The Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University on Tuesday honored World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder with the prestigious Guardian of Zion Award for his efforts in the perpetuation and strengthening of Jerusalem.
In his acceptance speech, Lauder outlined the challenges facing the Jewish world today and spoke about his vision for contending with contemporary anti-Semitism. “Over the last 20 years, and for the first time since the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is acceptable again,” Lauder said. “Unlike the anti-Semitism of the past, today it comes not just from the Far-Right, but increasingly it comes from the Far-Left. And the new target for this age-old hatred is not the ‘International Jew,’ as Henry Ford called us. Today, it is the Jewish state of Israel, which is constantly vilified throughout the media, on the internet, at the United Nations, and on almost every college campus.”
Lauder went on to say: “Let’s make one thing crystal-clear right now. When someone says they are not anti-Jewish, they are only anti-Israel, that is a lie. When you hold the only Jewish nation to a different standard than any other country, when you make up lies about the only Jewish nation, its past and its present, and when you want the only Jewish nation on earth to disappear, that makes you an anti-Semite. Pure and simple.”
The WJC president expressed disappointment in the United Nations’ resolve at contending with these issues, saying international body was losing legitimacy as it allowed anti-Jewish sentiment to undermine it.
Lauder said that for Jews today, “our destiny is in our own hands.”
The World Jewish Congress had come a long way since its founding in 1936, Lauder said, from the days when it had to turn to the world for help. But now, he pointed out, “the era of the quiet Jew is over.”
Lauder said the WJC was working to engage young Jewish leaders, including the flagship WJC-Jewish Diplomatic Corps program, a group of more than 200 young professionals who assist the WJC in its diplomatic and outreach endeavors as emissaries in their respected countries around the world. “I intend to make our young people, proud of their heritage again. I want them to have the same pride that we had when we were younger.”
Lauder also discussed the WJC’s efforts in combating attacks on Israel in the legal realm and on campuses, and proposed to enhance Jewish public relations efforts, “so that we, not our enemies will define who we are.”
He ended his speech with a plea: “This is the job before us now. We have to help our children and our grandchildren dust off their hearts, we have to help them re-discover that Jewish flame inside them. This isn’t just important for Jews, it’s important for everyone, Jews and gentiles, because for over 5,000 years, that flame has been lighting the entire world.”
The Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies was established at Bar-Ilan University in 1995 by US Jewish community leaders Ingeborg Hanna and Ira Leon Rennert as an expression of their heartfelt commitment to the preservation and advancement of Jerusalem’s unique heritage. Integrating studies on the history, archaeology, geography, demography, economy and sociology of Jerusalem, the Rennert Center has become the foremost academic center in the international academic community studying aspects of Jerusalem’s past and present.
This is the 20th year the Rennert Center is conferring the Guardian of Zion Award. Last year’s award was bestowed upon former US Senator Joe Lieberman. Additional recipients have included Jonathan Sacks, James S. Snyder, Dore Gold, Malcolm Hoenlein, Caroline Glick, Norman Podhoretz, Daniel Pipes, William Safire, Arthur Cohn, Charles Krauthammer, Cynthia Ozick, A.M. Rosenthal, Herman Wouk and Elie Wiesel.
“The UK condemns any activities aimed at denying the reality of the Holocaust, wherever they occur in the world. British officials in Iran have raised our strong objections to the cartoon competition which is being held there.”
Note that the statement does not even have a UK government minister’s name assigned to it, merely labelled as coming from a spokesperson.
Considering the UK has been at the forefront of education regarding the Holocaust, being one of the first countries to adopt Holocaust Memorial Day as a state sponsored commemoration, its inaction over Iran’s disgusting state sponsored event is even more shocking.
The Tehran government provides $50,000 for the winner of the vile event, hosted in June 2016. Hundreds of submissions are expected from the Islamic world. Last year, Iran received 839 anti-Semitic cartoons for consideration.
Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, said in January 2016, “This anti-Semitic act represents the pure evil of the Iranian regime. Denying the Holocaust is one of the most powerful expressions of anti-Semitism, which legitimizes the deaths of millions of Jews.”
Even UNESCO, which recently tried to redact world history by changing its language for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, acquiescing by the Palestinian Authority that it refer to the site using the term “Al-Aqsa mosque” only, condemned the cartoon contest as far back as March.
The United Nations has demonstrated yet again just how unfit it is to hold that name title. Also worrying is how it has been supported in its last farce by the UK, France, Germany.
These nations, together with other EU states have voted for a UN resolution, co-sponsored by the Arab group of states and the Palestinian delegation, that uniquely singled out Israel at the annual assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the only violator of “mental, physical and environmental health.”
They further commissioned a WHO delegation to investigate and report on “the health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory” and in “the occupied Syrian Golan,” and to place it on the agenda again at next year’s meeting.
By contrast, the UN assembly did not address Syrian hospitals being bombed by Syrian and Russian warplanes, or millions of Yemenis denied access to food and water by the Saudi-led bombings and blockade, nor did it pass a resolution on China, North Korea, Libya or any other world nation.
“The UN reached new heights of absurdity today,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, “by enacting a resolution which accuses Israel of violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan, even as in reality Israeli hospitals continue their life-saving treatment for Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks.”
“Shame on Britain, France and Germany for encouraging this hijacking of the annual world health assembly, Neuer added.
In contrast to the shocking collaboration of the UK, France and Germany, there is much to commend the principled stand taken by the U.S., Canada, Australia, Paraguay, Guatemala, Micronesia and Papua New Guinea in joining Israel to oppose perpetuating a politicized agenda item.
The U.S. and Canada both took the floor today to strongly object to the anti-Israel exercise.
The vote was 107 to 8 for the resolution, with 8 abstentions and 58 absent. The resolution calls for reports on a series of alleged Israeli violations, including on “the impact of prolonged occupation and human rights violations on mental,
physical and environmental health” in “the occupied Palestinian territory.”
By backing the measure, EU states effectively adopted an inflammatory report which, amongst other things, blamed the increase in Palestinian traffic accidents on the fear of “being pursued by settlers”; as well as a Syrian submission laced with anti-Semitic conspiracy tropes, yet circulated as an official UN document on the conference agenda, which alleges that “the Israeli occupation authorities” continue “to experiment on Syrian and Arab prisoners with medicines and drugs and to inject them with pathogenic viruses.”
Unable to deny Israel’s medical treatment of thousands of wounded Syrians, the regime accuses Israel of a plot: healing “armed terrorists from Jabhah al-Nusrah” so that they can “resume their subversive terrorist activities directed against the country’s peaceful citizens and its infrastructure.”
The EU states could have introduced their own resolution about how Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of its own people, destroying the health rights of the Syrian people.
Last month, France and Spain voted for an Arab-sponsored UNESCO resolution that contained the wild conspiracy accusation that Israel was “planting fake Jewish graves” in Jerusalem.
With today’s vote, which robs the world health assembly of limited time and resources in order to portray Israel as the world’s only violator of health rights, the entire EU now descends into irrationalism.
By scapegoating the Jewish state for all the world’s health problems, just as medieval Europe once accused the Jews of poisoning the wells, the EU aids and abets the UN and its World Health Organization to betray the cause of humanity and the very principles upon which they were founded.
This article is adapted from one published by UN Watch. Follow the link to it here.
Considering the concern over soaring anti-Semitism in Europe and further afield, you would perhaps imagine that the United Nations would be doing all it could to reassure world Jewry of its decisive and committed action to help stamp out this evil.
Unfortunately, as AntiSemitismWatch has frequently reported, the United Nations has shown itself an unprincipled conspirator in aiding and abetting the perpetration of anti-Semitic lies and falsehoods by freely playing host to those who engage in such behaviour.
In the latest vile example, Israel was accused on Friday in the United Nations of preparing a ‘final solution’ for Arabs from the Palestinian Authority.’
“What is Israel planning to do with the Palestinians?” asked Venezuela’s UN Ambassador Rafael Ramirez. “Do the Israelis want the Palestinians to disappear? Is Israel preparing a ‘final solution’ for the Palestinians similar to that which was perpetrated against them?”
Shockingly, Venezuela presently holds one of the hugely significant ten rotating seats on the UN Security Council.
The comparison, drawing a link between Israel and Nazi Germany, drew immediate outrage from Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon.
“This statement by the Venezuelan ambassador is straightforward anti-Semitism against the Jewish state,” said Danon, according to a statement by the Israeli mission to the UN. “His remarks are a direct continuation to the Palestinian representative’s statement a few days ago comparing Israel to the Nazis,” Danon said, adding the remarks were “unequivocally condemned” by the U.S., the UK and France.
In what has become the trademark reaction to those exposed for perpetrating anti-Semitic rhetoric, Ramirez subsequently apologized to the “Jewish People if they were offended by the remarks,” according to the statement.
“The Palestinians are bringing anti-Semitism into the halls of the UN and are legitimizing racists and crass language in the parliament of nations,” Danon noted.
Last month Palestinian Authority representative to the UN Riyad Mansour drew a parallel between the Jewish resistance fighters during the Holocaust and the Arab attackers in the current wave of terror.
AntiSemitismWatch will continue to expose the dreadful reality that is the United Nations, campaigning to ensure that it returns to the core principles of its establishment in the aftermath of World War II. We shall also further hold to account those countries like the US, France and the UK, who should be leading the urgent necessary reform of the UN in order to deliver that change.
The ongoing farce that is the United Nations has managed to stoop to a new low by redacting world history while supported by some of the world governmental powers who should know better.
UNESCO, the United Nations body responsible for protecting historical and archeological sites throughout the world, has changed its language for the Temple Mount, acquiescing last week to a request by the Palestinian Authority that it refer to the site using the term “Al-Aqsa mosque” only.
This means that the organization has de facto accepted the Palestinian position that denies any connection between Mount Moriah (the Temple Mount) and the Jewish Temples and rejected Israel’s position that the Temple Mount is the holiest site for the Jewish people.
The decision was taken at the UNESCO Steering Committee’s semiannual conference. The decision passed in a vote of 33 to six, with 17 abstentions. Countries that supported the decision included Russia, France, Spain, Slovenia, and Sweden.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to the UNESCO decision: “This is yet another absurd U.N. decision. UNESCO ignores the unique historic connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount, where the two temples stood for a thousand years and to which every Jew in the world has prayed for thousands of years. The U.N. is rewriting a basic part of human history and has again proven that there is no low to which it will not stoop.”
Last month, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Canadian professor Michael Lynk as “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.”
Ensuing debate has focused on Lynk’s suitability for the role. Critics of the appointment cite Lynk’s record of significant involvement in advocacy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including with organizations that are clearly biased against Israel.
Lynk’s may have an impressive career background in academia and law, therefore, there is nothing to suggest he lacks the knowledge or experience for such a position. But this is ultimately irrelevant to the question of whether Lynk is a suitable choice for Special Rapporteur.
First and foremost, the UNHRC itself has declared (in resolutions 5/1 and 16/21) that “impartiality” and “objectivity” are of “paramount importance” when selecting mandate-holders. The choice of any activist is a clear violation of this core requirement.
Lynk has served as an advisory board member to Palestinian advocacy organisations like CEPAL and Friends of Sabeel North America. These organisations have slandered Israel as an “apartheid state.”
Lynk has also accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing.” He has addressed “one-state” conferences, which — despite academic niceties — are premised on the notion that the world’s only Jewish state should be abolished.
He is on record as saying that Israel and Hamas should both be tried for “war crimes,” an allegation that attempts to equivocate the actions of the only liberal democracy in the region to the same moral level as jihadists who in their Covenant publicly call for the destruction of Israel.
Lynk has urged the president of Western University to reject an award from the Jewish National Fund, one of the oldest environmental organizations on earth. As long ago as 1996, Lynk testified before a parliamentary committee considering legislation to establish Canada-Israel free trade, arguing that the bill was “detrimental to the peace process.”
For decades, he has been actively and formally involved in advocacy initiatives that he would characterize as pro-Palestinian but others, with reason, would characterise as anti-Israel.
Lynk is, of course, entitled to hold strong opinions and advocate for them. But in so doing, he disqualifies himself from meeting the “paramount” test of impartiality and objectivity required — that seems to exist only on paper in the halls of the UNHRC.
All of which is to say that Lynk’s appointment is but one manifestation of the corroded nature of the UNHRC. In its most recent session, the UNHRC passed five resolutions against Israel compared to none against Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia, Burundi, and China. The Council’s Special Rapporteur for the Palestinians refuses to investigate violations of Palestinian rights by the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. It’s no surprise that 9/11 conspiracy theorist Richard Falk felt at home in the role. Nor can we be shocked the next time a brutal dictatorship like Iran or North Korea is appointed to chair a UN initiative focused on women’s rights or disarmament.
In November, the Trudeau government took a widely noted stand at the UN by maintaining Canada’s opposition to the annual series of General Assembly resolutions singling out Israel. In the same vein, its Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion has commendably raised legitimate concerns with the Lynk appointment and called for a review of the decision. Such a clear positive stance is all too often lacking from other democratic nations.
Indeed, just as hatred of Jews foreshadows the decay of an entire society, anti-Israel bias at the UNHRC reflects broader, systemic dysfunction at the UN — which affects the entire international community.
Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, has this week blasted the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for behaving “obsessively” against Israel. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement calling the body an “anti-Israel circus,” adding the council “attacks the only democracy in the Middle East and ignores the gross violations of Iran, Syria and North Korea.”
In our ongoing campaign to expose the anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic hypocrisy of the United Nations we can report that the UNHRC adopted a measure calling for the establishment of a database of businesses “involved in activities” in the occupied West Bank.
The Geneva-based council, a 47-member state forum, adopted the motion with 32 votes in favour, none against and 15, mostly European nations and the US, abstaining.
The council asked for the list of enterprises to be updated annually and to be appraised of the “human rights and international law violations involved in the production of settlement goods.”
Danon said the council’s decision reminded of “a dark period in Europe when Jewish businesses were singled out. Whoever supported today’s decision, should be ashamed.”
Indeed, AntiSemitismWatch today publishes a copy of a flyer distributed by British Fascists in the 1960s. It contextualizes the true nature of how the UNHRCs latest action should be considered and that of the BDS movement in general. The content of the flyer is reminiscent of contemporary language of BDS supporters and apologists.
The council also named Canadian Michael Lynk as its new ‘Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories’. His role to investigate on the situation of human rights in the region.
The appointment of the Western University law professor is controversial because of what some describe as his long-held and public bias against the Jewish state.
On 25th January this year, in an AntiSemitismWatch special report, highlighted how the United Nations has become a bastion for all the is bad in the world; rife with greed, corruption and inherent anti-Semitism.
In its latest demonstration of its appalling, biased judgement, a UN report has blamed Israel for domestic violence perpetrated against Palestinian women.
Danny Danon, the Israeli Ambassador to the UN has demanded that Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon revise the document, which was disseminated by his office ahead of International Women’s Day.
Issued for the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women to be held March 14-24, the report highlights the situation of Palestinian women for the period from October 1st 2014 to September 30th 2015.
It suggests that “overcrowded living conditions and a lack of privacy” in Palestinian refugee camps causes “psychological distress among camp residents” which combined with “the unstable political and security situation and discriminatory gender stereotypes and norms” leads to this type of violence.
“Specifically for women and girls, this overcrowding limits their mobility, privacy and access to recreational spaces.”
The report on Palestinian women is expected to receive significant attention during the conference. This, Israel’s permanent mission to the UN said, will create an absurd situation in which Israel is the only UN member-state which will be singled out for its treatment of women.
Also highly significant, but not unusual for the UN, is that of the 13 documents issued by them in advance of the conference, only this one deals with women from a specific “nation.”
Perhaps global warming us next on the agenda for the UN to lay at the feet of Israel?
Our opening statement: The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) is so tainted and endemic with Anti-Semitism that it is time for all governments and their departments and agencies to take formal action.
We would never deny that it is absolutely possible to criticize or challenge the government and policies of Israel without straying into Anti-Semitic territory. Indeed, people have the rights and freedom to criticize any nation state. The simple problem is that there is overwhelming evidence that the BDS movement does not tread that path. It, instead, is full of vile Anti-Semitic rhetoric, debate and policy.
AntiSemitismWatch.com, uniquely, sets out the case against BDS and its associated manifestations referencing a global picture:
Two of the most frequent insults thrown at Israel by those involved in the BDS movement is a comparator with apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany. Yet in South Africa itself there has been recent evidence of of how BDS and Anti-Semitism are inextricably linked.
In March last year, AntiSemitismWatch.com reported how BDS campaigners outside the South African Zionist Federation conference were caught yelling, “You think this is Israel, we are going to kill you.” Then, when their attempts to shut the conference failed sentiments such as: “You Jews do not belong in South Africa” were shouted from their ranks.
Tony Ehrenreich, regional secretary of the Western Cape region of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), declared in 2014 that “if the Jewish Board of Deputies wants to advance a Zionist agenda, they should leave South Africa and go advance their agenda elsewhere.”
On his personal Facebook account, Ehrenreich went from condoning exile, itself a step beyond apartheid, to condoning murder: “The time has come to say very clearly that if a woman or child is killed in Gaza, then the Jewish board of deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye.”
There is even some recognition, according to a press release in January 2015, from within its own ranks in South Africa that within the BDS movement, “Holocaust denial and even anti-Semitism, rarely but occasionally does emerge within Palestine solidarity circles.”
This admission is an important one because it helps point to the real Anti-Semitic consequences of BDS, most widely and commonly experienced by Jewish students on college and university campuses across the world. The abhorrent comparison of democratic Israel to apartheid South Africa, while not all necessarily advocated by those motivated by Anti-Semitism, creates a climate within which Anti-Semitism is made more palatable.
In effect, the attacks on Israel on campus release inhibitions against expressions of anti-Jewish prejudice and have the consequence of legitimizing attacks on Jews on campus.
In January this year activists disrupted an event organised by the King’s College London Israel Society and London School of Economics Israel Society, in which politician Ami Ayalon, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, appeared. The disruption was in no way peaceful and ended with students reporting windows being smashed, chairs thrown and one woman claimed she was assaulted as the building was evacuated by police.
Indeed, Sir Eric Pickles, the Conservative former communities secretary referred to those behind the “disgraceful” attack on the Jewish students as “neo-fascists”. He also suggested the scenes which disrupted the meeting shared similarities with 1938’s Kristallnacht, also known as Night of Broken Glass, when Nazis attacked Jewish people and their property.
Jewish students at the University of California (UC) have similarly experienced an escalation of hateful anti-Semitic acts. This past fall, swastikas and “F— Jews” were carved into multiple cars, and a female Jewish student was followed and harassed by a male member of the campus group Students for Justice in Palestine.
Last year, swastikas were spray-painted on a Jewish fraternity, and “grout out the Jews” defaced the Hillel House at UC Davis; “Zionists should be sent to the gas chamber” was scrawled at UC Berkeley; flyers blaming Jews for 9/11 were posted at UC Santa Barbara, and a candidate for the UCLA student judicial board almost lost a seat over concerns among fellow students that she was perhaps too “active in the Jewish community” to “maintain an unbiased view.”
Just last week on AntiSemitismWatch.com, Alex Chalmers, co-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) resigned from office after the OULC decided to endorse Israel Apartheid Week.
In his resignation statement he highlighted his concerns, alleging there were growing anti-Semitic tendencies within the OULC. Chalmers said, “The decision of the club to endorse a movement with a history of targetting (sic.) and harassing Jewish students and inviting antisemitic speakers to campuses, despite the concerns of Jewish students, illustrates how uneven and insincere much of the active membership is when it comes to liberation.”
During his two terms as co-chair of the club he alleged he witnessed a range of declarations regarding Zionism and the Hamas including “members of the Executive throwing around the term ‘Zio’ (a term for Jews usually confined to websites run by the Ku Klux Klan) with casual abandon” and “senior members of the club expressing their ‘solidarity’ with Hamas and explicitly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians.”
Even supporters of the BDS movement and its affiliates recognise the anti-Semitic overtures of those that speak and act in its name.
Naomi Foyle, writing for MEMO Middle East Monitor agrees that, “As a member of the PSC [Palestine Solidarity Campaign] myself, I know that the organisation can unfortunately attract anti-Semites, racists who believe mistakenly that they will find a home in its branches for their noxious views.”
Indeed, anyone who actually takes time to examine the core principles and history of the BDS movement cannot help but reach the conclusion that it is systemically anti-Semitic. It, ironically, emerged at the 2001 United Nations-sponsored World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance—held in Durban, South Africa. Dubbed by former Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General Irwin Cotler as “the tipping point for the coalescence of a new, virulent, globalizing anti-Jewishness,” the Durban conference and its concomitant NGO Forum featured posters displaying Nazi icons, anti-Jewish cartoons, hecklers chanting “Jew, Jew, Jew,” and wide distribution of the virulently anti-Semitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” forgery.
Tom Lantos, the late member of the U.S. Congress and Holocaust survivor, was part of the American delegation to the Durban conference and said the following: “For me, having experienced the horrors of the Holocaust firsthand, this was the most sickening and unabashed display of hate for Jews I have seen since the Nazi period.”
This is reflected in the words of some of the BDS groups most prominent leaders and supporters:
Omar Bargouti, founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel said, “Going back to the two-state solution, besides having passed its expiry date, it was never a moral solution to start with. We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself. I, for one, support euthanasia.“ He has also said the one state solution means, “A unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.”
Ahmed Moor, a pro-BDS writer said, “Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself … BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state.” In a similar vein As’ad AbuKhalil, professor at California State University, suggested, “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”
As part of his recent book ‘The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel’, Cary Nelson in his essay, “The Problem with Judith Butler” (who is among the BDS movement’s most prominent proponents in American academe), argued that any solution that involves dissolving the Jewish state is “anti-Semitic in effect” and fueled, “at least obliquely,” by an anti-Semitic legacy that views Jews as “secondary or expendable.”
“Criticism that pressures Israel to improve its laws and practices, that helps Israel see its way toward a negotiated solution, that would lead to withdrawal from the West Bank — while reaffirming Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state within secure borders — is not anti-Semitic,” Nelson writes. “Claims that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state, that it was an illegitimate colonialist enterprise from the outset, are indeed anti-Semitic in effect.”
The recent announcement of the British government to prevent local authorities participating in boycotts against Israel, is a policy reflective not only of the government’s concerns about undermining British foreign policy, but also of a growing realisation regarding the connection between BDS and antisemitism in the UK.
AntiSemitismWatch says that this is the only response available to national governments and international agencies and organisations in light of the overwhelming evidence of how systemically anti-Semitic the BDS movement is.
Let us know your thoughts through our comments section or email us direct on Secretary@antisemitismwatch.com
Sam Sokol, writing in The Jerusalem Post reports from a conference on combating BDS and anti-Semitism held in Jerusalem on Sunday:
“I live with anti-Semitism 24/7,” Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon told attendees.
Addressing a World Zionist Organization-arranged conference at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Danon said that he felt the UN building to be a “different world, where BDS is felt every minute of every hour.”
“You can’t ignore BDS; it poses a potential for psychological damage for younger generations and convinces them to not do business with Israel, that Israel is another South Africa,” he said.
“When it comes to BDS, we have an obligation to tell the truth in the face of lies.”
Before Sunday’s gathering, the WZO released a poll that it had commissioned which found that a quarter of Israelis fear that another Holocaust could occur, more than half are scared to go abroad and a significant majority hide anything that would identify them as Jewish when traveling.
The opinion poll, conducted by Midgam Consultants, also found that 34 percent of respondents were more fearful than last year while 24% believe that there is a chance that the State of Israel will cease to exist.
It was described as “intensely worrying” by Yaakov HaGoel, the organization’s vice chairman and former director for combating anti-Semitism.
Sixty-seven percent of Israelis fear for the safety of their co-religionists in the Diaspora, just over 1 percentage point more than the number who believe that European governments are failing to take effective action to combat rising hate. An additional 14% said that they do not believe that any action has been taken.
As to what European Jews should do in the face of increasing violence and an often overtly hostile atmosphere, 39% of Israelis said that they believe that immigration here was the answer, while 83% stated that it is incumbent on the government to spend money to aid olim in the job market.
It is a common belief among many who work on Diaspora- Israeli issues that there is generally a lack of concern over the wider Jewish world among Israelis, but the new data show that it may not be the case, according to HaGoel.
“I didn’t know how much the Israeli community had empathy and a connection with the Diaspora,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “I was surprised to see how strong it was.”
However, “On the other hand, it is sad to see how many Israelis worry to travel abroad now.”
This fear mirrors the fear of Jews abroad, which was recently summed up by Belgian Chief Rabbi Avraham Gigi when he said, “People understand there is no future for Jews in Europe.”
That statement was itself a continuation of a trend that has been intensifying for several years, with the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights already reporting in 2013 that a third of Jews polled said they refrain from wearing religious garb or Jewish symbols out of fear and 23% avoid attending Jewish events or going to Jewish venues.
A further 74% of Jews have declined to report anti-Semitic incidents, HaGoel recalled, stating that the poll indicates that there is a sense of “mutual responsibility” between Israelis and the Diaspora that must be cultivated.
“Until now we received solidarity from abroad – it’s the time to connect the Israeli community to the struggle against anti-Semitism. We can strengthen the partnership,” he declared, adding that among the initiatives being prepared was a new course to train Israelis to combat anti-Semitism online and that further programs were in the offing.
Just as Diaspora Jews have rallied for Israel in its times of crisis, it is now important for Israelis to return the favor and give their brethren abroad the courage to stand up, he continued, saying that the opposite of anti-Semitism is “Jewish pride.”