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November 24, 2010

Irwin Cotler should be ashamed of himself

Reuel S. Amdur

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How the mighty have fallen. The great American civil libertarian Alan Dershowitz' works on behalf of human rights and civil liberties will be overshadowed by his support for the use of torture. Our own distinguished civil libertarian Irwin Cotler stands to be remembered for his advocacy of censorship.

The so-called Ottawa Protocol of the Interparliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism gives examples of “ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel”: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” “Applying double standards by requiring of it behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

By the way, whatever happened to the idea that Israel was to be “a light unto the nations”? Returning to the list of examples: “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” This protocol has Cotler's support.

Next step: a meeting of the ICCA in the United States next year, where the agenda will include pressure on internet providers to remove antisemitic material from the web. Will that include, for example, “applying double standards to Israel”? Let us see how the examples set forth might play out in the real world.

Balad, an Israeli Palestinian political party, favors making Israel a democratic country for all its citizens. It opposes Israel being a Jewish state. Is Balad antisemitic?

One Israeli academic, I forget who, said that Israeli legislative discrimination against Palestinians is reminiscent of Nazi legislation in the 1930's. He made it clear that the comparison was not to the later Nazi death camps. Is he an antisemite? Or just a self-hating Jew?

The “double standards” business is a tricky one, as it appears to be intended. France pushes Roma out of the country. France is a democracy. Hence, it becomes antisemitic to complain about Israel destroying Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, driving Bedouin from their Negev village, or stealing Palestinian land in Bil'in.

The Ottawa Protocol could have been written by Binyamin Netanyahu himself. Irwin Cotler should be ashamed of himself.

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