Prominent French-Jewish intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy declared on Tuesday night that Jews in Israel and around the world are under attack from the twin threats of anti-Semitism in the guise of anti-Zionism, and total war against the State of Israel.

Speaking at a conference on the future of the Jewish people organized by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), Lévy labeled the phenomenon of anti-Zionism as “the new mutation of the anti-Semitism virus.”

“The challenge we have to face is the new shape of old anti-Semitism, a new system of legitimacy to express anti-Semitism that revolves around hatred of Israel and anti-Zionism,” he said.

Hatred of Israel, denial or partial denial of the Holocaust, and the identification of Palestinians as the only legitimate victims, he explained, form the basis of the anti-Zionist and anti- Semitic onslaught.

In addition, he said, Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are planning a total war constituting a serious threat to the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

“For the moment they don’t have the means to wage total war; maybe they will never have it. But when you listen to Hamas, to Hassan Nasrallah, to the men in power in Tehran including the so-called moderates such as Rafsanjani, the words they speak have to be considered as a plan for a form of total war,” Lévy suggested.

Prof. Suzanne Last Stone, academic counsel to JPPI, said the conference was designed to approach challenges to the Jewish people in a more holistic fashion.

One of the overarching challenges, she said, was the importance of building “mutual understanding” to develop and improve Israel-Diaspora relations.

One focus of misunderstanding between the two communities was the lack of understanding among US Jewry regarding the matter of religion and state in Israel.

“The Israeli way of arranging religion and state is strange and troubling for US Jews, and part of a larger set of differences between Israel and the Diaspora,” Last Stone said.

“There are no easy and immediate solutions, but the goal of this conference is to put the issues on the table and bring both communities to understand each other’s positions.”

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