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Jewish Groups Around The World Argue Criticism Of Israel Is Not Anti-Semitic

(JTA) — Thirty-six Jewish groups from around the world have signed a statement condemning the conflation of anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel.

“As social justice organizations from around the world, we write this letter with growing alarm regarding the targeting of organizations that support Palestinian rights in general and the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in particular,” the statement says. “These attacks too often take the form of cynical and false accusations of anti-Semitism that dangerously conflate anti-Jewish racism with opposition to Israel’s policies and system of occupation and apartheid.”

Among the U.S.-based groups to sign the statement are Jewish Voice for Peace, which initiated the statement; Jews for Palestinian Right of Return; Jews of Color & Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in Solidarity w/ Palestine; and Jews Say No!

Jewish groups from Israel, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Argentina and the United Kingdom also signed the letter.

The letter calls on their governments to reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which it says  “is worded in such a way as to be easily adopted or considered by western governments to intentionally equate legitimate criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights with antisemitism, as a means to suppress the former.”

The groups signing on support BDS to varying levels, the letter notes, including some that take no position.

“Israel does not represent us and cannot speak for us when committing crimes against Palestinians and denying their UN-stipulated rights,” the letter says.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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