” Michael Geist (11 December 2013), http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/7028/125/.
11 Michael Spratt, “C-13: A Digital Trojan horse for the surveillance state,” iPolitics (28 November 2013), http://www.ipolitics.ca/2013/11/28/c-13-a-digital-trojan-horse-for-the-surveillance-state/.
12 Terry Wilson, “The Dangers Hidden in Bill C-13 'Protecting Canadians From Online Crime Act',” Canadian Awareness Network (23 November 2013), http://www.canadianawareness.org/2013/11/the-dangers-hidden-in-bill-c-13-protecting-canadians-from-online-crime-act/.
14 Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, http://www.icrc.org/ihl/nsf/385ec082b509e76c41256739003e636d/6756482d86146898c125641e004aa3c5, Article 1.
15 See, for example, Omar Bargouti, “Besieging Israel's Siege,” The Guardian (12 August 2010), http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/aug/12/besieging-israel-siege-palestinian-boycott: “Created and guided by Palestinians, BDS opposes all forms of racism, including antisemitism, and is anchored in the universal principles of freedom, justice and equal rights that motivated the anti-apartheid and US civil rights struggles.”
16 Bill C-13. An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&Docid=6311444&File=4.
17 Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46. Act current to 2014-01-14 and last amended on 2013-12-12, Justice Laws Website, http://www.laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-46/FullText.html.
18 “BDS a hate crime?” Haaretz (15 February 2014). Italics added.
19 Dr. Jean-Yves Camus, Racist Violence in France (Brussels: European Network Against Racism, 2011), http://www.cms.horus.be/files/99935/MediaArchive/Racist%20Violence%20Report%20France%20-%20online.pdf, p. 4.
20 “BDS a hate crime?” Haaretz (15 February 2014).
21 “Proposition de loi visant à agraver les peines punissant les infractions à caractère raciste et à renforcer l'efficacité de la procédure pénale,” N° 350, Présentée par MM. Pierre Lellouche et Jacques Barrot, Députés, Assemblée Nationale (7 novembre 2002), htttp://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/12/propositions/pion0350.asp, “Exposé de motifs.”
22 Ibid.: “Morales ou physiques, les violences racistes offensent non seulement les personnes qui en sont victimes, mais elles portent aussi atteinte à la cohésion national et aux valeurs essentielles de la Nation.”
23 Ibid.: “Reste que le phénomène peut à tout moment resurgir, comme l'attestent plusieurs cas récents, particulièrement préoccupants, tels l'assassinat ouvertement raciste au mois d'octobre d'un jeune Français d'origine marocaine dane le département du Nord, ou l'agression perpetuée début novembre contre les jeunes élèves d'une école privée juive du XXXe arrondissement de Paris, du seul fait de leur confession.”
24 Ibid.: “L'objet de la présente proposition, sans créer de nouvelles incriminations dans le code pénal, vise à prendre en compte l'intention raciste, et dès lors à aggraver lourdement les peines encourues par les auteurs d'atteintes à la personne humaine et aux biens lorsqu'elles ont un caractère raciste. Ces aggravations de peines sont appelées à s'appliquer aux actes de torture et barbarie, aux violences ayant entrainé la mort sans intention de la donner, une mutilation, une infirmité permanente ou un incapacité de travail, ainsi qu'aux actes de destruction, dégradation et déterioration de biens.”
25 “BDS a hate crime?” Haaretz (15 February 2014).
28 The earliest version of the Trojan horse story is in Homer's Odyssey, Books IV. 271-89, and VIII. 492-520. The story was re-told by later poets, among them Quintus Smyrnaeus, in The Fall of Troy, Books XII. 104-520, and XIII; and Virgil, in his Aeneid, Book II. 13-267.
29 Paul McLeod, “Hate law favours Israel, critics charge,” Chronicle-Herald (19 March 2014), http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/canada/1194592-hate-law-bill-favours-israel-critics-charge?from=most_read&most_read=1194592.
30 Additional Protocol..., http://www.conventions.coe.int/Treaty/en/Treaties/Html/189.htm, Ch. I, Art. 2.1: “For the purposes of this Protocol: “racist and xenophobic material” means any written material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual or group of individuals, based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as a pretext for any of these factors.”
31 McLeod, “Hate law favours Israel, critics charge.”
32 In the Criminal Code, 318.(2), “'genocide' means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part any identifiable group, namely, (a) killing members of the group; or (b) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction.”
Article 2 of the Convention on Genocide declares that “genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” (See Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Adopted by Resolution 260 [III] A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948, https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%2078/volume-78-1-1021-English.pdf.)
33 David MacDonald and Graham Hudson, “The Genocide Question and Indian Residential Schools in Canada,” Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue Canadienne de Science Politique 45.2 (June 2012): 427-49, http://www.journals.cambridge.org/action/display/Abstract?fromPage=online&aid=8649111; see especially pp. 434-38. MacDonald and Hudson remark that the 2000 Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act explicitly excluded the possibility of retroactive prosecutions for genocidal crimes committed in Canada prior to 1998.
34 “Read the full text of Harper's historic speech to Israel's Knesset,” The Globe and Mail (20 January 2014), http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/read-the-full-text-of-harpers-historic-speech-to-israels-knesset/article16406371/?page=1.
36 Norman G. Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), pp. 21 ff.
37 Following the example of Brian Klug, I have referred to “the 'Jew'” in quotation marks in order to make it clear that what is being referred to in this sentence is the fantasy-figure generated by antisemitic stereotyping. See Klug, “What do we mean when we say 'antisemitism'?” Plenary lecture at the Jewish Museum, Berlin, 8 November 2013, YouTube (21 November 2013), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytzSZxIS3OI, quoting Shoah survivor Imre Kertész: “In a racist environment, a Jew cannot be human, but he cannot be a Jew either, for 'Jew' is an unambiguous designation only in the eyes of the antisemite.”
38 This incident is discussed in Michael Keefer, “Data and Deception: Quantitative Evidence of Antisemitism,” in Keefer, ed., Antisemitism Real and Imagined: Responses to the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (Waterloo, ON: The Canadian Charger, 2010), pp. 183-85. See Johann Hari, “Israel is suppressing a secret it must face,” The Independent (28 April 2008), http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-israel-is-suppressing-a-secret-it-must-face-816661.html; Hari, “The loathsome smearing of Israel's critics,” The Independent (8 May 2008), http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-loathsome-smearing-of-israels-critics-822751.html; and Community Security Trust, Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2008 (CST, 2009), http://www.thecst.org.uk.docs/Antisemitic%20discourse%20Report%202008.pdf, p. 24 (italics in the original text).
39 See Keefer, “Desperate Imaginings: Rhetoric and Ideology of the 'New Antisemitism',” in Antisemitism Real and Imagined, pp. 212-15; and Irwin Cotler, “Human Rights and the New Anti-Jewishness,” Jerusalem Post (5 February 2004); available at SPME: Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, http://www.spme.net/cgi-bin/articles.cgi?ID=128.
40 Ibid., p. 211; see Jonathan Kay, “Here is the difference between Israel and its Arab enemies,” National Post (22 March 2009), http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/03-kay-here-is-the-difference-between-israel-and-its-arab-enemies-aspx; and Melanie Phillips, “The Ha'aretz Blood Libel,” Spectator (22 March 2009), http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3464331/the-haaretz-blood-libel.html.
41 Quoted in Keefer, ed., Antisemitism Real and Imagined, “Introduction,” p. 15.
42 Others who could be cited include Shulamit Aloni, Max Blumenthal, Noam Chomsky, Marc Ellis, Richard Falk, David Theo Goldberg, Neve Gordon, Amira Hass, Tony Judt, Sir Gerald Kaufman, Baruch Kimmerling, Naomi Klein, Joel Kovel, Gideon Levy, Ilan Pappe, Harold Pinter, Yakov Rabkin, William I. Robinson, Jacqueline Rose, Israel Shahak, Avi Shlaim, and David Shulman. (Many of these people have also been supporters of BDS.)
43 Brian Klug, “The Myth of the New Anti-Semitism,” The Nation (15 January 2004), http://www.thenation.com/article/myth-new-anti-semitism.
44 Judith Butler, “The Charge of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and the Risks of Public Critique,” in Precious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (2004; rpt. London and New York: Verso, 2006), pp. 126-27.
45 Gerald Caplan, “A Mideast reading list for Tories willing to learn,” Globe and Mail (27 August 2010, updated 15 November 2010), http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/second-reading/a-mideast-reading-list-for-tories-wlling-to-learn/article1314259/. The book, which I edited, Antisemitism Real and Imagined: Responses to the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, contains in the first of its three parts eleven submissions by scholars and human rights activists (a majority of them Jewish, as it happens), and in its second part, rejected submissions by seven human rights organizations; the third part consists of three essays by the editor (whose submission to the CPCCA had also been rejected).
46 Campbell Clark, “Netanyahu calls Harper a 'friend that always stands by us',” Globe and Mail (19 January 2014). This statement was made a day before Harper's address to the Knesset. But as Netanyahu knew, Harper's statements on Israel-Palestine echo what he has been saying for years. In March 2014, Netanyahu declared to AIPAC that supporters of BDS “should be opposed because they're bad for peace and because BDS is just plain wrong. Those who wear the BDS label should be treated exactly as we treat any anti-Semite or bigot. They should be exposed and condemned” (video clip reproduced by Lia Tarachansky, “Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase,” The Real News [23 March 2014], http://www.therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11633).
47 Uri Avnery, “Nothing New Under the Sun,” Gush Shalom.org (25 January 2014), http://www.zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1390578868.
48 Eva Illouz, “47 years a slave: a new perspective on the occupation,” Haaretz (7 February 2014), http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.572880. Illouz is the author of eight books and more than eighty articles and book chapters; her work has been widely translated, and has won major awards in Germany, France, and the United States, including, in 2013, the Anneliese Meier Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She has also been, since 2012, President of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, her country's national arts academy.
50 Ibid. Illouz is referring to Peter Beinart's essay “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” New York Review of Books (10 June 2010), http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jun/10/failure-american-jewish-establishment/; and perhaps also to his book The Crisis of Zionism (New York: Times Books, 2012).
52 These words are quoted by Illouz from another internationally respected authority on slavery, David Brion Davis, who cites Patterson in his book Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). Orlando Patterson's books include the classic study Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1982).
53 Illouz, “47 years a slave.”
58 The two following paragraphs are repeated from my essay “Desperate Imaginings: Rhetoric and Ideology of the 'New Antisemitism',” in Antisemitism Real and Imagined, p. 231.
59 Marwan Bishara, Palestine/Israel: Peace or Apartheid (2001; 2nd ed., London and New York: Zed Books, 2002), p. 4.
60 Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (2006; rpt. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007); see also “Canada's withholding funds from Palestinians 'criminal': Carter,” CBC News (9 December 2006), http://www.cbca/ca/canada/story/2006/12/08/carter-israel.html; and Shulamit Aloni, “Yes, There is Apartheid in Israel,” CounterPunch (8 January 2007), http://www.counterpunch.org/aloni01082007.html. Aloni is also the author of Demokratia ba'azikim [Democracy or Ethnocracy] (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 2010).
62 Jason Kunin, “Freedom to Teach, Freedom of Speech: Israel-Palestine,” in Antisemitism Real and Imagined, pp. 58-59 n. 2.
63 Middle East Project of the Democracy and Governance Programme, Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A re-assessment of Israel's practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law (Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, May 2009), 302 pp.; available at http://www.electronicintifada.net/files/090608-hsrc.pdf.
64 Quoted by Ronnie Kasrils, “Sour Oranges and the Sweet Taste of Freedom,” in Audrea Lim, ed., The Case for Sanctions Against Israel (London and New York: Verso, 2012), p. 109 (quoting from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “Realizing God's Dream for the Holy Land,” Boston Globe [26 October 2007]). See also “Palestinian 'humiliation' by Israel reminds Tutu of apartheid,” Mail & Guardian (10 March 2014), http://www.mg.co.za/article/2014-03-10-palestinian-humiliation-by-israel-reminds-tutu-of-apartheid.
65 “Transcript of Naomi Klein Lecture in Ramallah,” BDS Movement (10 July 2009), http://www.bdsmovement.net/2009/transcript-of-naomi-klein-lecture-in-ramallah-465; quoted by Ken Loach, Rebecca O'Brien, and Paul Laverty, “Looking for Eric, Melbourne Festival, and the Cultural Boycott,” in Lim, ed., The Case for Sanctions Against Israel, p. 200.
66 Ronnie Kasrils, “Sour Oranges...,” in Lim, ed. The Case for Sanctions Against Israel, pp. 109-110.
67 Jake Lynch, “Coalition plans to punish those who boycott Israel,” The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (25 June 2013)l. The relevant section of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid is Article IV: “The States Parties to the present Convention undertake: (a) To adopt any legislative or other measures necessary to suppress as well as to prevent any encouragement of the crime of apartheid and similar segregationist policies or their manifestations and to punish persons guilty of that crime....” The text is available at http://www.oas.org/dil/1973%20International%20Convention%20on%20the%20Suppression%20and%20Punishment%20of%20the%20Crime%20of%20Apartheid.pdf.
This text was first published as chapter 2 in Part Three of Antisemitism Real and Imagined. Its pagination in the original is indicated by numbers in square brackets inserted into the text.
Antisemitism Real and Imagined (2010), Part 3, Chapter 2
What the CPCCA already knows
The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism explained on its website, set up during the summer of 2009, that Canada needs a Parliamentary Inquiry because “The extent and severity of antisemitism is widely regarded as at its worst level since the end of the Second World War,” and because “Antisemitism is being manifested in a manner which has never been dealt with before.”1
As I noted in the introduction to this book, the CPCCA’s declarations identify this “new antisemitism” as being primarily a matter of attitudes towards the state of Israel:
Antisemitism is an age-old phenomenon, yet is always re-invented and manifested in different ways. For example, while accusations of blood libel are still being made against the Jewish people, instead they are being directed against the State of Israel, such that anti-Zionism is being used as a cover for antisemitism.
This problem is especially prevalent on campuses where Jewish students are ridiculed and intimidated for any deemed support for the “Nazi” and “apartheid” State of Israel, which is claimed to have no right to exist.
The problem is also exemplified by individuals and governments who call for the destruction of the State of Israel and its inhabitants.2
Elsewhere on the CPCCA website, the same message is reiterated:
 […] recorded incidents of antisemitism have been on the rise internationally. Furthermore, the problem is now being manifested in ways never experienced before. While accusations of blood libel or petty vandalism are still issues for the Jewish community, new fears have arisen especially for those who support the State of Israel. For example, on some university campuses, Jewish students are being threatened and intimidated to the point that they are not able to express pro-Israel sentiments freely, or are even fearful to wear a Jewish skull cap or Jewish star of David around their necks.3
Canadians may find themselves bemused by these assertions. Do we have, in any significant number, compatriots who call for the state of Israel to be destroyed and its people killed; and is the blood libel actually being circulated in our country? Are things really that bad in our universities? Has antisemitism truly returned to a level unmatched since Canadian soldiers helped put the Nazis out of business in 1945—in other words, since the time of the Holocaust?
Is there, in fact, evidence to support any of these claims? Or must we recognize something topsy-turvy about an Inquiry that announces inflammatory conclusions before carrying out research, receiving written submissions, or hearing oral testimony?
The CPCCA’s wording is at times distinctly peculiar. The blood libel—the accusation that Jews are ritually slaughtering young Christians—was used from the late Middle Ages onward to incite howling mobs against Jews, and even within living memory has been a means of instigating murderous violence in some parts of the world. Conjoining the blood libel with “petty vandalism” seems on a level with declaring that one finds two sorts of people distinctly irritating: pogrom instigators and purse-snatchers.4
Odder still is the notion that the blood libel is in any reasonable sense an issue for Canada’s Jewish community. This disgusting calumny has been resuscitated within the Muslim world on some recent occasions—one of these being a 2003 Syrian television series, Al Shatat (The Diaspora), which is mentioned in the 2006 UK Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism (paragraphs 95, 99).5 But it would be a stretch to think that the CPCCA wants us to believe that this far-off instance of the blood libel could be of serious relevance to contemporary Canada.
As I mentioned in my introductory chapter, there has in fact been one notable recent instance of the blood libel being circulated in Canada. At a “pseudo-academic conference” held in Ukraine’s capital Kiev in late November 2009, it was bizarrely claimed that 25,000 Ukrainian children had been imported by Israel for organ harvesting. This was noted in an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, repeated from that source by Iran’s Press TV (with a malicious endorsement of the charge), and in that version simple-mindedly reprinted by alAmeen Post, a Muslim community newspaper in British  Columbia. When B’nai Brith objected to the scandalous fakery, alAmeen Post promptly withdrew the piece, and a few days later apologized profusely for its own “lack of judgment” in reproducing falsehoods from a source it now recognized as “unreliable.”6 This is not a case, then, of an impending return of the Black Hundreds,7 but rather one in which a moronic accusation, thoughtlessly imported, was quickly detected, withdrawn, and apologized for.
The timing of the CPCCA’s claims may also seem more than a little suspect. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and one of the CPCCA’s key organizers, has been front and centre during the past year in what has been variously described as the Harper government’s “courting” and “blatant wooing” of Jewish voters. His actions in barring the British MP George Galloway from entering Canada, and in de-funding the Canadian Arab Federation, KAIROS, and probably also UNRWA, have already been noted. In mid-November 2009, the Conservative government blanketed ridings which have large Jewish communities, including Liberal MP Irwin Cotler’s Montréal riding of Mount Royal, with free-mail leaflets representing the Liberal Party as being antisemitic, soft on terrorism, and insufficiently supportive of Israel—and posing the question (next to an image of Stephen Harper with a Cheshire-Cat grin): “Who is on the right track to represent and defend the values of Canada’s Jewish community?” When the opposition parties reacted with outrage, the minister who defended this grotesque attack-ad tactic, with insolent declarations that the leaflets were merely factual, was none other than Jason Kenney.8
The leaflets and the CPCCA’s statements both propose that Canada’s Jews urgently need protection from antisemitism. However, as Gerald Caplan indicated in his comments on those leaflets in The Globe and Mail, some Canadian Jews don’t share this concern:
As for my government standing on guard for me, I’d be more grateful if I knew from whom I actually needed to be protected. By any conceivable standard, we Canadian Jews are surely among the most privileged, most secure, most successful, most influential minorities in Canada and indeed in the entire world. We don’t have a powerful Christian right-wing that is openly prejudiced, as in the United States, and the anti-Semitic incidents that do occasionally happen, while deplorable, are almost invariably caused by kids, crackpot white supremacists or marginalized thugs.
The B’nai Brith annually publishes the number of anti-Semitic incidents that are reported to it, but these reports are never checked out or confirmed. And whatever these numbers, the vast majority of Canadian Jews know perfectly well that they now live their entire lives completely untouched by anti-Semitism. Indeed, perhaps the most politically correct stand in Canada today is the race by political and community leaders to immediately denounce even the slightest hint  of anti-Semitism, however unproved or trivial. You could say they compete to see who will win the anti-anti-Semitic championship.9
Is Caplan perhaps correct in his dismissal of what the CPCCA tells us is an urgent threat? Murray Dobbin, responding directly to the CPCCA, remarks that a 2009 poll conducted by Abraham Foxman’s Anti-Defamation League, “whose mandate is to monitor and expose anti-semitism,” found the level of antisemitic attitudes in the United States (which Canadian attitudes tend to resemble closely) “matched that of 1998 as the lowest in the 45-year history of the poll.”10 Dobbin also refers us to Joanne Naiman’s observation (in an article reprinted in this book) that Canadian government statistics published in 2004 and 2009 show a decline in hate crimes against Jews since 2001-2002.11
Someone, it would appear, is not telling us the truth.
The UK Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism
Is there actual evidence of an international resurgence in antisemitism? One obvious place to initiate a search for it would be the 2006 U.K. Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism (September 2006),12 which as I observed in my introductory chapter was described by the “London Declaration” of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism as a model to be followed in similar inquiries by national parliamentary coalitions like the CPCCA.
The U.K. Report’s quantitative data comes for the most part from the Community Security Trust (CST), a charitable organization, comparable to the American Anti-Defamation League, “which provides security and defence services and advice to the Jewish community” (Report, 29) and since 1984 has kept records of antisemitic incidents in Britain.
The CST’s figures show an average of about 180 such incidents per year from 1984 to 1989, rising between 1990 and 1992 to an average of about 275 incidents, and in 1993-94 to a higher plateau of about 330 incidents. The number of incidents then declined between 1995 and 1999 to about 250 per year. In 2000, it rose abruptly to 405, and after three years at lower levels (310 in 2001, 350 in 2002, and 375 in 2003), spiked in 2004 to 532 incidents. From this high point it declined in 2005 (the last year mentioned in the Report) to 459 incidents.13
To the figures provided by the Parliamentary Inquiry’s Report, we can add data from the CST’s more recent annual Antisemitic Incident Reports. In 2006, the number of incidents recorded by the CST rose to 598, a peak from which it declined in 2007 to 561 incidents, and in 2008 to 541.14 In 2009, the number of antisemitic incidents soared to 924. By the CST’s analysis, by far the greater part of this increase was in reaction to the conflict in Gaza: after the first three months of 2009, the frequency of incidents declined to monthly numbers just 7 percent above the “baseline level” of 2008.15
 It should be noted that the incidents recorded in these reports range in intensity and seriousness from antisemitic slurs, slanders, and graffiti to acts of vandalism, desecrations of synagogues and cemeteries, and assaults, some of them involving not just threats of violence, but actual attacks. The CST’s 2005 figures include 84 instances of assault, two of them of murderous intensity (Report, 61-62), and 48 incidents involving Jewish property or community buildings, among them several large-scale desecrations of Jewish cemeteries in Prestwich, East London and Aldershot (Report, 65-66). In 2007 the number of assaults rose to 117; in 2008 it declined again to 88.16
There is a clear linkage, acknowledged by police, government and academic sources, between spikes in antisemitic incidents in Britain and what the CST and the Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism call “trigger events” in the state of Israel’s relations with the Palestinians of the territories Israel has occupied since 1967, and with neighbouring countries like Lebanon.
These events include the second Intifada, set off in 2000 by Ariel Sharon’s provocative intrusion, with a large military force, into the compound of Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem; the 2002 attack on the refugee camp of Jenin, and the siege later that year of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat’s compound in Ramallah, coupled with incursions into six West Bank cities in which nearly 500 Palestinians were killed; the 2003 murders of British peace activist Tom Hurndall in Gaza by an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) sniper, and of American peace activist Rachel Corrie by an IDF bulldozer driver in Rafah;17 repeated episodes of murderous IDF violence against demonstrations protesting the construction since 2002 of Israel’s illegal “Apartheid Wall,” which formalizes the theft of large swaths of territory from West Bank Palestinian communities;18 IDF Operations Rainbow and Days of Penitence, which in May and October 2004 killed a total of over 150 Palestinians; the bombing and invasion of Lebanon in 2006, in which nearly 1,200 Lebanese civilians and about 250 Hezbollah fighters died (as well as some 160 Israelis, three-quarters of them soldiers); the blockade of Gaza since 2006, in punishment for having democratically elected a Hamas government; Operation Summer Rains, a June 2006 attack on Gaza that involved the arrest of more than one-third of the Palestinian Authority’s cabinet ministers, the destruction of Gaza’s only electrical power station, and, together with Operation Autumn Clouds in November 2006, the killing of about 525 Palestinians; airstrikes on Gaza in February 2008 that killed more than 200 people; and Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s bombing and invasion of Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, during which some 1,400 Palestinians were killed.19
It is important when mentioning these actions by the Israeli state and its armed forces—and assessing what I believe to be their evident and insistent criminality—to acknowledge that Palestinian suicide-bomb attacks and rocket counter-attacks against Israel have likewise been criminal. People have a clear  right to resist illegal occupation, but the targeting of civilians is in all cases a violation of international law. In terms of the substantive matters at stake, however, there is no doubt who is in the right: as Richard Falk has observed, “international law is on the side of the Palestinians with respect to every major issue in contention.”20 And with respect both to a near-monopoly in terms of military power and to the political control underwritten by the US and other countries, it is transparently the case that, in Marwan Bishara’s words, Israel has “dictated the level of violence in Palestine.”21
In January 2009, a month which saw the climax of Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead” and a flurry of news reports about Israeli war crimes, including attacks on medical facilities, ambulances and UN buildings in Gaza, the use of civilians as human shields, and the deployment against civilians of white phosphorus, flechette missiles, and Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) weapons, the CST recorded 286 antisemitic incidents in the UK, more than five times as many as in the previous January, and “by far the highest number ever recorded in a single month since CST began recording antisemitic incidents in 1984.” (The highest previous monthly number was recorded in October 2000—the month following the outbreak of the second Intifada.) Only in April 2009 did the number of incidents recorded return to “normal pre-Gaza levels”; by the end of June, a total of 609 incidents had been recorded.22
The CST’s incident-report figures give every appearance of having been carefully sifted. The Parliamentary Inquiry was told that the Association of Chief Police Officers and the London Metropolitan Police “work closely with the CST in recording and in investigating antisemitic incidents, and […] have confidence in [its] statistics” (Report, 42). Before classifying an incident as antisemitic, the CST requires positive indications of intention: “for example language used by the perpetrator at the time of the incident, or the fact that antisemitic slogans or literature accompanied the incident.” As a result, “In 2005 they rejected 194 reports of incidents which could not reasonably be shown to have been motivated by antisemitism” (Report, 37-38)—that is to say, nearly 30 percent of the alleged incidents reported to the CST. In 2008, 347 alleged incidents (39 percent of a total of 888) were rejected; in the first six months of 2009, 236 alleged incidents (28 percent of a total of 845) were likewise set aside.23
Although these records of antisemitic incidents reveal what seems a disturbing trend, they come, one should remember, come from a country of some 62 million people: the 2005 numbers indicate, on average, about one antisemitic incident in that year among every 135,000 Britons, and one antisemitic physical assault among every 738,000 Britons. This may be why, in his oral evidence to the Inquiry, Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks declared: “If you were to ask me is Britain an antisemitic society, the answer is manifestly and obviously no. It is one of the least antisemitic societies in the world” (Report, 5).
 In pointing to these averages, I do not in the least mean to minimize the impact of vile behaviour, whatever its frequency. Averages, however they may be calculated, are small comfort to someone on the receiving end of a racist insult or assault—and Britain’s Jews are very much concentrated in London and other cities like Manchester. One may then feel sympathy for what Henry Greenwald, QC, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told the Inquiry: “There is probably a greater feeling of discomfort, greater concerns, greater fears now about antisemitism than there have been for many decades” (Report, 5).24
It does seem clear that at “trigger” moments such as those noted above, when the illegality and indiscriminate violence of the state of Israel’s actions have become particularly hard to ignore, antisemites feel more free to insinuate their opinions into public discourse and to act upon them, naïve young people may be more easily lured into adopting antisemitic opinions, and vehement opponents of Israel’s actions and its long-term policies may make the very unfortunate—I would say shameful—error of equating Jews in general with the actions of a state, and of venting their anger against that powerful state’s well-documented crimes upon the usually defenseless Jews nearest at hand.25
One must at the same time acknowledge that leading institutions in the Jewish community—in the UK, the United States, Canada, France and elsewhere—bear some responsibility for the spread of this error. Such institutions cannot, with any show of integrity, declare themselves to be in uncritical solidarity with the state of Israel’s crimes and aggressions, and then find it shocking when fellow citizens, naively accepting their claims to be speaking for the Jewish community as a whole, make the mistake of blaming Jews in general for Israel’s actions.
What are we to make of the Community Security Trust’s data? It has apparently been collected with care. But how reliable is incident-report data of this kind in establishing trends—in telling us, for example, whether over a number of years antisemitism is on the increase, and if so, by how much?
This may seem a peculiar question. Don’t the CST figures we have just examined tell us quite clearly by exactly how much the problem has been worsening ever since 1984, when the CST began collecting its data?
Surprisingly enough, these figures cannot tell us anything so definite. Let us see why.
Questions of method and context
The UK Report shows some awareness of the difficulty of arriving at a reliable assessment of shifts and trends in the prevalence of antisemitism through incident-report data. It cites Home Office research indicating that in 2003-04 the police managed to record only about a quarter of all racist incidents in Britain (Report, paragraph 43);26 the Report also quotes a warning from officers of the Manchester Police that recent improvements in data collection could  skew any interpretation of trends: “apparent statistical increases in antisemitic incidents could be due, at least in part, to increased reporting and changes in recording” (Report, 64).
The authors of the Report are content merely to mention this remark—without, it seems, recognizing its importance. As a quick look at British Home Office crime statistics will make clear, they should have listened more carefully.
The Home Office collects two different kinds of crime statistics: (1) incident-report data compiled from the records supplied by police departments across the country of the numbers of all the different kinds of criminal offences committed each year; and (2) survey data from an annual British Crime Survey (BCS) which asks a representative sample of people aged 16 and over in England and Wales about their experiences and perceptions of crime. Since the number of people sampled in face-to-face interviews is very large (rising from 10,000 in the first BCS in 1981 to more than 46,000 in 2008-09), the resulting estimates have a small margin of error for most categories of crime.27
As the authors of the most recent Home Office statistical bulletin on Crime in England and Wales observe, these two kinds of statistics are useful in different ways. The police incident-report figures provide useful data for “small geographic areas” and “a good measure of trends in well-reported crimes and also the less common but more serious crimes,” such as homicide. They are, in addition, “an important indicator of police workload”28—which is to say that “for some categories of crime,” police figures “can reflect police workload and activity rather than underlying levels of crime.”29 The BCS data, on the other hand, is “not affected by whether the public report crime or by changes to the way in which the police record crime,” and it “provides the most reliable measure of the extent of victimization and of national trends over time.”30
These two sets of data give very different impressions of the long-term trends in criminal behaviour in the UK. According to police records, the total annual number of criminal offences in Britain rose steadily from about 3 million in 1981 to some 5.6 million in 1992, declining then to about 4.5 million in 1998-99. In that year new counting rules produced an immediate jump to 5 million; the number then rose to about 5.3 million in 2001-02, jumping the next year to about 5.8 million with the introduction of a new National Crime Recording Standard. The total number of recorded offences peaked at just under 6 million in 2003-04, and has since declined from 5.6 million in 2004-05 to 4.7 million in 2008-09.31
But according to BCS data, the total annual number of criminal offences rose steadily from about 11 million in 1981 to a peak of about 19.4 million in 1995; the number then declined just as steadily to about 12.6 million in 2001-02 and 10.7 million in 2008-09.32
The difference between trends in violent crime indicated by police records and by the BCS data is equally striking. As the BBC News informs us, the  annual number of violent crime offences recorded by the police rose from about 320,000 in 1995 to some 340,000 by April 1st, 1998—at which point new police counting rules were introduced, and the number climbed rapidly to over 1 million by 2003-04.33
BCS survey data indicates a quite different pattern, of some 2.1 million violent crimes in 1981, rising to 4.2 million in 1995, then declining to about 2.7 million in 2001-02, and to 2.1 million in 2008-09. According to the BCS, total criminal offences declined by 45 percent between 1995 and 2008-09, and violent crimes by 49 percent.34
We have noted that new police counting rules came into effect in 1998, and a new National Crime Recording Standard in 2002-03. The latter change was influenced in part by a new definition of racist incidents recommended in 1999, in the report of a judicial inquiry which had investigated the justice system’s actions in response to the 1993 racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, a black youth, by a gang of south London whites. Sir William Macpherson, a retired high court judge, found copious evidence of racism and incompetence in the conduct of the Metropolitan Police, most especially in their treatment of Lawrence’s parents and a friend of Lawrence’s who, though physically unharmed, was also a victim of the attack.35
Macpherson’s report criticized the then-current police definition of a racist incident (“any incident in which it appears to the reporting or investigating officer that the complaint involves an element of racial motivation, or any incident which includes an allegation of racial motivation made by any person”) as “potentially confusing”—and, Paul Iganski notes, as giving improper priority to the views of police officers over those of victims.36 One of the recommendations of Macpherson’s exemplary and profoundly decent report was “that the universally used definition should be: ‘A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person’.”37
The general acceptance of this recommendation, the publicity given to the Macpherson Inquiry, and a determination on the part of senior police officers to improve their handling of racist outrages were no doubt among the factors that led to a 350 percent increase from the number of racist incidents recorded by police forces in England and Wales in 1998-99 to the average annual number of incidents recorded from 1999-2000 to 2003-04.38
One of the things a comparison of the police incident-report data and the BCS data shows is that police reports are now capturing a much higher proportion of the actual number of criminal offences than they did in 1981. In that year the number of criminal offences reported by the police was just 27 percent of the total number indicated by the BCS data, while in 2008-09 the number reported by the police had risen to 44 percent of the BCS total. This evident increase in the proportion of offences being reported to the police is no doubt one reason why the police data show the number of criminal offences  rising between 1998-99 and 2003-04—at a time when the BCS data reveal that the annual number of crimes had actually been declining steadily since the peak year of 1995.
Perhaps more importantly, the police incident-report data show a substantial rise in the overall annual number of criminal offences since 1981: even once we have factored in the UK’s nearly 10 percent population increase between 1981 and 2008-09, the incident-report data show an apparent increase of about 45 percent in the overall prevalence of criminality. One can imagine this ‘fact’ being used as the basis for gloomy commentaries on a decline of civility. But if, as the BCS data shows, the aggregate number of criminal offences is actually several percent lower than it was nearly thirty years ago, even with a population that has grown from about 56.5 million to nearly 62 million, a quite different kind of narrative is called for.
The relevance of this comparison to the question of what the Community Security Trust’s annual records of antisemitic incidents tell us about actual levels of antisemitism should be obvious. The CST’s incident-report data shows a generally rising trend since 1984, with the number of antisemitic incidents recorded in 2008 three times as high as the average between 1984 and 1989. How much of this rise may be due to an increase in the proportion of incidents being reported?
It seems worth asking—though the Report takes no interest in such questions—what correlations there might be between the CST data and indicators of larger-scale tendencies toward incivility and racism in Britain.
The Report cites research into antisemitic hate crimes in London which reveals that more than four-fifths of the suspected perpetrators are male, “with the largest proportion of the suspects being aged 16-20” (56).39 This is the same demographic group that since the Thatcher years has been most seriously affected by structural unemployment and cuts to social services in the globalized UK economy—and, not coincidentally, has been of ever-increasing concern to law enforcement and government agencies for its participation in anti-social behaviour ranging from comparatively minor signs of social disaffection to terrifyingly violent football hooliganism and assaults, sometimes organized but more often merely opportunistic, on members of racial and ethnic minorities.
Tony Blair’s New Labour government passed legislation to deal with such behaviour (though not, of course, its underlying causes). The Crime and Disorder Act (1998), section 28 of which enhanced penalties for racially aggravated offences, also introduced “Anti-Social Behaviour Orders” (ASBOs), designed to regulate and punish obnoxious behaviour, by adolescents and young adults especially; the Police Reform Act (2002) and the Anti-Social Behaviour Act (2003) expanded the application of ASBOs.
It may be of interest that between the last quarter of 2003 and the last quarter of the following year—a period corresponding to one in which CST data shows a 42 percent year-to-year increase in antisemitic incidents—the number of ASBOs imposed in Britain, for the most part seemingly on unruly young  people, rose by 116 percent.40 This was a year in which the “trigger event” effects of Israeli military actions against Palestinian communities were arguably supplemented by public opposition to the Blair government’s participation in the unprovoked and openly criminal invasion of Iraq (which was enthusiastically cheered on by leaders of the state of Israel and by mainstream Jewish organizations internationally).41 The increase in ASBOs may reflect an attempt by the UK government to clamp down on dissident public behaviour, which included massive demonstrations against the war.
Other crime statistics—in particular, the Home Office data recording the overall numbers of “racially or religiously aggravated” offences reported in England and Wales—may be more helpful in shaping a contextualized understanding of the CST data.
In 2007-08, for example, the total number of “racially or religiously aggravated” offences recorded by the Home Office for England and Wales, including assaults, property damage, and harassment, came to just over 37,000.42 For that same year the CST reported a total of 551 antisemitic incidents. Britain’s Jews make up about 5 percent of the country’s population of minority groups.43 If we were to assume that the Home Office and CST figures could be placed alongside one another for purposes of comparison (by no means an automatic assumption, since a number of uncertainties are involved),44 it would appear that Jews were victimized in about 1.5 percent of the total number of racially or religiously aggravated offences in 2007-08. Hence (if we make allowance for the fact that significant numbers of offences were perpetrated by members of minorities, and for differences in the criteria used by the CST and the police in collecting data), Jews were probably between one-third and one-half as likely to be victims of such offences as, on average, the members of other minorities were.45
This should come as no surprise, given that only the black fedoras, untrimmed beards, and payot or sidelocks worn by some orthodox Jews, and the yarmulkes worn by some other Jewish men, make them visually recognizable: aggressive racists are more likely to insult or attack people whom they can readily identify as belonging to a minority group.46 But it may lead one to question the judgment of the British parliamentarians who decided to focus an inquiry solely on antisemitism, to the exclusion of other forms of racism that would appear to be victimizing larger numbers of people in British minority communities in a more intense manner.
* * * *
To sum up, then. The real totals of antisemitic incidents in the UK are undoubtedly much higher than the recorded numbers, which since 2000 especially show a pronounced upward movement, with distinct spikes that typically correspond to periods of widespread outrage over actions by the state of Israel.
 However, there are reasons to think that the raw data of incident records does not adequately represent the real long-term trends. Improvements in the ratio of recorded to actual incidents are of course desirable—but have the effect of making the level of incidents over a number of years appear to be rising more steeply than is actually the case. It is not clear whether, or to what degree, the factors that prompted rapid rises in police crime and racist incident statistics after 1998-99 may have had some influence on CST data. Improvements in the ratio of recorded to actual incidents between the 1980s and the past few years might more plausibly be ascribed to the CST’s vigorous community outreach and police liaison work.
But another more disturbing shift in the relationship between actual and recorded incidents may also be taking place. Vicky Kielinger and Susan Paterson of the Metropolitan Police noted in 2007 that recent research into antisemitism has developed “a new typology of incidents.”47 There have concurrently been widespread attempts to expand the overall category to include actions and statements that are seriously critical of the state of Israel, but could only appear antisemitic to those who, leaving historical and material realities behind, adopt a doctrine according to which the Israeli state comes to stand for everything Jewish, and for the Jewish people as a whole.
In this context, Macpherson’s definition of a racist incident, however appropriate it may have seemed for the situation in which he formulated it, becomes problematic. If, in response to your condemnation of Israeli policies and military actions as violations of international law and the Geneva Conventions, a Jewish listener or reader feels threatened, harmed and victimized in her innermost self, her perception makes your utterance, by Macpherson’s definition, an antisemitic incident. The CST, to its credit, insists on evidence of racist motivation or intent before accepting an incident as antisemitic. However, as we will shortly see, an expanded category of antisemitism may be having some effect on CST incident tallies.48
Taken together with these factors, the British Crime Survey data raise some doubt as to the degree of confidence we can place on incident-report data. With a sample size sufficient to produce a very small margin of error, the BCS showed overall criminal offences in Britain to have declined by about 40 percent in the decade after 1995, while police incident-report data showed a 10 percent rise.
Parallel data from France fall into a similar pattern. Biennial surveys of criminal victimization conducted since 2001 in the Île-de-France region, with a sample size of 10,500, show a statistically insignificant decline from 2001 to 2009 in the percentage of people victimized by physical or verbal aggressions (from 6.7 to 6.4 percent), and a slightly larger decline (from 15.3 to 14.8 percent) in the overall percentage of victimizations, including theft. Police incident-report statistics, in contrast, show crimes against persons in the Île-de-France increasing by more than 25 percent between 2001 and 2008.49
 In both Britain and France the survey data on criminal offences reveal a trend concealed, indeed controverted, by the less accurate incident-report data from police records. However, when it comes to UK antisemitic incidents, we have only the CST’s incident-report data, as well as the largely overlapping information from police records, to rely on.50
Let us then speculate. If the proportion of incidents that gets recorded has in fact risen substantially over what it was ten or twenty years ago, then the long-term trend in the number of actual antisemitic incidents in Britain could resemble the curve in the number of criminal offences traced by BCS data: rising in the 1980s, peaking in the mid-1990s and declining throughout the rest of that decade.
There is of course this important difference—that unlike BCS criminal offence figures, which have continued to show a steadily declining trend, the CST’s figures for reported antisemitic incidents have risen quite dramatically since 2000.
Evidence from France and Elsewhere
If the evidence from Britain is, at the very least, ambiguous, are there signs elsewhere in Western Europe of a resurgent antisemitism? France might seem the obvious place to look, given the grim prominence of antisemitism there from the late 19th century until World War Two, the fact that France has Western Europe’s largest population both of Jews (well over half a million) and of Muslims (some 5 million)—as well as Martin Peretz’s claim, in an essay in the New Republic, that Paris is “the headquarters of Anti-Semitic Europe today, just as during the Third Republic.”51
Anxieties over a renewed rise in antisemitism have recurrently been expressed in France, most notably in 2009 at the annual dinner in March of the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF), whose president, Richard Prasquier, found reason for fear in the very marked increase in antisemitic incidents noted by the Ministry of the Interior at the beginning of 2009.52
In January 2009, as demonstrations against Israel’s Operation Cast Lead grew larger and more angry, French Muslim leaders acted promptly to denounce antisemitic acts; and on January 13th Mohamed Moussaoui, head of the Conseil Français du Culte Musulman (CFCM), joined Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim and the Roman Catholic Cardinal of Paris in calling for calm and an avoidance of what Moussaoui called “the trap of tensions opposing Muslims and Jews.”53
There does not appear to have been any reciprocal sensitivity on the part of French Jewish leaders. CRIF, declaring its support for Israel’s military action, stated that “95 percent of French Jews” were of the same opinion54—a dubious claim, given that neither CRIF nor anyone else knows within a range of about 10 percent how many Jews there are in France.55 Chief Rabbi Bernheim, for his  part, expressed unwavering support (“soutien indéfectible”) for Israel; rejecting the notion that Israeli actions could have been disproportionate, he blamed Hamas fighters for the fact that attacks on schools, hospitals and mosques had resulted in “de nombreuses victimes civiles.”56
Despite a deplorable increase in antisemitic incidents, and a clear setback in relations between France’s Jewish and Muslim communities,57 claims like Martin Peretz’s about French antisemitism are obvious exaggerations. In February 2006 the racially-motivated murder of a Jewish man by a gang of extortionists prompted a protest march in Paris attended by “tens of thousands” of Parisians, with parallel demonstrations in Bordeaux, Lyon and elsewhere;58 the victim’s memorial service was attended by President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.59
Laurent Mucchielli, one of France’s most eminent sociologists, has argued that the data collected by the Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme and published over the past two decades in its annual reports in fact reveals a steady decline in French antisemitism.
For example, in 1946 just over a third of French people regarded French Jews as fully French; by 2000 the percentage had doubled, and by 2004 nearly 90 percent were willing to accept French Jews as fully French.60 Peer-reviewed studies which Mucchielli cites contradict claims of the rise of “une nouvelle judéophobie” or “new antisemitism of the left,” finding rather that antisemitism and opposition to Israel are often conjoined on the extreme right, but that on the left those most opposed to the policies of the state of Israel are often the least antisemitic. Mucchielli acknowledges that antisemitism is more common among recent immigrants to France, especially practising Muslims, while also noting that it remains a minority viewpoint among immigrants and declines rapidly in succeeding generations. French antisemitism remains correlated with advanced age, a low level of education, and right-wing politics; and France possesses a very stringent and firmly applied array of legal sanctions against racist and antisemitic acts (including speech acts: the insult “sale Juif” or “dirty Jew” is punishable by six months in prison and a fine of 22,500 euros).61
Despite sharp recent jumps in the numbers of reported antisemitic incidents, there is evidence, then, of a steady decline in France of this toxic prejudice. There remains a residual old-fashioned antisemitism, which together with the antisemitism of a minority of new immigrants (largely North African Muslims) is cause for concern. It is worth noting, however, that the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC)’s 2004 study of Manifestations of Antisemitism in the EU 2002-2003 cites a survey according to which “young people of North African origin are in fact even more intolerant of anti-Semitism than the average.”62
If the evidence from the UK and France casts doubt on the accuracy of the CPCCA’s claim of a resurgence of anti-Semitism, a thoughtful recent essay by  Matti Bunzl leads us to a similar conclusion for Western Europe as a whole. Bunzl argues that “To think that the EU is ground zero for the resurgence of anti-Semitism is simply misguided. Even more, it has obscured the far more pressing reality of Islamophobia. Whereas traditional anti-Semitism has run its historical course with the supercession of the nation-state, Islamophobia is rapidly emerging as the defining condition of the new Europe.”63
(The latter claim, one might remark in passing, appears to find support in what quantitative data there is from the UK. In the single month of September 2007, for example, the caseworker of Britain’s Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) dealt with 57 cases, most of them presumably definable as “Islamophobic incidents”—which at an annualized rate would amount to over 680 incidents in a year.64 This would presumably be a smaller fraction of the actual number of incidents than is the case with the CST’s records of antisemitic incidents, which are arrived at through an allocation of rather more substantial resources.)
Bunzl finds a “terrible historical irony” in the contrast between traditional European antisemitism and the antisemitism of young Muslims who carry out racist attacks in Europe: “While the former sought to exclude Jews from the nation-states of Europe, the latter targets Jews precisely because of their Europeanness.” One side-effect of the Zionist project was supposed to be that it would give to European Jews, hitherto despised by antisemites as “stateless parasites,” new respect “as members of a viable national community.” This project, Bunzl declares, is now “haunted by its own success”: “As young Muslims target Jews as expatriates of a colonizing state, they confirm Zionism’s ultimate achievement: Europe’s Jews have finally become European.”65
Bunzl’s opinion that claims about a resurgence of European antisemitism are “misguided,” and that Islamophobia is a “far more pressing reality,” is supported by survey data. In April 2004 the Pew Research Center concluded, on the basis of an international survey conducted in the U.S. and eight other countries, that “Despite concerns about rising anti-Semitism in Europe, there are no indications that anti-Jewish sentiment has increased over the past decade. Favorable ratings of Jews are actually higher now in France, Germany and Russia than they were in 1991.[….] Europeans hold much more negative views of Muslims than of Jews.”66
Misusing the data
I turn now to more contentious matters—to a Community Security Trust director’s misrepresentation of CST data, resulting in a serious exaggeration of the evidence of attacks on Jews by Muslims; and then to what may be related evidence of conceptual slippage in the definition of antisemitism (which could cast doubt upon the manner in which some of the most recent antisemitic incident data has been gathered), and to implicit or explicit accusations of libel which, I will argue, are themselves libelous.
 In May 2008 Michael Whine, the CST’s director of governmental and international affairs, published an interview on “Muslim-Jewish Interactions in Great Britain” in the journal of the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs. In the course of this interview, he stated that “in 2007 we [the CST] have recorded figures for 243 of the 547 physical attacks on Jews. In 129 cases the perpetrators were white British, 15 were East European, 27 were blacks, 52 were Asian, and 14 were of Arab appearance. The last two categories, in essence, are probably Muslims. Their share in the violence is far higher than their proportion of the population.”67
There is a problem here. Whine refers us, in a footnote, to p. 12 of the CST’s Antisemitic Incidents Report 2007, where the same figures recur, minus the speculation about the religion of the perpetrators who were Asian or “of Arab appearance”—and with another very important difference: the figures in the CST report refer, not to “physical attacks,” but to “incidents.”68
On p. 6 of the CST report, the number of incidents appears again: “CST recorded 547 antisemitic incidents in the U.K. in 2007.” And on the same page: “CST recorded 113 incidents of Assault in 2007,” as well as one instance of “extreme violence,” the attempted murder of an elderly rabbi.69 (The CST’s standard practice, in this and other reports, is to include everything from racist slurs and insults to assaults of murderous intensity in the broad but carefully subdivided category of “incidents.”)
By misrepresenting “incidents” as “physical attacks,” Whine multiplies the actual number of reported physical attacks on Jews by a factor of almost five. And because of his assumption that people described as being “of Asian and Arab appearance” are “in essence […] probably Muslims,” he manages to multiply the probable number of British Muslims who actually attacked Jews in 2007 by a somewhat larger factor.
Setting aside the likelihood that a significant proportion of the 547 recorded antisemitic incidents (possibly more than 10%) did not involve any criminal offence, let alone a physical assault,70 let’s accept for a moment Whine’s dubious assumption that nearly all the 52 purportedly Asian and 14 Arab-looking perpetrators—of incidents, we must insist, not attacks, as he indicates—were Muslims. On that assumption, close to 27 percent (66 out of 243) of the perpetrators described by victims would have been Muslims. If an equal proportion of the perpetrators of the actual 114 physical attacks recorded by the CST answered to the very loose descriptions of appearing to be Asian or Arab, then people believed to be Muslims would have committed 31 of the 114 racially-motivated assaults on British Jews in 2007.
However, some of the people thought by victims to be Asian- or Arab-looking and assumed by Whine to be Muslims may well have been neither Asian, Arab, nor Muslim: I know a Canadian Sikh (i.e. a non-Muslim “Asian”) who has been mistaken in Morocco and France for an Arab, in Spain for a gitana or Roma, in Italy for an Italian and in Greece for a Greek. It seems reasonable to guess that the actual number of aggressions by Muslims against Jews was probably less than 31.
 If only five of the hypothetical 31 Asian- or Arab-looking people were non-Muslims, then Muslim attacks on Jews in the UK would have occurred at an average rate of about one per fortnight. An unpleasant average, to be sure—but less dismaying than a rate of one attack every two and one-half days.
The latter average is the one implied by Whine’s interview. For if 27 percent of physical attacks were carried out by people who he thinks were very probably Muslims, and if there were—as he claims—a total of 547 attacks, then something close to 148 attacks could be blamed on Muslims.
Is it possible that the CST’s director of governmental and international affairs could have innocently misread his own organization’s most recent annual incidents report, mistaking “incidents” for “attacks”? Even on the charitable assumption that Mr. Whine was not deliberately seeking to deceive, his error would appear to reflect an understanding that the more frightening the statistics on hostility to Jews can be made to appear, the greater will be his and the CST’s powers of leverage, in relation both to governments and to Jewish communities at home and abroad.
As it stands, the error looks very much like an instance of Islamophobia. If a prominent Muslim were to misrepresent statistics of Jewish violence against Muslims in a parallel manner, how much hesitation would there be in describing his behaviour as a deliberate incitement of racism and intercommunal hostility?
The UK Islamic Human Rights Commission suggested in July 2009 that an equation of “pro-Palestinian work or any work critical of Israel” with racism has become increasingly evident in the publications of the Community Security Trust.71 This criticism would appear to find support in a briefing paper on Antisemitic incidents and threats to Jews arising from the Gaza crisis circulated by the CST in January 2009. A section of the paper entitled “Antisemitic and Anti-Israel Incitement” includes, as an example of this joint category, the fact that “In London, Hizballah flags have been waved at some of the demonstrations”72—wording which might lead one to wonder whether the CST may have begun to count such instances of flag-waving as antisemitic incidents.
Another 2009 CST publication, A Student’s Guide to Antisemitism on Campus, suggests a similarly expanded understanding of what constitutes an antisemitic incident. After outlining some of the key tropes of European antisemitism—the conspiracy trope (most infamously expressed in that 19th-century forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion), the trope of dual loyalty (according to which Jews cannot be assimilated, and therefore can never fully be citizens), and the blood libel (the appalling fantasy of ritual murder)—the Student’s Guide defines the “new antisemitism” as what happens “when antisemitic tropes” of this kind “are normalised by replacing the word ‘Jew’ with the word ‘Zionist’.”73
 Examples of this new antisemitism offered by the Student’s Guide include any references by journalists to “a ‘Jewish lobby’ controlling events in Washington” (this is “an updated version of the Jewish conspiracy allegation”). Immediately following the short list of examples, the reader is advised that “What you choose to do about an antisemitic incident is of course the next step […].”74
The Student’s Guide denounces John J. Mearsheimer’s and Stephen M. Walt’s book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy at length as “merely an updated version of traditional antisemitic tropes” (those of a “world conspiracy,” of dual loyalty, and also, implicitly, the blood libel).75
If Mearsheimer’s and Walt’s scrupulously documented study is a mere farrago of antisemitism, then so also must be the article in which journalist and ex-CIA agent Philip Giraldi comments on an odd partnership of the leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives, House Majority leader Steny Hoyer and House Minority whip Eric Cantor: in January 2009 Hoyer and Cantor co-authored an op-ed defending Israel’s attack on Gaza as “A Defensive War”; in May they co-authored a letter to their congressional colleagues urging “devoted” friendship to Israel (or rather, as Giraldi discovered, they put their names to a letter written for them by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC]); and in August they led 56 congressional representatives and their spouses on a two-week trip to Israel paid for by AIPAC.76
AIPAC itself is happy to quote the New York Times’ description of it as “the most important organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel,”77 and proudly points to the respectful attendance at its annual policy conference extravaganza of figures including then-presidential candidates Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain, together with the most powerful members of Congress from both parties.78 Is AIPAC also flirting with the tropes of a revived antisemitism? Or are we only permitted to remark on the power of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States if we approve of that lobby’s aims?
In its report on Antisemitic Incidents: January-June 2009, the CST notes, as before, that it has rejected reports of incidents where “there was no evidence of antisemitic motivation, targeting or content […].” The report adds that “Anti-Israel activity, which does not use antisemitic language or imagery and is directed at pro-Israel campaigners rather than Jewish people or institutions per se, is also not classified by CST as antisemitic.”79 But it is not clear how one could criticize present actions and long-term policies of the state of Israel—a “Jewish institution,” surely—without, by this definition, incurring an accusation of antisemitism.
The logic of this is perverse. The more the state of Israel’s actions demand not just occasional, but thoroughgoing and systematic criticism, the more the CST’s count of antisemitic incidents risks becoming inflated, because each such criticism is effectively one such incident. And the more antisemitic incidents there appear to be, the stronger is the likelihood that diaspora Jews  will regard Israel as a necessary homeland and refuge, and accept the state of Israel’s increasing commitment to aggressive warfare as a ‘defensive’ necessity against a world populated by Jew-hating gentiles.
Another recent publication, Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2008, shows more clearly a tendency on the part of the CST to conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism. In this report, accusations of deviations into antisemitism are leveled at cartoonists Steve Bell, Carlos Latuff, and Dave Brown, at journalists Johann Hari, Pankaj Mishra, Robert Fisk, John Pilger, Alan Hart, and Lauren Booth, and at politicians Caroline Lucas and George Galloway—based on readings of their work that are sometimes absurdly dislocated from any reference to easily ascertainable facts in the matters under discussion, and sometimes openly shameful in their distortions.
The most disgraceful instance of distortion is in the CST’s treatment of Johann Hari. In April 2008 Hari wrote a column in anticipation of the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel—in which he declared himself unable, despite his admiration for many aspects of Israel’s culture, “to crash the birthday party” with words of reassurance appropriate for a sixty-year-old.80
Among his reasons were the well-documented facts that “Across the occupied West Bank, raw untreated sewage is pumped every day out of the Jewish settlements […] straight onto Palestinian land,” where it contaminates groundwater and reservoirs;81 and that in Gaza, Israel’s blockade, punishing the population “for voting ‘the wrong way’” in 2006, includes an embargo on materials needed to repair the sewage system. As a result, Palestinians’ access to drinking water, a basic human right, is threatened throughout the occupied territories—and in Gaza, “Vast stagnant pools of waste are being held within fragile dykes across the strip [.…]. The Centre on Housing Rights warns that one heavy rainfall could send 1.5 m[illion] cubic metres of faeces flowing all over Gaza, causing ‘a humanitarian and environmental disaster of epic proportions’.”82
Appealing to the consciences of Israelis and their Western supporters, Hari’s article also proposes that a peaceful resolution of the competing claims of Palestinians and of Israelis, whose parents or grandparents escaped from “a genocidal European anti-Semitism,” is actually possible. But to achieve it, Israel needs to come to terms with a history it “has known, and suppressed,” which includes the ethnic cleansing of 1948 as well as its literally filthy present-day treatment of the Palestinians.83
In a follow-up essay, Hari analyzed the strong reaction this piece evoked from “high profile ‘pro-Israel’ writers and media monitoring groups,” who with “little attempt to dispute the facts [he] offered” denounced him as “an anti-Jewish bigot” comparable to Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels or Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—thereby engaging in a kind of smearing that a former editor of Haaretz, whom Hari quotes, calls “nascent McCarthyism.”84
 The CST, to its shame, joined the chorus of smear-artists in its report on Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2008. While devoting a full page to refuting Hari’s complaints about smearing, which it dismisses on the inane grounds that he fails to name all of the British and American “groups and individuals who speak on antisemitism,” this report finds space to say of his preceding article only that “he used the themes of Israeli ‘raw untreated sewage’ and ‘shit’ to help explain why he could not bring himself to celebrate 60 years since Israel’s creation.”85
This is smearing by omission. Hari did indeed make emblematic use of the disgraceful facts he reported—but that these are indeed facts and not rumour or scandal-mongering is made clear by his article’s on-site reporting and references to public interventions by human rights organizations. By omitting any hint of the factual basis of Hari’s first essay, the CST invites its readers to suppose that the essay was abusive and scatological, a vile and disgusting libel against Israel and, by extension, Jews in general.
An ironic coda to this episode is provided by the fact that on December 27, 2008, the first day of Operation Cast Lead (and prior to the CST report’s publication), Israeli aircraft destroyed the Namar Wells water treatment complex in Jabalya and “carried out a strike against a wall of one of the raw sewage lagoons of the Gaza Waste Water Treatment Plant, which caused the outflow of more than 200,000 cubic metres of raw sewage into neighbouring farmland.”86 These attacks, which according to the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict violated the Fourth Geneva Convention and amounted to a war crime,87 suggest that the denial of drinking water to Palestinians, by the foulest means possible, is a matter of deliberate state policy.88
* * * *
The pattern of this smearing of Johann Hari is significant. It is accomplished by deleting or omitting the evidentiary basis of a criticism of actions by the Israeli state, and then discovering in what remains a libelous slur against Israel that resonates strongly with long-established motifs in the discourse of European antisemitism. In this case the antisemitic motif being evoked, while not explicitly mentioned, is obvious enough. Hari is being accused of a scatological slur that implicitly revives a traditional antisemitic association of Jewishness with the abject category of excrement89—that from which, by the logic of this foul association, we must separate ourselves to avoid defilement and contamination; that which we must cast away, discard, or bury.
This sleight of hand is among the cheapest of rhetorical cheap tricks. The lived material and historical reality, in which the Israeli state has sought literally to defile Palestinians—with the raw sewage from hilltop settlements in the West Bank, with a blockade that knowingly prevents Gazans from dealing adequately with their own sewage, and then with aerial attacks designed to release the accumulated foulness onto their farmland and to deprive them  of water to drink or cleanse themselves with—this reality is quietly made to disappear. The article which drew attention to the plight of the actual victims becomes no more than a site from which to extract present-day analogues to the antisemitic trope of defilement; and with the foul material reality inverted as antisemitic metaphor, the article’s author is himself transformed into a defiler, a victimizer, a practitioner of the “new antisemitism.”90
The Canadian Data
Turning now to the Canadian data on antisemitic incidents, one might think at first glance that they reveal a dire situation. The most widely publicized source of information is B’nai Brith Canada’s annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, the 2007 version of which reports with alarm that
In 2007, 1,042 incidents were reported to the League for Human Rights, constituting an increase of 11.4% from the previous year. This figure breaks through a ceiling of 1,000 that would have seemed unthinkable just a few short years ago. A five-year view shows that the number of incidents has almost doubled since the 584 incidents reported in the 2003 Audit. A 10-year view shows an upward trend with the exception of a small hiatus in 2005, with incidents jumping more than four-fold since 1998, when there were 240 cases. Twenty-six years ago, when the League released its first Audit, the number of reported incidents was just 63.91
The trend identified here might indeed seem disquieting, especially given that in the United States the Anti-Defamation League reported “an overall decrease of 13% […], from 1,554 incidents down to 1,357 in 2007,” while Britain “saw a decrease of 8% from 594 incidents in 2006 to 547 in 2007,” and France “experienced a decline of 31%, from 371 incidents in 2006 to 256 in 2007.”92 More disturbing than the year-to-year changes are the absolute numbers, which, given population sizes—France and the UK each have nearly twice Canada’s population, while the population of the US is nine times that of Canada—appear to suggest that Canadians are very much more antisemitic than the Americans, the British, or the French.
In 2008, when the tally of antisemitic incidents reported in Canada rose by a further 8.9 percent to 1,135, the authors of the 2008 Audit declared that
What emerges from the 2008 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents is that the essence of Canada’s civility is being threatened; as part of the global community, it is clearly not immune from hatreds, both home-grown and imported. Failing to act now, and hiding instead under the cloak of multiculturalism, will set Canada on a path along which so many other countries are being propelled, one that sees these hatreds turn ever more vicious and violent.93
 Let’s pause for a moment over this passage. The Audit found that among the 1,135 reported antisemitic incidents in Canada in 2008 there were exactly 14 instances of assault94: that is to say, on average, one instance of actual or threatened violence over the entire year among every 2,357,000 Canadians. It is worth noting that in the UK the CST reported 88 instances of antisemitic violence in 200895—on average, one per annum among every 705,000 Britons. Are Britons, then, over three times more antisemitic than Canadians—or, as a comparison of the overall incident-report data might suggest, only one-quarter as antisemitic?
The total number of antisemitic incidents reported by B’nai Brith’s 2008 Audit amounts to about one instance over the year among every 29,000 Canadians. I don’t in the least mean to mitigate or excuse vicious and violent behaviour: just one antisemitic incident per year among all 33,000,000 Canadians would still be one too many. But to claim that “the essence of Canada’s civility” is threatened by one vile act per year on the part of one out of every 29,000 Canadians, and one aggressively vile act per year by one out of every 2,357,000, does seem excessive.
The Audit’s warning against “Failing to act now, and hiding instead under the cloak of multiculturalism” may seem puzzling—until it is recognized as a coded allusion to the policy of de-funding human rights NGOs that has since been vigorously pursued by Jason Kenney and his colleagues—a policy that B’nai Brith Canada has been recommending since shortly after the Harper government came to power early in 2006.96
It is relevant to an assessment of B’nai Brith’s work in compiling human rights data to note that this is in large part a political advocacy organization—and one that has consistently supported policies most Canadians would recognize as extremist. Not merely has B’nai Brith recommended and applauded de-funding the highly regarded human rights work of KAIROS and of UNRWA, it has attacked the principle of arms-length funding to Canadian universities, proposing in all seriousness that the Ontario government should de-fund universities which fail to completely suppress campus events that support Palestinian human rights and criticize Israel’s violations of them.97
B’nai Brith’s understanding of the history relevant to this latter issue is of course selective: not merely does it refuse to acknowledge the fact, well established by Israeli historians, of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that accompanied the founding of the state of Israel;98 it also supports Israel’s illegal policy of building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories so strenuously as to insist, bizarrely, that “the ancestral presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria” makes it improper even to employ “terminology such as ‘settlements’.”99
Returning to B’nai Brith’s incident-report data, it is not remotely plausible that the actual number of antisemitic incidents in Canada could have increased eighteen-fold—as the passage I have quoted above from the 2007 Audit would  encourage its readers to suppose—between 1982, when B’nai Brith’s first annual Audit recorded just 63 incidents, and 2008, when the number rose, beyond the 2007 level, to 1,135. Various factors—among them, improvements in data collection, an increased willingness on the part of Canadian Jews to report antisemitic incidents, and changes in the definition of what constitutes such an incident, as well as, quite possibly, a real increase in the actual number of incidents—can account for the difference. To these one must add the very strong likelihood that B’nai Brith’s recent totals are inflated by a lack of critical sifting of incident reports, and by a systematic identification of criticisms of Israel as antisemitic incidents.
It seems obvious enough that B’nai Brith is now capturing a much higher proportion of the actually occurring incidents than it was able to in 1982—possibly even a higher proportion of the antisemitic incidents than the Community Security Trust in the U.K. manages to record. But it is no less obvious, to any critical reader of the annual audits, that B’nai Brith’s figures are not to be relied on. One telltale sign of inflation is the fact that violent incidents make up so much smaller a proportion of the total in B’nai Brith’s 2008 figures than in the CST’s data from the same year: 1.2 percent of the total, as opposed to about 16 percent in the U.K. incident-report data.
The CST checks for antisemitic intention in every incident reported to it—and in 2008 rejected fully 39 percent of these “potential incidents,” finding in them “no evidence of antisemitic motivation, targeting or content.”100 B’nai Brith claims, in its 2007 Audit, that the incidents reported to it “are corroborated, documented and analyzed,” in close collaboration with “police forces and Jewish community institutions.”101 But there is no indication that incidents reported to B’nai Brith are ever found, on analysis, to be either misapprehensions—cases in which, for example, a purported antisemitic assault turns out to have been a mugging whose victim just happened to be Jewish; or else fabulations—cases in which reports of slurs or hate speech are revealed, on investigation, to be pure invention.
As my concluding chapter will show, fabulations of this kind are distressingly frequent. This should perhaps come as no surprise, given the political advantages to be garnered in Canada from a position of victimhood—advantages that might, on reflection, be taken as evidence that our society retains a very substantial degree of decency, despite B’nai Brith’s claim that the very essence of our civility is endangered.
Is there evidence, then, of an ideologically motivated inflation of incident-report figures? One would not expect there to be any such inflation in the numbers relating to incidents involving violence or vandalism: it is in incidents restricted to speech alone that the risk—or the opportunity—lies. The 2008 Audit informs us that “Although the war in Gaza did not begin until the final days of 2008, tensions in the Middle East were present in explicit form in 211 incidents during 2008, compared to 90 in 2007.” We are assured, however, that  the same definitions are being used as in all of the preceding annual audits: “Anti-Israel incidents, therefore, are not included, unless there is a clear anti-Jewish link.”102
But in the first sentence of the next paragraph, this assurance is strained by a declaration that the definitions used in past years give
an incomplete picture of the totality of the prejudice that currently targets the Jewish community. This new bigotry often masquerades as anti-Zionism, that unholy hybrid of age-old and new-age bigotry which purports to be merely legitimate criticism of the State of Israel and therefore respects no boundaries of civility, fact or logic.103
“And therefore”? The non sequitur of this last sentence would suggest that its authors are themselves having some difficulty with logic. And their declaration that whatever presents itself as legitimate criticism of Israel must really be an “unholy hybrid” of old and new bigotries is as uncivil as it is untrue.
“Respect[ing] no boundaries of civility, fact or logic”: it is a small gift to the critic when overwrought polemicists so directly name their own violations of good sense.
The authors of the 2008 Audit argue that all of the elements of campaigns like Israeli Apartheid Week, which seek to expose and criticize Israeli violations of international and humanitarian law—or as they prefer to say, which seek to delegitimize, demonize and criminalize the Jewish State, its citizens, and its supporters—put these campaigns “squarely within the European Union Monitoring Center (EUMC) definition of antisemitism […].” In making this argument, they want to show “that the figures reported in this Audit paint only one side of an increasingly ugly picture”104—in other words, that things are even worse than their statistics make them appear. But it is difficult, frankly, to believe that B’nai Brith’s incident counters, having identified all statements critical of Zionism as intrinsically antisemitic, were then able scrupulously to refrain from including any of them in their totals.
At the outset of this chapter, I quoted Gerald Caplan’s expression of skepticism about the annual incident-report audits published by B’nai Brith. But it is not just left-leaning Jews who doubt the validity of these statistics. Jonathan Kay of the National Post, writing from a different point on the political spectrum, is scathing in his dismissal of B’nai Brith’s “phobic mission to convince us that Canadian society is suffused with Nazi-like hatred”:
Every year, B’nai Brith puts out an “audit” of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada. And every year, the document is reported on by the mass media, which uncritically parrots the group’s absurd contention that anti-Semitism is a growing epidemic in this tolerant country. Reporters politely overlook the fact that B’nai Brith’s definition  of “incident” is dumbed down: Any web posting, stray comment, or scrap of graffiti fits the bill. This allows B’nai Brith to reel off thousands of examples.
Most readers don’t stop to scrutinize how trivial these examples are: They just look at the impressive-seeming bar graphs, which purport to show a Jewish community in a constant state of terror. The result: Older Jews with dark historical memories become terrified, and the donations to B’nai Brith come rolling in.105
The rhetorical excesses of B’nai Brith, and its concurrent inflation of antisemitic-incident statistics, look very much like a response to the fact that public discourse in Canada over the Israel-Palestine issue, which used to resemble a monologue, with steady support for Israel’s position and behaviour from government statements and most media commentary, has begun to include increasingly frequent and critical references to the principles of international law, and to the findings of human rights organizations as to their violation.
B’nai Brith, it seems, would like to bully and to frighten the Canadian public back into its previous stance of acquiescence. But as long-time Palestinian solidarity activist Mordecai Briemberg has remarked, “trying to re-impose a monologue by resorting to hyperbole and slander only turns people of good will into sceptics.”106
* * * *
As it happens, government-collected figures are available which roundly contradict the trends identified in the B’nai Brith Audits. B’nai Brith tells us we are in very serious trouble because the numbers of antisemitic incidents reported in their annual Audits have more than tripled from 2001 to 2007—from less than 300 to well over 1,000.107 But government data, though far from complete, show a contrary trend in the numbers of antisemitic hate crimes, which over the same period appear either to have remained more or less steady or to have declined.
In 2001-2002, Statistics Canada conducted a Hate Crime Pilot Survey which gathered incident-report data from twelve police forces that cumulatively deal with about 43 percent of the total national volume of crime in Canada. That survey found that 928 hate crimes against all kinds of victims were reported by these police forces over the two years; 229 occurrences, or nearly a quarter of the total, were antisemitic.108
This data can (very approximately) be compared with the data on Hate Crime in Canada 2006 that was published in 2008 by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, a department of Statistics Canada.109 This report analyzes hate crime incident-report data for the year 2006 that was obtained from police departments servicing 87 percent of the population of Canada. These  departments reported a total of 892 hate crimes of all kinds. Of these, 220 hate crimes were motivated by religion—and within that category, 137 hate crimes (63 percent) were directed against Jews. These antisemitic hate crimes consisted of 32 violent incidents (two more than the number listed by B’nai Brith for the same year), 96 crimes against Jewish-owned property, and 9 other crimes (involving, no doubt, incitement of antisemitic hatred).110
Canada’s Jewish population is largely urban; thus, although the police departments participating in the 2001-2002 Hate Crime Pilot Survey dealt with only 43 percent of the total volume of crime in Canada, they service cities in which rather more than 80 percent of Canadian Jews reside.111 The 2006 figures, though they come from police departments servicing 87 percent of Canada’s population, would very probably be applicable to nearly all of Canada’s Jewish population. On the not unreasonable assumption that the 2001-2002 data excluded 15 percent or a little more of the Jewish population effectively included in the 2006 study, and a corresponding proportion of antisemitic hate crimes, we can arrive at an estimate of approximately 133 to 135 antisemitic hate crimes for each of 2001 and 2002.112
In 2006, then, the number of recorded antisemitic hate crimes remained close to the estimated number for 2001 and 2002. In the following year, 2007, the number of antisemitic hate crimes reported to the police dropped to 124, and the overall number of hate crimes in Canada declined from the 2006 level of 892 to 785. The number of hate crimes motivated by religion fell from 220 to 185, with the 124 antisemitic hate crimes making up 69 percent of that number.113
The sparsity of the Statistics Canada data is frustrating. And as we have already observed, incident-report data is not the most reliable manner of establishing large-scale trends. Some data of a kind resembling the British Crime Survey is available: Statistics Canada conducts an annual General Social Survey (GSS), which has a large sample size (of more than 25,000 Canadians over the age of 15). Unfortunately, though, the GSS is devoted each year to a different topic or theme. Of the recent GSS reports, only those of 1999 and 2004 deal with victimization, and neither contains relevant information on hate crimes.114
We can, however, learn something about trends in antisemitic hate crimes by consulting the annual reports published by police forces in major cities. The Annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report released by the Toronto Police Service is the most important of these—not least because Toronto is home to about 170,000 Jews, approximately one-half of Canada’s Jewish community.
An average of 202 hate crimes of all kinds have been reported to the Toronto police in each of the sixteen years up to 2008. In 2007, 130 hate crimes were recorded—the lowest number of occurrences in any year since the Toronto Hate Crime Unit began collecting statistics in 1993; 29 of these were antisemitic hate crimes.115
 The 2008 Annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report, published in May 2009, documented a rise of 18 percent to a total of 153 hate crimes, 46 of them antisemitic. Toronto Police Service Board Chairman Dr. Alok Mukherjee is quoted at the time of the report’s release as explaining the rise in the overall hate crime figure in terms of two by now familiar factors: changes in the proportion of actual incidents being reported, and changes in recording methods and criteria. “‘There are more people coming forward,’ Mukherjee said. ‘And our own reports are becoming more sophisticated: we are tracking more, and there are more categories under which we track hate/bias crime than before.’”116
It is not clear that the rise in the number of antisemitic hate crimes in Toronto in 2008—to 46 from the previous year’s figure of 29—reflects an actual growth in antisemitic attitudes. In 2007 there were three antisemitic assaults, in 2008 none. In 2007 there was one case of harassment, and six of threats; in 2008 there were four cases of harassment, and one threat. The number of face-to-face instances of antisemitic hate crime reported to the police declined, that is, from ten to five. Crimes of antisemitic propaganda remained constant, with one instance of advocating genocide and one of willful promotion of hatred in 2007, and one each in 2008 of public incitement of hatred and willful promotion of hate. The big change was in the category of mischief, where there was a rise from 17 instances in 2007 to 37 in 2008.117
* * * *
I am not suggesting that we should find anything very reassuring about the data analyzed in this chapter: Jews are indeed being disproportionately targeted by hate-mongers. I have quoted above from a newspaper article on the release of the Toronto Police Service’s most recent annual survey of hate crimes in the city; that article also noted, paraphrasing the police report, that
The Jewish community remained the top target last year, followed by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community and the black community. Jewish people and organizations are most affected by mischief occurrences and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people fall victim to the largest number of violent hate-motivated crimes—usually assaults and threats….118
It should be apparent from the foregoing analysis that a greater and better-coordinated effort needs to be put into tracking and recording occurrences of hate crimes. One of the central recommendations of former Ontario Attorney General and Chief Justice Roy McMurtry and of Dr. Alvin Curling in their 2008 report to the government of Ontario on the causes of youth violence was that “the Province should proceed immediately to develop the methodology for the collection of race-based data in all key domains.”119 This should be not just a provincial, but a national project—and its primary objective ought to  be the collection of survey data through an expanded version of the General Social Survey, which should seek much more thorough information about victimization than is currently available, and should seek it annually rather than on the present five- or six-year cycle.
What should be still more obvious is that the claims made by the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism about a supposed resurgence of antisemitism in Canada and elsewhere are conspicuously untrue. Jason Kenney and Irwin Cotler and their colleagues are trying to panic Canadians into acquiescing in a draconian clamping down on democratic debate and free expression in this country. They are doing so under blatantly false pretences.
4 “Petty vandalism” usually refers to acts like graffiti-scrawling. I don’t mean to minimize the sense of violation that can be produced by hateful graffiti (purse-snatching is another kind of violation, an assault in which one assailant typically restrains the victim while another robs her). My point is that anyone who writes about the blood libel as the author of the CPCCA text does has forgotten what an utterly horrible accusation it is, and what horrors of murderous persecution it has launched against entire communities.
6 See Introduction, note 50.
7 The Black Hundreds were far-right-wing tsarist organizations formed in Russia during and after the 1905 Russian Revolution; their xenophobic nationalism found expression in terrorist assassinations and pogroms. See Walter Laqueur, Black Hundred: The Rise of the Extreme Right in Russia (New York: Harper Collins, 1993).
8 Campbell Clark, “Opposition decries Tory attack ads sent to Jewish voters,” The Globe and Mail (19 November 2009, updated 27 November 2009), http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/opposition-decries-tory-attack-ads-sent-to-jewish-voters/article1369244/; see also “Tory pamphlets courting Jewish votes anger Grits: Text painting Liberals as anti-Semitic sent out in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg,” CBC News (20 November 2009), http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2009/11/19/conservative-accuse-liberals-anti-semitism.html.
9 Gerald Caplan, “Stephen Harper and the Jewish question: The Conservatives’ blatant wooing of Canadian Jews doesn’t add up,” The Globe and Mail (11 December 2009), http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/pm-and-the-jewish-question/article1397928/.
10 “Poll: Anti-Semitic views in the U.S. at a historic low,” Reuters, in Haaretz (29 October 2009), http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1124560.html; cited by Murray Dobbin, “Will Harper criminalize criticism of Israel?” Rabble.ca (19 November 2009), http://rabble.ca/columnists/2009/11/Harper-criminalize-criticism-Israel?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+rabble-news+(rabble.ca+-+News+for+the+rest+of+us)&utm_content=Bloglines. The ADL found that 12 percent of Americans are prejudiced against Jews. In 1964, when the poll was first conducted, “it found 29 percent of Americans held anti-Semitic views.”
11 The Statistics Canada publications to which Professor Naiman is referring are “SPOTLIGHT: Hate crime,” Infomat (8 June 2004), http://www.statcan.gc/pub/11-002-x/2004/06/16004/4072658-eng.htm; and “Police-reported hate crime,” The Daily (13 May 2009), http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/090513/dq090513c-eng.htm. The reports which they summarize are discussed in the concluding section of this chapter.
12 Quotations from or citations of the British Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism (London: The Stationery Office, September 2006), http://www.thepcaa.org/Report.pdf, will refer to the paragraph numbers of the passages in question.
13 The pattern is clear in the CST bar graph reproduced by the Report (29); exact figures can be found in Michael Whine, “Antisemitism on the streets,” in Paul Iganski and B. Kosmin, eds., A New Antisemitism? Debating Judaeophobia in 21st Century Britain (London: Profile, 2003), pp. 23-37; in the Antisemitic Incidents Report 2006 (London: CST, 2007), http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Incidents_Report_06.pdf; in A Student’s Guide to Antisemitism on Campus (London: CST and the Union of Jewish Students, 2009), http://www.thecest.org.uk/docs/Students%20Book%202001-for%20website.pdf, p. 26.
14 The CST’s recent annual Antisemitic Incidents Reports are available at its website, http://www.thecst.org.uk/. As is noted in the Antisemitic Incidents Report 2008 (London: CST, 2009), http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Incidents_Report_08.pdf, p. 4 n. 1, additional incidents for a particular year are sometimes reported after the publication of the report for that year, leading to subsequently higher figures for that year. The figures given here for 2005, 2006, and 2007 are the later corrected figures.
15 Antisemitic Incidents Report 2009 (London: CST, 2010), http://thecst.xl-webgen.net/docs/CST-incidents-report-09-for-web.pdf, pp. 4, 10.
16 Antisemitic Incidents Report 2008.
17 See Brian Smith, “Israel: soldier admits he knew slain peace activist Hurndall was unarmed,” World Socialist Web Site (23 December 2004), http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/dec2004/isra-d23.shtml; Nigel Parry and Arjan El Fassed, “Photostory: Israeli bulldozer driver murders American peace activist,” The Electronic Intifada (16 March 2003), http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article1248.shtml.
18 See ‘jon the antizionist jew’, “Palestinian man shot and killed by tear-gas canister in Bil’in,” Daily Kos (17 April 2009), http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/4/17/721425/-Palestinian-man-shot-and-killed-by-tear-gas-canister-in-Bilin; Stephen Lendman, “How Israel Targets and Suppresses Opposition to its Annexation Wall,” Centre for Research on Globalization (23 September 2009), http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15351; and Neve Gordon, “On Palestinian Civil Disobedience,” ZSpace (28 September 2009), http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/commentaries/3996.
19 Multiple Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of the Geneva Conventions and of customary international law in the course of Operation Cast Lead are documented in Richard Goldstone et al., Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (UN Human Rights Council, Twelfth session, 15 September 2009), http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/specialsession/9/docs/UNFFMGC_Report.pdf. (This report also takes note of the very much less damaging rocket attacks from Gaza against southern Israel, castigating them as indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and therefore also war crimes.) The casualty figures given for this and previous Israeli operations in Occupied Palestine are taken from paragraphs 30 (p. 10) and 193-96 (pp. 58-59) of this report; estimates for the 2006 attack on Lebanon are compiled from other sources.
20 Richard Falk, “Foreword” to Marwan Bishara, Palestine/Israel: Peace or Apartheid: Occupation, Terrorism and the Future (2nd edition; London: Zed Books, 2002), p. xvi. Falk specifies the issues: “ withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967, right of return of Palestinian refugees expelled or departed in 1948, sovereignty over Jerusalem, status of the settlements, both throughout the territories and within the expanded jurisdiction of Jerusalem.”
21 Marwan Bishara, Palestine/Israel, p. 16. This claim is amply substantiated by Bishara’s ensuing historical analysis. For further substantiation, see Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians (Updated edition; Cambridge, MA: South End Pess, 1999); Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (New York: Norton, 2001); Baruch Kimmerling, Politicide: Ariel Sharon’s War Against the Palestinians (London: Verso, 2003); Jonathan Cook, Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (London: Pluto Press, 2008); and Slavoj Zizek, “Quiet slicing of the West Bank makes abstract prayers for peace obscene,” The Guardian (18 August 2009), http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/18/west-bank-israel-settlers-palestinians.
22 Antisemitic Incidents: January-June 2009 (London: CST, 2009), http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/incidents_Report_Jan_June_09.pdf.
23 Antisemitic Incidents Report 2008, Antisemitic Incidents: January-June 2009.
24 One sign of this discomfort has been a revisionary re-examination of the long history of Jews in England, overturning complacent views of Britain as a tolerant sanctuary; see Shalom Lappin, This Green and Pleasant Land: Britain and the Jews (Working Paper #2, The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism, 2008), http://www.yale.edu/yiisa/workingpaper/lappin/Shalom%20Lappin%20YIISA%20Working%20Paper.pdf.
25 All three of these tendencies are repeatedly documented in the CST’s Antisemitic Incidents Report 2009. For instances of neo-Nazis feeling authorized by current events to unleash their hatred, see pp. 13, 17-19, 24, 29-30. Instances of schoolchildren adopting and acting on antisemitic opinions appear on pp. 13, 17, 20, and 29; and instances of an aggressive venting of anti-Israel feelings on the Jews at hand appear on pp. 14-18, 19, and 28.
26 The Report’s source for this estimate (to which the Inquiry was directed by Paul Iganski) is Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System—2004 (London: Home Office, 2005), p. 8; the Home Office’s estimate of total racist incidents comes from the annual British Crime Survey (discussed below).
27 By way of comparison, the sample size for national opinion polls in Canada is not usually larger than about 2,500 people, and the US 2004 presidential election national exit poll had a sample size of about 13,000. The BCS “has a high response rate (76%) and the survey is weighted to adjust for possible non-response bias and ensure the sample reflects the profile of the general population” (Jacqueline Hoare, “Extent and trends,” in Alison Walker, John Flatley, Chris Kershaw and Debbie Moon, eds., Crime in England and Wales 2008/09, Volume 1: Findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime (London: Home Office Statistical Bulletin, 2009), http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb1109vol1.pdf, p. 13.
28 Walker et al., eds., Crime in England and Wales 2008/09, p. 4.
29 Hoare, in Walker et al., eds., Crime in England and Wales 2008/09, p. 15.
30 Walker et al., eds., p. 4.
31 Walker et al., eds., Crime in England and Wales 2008/09, Volume 1, p. 22.
32 Ibid., p. 27. As with racist incidents, police incident-report records capture only a fraction of the actual number of criminal offences.
34 Walker et al., eds., Crime in England and Wales 2008/09, Volume 1, p. 27.
35 The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Report of an Inquiry by Sir William Macpherson of Cluny (London: The Stationery Office, 1999), http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/4262.htm, chapters 4-6. (This is commonly referred to as the Macpherson Inquiry report.)
36 Ibid., ch. 45, paragraph 16; see Paul Iganski, “Too Few Jews to Count? Police Monitoring of Hate Crimes Against Jews in the United Kingdom,” American Behavioural Scientist 51.2 (2007): 232-45, http://abs.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/51/2/232, p. 233.
37 The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, ch. 45, paragraph 16.
38 The numbers are conveniently graphed by Iganski, “Too Few Jews,” Figure 1, p. 234. His sources for the data are Racial Violence and Harassment: A Consultation Document (London: Home Office, 1997), Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System (London: Home Office, 2000), and Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System—2004 (London: Home Office, 2005).
39 Here and in paragraph 43 the Report cites Paul Iganski, Vicky Kielinger and Susan Paterson, Hate Crimes Against London’s Jews: An Analysis of Incidents Recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service, 2001-2004 (London: Institute for Jewish Policy Research, 2005).
40 The Community Security Trust Antisemitic Incidents Report 2004 (London: CST, 2005), http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Incidents_Report_04.pdf; “U.K. Government Charts Rise in ‘Antisocial Behavior Orders’,” Ethics Newsline (11 July 2005), http://www.globalethics.org/newsline/2005/07/11/uk-government-charts-rise-in-antisocial-behavior-orders/. Some legal experts have claimed that ASBOs are widely misused—being imposed, it has been argued, primarily on vulnerable people like the mentally ill, addicts, prostitutes, and beggars, who are then jailed for repeating behaviour that would not otherwise be punishable by imprisonment. See Matt Foot, “A triumph of hearsay and hysteria,” The Guardian (5 April 2005), http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2005/apr/05/ukcrime.prisonsandprobation.
41 For details, see Norman Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (2nd paperback edition; New York: Verso, 2003), Appendix to the Second Paperback Edition, pp. 253-55.
42 Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System—2005 (London: Home Office, 2006), http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/s95race05.pdf, p. viii.
43 According to 2001 UK census figures, 7.9 percent of the population, a total of 4,635,000 people, belonged to various minority groups (see “Population Size: 7.9% from a minority ethnic group,” Office for National Statistics, http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/nugget.asp?ID=273). Assuming that minority populations continued to grow at the same rate as they did from 1991 to 2001, there would by 2008 have been about 5,760,000 Britons of minority ethnicity—of whom some 280,000, or nearly 5 percent, were Jews (see Robert Pigott, “Jewish population on the increase,” BBC News [21 May 2008], http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7411877.stm).
44 We don’t know, for example, whether the same criteria were used in counting incidents, or whether the CST and Home Office figures capture a similar percentage of overall incidents. (The CST’s insistence on evidence of the perpetrator’s intention stands in contrast to the Home Office’s adoption of Macpherson’s definition of a racist incident.) The Home Office data I have cited comes only from England and Wales, while the CST data includes incidents from Scotland and Northern Ireland as well.
45 In arriving at this very approximate estimate, I am not assuming that the perpetrators of racially or religiously aggravated offences were invariably members of the 92 percent white majority. (Home Office data indicate that members of minority groups were perpetrators of a significant proportion of offences.)
46 These identifications are sometimes incorrect: a colleague of mine who was recently subjected to a torrent of antisemitic abuse by a carful of white racists in Toronto is, as it happens, of Scottish ancestry.
47 Vicky Kielinger and Susan Paterson, “Policing Hate Crime in London,” American Behavioural Scientist 51.2 (2007): 196-204; I have quoted from their abstract.
48 There is also a category of purported antisemitic incidents that have been exposed as outright fraud. For one flagrant and very publicly exposed example, see Stephen Brook, “Lord Alan Sugar ‘Muslim terror target’ story was wrong, admits Sun: Red-top admits error in January splash, which claimed leading British Jews were being targeted by Islamic extremists,” The Guardian (15 September 2009), http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/sep/15/sun-alan-sugar-error; and Abul Taher, “Glen Jenvey, man behind Sun’s Sugar splash, arrested over religious hatred: Self-styled terror expert involved in Sun’s fabricated story about Islamic extremist hitlist held over incitement to religious hatred,” The Guardian (31 December 2009), http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/dec/31/glen-jenvey-arrested.
49 Laurent Mucchielli, “L’augmentation des violences interpersonnelles est infirmée par les enquêtes de victimation,” http://www.laurent-muccielli.org/public/L_augmentation_des_violences_est_infirmee.pdf. This note cites key data from the reports on Victimation et sentiment d’insécurité en Île-de-France (IAURIF, 2001 and 2009), and provides references to peer-reviewed research.
50 See Iganski, “Too Few Jews,” pp. 236-37, for a tabular comparison of police and CST figures from July 2004 to June 2005, and discussion of the extent of overlap. The British Home Office’s statistics on racially and religiously aggravated crimes that I have mentioned above do not distinguish among the various groups victimized by such crimes.
51 Martin Peretz, “Cambridge Diarist: Regrets,” New Republic (22 April 2002), p. 50; quoted in John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007; rpt. Toronto: Penguin, 2008), p. 188.
52 For a sample of press coverage of the dinner (which was attended by President Nicolas Sarkozy), see “Inquiétudes autour de l’antisémitisme en France au dîner du Crif,” 20minutes.fr (3 March 2009), http://www.20minutes.fr/article/306973/France-Inquietudes-autour-de-l-antisemitisme-en-France-au-diner-du-Crif.php.
53 Tom Heneghan, “French faith leaders unite against Gaza backlash,” AlertNet (13 January 2009), http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LD166512.htm.
54 Robert Marquand, “Gaza drives a wedge in Paris imam’s dialogue with Jews,” Christian Science Monitor (28 January 2009), reproduced online at WorldWide Religious News (WWRN), http://www.wwrn.org/article.php?idd=30120&sec=33&con=2.
55 Erik J. Cohen, in The Jews of France at the Turn of the Third Millennium (Ramat Gan: Faculty of Jewish Studies, Bar Ilan University, 2009), notes that “The official French census, by law, does not record religious affiliation” (p. 31). Citing an earlier estimate of 600,000-700,000 for the number of French Jews, Cohen arrives, by three different survey methodologies, at estimates of the 2002 population ranging from 512,000 to 560,000; he settles, conservatively, on an estimate of “between 500,000 and 550,000 Jews” (pp. 35-37).
56 See “Le grand rabbin de France critique Benoît XVI,” Le Monde (31 January 2009), http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/ article/2009/01/31/les-propos-de-mgr-williamson-sont-abjects_1149025_3224.html. Attempts by Israeli propagandists to deflect blame for civilian deaths caused by Israeli attacks on medical facilities, schools and mosques have been rejected by human rights organizations which have studied the evidence.
57 When Jewish members of the principal French organization devoted to Muslim-Jewish friendship, Amitié Judéo-Musulmane de France (AJMF), remained silent in the face of mounting evidence of Israeli atrocities against Gaza civilians, their Muslim counterparts came to feel, in the bitter words of former co-president Djellout Seddiki, “that the dialogue is actually meaningless,” and resigned from the organization. See Hadi Yahmid, “Gaza Cracks France’s Muslim-Jews Ties,” IslamOnline.net (4 February 2009), http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cicd=1233567621234&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout.
58 “French protest for murdered Jew,” BBC News (26 February 2006), http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4753348.stm; “La mobilisation à la mémoire d’Ilan Halimi a débuté,” Yabiladi.com (26 February 2006), http://www.yabiladi.com/forum/mobilisation-memoires-ilan-halimi-debute-66-986860.html.
59 Michel Zlotowski, “Large memorial held for Parisian Jew,” Jerusalem Post (23 February 2006); for this reference, and for the BBC News item cited in note 31, I am indebted to Mearsheimer and Walt, The Israel Lobby, p. 414 n. 78. On the subject of Chirac’s and de Villepin’s attendance at the memorial service, see also Goel Pinto, “Forgive us our racism,” Haaretz.com (16 May 2007), http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/860025.html.
60 Laurent Mucchielli, “Le ‘retour de l’antisémitisme’: discours rituel au dîner annuel du CRIF” (5 March 2009), http://jwainstain.free.fr/Le_pseudo_retour_de_lantisemitisme.pdf, p. 2. Mucchielli is the author of five books and co-author, editor or co-editor of another nine, founder of the Revue d’histoire des sciences humaines, and recipient in 2006 of the Médaille de Bronze of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).
61 Ibid., pp. 3-5.
62 European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, Manifestations of Antisemitism in the EU 2002-2003 (April 2004), http://eumc.eu.int/eumc/index.php, pp. 104-05; quoted by Norman G. Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), p. 76.
63 Matti Bunzl, Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Hatreds Old and New in Europe (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press / University of Chicago Press, 2005), p. 4.
64 Islamic Human Rights Commission: January-December Annual Report 2007, http://www.ihrc.org.uk/attachment/4681_report-2007.pdf, p. 17. The level of serious violent islamophobic incidents would seem to be no less alarming. In 2006, during the month of Ramadan alone there were two anti-Muslim firebombings (one preceded by multiple vandalism attacks, the other by death threats), a brutal attack on a Yorkshire Muslim schoolboy, the desecration of a South Wales mosque during prayers, and vandalism attacks in the parking lot of a Preston mosque, accompanied by the stabbing of a Muslim teenager. See http://forum.mpacuk.org/showthread.php?t=16423.
65 Bunzl, Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, p. 27.
66 Pew Research Center, A Year After Iraq War: Mistrust of America in Europe Ever Higher, Muslim Anger Persists. Summary of Findings (April 2004), p. 4; quoted by Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah, p. 76. A more recent Pew Research Center report, Unfavorable Views of Jews and Muslims on the Increase in Europe (17 September 2008), http://pewglobal.org/reports/pdf/262.pdf, is methodologically flawed. Respondents were asked whether they have “a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable opinion of Jews”—with no opportunity provided to distinguish between opinions of Jews and of Israel. It seems clear that the overwhelmingly negative responses in Lebanon (97 percent), Jordan (96 percent), and Egypt (95 percent) reflect hostility to Israel—as well as the fact, pointed out by Mohamed Elmasry in this book, that many Muslims still “use the term ‘yahood,’ i.e. Jews, to refer to Israelis.” A similar need for disambiguation may be evident also among the countries with the highest positive responses (France with 79 percent, the U.S. with 77 percent, and Britain with 73 percent). Their differing rates of negative responses (20 percent in France, and 7 and 9 percent in the U.S. and Britain, where 17 and 19 percent of respondents respectively expressed no opinion or refused to answer) could suggest either differing degrees of polarized opinion, or else different degrees of critical reaction to Israel among generally philosemitic populations.
67 Michael Whine, “Muslim-Jewish Interactions in Great Britain: Interview with Michael Whine,” Institute for Global Jewish Affairs No. 32 (15 May 2008), http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=4&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=623&PID=0&IID=2200&TTL=Muslim-Jewish_Interactions_in_Great_Britain.
68 Antisemitic Incidents Report 2007 (CST, 2008), http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Incidents_Report_07.pdf, p. 12: “A physical description of the perpetrator was provided in 243 of the 547 incidents recorded by CST. Of these, 129 were white; 15 were East European; 27 were black; 52 were Asian and 14 were of Arab appearance.”
69 Ibid., p. 6. On this page and the next, the Antisemitic Incidents Report discusses the 114 incidents of physical attacks at length.
70 Iganski, Kielinger and Paterson found, in Hate Crimes Against London’s Jews, pp. 24-25, that in London police records from 2001 to 2004 “one in eight incidents reported were classified as ‘non-crime book’ incidents in that they did not appear to constitute a criminal offense” (quoted from Iganski, “Too Few Jews,” p. 242).
71 “IHRC on CST’s response to its briefing,” Islamic Human Rights Commission (6 July 2009), http://www.ihrc.org/. See also “BRIEFING: Concerns regarding demonisation of Islam and Muslims by Community Security Trust publications,” Islamic Human Rights Commission (19 May 2009), http://www.ihrc.org/.
72 Antisemitic incidents and threats to Jews arising from Gaza crisis (Privately circulated CST briefing paper, January 2009), available at http://www.ihrc.org.uk/attachments/4274_CST_briefing.pdf.
73 A Student’s Guide to Antisemitism on Campus: Recognising, Reacting to and Fighting Antisemitism (CST/Union of Jewish Students, 2009), http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Students%20Book%2001-for%20website.pdf, p. 22. (The explanations of the tropes of antisemitism are on pp. 12-18.)
74 Ibid., p. 25.
75 Ibid., pp. 39-40. The blood libel is implied by the statement on p. 40 that “The entire book is premised on the notion that Jews are traitors, shaping US foreign policy to serve Israel’s interest at the expense of America’s interests. The direct consequences of this include the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq. Not only are members of the lobby traitors, but also they have American blood on their hands.”
76 Philip Giraldi, “The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy,” Antiwar.com (3 September 2009), http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2009/09/02/the-best-congress-aipac-can-buy/.
79 Antisemitic Incidents: January-June 2009 (CST, 2009), http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/incidents_Report_Jan_June_09.pdf.
80 Johann Hari, “Israel is suppressing a secret it must face,” The Independent (28 April 2008), http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-israel-is-suppressing-a-secret-it-must-face-816661.html.
81 Hari mentions reports by Friends of the Earth and The Centre on Housing Rights. More recent confirmation of his statements is provided in Amnesty International’s report Troubled Waters—Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water (27 October 2009), http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/027/2009/en/e9892ce4-7fba-469b-96b9-c1e1084c620c/mde150272009en.pdf, p. 69: “During four decades of occupation, the Israeli authorities have consistently failed to take even the most basic measures to provide effective sewage and waste treatment facilities in the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories]. [….] Israel has caused damage to the aquifer by establishing more than 200 unlawful Israeli settlements and ‘outposts’ in the West Bank and allowing them to discharge large quantities of untreated domestic and industrial sewage over the recharge area of the aquifer. In recent years, many of the settlements have been equipped with sewage treatment plants but others still discharge raw sewage and hazardous industrial waste into the fields and streams of the West Bank.” The problem is particularly acute in communities downstream of the unlawfully annexed East Jerusalem area, from which “[s]ome 17.5 MCM [millions of cubic metres] of sewage flow eastwards, mostly in open streams, causing environmental damage to the soil and water resources and posing a public health hazard for the Palestinian communities along the route” (p. 70).
82 Even without the threat of major pollution from the release of raw sewage from holding ponds, Gaza’s water supply situation amounts already to a humanitarian disaster. The Amnesty International report Troubled Waters notes that the water crisis in Gaza is caused in part by Israel’s damming and diversion of Wadi Gaza, which flows from the Hebron mountains in the West Bank, “just before it reaches Gaza.” As a result, the Palestinians in Gaza are extracting water from the Coastal Aquifer at twice its yearly sustainable yield, and there has been “a marked, progressive deterioration in the quality of the water supply, already contaminated by decades of sewage infiltration into the aquifer. Today some 90-95 percent of Gaza’s water is polluted and unfit for human consumption” (p. 11).
83 Hari, “Israel is suppressing a secret.”
84 Hari, “The loathsome smearing of Israel’s critics,” The Independent (8 May 2008), http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-loathsome-smearing-of-israels-critics-822751.html.
85 Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2008 (CST, 2009), http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Antisemitic%20Discourse%20Report%202008.pdf, p. 24 (italics in the original text).
86 Richard Goldstone et al., Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, paragraph 52 (p. 18). The Amnesty International report Troubled Waters gives a lower figure of “more than 100,000” cubic metres for the amount of wastewater-sewage sludge released by the Israeli airstrike (p. 59), while also mentioning that Israeli attacks on the Sheikh ‘Ajlin sewage treatment plant in central Gaza caused “raw sewage to inundate more than a square kilometer of agricultural and residential land” (p. 58).
87 Goldstone et al., Human Rights in Palestine, p. 18.
88 There is evidence that the denial of water to Palestinian populations in the West Bank and Gaza is indeed deliberate Israeli state policy. The Amnesty International report Troubled Waters documents a radically unfair allocation of shared water resources (pp. 9-29), systematic bureaucratic hindering of Palestinian water projects (pp. 29-35), the destruction of rainwater cisterns and confiscation of water tankers (pp. 36-45), denial of access by Palestinians to their land in the Western Aquifer (pp. 46-55), and attacks by the military and by Jewish settlers on water facilities (p. 56-65). The denial of water is clearly intended as “a means of expulsion”; see Amnesty International, Thirsting for Justice: Palestinian Access to Water Restricted (27 October 2009), http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/028/2009/en/634f6762-d603-4efb-98ba-42a02acd3f46/mde150282009en.pdf, p. 5.
89 This trope occurs prominently in a play by Shakespeare’s contemporary Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta: the protagonist Barabas, having been thrown over the city wall like garbage while feigning death, promptly re-enters through the sewer, leading a force of Turks through “the common channels of the city” and effectively penetrating its entrails. See The Jew of Malta, V. i., in Christopher Marlowe: The Complete Plays, ed. Mark Thornton Burnett (London: Everyman, 1999), pp. 524-25.
90 It should be said, before moving on from British to Canadian publications, that the CST’s Antisemitic Incidents Report 2009, published in February 2010, goes some distance toward restoring one’s sense of the organization’s probity and good will. In contrast to some CST texts from 2009 that I have quoted, this report is calmly analytical, distinguishes scrupulously between anti-Israel and antisemitic statements and actions, avoids any hint of the smearing engaged in by some other CST publications, and indicates that care was taken not to include anti-Israel statements—even angry, aggressive, or provocative ones—in the category of antisemitic incidents (see pp. 26-27). Some of the distinctions applied in these pages in categorizing incidents may seem dubious—for example, that a graffiti like “Jihad 4 Israel” is antisemitic if daubed in a largely Jewish area, but not otherwise; or that any comparison of Israel or Zionism with Nazi Germany is automatically antisemitic, because of “its visceral capacity to offend Jews.” (By that standard, the speech of Sir Gerald Kaufman in the House of Commons on January 15, 2009, quoted by Edward Corrigan in this book, would be antisemitic.) The report deserves credit for making such matters explicit and giving some indication of the numbers added to the incident count as a result.
91 Ruth Klein and Anita Bromberg, 2007 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents: Patterns of Prejudice in Canada (Toronto: League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada, 2008), http://www.bnaibrith.ca/publications/audit2007/audit2007.pdf, p. 2.
92 Ibid. The UK figures quoted here are slightly lower than those I have quoted earlier in this chapter; the Audit quotes figures from the CST’s annual reports, while I have quoted the CST’s later, revised figures.
93 Ruth Klein and Anita Bromberg, 2008 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents: Patterns of Prejudice in Canada (Toronto: League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada, 2009), http://www.bnaibrith.ca/publcations/audit2008/audit2008.pdf, p. 23.
94 2008 Audit, p. 6. In other recent B’nai Brith Audits, it should be noted, the number of antisemitic assaults reported was higher: 30 in 2006, and 28 in 2007, before falling to 14 in 2008.
95 Antisemitic Incidents Report 2008 (London: CST, 2009), http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Incidents_Report_08.pdf, p. 4.
96 See “B’nai Brith Canada applauds Government for standing firm on Hamas,” B’nai Brith Canada (29 March 2006), http://www.bnaibrith.ca/prdisplay.php?id=1030 (an attack on UNRWA); “Jewish, Christian leaders denounce United Church Toronto anti-Israel boycott—Call on Government to suspend CIDA funding to KAIROS,” B’nai Brith Canada (28 June 2006), http://www.bnaibrith.ca/prdisplay.php?id=1073 (the Christian leader in question is the right-wing fundamentalist Charles McVety); “‘Pro-terror sympathies undermine respect for Canadian law,’ says B’nai Brith Canada,” B’nai Brith Canada (15 August 2006), http://www.bnaibrith.ca/prdisplay.php?id=1094 (one of several attacks on CAF as antisemitic and pro-terrorist); and “B’nai Brith Canada applauds Harper government for redirection of aid from UNRWA to specific projects,” B’nai Brith Canada (13 January 2010), http://www.bnaibrith.ca/prdisplay.php?id=1606.
98 See “B’nai Brith Denies Reality of Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Attempts to Silence Free Speech and Shutdown [sic] Academic Research,” The Canadian Islamic Congress (4 March 2008), http://www.canadianislamiccongress.com/mc/media_communique.php?id=987.
99 “‘Britain should look at the lessons of history and the realities of today,’ says B’nai Brith following PM Brown’s speech to Israel’s Knesset,” B’nai Brith Canada (21 July 2008), http://www.bnaibrith.ca/prdisplay.php?id=1357.
100 Antisemitic Incidents Report 2008 (London: CST, 2009), http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Incidents_Report_08.pdf, p. 4: “In addition to the 541 antisemitic incidents recorded by CST in 2008, a further 347 reports of potential incidents were received by CST, but not included in the total number of antisemitic incidents as there was no evidence of antisemitic motivation, targeting or content.”
101 Klein and Bromberg, 2007 Audit, p. 1.
102 Klein and Bromberg, 2008 Audit, p. 1.
103 Ibid., pp. 1-2.
104 Ibid., p. 2.
105 Jonathan Kay, “B’nai Brith compares Vancouver’s treatment of female ski jumpers to Nazi policies of 1936,” National Post (6 January 2010), http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2010/01/06/jonathan -kay-b-nai-brith-compares-vancouver-s-treatment-of-female-ski-jumpers-to-nazi-policies-of-1936,aspx.
106 Mordecai Briemberg, “New Opportunities in Organizing against Occupation,” Upping the Anti: a journal of theory and action 2 (January 2006), p. 104.
107 For one of the bar graphs that Jonathan Kay speaks of with such scorn, see Klein and Bromberg, 2007 Audit, p. 3.
108 Juristat: Hate Crime in Canada 2001-2002 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2004), http://dsp-psd.communication.gc.ca/Pilot/Statcan/85-002-XIE/0040485-002-XIE.pdf, p. 8.
109 Mia Dauvergne, Katie Scrim and Shannon Brennan, Hate Crime in Canada 2006 (Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada, 2008), http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85f0033m/85f0033m2008017-eng.pdf.
110 Ibid., p. 11, p. 9.
111 The police forces participating in the Pilot Survey were those of Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Sudbury, Waterloo, the Halton Region, Windsor, Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary, and the RCMP.
112 The calculation is simple: taking one-half of 229 (the figure for the years 2001 and 2002) and increasing that half by 15 percent, we get 133; increasing it by 17 percent, we get 135.
113 See Philip Walsh and Mia Dauvergne, Juristat: Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2007 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, May 2009), http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2009002/article/10844-eng.pdf, p. 12; see also “Police-reported hate crime,” The Daily (13 May 2009), http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/090513/dq090513c-eng.htm.
114 See A Profile of Criminal Victimization: Results of the 1999 General Social Survey (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2001), http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-554-x/85-554-x2001001-eng.pdf; and General Social Survey on Victimization, Cycle 18: An Overview of Findings: 2004 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2005), http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-565-x/85-565-x2005001-eng.pdf. The 2004 GSS does indicate that 3 percent of all criminal incidents “were believed by victims to have been motivated by hate” (see Hate Crime in Canada 2006, p. 6). The findings of the 2009 GSS, which also dealt with victimization, have not yet been published. GSS themes in other years have been such subjects as Family, Time use, Social support and aging, and Social engagement.
115 Toronto Police Service Hate Crime Unit Intelligence Division, 2008 Annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/publications/files/reports/2008hatecrimereport.pdf, p. 17; 2007 Annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report, http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/publications/files/reports/2007hatecrimereport.pdf, p. 15.
116 Brian Gray, “Toronto sees large jump in hate crimes,
Toronto Sun (20 May 2009), http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2009/05/20/9508881-sun.html.
117 These figures are from p. 15 of the 2007 report, and p. 17 of the 2008 report.
118 Gray, “Toronto sees large jump in hate crimes.”
119 The Honourable Roy McMurtry and Dr. Alvin Curling, The Review of the Roots of Youth Violence, Volume 1: Findings, Analysis and Conclusions (Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2008), http://www.rootsofyouthviolence.on.ca/english/reports/volume1.pdf, p. 381.