Israel's representative in the Eurovision song contest Michael Ben David said this week that he "suffered from antisemitism" while he participated in rehearsals in Turin, Italy.
Head of the Department for Combatting Antisemitism & Enhancing Resilience from the World Zionist Organization Raheli Baratz-Rix bashed Ben David for falsely using the term antisemitism. "Losing the Eurovision is not antisemitic," she said.
"Antisemitism is a serious phenomenon that Jews around the world are daily victims of, and not because they lost a song contest. It is therefore extremely important not to 'cry wolf'".
Ben David did not make it to the finals in the Eurovision. He claimed it has to do with the amount of antisemitism he experienced at the contest.
"While often there is a very thin line between criticism of the State of Israel and antisemitism, not every critic is automatically antisemitic," Baratz-Rix added. "As a democracy that respects freedom of expression, there is much social and political dissent in Israel. Objecting to Israeli policy in Gaza and the disputed West Bank is not antisemitism. Denying Israel's right to exist is. Proclaiming support for an independent Palestinian state is not antisemitic. Calling for the destruction of Israel and the death of Jews is."
She explained that Ben David's words are "harming the Jewish world," and that "the Jewish communities abroad are experiencing real antisemitism, with violence, attacks, violation of Jewish cemeteries and damaging graves and swastikas on synagogue walls. These are real antisemitic acts."
"We should keep the word antisemitism in the right context and save it for the real events and phenomenons. Jewish people all over the world are being attacked because of their Jewish identity, we need to respect this word and we should definitely not use it lightly. We need to be proud of being Israelis and Jews, but never use it as an ace up our sleeve".
"I was in Turin for two weeks. The amount of antisemitism I was exposed to is huge," Ben David said according to a report by Maariv. "'Are you from Israel?' people asked me, they didn't want to be with me. What can you do? Be righteous? This small act of antisemitism stays with you."
He added that "As result of the antisemitism I have experienced, I will raise our flag on every stage - I will even bungee onto the stage. Many say 'he made us ashamed' as I said in my single - 'whoever hates me will hate me anyway.'"