By Laura Marrone, Former Buenos Aires Legislator, Socialist Left in the Left Front-Unity (FIT-U) 27 June 2020
A law that fills us with shame has just been voted on in the Buenos Aires City Legislature. Under a rigged and tricky text, on 18 June the Buenos Aires Legislature with almost all its members joined the agreement signed by President Fernandez and the Israeli Embassy a few days before. The agreement adopts the definition of anti-Semitism to any act carried out against Jews or Jewish institutions, according to the new definition adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Thus, if someone criticises the government of Israel, he or she would commit a crime of anti-Semitism, or repudiating the aggression of the state of Israel against the Palestinian people would be “anti-Semitic”.
The new definition now voted on in the Buenos Aires Legislature seeks to confuse those who honestly support the Jewish people against the holocaust and persecution they have suffered throughout history. Let’s dismantle the trap. Anti-Semitic does not equal anti-Zionist. To condemn the state of Israel is to be anti-Zionist, because Zionism is the political movement that endorses repression, persecution and expropriation of the Palestinian people’s land. But under no circumstances is it to be anti-Semitic. The term is wrong because the Semites are many peoples of the Middle East, not only Jews, and many Jews are not Semites. The anti-Zionists are in favour of the creation of a new secular, non-racist, democratic state, where Palestinians and Jews alike, many of them Semites, live with equal rights, as it existed before 1948, when the imperialist powers created the state of Israel enclave in the Palestinian lands.
Both our national organisation, the Socialist Left, and the international current to which we adhere, the International Workers’ Unity – Fourth International (IWU-FI), have a long and consistent record of repudiating and combating any racist expression or attack against the Jewish people or any other people. But here we are dealing with something very different: a deception that must be cleared up and repudiated.
This law arises because the IHRA, the alliance formed by the governments of 34 countries, promotes equating the definition of anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism. Thus, whoever dares to question the criminal and genocidal annexationist policy that Israel is carrying out against the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank would be anti-Semitic, since Israel declares itself to be Jewish. Through these IHRA actions, Israel seeks to close the ranks of the vast majority of governments to support the “Century Agreement” signed by Israeli President Netanyahu and President Trump in January of this year. This agreement gives Israel the right to continue annexing Palestinian land.
The agreement recognises Zionist sovereignty over settler settlements in the West Bank, Jerusalem as the capital of the Zionist entity, and the annexation of the Jordan River Valley. It proposes the expulsion of 300,000 Palestinians with Israeli citizenship to the pseudo-Palestinian state, while denying the right of return to 6 million Palestinian refugees, who under the agreement would no longer be considered refugees. They would be denied the right to recover their property stolen during the colonisation process or to any economic compensation. In exchange, a pseudo-Palestinian state would be recognised, like the ghettos or Bantustans of South African apartheid: without control of its borders or its air and sea space. “Demilitarised” in the sense that Palestinians are forbidden to arm themselves to defend themselves against Zionist attacks. This pseudo-state would be given two strips of land in the desert and Gaza would remain under siege. Support for any national and anti-racist grievance initiative such as the anti-Zionist Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is considered a violation of the agreement.
This aberrant proposal is the continuity of the aggressive imperialist and racist policy of Trump in relation to the Palestinian issue. In the last three years, the U.S. government has endorsed the illegal occupation by Zionist forces of the Syrian Golan Heights and recognised Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, announcing that it will install the U.S. embassy in that city. The U.S. closed down the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and eliminated humanitarian aid and support for the UN refugee agency in Palestine. In December 2019, the U.S. signed an executive order against the BDS movement to criminalise criticism of Israel and equate it with anti-Semitism.
Regarding the favourable vote in the Legislature of the Macri’s Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) and the Peronist Frente de Todos (All Front), it is inadmissible that 3 legislators who are now fulfilling the mandate of the FIT in the Buenos Aires Legislature have voted in favour of this aberration. We reject the vote of Gabriel Solano (PO) and Myriam Bregman and Alejandrina Barry (PTS), and we call on them to immediately and publicly withdraw their support, accompanying the correct opposite vote of the A and L (Self-determination and Freedom) deputy, Marta Martinez and the position of the Socialist Left, which we are consistent with the positions that the entire Left Front-Unity has put forward against the genocidal State of Israel and the persecution of the Palestinian people all these years, with declarations, marches and acts, accompanying the repudiation that the people of Palestine are promoting.
From the Socialist Left in the Left Front-Unity (FIT-U) we have always opposed these initiatives that seek to legitimise the genocidal state of Israel and we are the promoters of the Argentine Committee of Solidarity with the People of Palestine.
We call on all human rights organisations, trade unions, women’s movements, student centres, to speak out against the Trump and Netanyahu agreement, and against this law and the agreement signed by the national government.