Fighting antisemitism

Over the past year, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in antisemitic incidents around the world – including violent attacks and expressions of hostility.

Man shoves baby’s stroller in London and calls parents ‘dirty Jews’ (photo credit: screenshot)
Man shoves baby’s stroller in London and calls parents ‘dirty Jews’
(photo credit: screenshot)
The rise of global antisemitism should worry not only Israel and Jews, but all people around the world. This message was stated eloquently last month by UN Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed, as he reported his findings on the growth of antisemitism to the General Assembly.
Shaheed noted that antisemitism is rising among groups associated with both the political Right and Left: “I am alarmed by the growing use of antisemitic tropes by white supremacists, including neo-Nazis and members of radical Islamist groups, in slogans, images, stereotypes and conspiracy theories to incite and justify hostility, discrimination and violence against Jews,” he said. “I am also concerned about the increasing expressions of antisemitism emanating from sources in the political Left and about discriminatory state practices towards Jews.”
In an interview with UN News, Shaheed – a former foreign minister of Maldives – described antisemitism as the “canary in the coal mine of global hatred” that presents serious challenges to the elimination of all forms of intolerance, hatred and discrimination based on religion or belief, and poses risks to members of minorities everywhere.
Over the past year, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in antisemitic incidents around the world – including violent attacks and expressions of hostility. The problem is aggravated by the Internet and social media, where hate speech thrives.
In his report, Shaheed described the Holocaust as an extreme example of how religious and racial hatred can lead to genocide. The best way to combat antisemitism, he advised, is engaging with the younger generation to make sure that they reject it, and he recommended that a global coalition be formed to act against antisemitism.
The UN might consider taking the lead in such an initiative, but it needs the backing of member states, especially in North America, scene of the deadly Pittsburgh and Poway shootings, and in the European Union, where antisemitism has again reared its ugly head across the Continent.
In a new survey by the American Jewish Committee, more than 80% of 1,283 Jewish respondents over 18 said they had witnessed an increase in antisemitic incidents in the US over the past five years.
According to recent research by the Vienna-based European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, antisemitism is also growing throughout Europe. In Germany, a survey done for ARD public broadcasting showed that almost 60% of voting-age Germans say they believe that antisemitism is spreading in their communities. The poll was taken after a 27-year-old neo-Nazi gunman attempted a massacre against Jews in the city of Halle, but fortunately failed to shoot open the door of a synagogue packed with worshipers on Yom Kippur.
In France, a tragedy was averted when a man recently tried to break into the Or Torah school in Nice while cursing Jews, but was prevented from entering by an alert security guard and was later arrested after fleeing the scene. Such incidents indicate the need for both tough security measures and vigilance outside Jewish institutions abroad.
“The rising antisemitism in the world” will be the subject of a panel discussion at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Thursday. The participants are Paul Packer, who was appointed by US President Donald Trump as chairman of the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, German Ambassador Dr. Susanne Wasum-Rainer, French chargé d’affaires Frédérik Rogge, and Ron Brummer, executive director of operations at Israel’s Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry.
Brummer says he believes that the oldest hatred in the world has morphed from the hatred of Jews to the hatred of the Jewish state, and he cites the new report issued by his ministry unmasking the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel as a virulently antisemitic organization.
When the next Israeli government is formed, it should make the battle against antisemitism and anti-Israel views around the globe a top priority. The necessary funds and personnel must be found to tighten security at Jewish and Israeli institutions worldwide.
New ways must be found to halt the intensifying hate rhetoric against the Jewish state and Jews, especially on social media. Perhaps most importantly, the world’s youth must learn – at home, in school and at university – that hateful words can have tragic consequences, not just for Jews and Israel.


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