Scott Farlow: “The scourge of antisemitism”

October 26, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Member of New South Wales Legislative Council Scott Farlow addressed the state parliament on the definition of antisemitism according to The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Scott Farlow

He said that the scourge of anti-Semitism, which was at the very core of the Holocaust and is a problem that we unfortunately still see today.

The text of his speech:

“The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies advised that the Jewish community recorded 331 anti-Semitic incidents in 2020, with incidents occurring in schools and affecting Jewish children as young as five years old. Unfortunately, this is based only on incidents that are reported. A survey conducted by Monash University found that the vast majority of anti-Semitic incidents go unreported. The real numbers may be some 30 to 40 times higher.

Last week this House honoured Mr Eddie Jaku, OAM, a Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to promoting harmony, understanding, peace, love and not showing hatred to anyone. Mr Jaku survived both Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps and, after relocating to Australia, dedicated his life to ensuring that hope and love triumphed over despair and hatred, including through his work at the Sydney Jewish Museum over 30 years. I thank the Premier for his announcement today of a State funeral for Mr Jaku. It is an honour that is well deserved. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA] was formed in 1998 and has a membership of 34 countries, including Australia. It brings together “governments and experts to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance”.

The IHRA determined that to address the problem of anti-Semitism, there must be clarity about what anti-Semitism actually is. The IHRA Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial has subsequently set out and agreed on a working definition that has been formally adopted by the United Nations member states of Albania, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay and, most recently, Australia. The working definition has also been adopted by major universities, including Oxford and Cambridge; by sporting associations, including the English Football Association; and by intergovernmental organisations. The working definition of anti-Semitism is simple and powerful. It is also backed by several examples that serve as practical guides to interpreting it. The working definition is as follows:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

The examples given with the working definition are practical and workable and can easily be understood. They include: calling for, aiding or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion; making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective; accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews; denying the facts, scope, mechanisms or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of Nazi Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II; accusing the Jews as people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust; and denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.

Adopting the working definition offers clear guideline for assessing whether an act or statement can be reasonably regarded as anti-Semitic. It allows us to make clear and reasonable determinations as to what are considered unacceptable acts and statements. It sends a clear message to the people of New South Wales that we do not and will not accept anti-Semitism in our society, and it sends a clear message to the New South Wales Jewish community that we hear them and we stand with them in saying no to anti-Semitism. As Chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel, I congratulate the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Scott Morrison, MP, on adopting the working definition of anti-Semitism. I thank him for his work in this important policy area. The Prime Minister said:

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