The UN General Assembly adopted their first ever resolution in 2005 to mark an annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the six million victims of the Holocaust and strengthening the remaining survivors, who grow fewer with each passing year. Hundreds of events are held around the world annually to raise awareness of this issue but sadly every year the number of antisemitic incidents continues to increase.
This upsurge should worry us all. The war against antisemitism is becoming more complex and severe manifestations of antisemitism in the public space, and countless more in the virtual world, are far more commonplace than ever before in recent years. The challenge of educating future generations has become more demanding as the generation that survived the Holocaust lessens, and witnesses to the atrocities are fewer.
This past week, the World Zionist Organization’s antisemitism department published a comprehensive report stating that antisemitism is once again on a dangerous upward trend across the world. These despicable occurrences are taking place in the most enlightened countries. According to the report’s findings, 50% of antisemitic incidents take place in Europe and 30% in the US. The data also reveals that 2021 saw the highest number of antisemitic incidents worldwide in the last decade.
A study published by the Ruderman Family Foundation, which works to strengthen the connection between American and Israeli Jews, highlights similar findings: In the past five years, four out of ten Jews in the United States have experienced antisemitism themselves or to a person close to them, with the vast majority (72%) of the victims Orthodox Jews.
These figures are inconceivable and should stop us all in our tracks. The ever-widening gap between the declarations of world leaders and the actual reality on the ground should be ringing alarm bells across all global Jewish communities. The vast majority of citizens in the various countries do not support the violent minority but the relative silence and perceived acceptance of these despicable acts is not acceptable.
The State of Israel must devise its own comprehensive strategy in the fight against antisemitism, with particular emphasis in tackling the proliferation of inciting and aggressive discourse on the social media platforms. This approach should include the establishment of a toolbox of resources to assist Jewish communities around the world in the combat of this hatred. At the same time, the Israeli government must launch an extensive information campaign among world leaders and demand significant action from governments to counter the murky wave of hatred that is sweeping the world’s capitals. These actions must include extensive investment in education and awareness of the issue, increasing legislation and strict enforcement against those who commit hate crimes against Jews.
This snowball of hostility is not occurring in a vacuum. We are witnessing the decline of post-World War II lessons and with it the resurgence of old hatreds. With fewer living survivors than ever before, we must do everything in our power to share their stories with the world. Together, Israel and the Diaspora Jewish community must heed the warnings sounded by stepping up our efforts on all fronts. A clear strategy alongside effective and forceful action is required in order to prevent a further fall down this dangerous and slippery slope. We must do everything we can to alter the disturbing reality and prevent past tragedies from recurring.
The writer served as Israel’s 17th permanent representative to the United Nations. He is currently chairman of World Likud.