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'More important now than ever' – The Australian Jewish News

THE NSW Legislative Council has become the first house of Parliament in Australia to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.

But while the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) has commended the House and Christian Democratic Party leader Rev Fred Nile who moved to adopt it, it has taken aim at a member who during the debate argued that “Israel has made Jewish people more unsafe”.

A number of government members, including Shayne Mallard, Scott Farlow and Natalie Ward, spoke in favour of Nile’s motion to adopt the definition. Labor’s Daniel Mookhey and Walt Secord also spoke in favour.

A number of Greens spoke against it, as did Labor’s Shaoquett Moselmane and deputy opposition whip Anthony D’Adam, who took issue with the examples regarding Israel.

“I accept that Israel was created out of an aspiration for Jewish people to be safe. That is fair enough after the horrors of the Holocaust. But Jewish people should be safe everywhere in the world,” he said.

“In fact, I would argue that Israel has made Jewish people more unsafe.”

Condemning D’Adam’s “dangerous and misguided comments”, JBD CEO Darren Bark said they “take a page out of former UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-Israel playbook” and “are incredibly ignorant, offensive and dissociated from the truth”.

“To say that Israel makes Jews more unsafe is to ignore and slight the history of persecution that Jews have faced and the murder of six million Jews in Europe – who, if Israel had existed, would likely have lived,” Bark said.

“Mr D’Adam is so fundamentally wrong and insulting with his remarks we demand that they be withdrawn.”

Bark added, “We commend and thank each and every MP who spoke in support of the motion, and Reverend Fred Nile MLC for bringing it forward. With antisemitism on the rise around the world, and the fact NSW experienced the highest reported number of antisemitic incidents in Australia last year, the NSW Parliament’s adoption of the IHRA definition is more important now than ever.”

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) commended the JBD “for their persistent, effective efforts in achieving this welcome outcome”.

“AIJAC regrets that there are still those, even in Parliament, who believe they know better than the group of scholars and academics from around the world who dedicated years to developing a consensus working definition of antisemitism.

“It is time those naysayers engage with their Jewish constituents and commit to tackling antisemitism, whatever its origins,” AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein said.

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