Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, visits the offices of ‘The Jerusalem Post.’.
(photo credit: SAM SOKOL)
There needs to be action, not just words, to combat anti-Semitism, a senior Jewish organizational head told the leaders of global Jewish communities in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Speaking at the government’s biennial Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, Malcolm Hoenlein – executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations – said that combating anti-Jewish prejudice and violence must become a “top priority” for the incoming government, and that new, multilateral structures were necessary to achieve this objective.
“This is a crisis, and we need a crisis mechanism for the 21st century,” Hoenlein told The Jerusalem Post. “Now is the time to take responsibility. Not more words, more action.”
Addressing the assembled diplomats and communal leaders, Hoenlein said that there was an immediate need to establish an international Jewish security network that would deal with the physical security of Jewish communities and institutions. He also called for a permanent international coordinating center on anti-Semitism, which would operate on a 24/7 basis and in which every country and relevant organization would participate.
Patterned after the US’s Secure Community Network – a joint project of the Presidents’ Conference and the Jewish Federations of North America – this new organization would not be “another behemoth,” but “an efficient and effective fast-moving entity that will leave no victim isolated, no idea ignored, no challenge unmet,” he said.
While many in the Diaspora would be uncomfortable with this being a completely Israeli-run operation, such an undertaking would require Israel’s resources as a nation-state to get off the ground, he asserted.
“Israel has resources none of us can duplicate. It must become a top government priority once there is a government,” he said, adding that he would like to see the establishment of a global fund for Jewish security that would “be available when a country faces a crisis.”
Once a crisis hits, he said, those interested in offering aid “don’t have time to start scrounging around for resources,” Hoenlein explained.
Jewish leaders from a number of countries expressed their support for the idea, coming up to Hoenlein at the conference