JERUSALEM—‘’We must stand together against the growing threat of anti-Semitism, whether from the left, the right or radical Islam,’’ saiD Israeli President Reuven Rivlin who spoke Tursday in Jerusalem.
He said that too often, the left tries to hide its anti-Semitism in the disguise of anti-Zionism, trying to present their campaign to boycott Israel as “progressive”. But he also stressed that ‘’we must show zero tolerance for anti-Semitism on the right, even when it comes from those who claim to admire Israel.”
The two-day Conference, which reunites some 350 participants – senior pro-Israel leaders from 30 countries-, is held by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. to discuss critical issues facing the State of Israel and the Jewish community worldwide.
The Minister of Strategic Affairs and Homeland Security Gilad Erdan and US Special Envoy to Monitor an Combat Anti-Semitism Elon Carr are also participating in the conference which aims to confront the BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions) campaign, the resurgence of anti-Semitism and the delegitimisation of Israel.
As part of the campaign against the delegitimization of the State of Israel, the Global Coalition for Israel (GC4I) was established in 2010, a network of about 150 presidents, chairpersons and CEOs of the most significant pro-Israel organizations around the world, Jewish and non-Jewish.
President Rivlin said : “BDS does not seek peace, or even to help our Palestinian neighbors. It seeks to delegitimize Israel’s very existence. We must use all the tools at our disposal to defeat BDS – in the court room, in the board room, in civil society, in social media, in academia and in the halls of power. We must expose the modern blood libels spread by BDS and put a price on its hate and discrimination.”
“The State of Israel has no problem with legitimate criticism – criticism that flows from a true concern for Israel’s security and welfare, especially when this criticism comes from our sisters and brothers in the diaspora. I believe that the government of Israel must do a better job of listening to your concerns. Honest criticism? Friendly criticism? Yes! Delegitimize Israel? No!,” continued the president.
Whereas the UN sponsored NGO-conference against racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001 is widely believed to have been the launching pad for the BDS movement “the tide is now turning as the movement is pushed back on many fronts”, Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said in his opening speech.
He went on to express his gratitude to the German parliament for its recent resolution, which calls out the BDS movement as anti-Semitic. The German parliament is backed up by world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Jsustin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May who have all publicly condemned the BDS movement.
Many speakers noted that today the BDS movement has become a safe place for modern anti-Semites who are trying to whitewash their Jew hatred as criticism of the State of Israel
“Anyone can criticise the policies of the government of Israel but when they openly seek the destruction of the Jewish state or try to compare the Israeli government to that to the Nazi regime, it is clearly anti-Semitic”, Erdan said. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism gives clear guidelines as to what constitutes legitimate criticism of the policies of the government of Israel on the one hand and what, on the other hand, is crossing the red line to become anti-Semitism.
According to Tomas Sandell, Founding Director of the European Coalition for Isral (ECI), ‘’instead of only accusing the BDS activists of anti-Semitism we should engage with them and help educate them. Many young activists today are simply misled as they have been influenced by the well-funded propaganda machine of the BDS movement, according to a recent study, worth $100 million of funding from private donors and governments during the period 2014-2017.
“Although we are winning on many fronts, the work is anything but over,” warned Minister Gilad Erdan. “But if we work together as one, we can push back these forces of hatred.”