Naftali Bennett at cabinet meeting 370.
(photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky/Pool/Yediot Aharonot)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s statement that “in a final
resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli...on our lands”
took center stage at a Knesset conference on Tuesday, with MKs inferring
Israel’s negotiating partner is an anti-Semite.
Jerusalem and Diaspora
Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, who is responsible for the government’s
efforts to battle anti-Semitism, attended a conference of a Knesset caucus on
the issue, led by MK Shimon Ohayon (Likud Beytenu), and pointed out that Abbas
denied the Holocaust.
“The president of the Palestinian Authority said he
doesn’t want to see any Israelis on his land. Bad things happen when good people
are silent. Good people need to act,” Bennett said.
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman (Likud Beytenu)
said he keeps a copy of Abbas’s book, which purports to connect Zionism and
Nazism and has a Star of David and a swastika on its cover, in his
“I don’t know why, now that we’re all so excited about the peace
process, no one remembered to mention it. Abbas never took his words back or
apologized,” Liberman said.
Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky said
he read Abbas’s dissertation from the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, and
explained that it claims Zionism and Nazism worked together because both wanted
to remove all Jews from Europe.
“To this day, people ask me if I think
anti-Semitism is a good thing, because it brings people to Israel. What
ignorance and lies!” Sharansky said.
“Anti-Semitism is enemy number one
of Zionism,” he added. “For every one person who makes aliya because of
anti-Semitism, 10 assimilate.
Anti-Semitism and delegitimization of
Israel lead Jews to distance themselves Judaism and Israel.”
said anti-Semitism “is reaching new heights” and that the Knesset must put it on
Bennett explained that from biblical times until now, people
have tried to attack the Jewish spirit and body.
assimilating, thinking that if we look and act like other people, we’ll be all
right, but then the Holocaust happened,” Bennett said. “We can’t blame
We can’t try to accept or understand anti-Semitism, or think
that if we try to make our country more likable around the world, it’ll
The Bayit Yehudi chairman called for Jews to stand up for
themselves and say that Israel is their country, adding that Israel is
responsible for Jewish people around the world.
Liberman pointed to anti-
Semitism masked as anti-Israel opinion and delegitimization of Israel as new
forms of the phenomenon.
MK Nachman Shai (Labor), however, called for
caution in labeling anti-Israel activity as anti-Semitic, saying that they do
not always overlap.
“We recently saw anti-Semitism as part of an election
campaign, like in the last election in Venezuela. It’s clear that anti-Semitism
is still common,” Liberman said. “Of course, the international observers kept
quiet about it.”
The Yisrael Beytenu chairman called for MKs to do all
they can “to protest this shameful phenomenon” and make sure it isn’t swept
under the rug.
At the beginning of the conference, Ohayon pointed to
recent incidents of anti-Semitism, such as former Pink Floyd vocalist Roger
Waters who displayed a Star of David on a pig at a recent concert, and the rise
of the Jobbik party in Hungary.
Ohayon called for MKs with international
connections to work toward having legislation passed and enforced in other
countries to combat anti-Semitism.