'We need collaboration to fight antisemitism' - Israeli president Herzog

Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Advisory Board met with Israel's president and discussed the rise in antisemitism and how to stop it.

 Israel's President Isaac Herzog is seen meeting with the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Advisory Board at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, on October 25, 2022. (photo credit: Tal Bar Or)
Israel's President Isaac Herzog is seen meeting with the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Advisory Board at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, on October 25, 2022.
(photo credit: Tal Bar Or)

"We need collaboration to combat antisemitism," Israel's President Isaac Herzog told a delegation from Combat Antisemitism Movement's (CAM) Advisory Board on Tuesday as they discussed rising antisemitism and how they could stop it.

The delegation, which met Herzog at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, was led by CAM founder Adam Beren and new CAM Advisory Board chair Natan Sharansky, but included other prominent figures who have long been involved in the battle against antisemitism.

Herzog himself is a former member of the CAM Advisory Board.

What is antisemitism?

One thing the delegation pointed out is the need for a clear definition of what antisemitism actually is.

“Almost one thousand governments and organizations have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which is a core focus of CAM’s work,” said Beren. “Antisemitism is no longer the purview of one side or the other on the political or ideological spectrum, so we need to have a very clear definition of what constitutes antisemitism for government and law enforcement agencies around the world.”

 NATAN SHARANSKY in 2011.  (credit: REUTERS) NATAN SHARANSKY in 2011. (credit: REUTERS)

What is behind the rise in antisemitism?

Regarding the cause for the global rise in antisemitism, Sharansky pointed to two causes, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Both of these, he explained, have preceded a significant rise in antisemitism and conspiracy theories about Jews.

Most of these messages are amplified by social media, he explained.

"To combat this, we need a united global response every day and at all times, because it is largely a problem of information, so we have to ensure the right messages are getting across," Sharansky said.

Albania's prime minister addresses CAM in Israel

The meeting came just a day after Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama addressed CAM's Advisory Board meeting, which itself was the first time the Advisory Board met in Israel.

“It is vital for us to be aligned in the fight against antisemitism,” said Rama, who was in Israel following the official severing of ties between the Balkan nation and Iran. 

“To my mind, the biggest dangers we face are not from vandals in a Jewish cemetery, which exposes them as barbaric, but from those who look rational and rationalize antisemitism. The antisemitism that emerged from the British Labour Party a few years ago worried me more than when I hear about the vandalism of a synagogue.”

Nikki Haley calls out antisemitism

In another event, this one in Canada, former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stressed that antisemitism must be called out whenever it happens.

“We have to call out antisemitism every time we see it,” Haley said while delivering her keynote speech at the Canadian Friends of Jerusalem College of Technology 50th anniversary gala, where she was given an honorary degree.

“It’s not okay. It will never be okay. We have to speak up every time we see it. We have to humiliate those that do it every time they do it. And we have to remind leaders to speak up.”

These comments came amid a rise in antisemitism in the US. She specifically focused on antisemitism on university campuses, pointing out that US president Donald Trump pushed to address the issue by threatening to pull federal funds from universities that don't crack down on campus antisemitism.

“We have to remind our leaders that they have to speak up because I don’t want kids going to college wondering if they will be targeted,” Haley said.