Ali Abunimah reports in The Electronic Intifada
It is antisemitic to say Israel perpetrates the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, according to the European Union. That would mean that major rights groups including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Israel’s B’Tselem – which is funded by the EU – are guilty of anti-Jewish bigotry, according to Brussels.
The EU’s extraordinary claim came in response to a question from several pro-Israel members of the European Parliament directed towards the EU’s executive body, the European Commission.
The lawmakers stated that Amnesty’s report last February “alleges that apartheid was inherent in the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 and has been built on and maintained by successive Israeli governments.” The lawmakers asked if EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also views Israel as an “apartheid state.”
They also wanted to know if Borrell considers Amnesty’s report to be “anti-Semitic” under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, “given that it claims that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavor (i.e. an apartheid state).”
The pro-Israel lawmakers should be fully satisfied with Borrell’s written response issued on 20 January.
“The Commission considers that it is not appropriate to use the term apartheid in connection with the State of Israel,” Borrell wrote. Borrell affirmed the EU’s reliance on the so-called IHRA definition of antisemitism and emphasized: “Claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor is amongst the illustrative examples included under the IHRA definition.”
European Commission response to Parliamentary question on Israel and apartheid