'Gaza op doesn't make anti-Semitism OK'

In wake of rise in anti-Semitism worldwide, FM urges world leaders to condemn incitement, hatred.

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January 12, 2009 20:18
2 minute read.
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The Foreign Ministry called on governments around the world Monday to prevent the outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks against Jews in the wake of the military operation in Gaza. "We have received with great concern and revulsion many reports of physical, moral, verbal and other manifestations of anti-Semitic attacks towards Jews and Israeli citizens in many parts of the world," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said in a statement released on Monday evening. "Examples of these include physical assault, violence and abuse towards Jews, the desecration of cemeteries and synagogues, the use of anti-Semitic incitement in pro-Palestinian demonstrations, the writing of anti-Semitic graffiti on Jewish property, as well as cartoons, editorials and other press stories reminiscent of the kind that appeared in the media of certain countries during the darkest days of the early 20th century," the statement said. She called on world leaders to "condemn, suppress and curb" such incitement and to hold the perpetrators responsible for their actions. During her visit to Sderot earlier in the day - her fourth in the past 16 days - she vigorously defended Israel's actions in Gaza in a number of interviews with the foreign media, including CNN. She spoke with the media after visiting Beersheba, where she stopped to visit soldiers at Soroka Hospital and the family of St.-Sgt. Alexander Mashvitsky, who was killed in Gaza. In Sderot she spoke with the city's mayor, David Bouskila, and visited the police station and the trauma center. "I can understand that sometimes the situation and the pictures that come from Gaza are difficult," she said. But in fighting Hamas in Gaza, she continued, "Israel is doing what the entire free world is doing and needs to do, which is to fight terrorism." Hamas, she said, was a threat to Israel and to all moderates in the region. "Unfortunately," she added, "during these attacks there are civilian casualties. That is not the goal of the operation. We try to avoid that." It was a task made difficult by Hamas's strategy of attacking Israel from civilian areas, she said. "There is a difference between a murderer and someone who kills by mistake." She said Hamas had been surprised twice by Israel - once by the air assault and the second time by the ground operation; it now understood that the rules of the game had changed and that it could not continue to fire rockets at Israel. "We are not going to stand even one [more] rocket. We are here in a town that has suffered rocket attacks for seven years - that is something that is unacceptable." During the truce with Hamas during the last half of 2008, she said, the organization had stockpiled long-range missiles and had continued to shoot rockets at the South.

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