IHRA definition motion

Josh Burns slams Greens for opposing IHRA

The MP Macnamara was moving a motion reaffirming the House of Representatives' commitment to the definition.

Macnamara MP Josh Burns.
Macnamara MP Josh Burns.

Member for Macnamara Josh Burns slammed the Greens in Parliament on Monday for their continued opposition to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.

Moving a motion reaffirming the House of Representatives’ commitment to the definition, Burns – a co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of IHRA – cited several of its examples which he said were “straightforward”, but “apparently, not for the Greens”.

“One cannot call for aiding or justifying the killing or harming of Jews … You cannot make mendacious, dehumanising, demonising or stereotypical allegations about Jews, such as the power of Jews as a collective,” he said.

“You cannot mention a myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal issues.

“You cannot accuse the Jews, as a people, or Israel, as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust,” he continued.

“You cannot accuse Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide than to the interests of their own nations.”

Burns said it is “clearly set out” in the definition that “being critical of Israel is not antisemitic”.

“Nor does this definition shut down debate or limit freedom of speech. It simply creates a framework about how to engage in free and robust debate without descending into bigotry,” he said.

“It sits extremely uncomfortably with me that the Greens presume to know more about the manifestations of antisemitism than the Jewish community themselves.

“It is unfathomable to imagine the Greens, or anyone else, imposing their own definition of racism on any other minority in this country, yet they do this to the Jewish community.”

Burns’ Parliamentary Friends of IHRA co-chair Julian Leeser cited student unions adopting BDS policies, last year’s “death to Israel” article and student meeting chants at Adelaide University, and a Queensland University of Technology academic posting about “Nazi Jews” as examples of why the definition is sorely needed.

Fellow co-chair Allegra Spender said she took issue with criticism that the definition “stifles debate”.

“If somebody in a university screams, ‘Death to Israel’, you can see that that would be deeply disturbing to Jewish students, because Israel has been the home of the Jews for over 3000 years,” she said.

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