Lapid: Jews must fight hate every hour of every day

Finance Minister, Texas Governor Perry address World Jewish Congress’ annual conference in Jerusalem.

Yair Lapid addresses WJC conference 370 (photo credit: Sam Sokol)
Yair Lapid addresses WJC conference 370
(photo credit: Sam Sokol)
Jews must be cognizant of anti-Semitism and racism and battle hate “every hour of every day,” Finance Minister Yair Lapid told attendees of the World Jewish Congress’ annual conference in Jerusalem on Monday.
Lapid, the son of former justice minister Tommy Lapid, recalled how his father survived the massacre in which his entire community was murdered by hiding in a public restroom. The fact that his father came to Israel and the parents of many in his audience went to the United States was a matter of chance, he said.
“The division between us, is just a historical accident... I could be you and you could be me” and as such, he explained, “If somebody raises his hand on a Jew in Detroit it is happening to me.”
“If gravestones are being desecrated in the Jewish cemetery in Ukraine it is happening to me, if Muslims are stabbing a Jewish rabbi in the streets of Paris it is happening to me,” Lapid continued.
“This is why I stood there in the house of the Hungarian parliament... and I told them I am guest in your house. And guests are not supposed to embarrass their hosts, but we will miss the whole idea if we renounce the fact that the genocide of this scope couldn’t have happened without the active help of tens of thousands of Hungarians and the silence of millions of others.”
While many would wish to forget what happened, it is impossible to do so because it is “still happening,” Lapid asserted. “Anti-Semitism has raised it’s ugly head again in the Ukraine, in France. We know today... that we can’t overlook racism, we can’t discard it, we can’t let it grow. Hate does not disappear, it is a horrible fact of life we should fight with every hour of every day and we will fight it.”
Lapid said that Jews are “bound to each other” and “share a destiny [and] collective memory” and that Judaism is not only a religion but “also a whole civilization.”
“This is a civilization that brought the people of the world the Ten Commandments, 172 words that have changed the world more than all the gunships in the world and more than all the fighter planes in the world,” he said. “We have this as a birthright and we should cherish this right because [although] it sounds like a contradiction in terms but being obligated is a privilege.”
Texan Governor Rick Perry, also spoke of Israel’s history of perseverance in the face of adversity. Perry, who is in Israel to promote trade between Israel and his state, hearkened back to the contentious battle of the Alamo, where a small group of Texan revolutionaries fought to the death for Texan independence.
“You can not understand who we are as a people, where 178 individuals were surrounded by thousands of Mexican forces [who] realized that their fate was going to be death,” he said. “You can not think about that moment in Texan history and not think about standing at the top of Masada. And you realize that Texas and Israel were meant to be partners,” Perry told the audience.