Matthew Zeidman’s letter demonstrates why it was necessary for Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, along with many other governmental agencies, to adopt the intergovernmental International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism. This widely acclaimed definition does not chill criticism of the Israeli government. Rather the definition helps identify when criticism veers off into classic, untrue, and highly dangerous antisemitic tropes such as “ethnic cleansing.”
Those who long for the ability to be able say anything they want without a shred of accountability routinely critique any definition that might suggest they crossed a line. It is no different with the IHRA critics, for whom it seems no criticism of Israel ever crosses any line, however egregious.
It is also highly revealing that the writer, who purports to be a champion of Palestinian rights, did not mention the June 24 “unnatural death” (as reported by Al Jazeera) of Nizar Banat, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s erstwhile critic. Also absent are the ongoing protests attended by thousands of Palestinians throughout the West Bank against the autocratic, corrupt and oppressive Abbas regime. Crickets’ silence regarding this significant development in the fight for Palestinian rights makes one wonder whether such IHRA critics really care about Palestinian rights or are just simply “anti-Israel.”
Lastly, notwithstanding Huda Ayaz’s antisemitic comment, I agree with the writer that bigoted responses to Ms. Ayaz and her family are wholly inappropriate and unconstructive. Such behavior, like those of the IHRA critics, demonize and dehumanize groups of people. This type of behavior is highly counterproductive to the necessary goal of global unity and harmony.
American Jewish Committee
Long Island President