Hollywood A-List actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted an article on Friday that details a statement urging the UN to not adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition of antisemitism. (IHRA WDA)
The statement explicated in the article by the Qatari state-funded news giant, Al-Jazeera, was published by 128 “[l]eading scholars in antisemitism.” It alleges that the definition is “instrumentalized to deter free speech and to shield the Israeli government from accountability for its actions.”
Meanwhile, the statement blasts the IHRA definition for being “[v]ague and incoherent” and asserts that the definition does not “satisfy the basic requirements of a good definition.” It goes on to promote the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism.
What is IHRA's definition for antisemitism?
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Mark Ruffalo has a history of being ardently anti-Israel. In 2020, he lamented that he had been labeled an antisemite while speaking to Mehdi Hasan on Hasan’s self-titled NBC program.
On the same program, he labeled Israel as a “kind of apartheid.” The following year, in 2021, he accused Israel of “genocide” on Twitter.
He subsequently recanted the latter statement in the face of criticism and similar rhetoric being used to justify the attacking of Jews in major cities all over the world by pro-Palestinian activists.
Many see Ruffalo as having shown a fundamental lack of understanding of the reality and mentalities behind the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
In response to an assertion by another Twitter user that Hamas uses their fellow Palestinians as human shields, he tweeted a response asking, “do you honestly think these people, these fellow human beings, would use their own children as shields? Use your heart.”
“Do you honestly think these people, these fellow human beings, would use their own children as shields? Use your heart.”Mark Ruffalo
Apparently, unknown to the celebrated actor, Palestinians, and not solely those known to be associated with a terrorist organization, have been known to express willingness and hope for their children to be martyrs for Palestine.
For example, in a recent video on the YouTube channel Cory Gil-Shuster, Shuster asks Palestinians across the West Bank if they want their children to be martyrs for Palestine. Many of those featured in the video expressed that they did.
The statement from the “scholars in antisemitism” states that its concern with the IHRA definition stems from the seven attached Israel-related examples of antisemitism that it provides.
The example of most concern is the one stating that it is antisemitic to “[apply] double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”
It should be noted that nowhere in the statement do its authors recognize that it may actually be unfair and antisemitic to demand a level of conduct from Israel that would not be asked of another democratic nation.
Furthermore, nowhere in the statement does it acknowledge that, even sometimes, vitriol for Israel is the chosen medium for the expression of Jew hatred.
In spite of its detractors, 38 countries have formally adopted the IHRA WDA including the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Israel.
Mark Ruffalo himself recognized this fact in his apology for accusing Israel of genocide.
The statement that is being promoted by Ruffalo and Al-Jazeera is problematic in several other ways as well.
For instance, regarding the examples of antisemitism attached to the IHRA definition, it claims, “[a]mple evidence shows that these examples are being weaponized to discredit and silence legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies as antisemitism.” It does not, unfortunately, provide a source of such evidence.
It also claims that if the UN adopts the IHRA definition, it could “weaken the UN’s ability to act as a neutral mediator in Israel and Palestine.” This is an odd concern as many see the current UN status quo as tremendously biased against Israel.
The UN regularly issues condemnations of Israel many times more frequently than it does for every other nation in the world combined.