UNHCR’s blacklist, the ICC and Zionism as racism – these are the 2021 anti-semitism trends

January 6, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The focus on Zionism as a supposedly racist and exclusionary political ideology will intensify, the UNHCR’s blacklist is expected to return and the ICC will continue its campaign against Israel, these as the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic trends for 2021 according to the International Legal Forum (ILF).

Photo by Esty Dziubov/TPS

Based on trends in 2020, the Israel-based ILF predicts that anti-Israel activists in the US and Europe will continue trying to insert Israel and Zionism into contentious local debates around human rights and racism, attempting to further enshrine the misleading representation of Zionism as a political ideology.

Therefore, “it seems more important than ever to fully understand and successfully explain Zionism’s true nature as emerging from Judaism’s core,” the ILF said in its report “Yearly Review – Antisemitism Trends 2020” released on Monday.

“A full discussion on Zionism and its place in the 21st century hasn’t been conducted, this is also an opportunity for Jews worldwide to reflect, learn and reconnect with this element of Jewish identity that is lost on many,” ILF offered.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has served as fertile ground for anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, which will likely continue to expand in the upcoming year.

At the same time, the ILF foresees an additional increase in the voices worldwide who recognize the threat that anti-Semitism poses to both Jewish communities and to society as a whole.

ILF expects that more countries and institutions will adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism in 2021, despite the opposition from anti-Israel groups.

Several countries adopted the IHRA definition in 2020, including Muslim countries for the first time, Bahrain and Albania, and Muslim institutions, the Global Council of Imams and King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence.

The ILF further notes “with concern” efforts to renew the UNHCR blacklist in 2021 as well as expanded efforts to boycott companies doing business in Israel.

In February 2020, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) released its database of 112 companies that carry out business activities in Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

The database’s release in 2020 has so far had little success in dissuading companies or countries from doing business in Jerusalem or other communities. The Norwegian government, for example, recently ignored pressure from BDS activists and renewed a contract with a subsidiary of a blacklisted company.

However, the database is up for renewal at the UNHRC’s February 2021 session. This will likely bring the database back into public discussion.

Regarding the International Crimes Court (ICC) probes against Israel, “there is no doubt that Israel, even if indirectly, has reached impressive achievements,” the ILF declared.

While there is widespread support for Israel’s position against these proceedings and their legality, the ILF believes that it is likely that this is only the beginning of the process “and the worst is yet to come.”

An ICC decision can “significantly harm Israel’s international status and brand it as a war criminal, opening the door for arrest warrants against Israeli officials and hampering Israel’s diplomatic abilities to manage the conflict with the Palestinians, due to a legal decision indirectly recognizing the Palestinian right to a state along the 1967 lines,” the ILF warned.

The Abraham Accords between Israel and several Arab countries present a variety of new opportunities.

Presumably, 2021 will see a growing circle of acceptance and peace between Israel and the Arab and Muslim world. This will likely continue to bring opposition from anti-normalization forces.

How these peace deals will influence Israel’s troubled position in the UN remains to be seen. As the General Assembly reconvened at the end of 2020 there was hope to see a dramatic change in the traditional Israel-bashing resolutions, but that dramatic change has yet to happen.

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