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The European Court of Justice's antisemitic ruling

By Jed Lea-Henry - posted Monday, 2 December 2019

With the exception of Syria during the height of the violence in 2013, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has never issued a country-specific resolution… apart from when it comes to Israel, for whom they have averaged 10 each year.

The World Health Organization (WHO) only adopts resolutions for global health issues, and no individual country is ever singled out for condemnation… no other country besides Israel that is, who have had an entire annual resolution created just for them: “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan”.

Even the International Labour Organization (ILO) – charged with improving labour conditions, increasing wages, fighting unemployment, and protecting workers’ rights around the world – have decided that the only country-specific report that they will produce is one targeting Israel.


As this washes over you, it is important to remember that, in their region of the world, Israel is the only liberal democracy, the only country that operates under the rule of law, that has a real separation of powers with an independent judiciary, has free and open elections, a free press along with freedom of speech, and legally protects the fundamental human rights of minority groups (women, religious, and sexual).

The European Court of Justice is simply the latest in a long list of institutions and countries that have decided to single Israel out, not for its behaviour, but simply because it is Israel.

It comes back to the question of what people do when their deeply-held bigotries are suddenly denied to them. Pushed underground, yet with their minds unchanged, these feelings are unlikely to just disappear. Instead they re-emerge with new faces, and subtler forms of expression, that skirt those new legal and normative barricades.

It’s an unhappy accusation, but what could possibly explain this pattern of behaviour – or these types of laws – other than anti-Semitism. Sure it’s less direct, but it is no less obvious – when the expression of Jew hatred becomes unacceptable, try your hand at the hatred of Israel instead. When you can’t get away with persecuting Jews, why not just transfer that anger over to persecuting the Jewish state.

This is what the start of a pogrom feels like – each small step legitimates the next. And so what is happening here should make everyone feel uncomfortable. The European Union has violated its own official standards, the rulings of multiple courts, as well as its own obligations under the World Trade Organization, so that it can once again pin a yellow star on the collars of every Jew, and on the doors of every Jewish business.

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About the Author

Jed Lea-Henry is a writer, academic, and the host of the Korea Now Podcast. You can follow Jed's work, or contact him directly at Jed Lea-Henry and on Twitter @JedLeaHenry.

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