Speaking after a vote in the Stormont Assembly to back the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism, People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll said:
“A worrying precedent was set today in Stormont as the SDLP, Alliance, and the UUP backed a DUP motion supporting the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism.
“Antisemitism has a barbaric history and there is an onus on all of us to challenge it in any form, and to stand together in solidarity with our Jewish community when they experience antisemitism.
“Today’s vote by the Assembly, however, endorsed a definition of antisemitism which is opposed by a large section of the Jewish community, including over 40 Jewish groups globally, local groups like Jewish Voice for Just Peace, and more than 1400 lawyers and academics including 56 scholars who specialise in antisemitism, because it wrongly conflates antisemitism with genuine and legitimate criticism of the state of Israel.
“Also today, Human Rights Watch published a report called ‘A Threshold Crossed’ which details how Israeli authorities have subjugated Palestinians because of their identity. To quote the report: “In certain areas, these deprivations are so severe that they amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”
“It is incredibly significant that this report coincides with Stormont support for a definition which, if written into law, would undermine our ability to challenge the apartheid practices of Israel against Palestinians.
“I would like to place on record my thanks to Jewish Voice for Just Peace, IPSC, NIC-ICTU, and the Belfast Trades Council who wrote to MLAs, urging them to oppose this motion. It is extremely disappointing that only myself and Sinn Féin challenged support for the IHRA definition.
“I believe the DUP proposed today’s motion to recreate the controversy this definition has caused elsewhere, because their recent actions – parading around a Trump flag, supporting homophobic practices in churches, backing prosecutions for Black Lives Matter protesters, and whipping up sectarian tensions – shows they have little care for challenging oppression or discrimination.
“The fight against antisemitism must be understood in the context of a dangerous rise of the far right and is best conducted as part of the wider struggle against all forms racism, discrimination, and xenophobia. People Before Profit will continue to practically oppose antisemitism and all forms of racism.”