‘Groundbreaking’: Arab Partners Label Anti-Zionism as Anti-Semitism

Progress in fighting anti-Semitism comes after the signing of diplomatic agreements between Israel and Bahrain. Illustrative signing photo. Photo courtesy of Haim Zach (Israeli GPO)

Arab nations once were committed to driving Israel into the sea, but in a “groundbreaking” shift, an Arab organization backed by the King of Bahrain has joined the coalition labeling anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism. The step represents progress in battling anti-Semitism, as anti-Zionism—which attacks the right of Jews to a homeland—has long been wielded as a covert form of Jew hatred.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the United States and Bahrain’s King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence “is groundbreaking in that it is the first time in history we are seeing Arab partners formally join the United States in combatting anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel,” said Elan Carr, of the Office of the US Department of State Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism (SEAS), in a press release.

The MOU, signed on October 22, declares that the King Hamad Centre and SEAS “intend to work together to share and promote best practices for combating all forms of anti-Semitism, including anti-Zionism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel.”

The MOU also adopts the Working Definition of Antisemitism as adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), including the examples of anti-Semitism. Among those examples listed on the IHRA website is “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” Holocaust denial is also included in the list of examples.

In the October press release, US Special Envoy Carr said of the MOU signed with the King Hamad Centre, “This partnership will build a future of tolerance, harmony, and peace for generations to come.”

That progress looks to already be happening. In a November 6 press briefing by Carr, the US Envoy said that the Global Imam Council—the world’s largest non-governmental organization of Muslim religious leaders—have also adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. Carr, whose comments were published by the State Department, said the move followed the MOU signed with the King Hamad Centre and means the Global Imam Council “have pledged also to combat anti-Semitism globally.”

Carr said that Albania has also become the first Muslim-majority nation whose parliament has formally adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

“We are seeing this on the march internationally, and this is a very, very good development for our mutual cause of fighting anti-Semitism, protecting the Jewish people, and of course supporting the State of Israel,” said Carr in the November briefing.

The steps forward in battling anti-Semitism come as three Arab nations have signed the Abraham Accords peace agreement with Israel. One of those three nations is Bahrain, the home of the King Hamad Centre. The United Arab Emirates and Sudan have also joined the peace accords.

The Trump Administration mediated the three peace accords and have made combatting anti-Semitism a priority. With Joe Biden the projected winner of the US Presidential election, the reporters last week asked Carr about the long-term prospects of the efforts to battle anti-Semitism.

“These are not partisan measures,” said Carr. “…I see these as fundamental issues that are American issues.  And of course, the fight against anti-Semitism is a fight for American values.

“And so it is critically important that we not only stay the course on these efforts but that we double down and continue to push this, because in rooting this scourge out from our world we truly are building a better world for our children and grandchildren that we all aspire for them to have.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 8, 2020)

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