Language in the Service of Lawfare: The “Working Definition of Antisemitism” of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

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Abstract

The “Working Definition of Antisemitism” of the International Holocaust
Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has been adopted by the European Parliament
and numerous national and local bodies worldwide. Although the document
describes itself as “non-legally binding,” it has been characterized as a “quasi-law, in which capacity it exercises the de facto authority of the law, without
having acquired legal legitimacy” (Gould, Law, Culture and the Humanities,
1–34, 2018:1). This chapter subjects the IHRA definition to scrutiny via
Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), examining not only its language but also
its origins, its social and political context, and its implications for freedom of
speech. Its authors’ objectives can be described as “lawfare”—the use of the
law for political ends—in which this text is a linguistic weapon.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiscourse and Conflict
Subtitle of host publicationAnalysing Text and Talk of Conflict, Hate and Peace-Building.
EditorsInnocent Chiluwa
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Chapter3
Pages51-84
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-76485-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-76484-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Antisemitism
  • Censorship
  • Free speech
  • Hate speech
  • IHRA definition
  • Israel/Palestine
  • Lawfare

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