'No reason to blame Trump for uptick in US antisemitism'

Jewish Agency chair doesn't expect influx of olim due to anti-Jewish incidents.

March 2, 2017 13:10
1 minute read.
cemetery Philadelphia Pennsylvania

A headstone, pushed off its base by vandals, lays on the ground near a smashed tomb in the Mount Carmel Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (photo credit: REPRODUCTION: RAANAN COHEN)


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Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said Thursday that connections made between politics and antisemitism are inaccurate.

Speaking at Jerusalem’s Efrat College at a conference marking the World Zionist Organization’s 120th anniversary and 50 years since the unification of the capital, Sharansky said “you cannot make ties between a process so profound, longterm and historically significant, such as the return of antisemitism, and the political expression of one politician or another.”

Israeli politicians and public figures have in the past couple of days been increasingly vocal in condemning the rise of antisemitic incidents in the US, particularly the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and five waves of bomb threats that have targeted Jewish community centers since January, when President Donald Trump took office. They have all expressed faith that the US administration will tackle the phenomenon adequately.
Netanyahu praises Trump's condemnation of anti-Semitic acts (credit: REUTERS)

“There is no reason to suspect Trump as someone who encourages supporters of antisemitism – on the contrary!” Sharansky said.

“There is a lot of prejudice in this world, a lot of efforts to demonize the Jews in the Jewish state,” Sharansky continued, adding that “there is no difference between the antisemitism of the Right and the anti-Israelism of the Left.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) has in recent days called on the government to prepare for an influx of US immigrants. Asked whether he expects this large increase, Sharansky said: “Ingathering of the exiles does not continue because of antisemitism. Today they come out of choice. Whoever sees Israel as home makes aliya. We don’t need to build our hopes on the hatred toward us.”

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