The European Union has vowed to help Israel crack down on ‘critical’ speech.
EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova hailed all efforts to remove so-called hate speech from online forums during a visit to the Israeli foreign ministry in Jerusalem this week.
Ironically during her visit, Jourova also met with the Israeli justice minister Ayelet Shaked, the woman who called for the genocide of the Palestinian people on facebook in 2014.
She declared that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and justified its destruction, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.” She also called for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.” Her posting sounds somewhat critical and certainly hateful, but the EU has never bothered to launch an initiative to hold Israeli leaders accountable for their racist and genocidal incitement.
The Electronic Intifada reports:
In a tweet Jourova said her meeting with Shaked would herald “deeper EU-Israel cooperation.”
— Věra Jourová (@VeraJourova) June 26, 2017
Her visit was billed as part of the EU’s cooperation with Israel aimed at “combating racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism.”
Her Israeli host, foreign ministry director general Yuval Rotem stated, “Israel believes that the IT industry needs to take on greater responsibility in the proactive effort to detect hate speech online.”
Target is criticism of Israel
But while genuinely combating hate speech might be laudable, the evidence is that this initiative is more about trying to suppress criticism of Israel.
The joint statement issued by the EU and Israel places their effort in the context of the European Parliament’s recent endorsement of the so-called International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition on anti-Semitism and calls for using it “for better training of law enforcement and government.”
The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is virtually identical to the one originally drawn up by pro-Israel lobbyists as part of an exercise coordinated by a European Union agency.
That definition was never formally adopted by the EU.
But it was embraced by the US State Department in 2010 and Israel lobbyists have continued to push institutions and governments around the world, including the US Congress, to formally endorse it.
It contains the uncontroversial statement that anti-Semitism “is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews,” and which may be manifested through rhetorical or physical attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions.
But the definition is flanked by an explanatory memorandum, citing examples that muddy the waters between anti-Semitism – bigotry against Jews – on the one hand, and criticism of Israel and its state ideology Zionism, on the other.