Report: The Independent Columnist Mira Bar Hillel Wrong on EU Anti-Semitism Definition Repudiation

December 11, 2013 5:47 pm 4 comments
Mira Bar Hillel. Photo: International Building Press.

Mira Bar Hillel. Photo: International Building Press.

Mira Bar Hillel, a Jewish columnist for the UK’s The Independent newspaper, put false words in the mouth of the European Union, when she said it had repudiated a long standing definition of anti-Semitism, UK media watchdog CiF Watch reported on Wednesday, citing contradictory email communication from the EU.

Bar Hillel’s column, “The EU has retired it’s ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism – it’s about time: This definition of anti-Semitism has been too stretched for too long,” prompted criticism over The Independent’s choice of writer to probe the issue, after she admitted her bias against Jews, and charged that the definition was being used to stifle free speech. In her column,  Bar Hillel said she contacted the EU and was told that the definition had been “dropped.”

“The announcement was not heralded, headlined nor trumpeted. But a European Union agency this week officially dropped its ‘working definition’of anti-Semitism, adopted in 2005. The EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) now says it is neither able nor authorised to define the term,” Bar Hillel wrote last week.

But CiF Watch on Wednesday published back and forth emails, posted below, from one of its supporters who asked the same question to the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) – the successor agency to the EUMC, the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia – that painted a much different picture, with an important nuance lost to Bar Hillel.

Adam Levick, CiF Watch editor and Algemeiner blogger, wrote, ” The next time a commentator hostile to Jews or Israel claims that the EU ‘retired’ or ‘repudiated’ the EUMC Working Definition, you can definitively respond that their Fundamental Rights Agency – per their own words – did nothing of the sort.

“As we’ve noted on numerous occasions, the Working Definition is not law. However, it does represent a widely respected and practical guide (formulated by NGOs and reps from the Tolerance and Non-Discrimination section of the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in 2005) used by law enforcement agencies and human rights bodies in the EU to help determine what constitutes anti-Jewish racism.”

“Those committed to defending the fundamental human rights of Jews would be wise to follow their lead,” Levick said.

Email to the EUMC. Photo: Screenshot / CiFWatch.

Email to the EUMC. Photo: Screenshot / CiFWatch.

Email in reply from the EUMC. Photo: Screenshot / CiFWatch.

Email in reply from the EUMC. Photo: Screenshot / CiFWatch.

4 Comments

  • Mira Bar-Hillel is another of those Jew-hating Jews who is actually an Israeli, her father was Joshua Bar-Hillel a brilliant professor and scientist. What she knows about any of these subjects is doubtful, she was the Daily Telegraph’s architectural correspondent.

  • Bernard, here’s more info on who uses the working definition:

    The Working Definition was endorsed by the London Declaration of the Inter Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism in 2009.

    In 2010, the UK All-Party Inquiry into antisemitism recommended that the Working Definition should be adopted and promoted by the Government and law enforcement agencies.

    The UK National Union of Students renewed their support for the Working Definition in 2013.

    An official document published by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) recommends the Working Definition as a valuable hate crime data collection tool for law enforcement agencies, and for educators.

    The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has formally recognized the Working Definition.

    See more here:

    http://cifwatch.com/2013/12/11/email-shows-the-independent-got-it-wrong-on-antisemitism-working-definition/

  • sorry, but this article is poorly written, and for the American reader very dense indeed. you need an editor with a blue pencil. not time sensitive, it could have been revised and submitted in the next few days.

  • this answer is vague, as it only refers to the FRA. the question is who does set the standard and definition and have they changed it.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Sports Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    Does Working Out With Other Jews Keep You Jewish?

    JNS.org – For Daphna Krupp, her daily workout (excluding Shabbat) at the Jewish Community Center (JCC or “J”) of Greater Baltimore has become somewhat of a ritual. She not only attends fitness classes but also engages with the instructors and plugs the J’s social programs on her personal Facebook page. “It’s the gym and the environment,” says Krupp. “It’s a great social network.” Krupp, who lives in Pikesville, Md., is one of an estimated 1 million American Jewish members of more [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated Profiles Orthodox NCAA Basketball Player Aaron Liberman

    Sports Illustrated magazine featured an extensive profile on Orthodox-Jewish college basketball player Aaron Liberman on Wednesday.  The article details Liberman’s efforts to balance faith, academics and basketball at Tulane University, a challenge the young athlete calls “a triple major.” Sports Illustrated pointed out that Liberman is the second Orthodox student to play Division I college basketball. The other was Tamir Goodman, the so-called “Jewish Jordan.” As reported in The Algemeiner, Liberman started his NCAA career at Northwestern University. According to [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.