Herzog calls on global Jewry to undermine Durban 'conference of hate'

New president calls for countries to adopt legislation allowing for the prosecution of antisemitism, and to adopt the IHRA definition to facility combating Jew-hatred around the world.

ISAAC HERZOG addresses the Knesset for the first time as president on Wednesday. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
ISAAC HERZOG addresses the Knesset for the first time as president on Wednesday.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Freshly installed President of Israel Isaac Herzog called on world Jewry to undermine the upcoming Durban Conference, describing it as “a conference of hate” beset by antisemitism.
Herzog was speaking at the seventh Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism led by the Foreign Ministry, in collaboration with the Diaspora Affairs Ministry which opened on Tuesday night, during which he also called for more legislation in foreign countries to prosecute antisemitic behavior and for greater efforts to educate the next generation about antisemitism and hatred in general. 
“We must operate throughout the world in unanimity, strength, self-confidence and effectiveness to undermine the next Durban conference, because that conference is a conference of hate and diatribe of the worst kind, ridden with antisemitism in the worst sense of the word which brainwashes about who Jews are and what Israel is all about,” said Herzog at the event. 
The Durban Review Conference, also known as Durban IV, is meant to mark the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Racism in the South African city.
The original 2001 conference was rife with anti-Zionist and antisemitic rhetoric and activities and has been blamed for giving a prominent platform for ongoing hatred of Israel in the 21st century. 
Nine countries have now pulled out of the Durban Review Conference scheduled to take place in New York in December, including the US, Israel, Canada, Australia, the UK, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. 
PROTESTERS BRANDISH anti-Israel signs outside the Durban Conference opening session, August 31, 2001. (Photo credit: Reuters)PROTESTERS BRANDISH anti-Israel signs outside the Durban Conference opening session, August 31, 2001. (Photo credit: Reuters)
During his speech, his first public engagement as president, Herzog also called for more foreign countries to adopt the working definition of antisemitism drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which has been adopted by 29 states so far, as well as the EU and other organizations and authorities. 
Herzog said that this would help combat antisemitism, but added that legislation is needed in many countries to “prosecute and protect” against antisemitism. 
“There is also a need to educate about the cost of hate, where it leads, how bad can it be and what are the repercussions of hate,” said the president.
“In modern politics and public discourse we see that social networks produce the lowest common denominator of human beings which are fear and hate.
“Fear and hate loom over antisemitism. Fear and hate is spread by huge organizations, operations and systems and tilt the balance against Jews, and the right of Jews for self-determination with their own nation state.”
Also speaking at the opening of the conference was Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai, who said it was time for the State of Israel to acknowledge how its military actions directly impact the safety, security, and communal cohesion of Jewish communities around the world.
"From the extreme right and extreme left, events in the Middle East are harnessed as a concerning political tool to target and isolate Jewish communities," said Shai in his address.
Shai also touched on the unique way in which antisemitism and its connection to Israeli action impacts liberal Jewish individuals and groups. 
"It is my role to take on and reflect these realities within the Government Cabinet and Israeli society,” the minister said. 
“As the nation-state of the Jewish people, we stand in mutual solidarity with Jewish communities in times of both conflict and calm…We must build opportunities for Israeli society to listen to and appreciate how Jewish communities experience these challenges.”