By BB Portnoy
Hatred of Jews and demonization of Israel are at “the highest level of our lifetimes,” Israel’s UN envoy warned on Monday during a high-level forum on antisemitism held by the world body at its headquarters in New York.
“Over 1/3 of European Jews are afraid to wear a yarmulke or Star of David in public,” Danny Danon said in an address to the forum. “More than half of French Jews have considered emigrating because they don’t feel safe living as Jews in France. Today we hear things about Jews and the Jewish people that we thought belonged to the pages of history…Antisemitism is returning to everyday life without shame.”
There has been a noted rise in antisemitism in Europe in recent years. In France, for example, as reported by The Algemeiner, a teacher at a high school in Paris was suspended this summer for making comments hostile to Jews on social media. And in May, The Algemeiner reported that rising antisemitism in the Paris area was forcing French Jews to move elsewhere in the country or immigrate to Israel.
On Wednesday, Danon said, “In our internet era, [hatred of Jews] has gone global. We are living in a new era and we face a new kind of antisemitism. Using the new tools of social media to demonize the Jewish people and the Jewish state, this is antisemtism 2.0…The enemies of the Jewish people are using the tools of modern technology to target and harass Jews around the world.”
Furthermore, Danon stated, “make no mistake — attacks against Jews online lead directly to attacks against Jews on the street.”
“We know from history that during times of crisis, people look for scapegoats,” Danon said. “And time and time again that scapegoat has been the Jewish people. So we have to be pro-active, we have to speak out and we have to educate our young people about the dangers of online antisemitism. And we also have to be honest. Talking is not enough. We need immediate and concrete action…Media companies have to take preventative steps.”
Danon went on to call out the UN for the antisemitism exhibited by a number of its member states. “There is a place where some are not ashamed to spread lies and slander about Israel and the Jewish people and you are sitting in it right now, here at the UN,” Danon said.
Danon also talked about the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, who passed away in July at the age of 87. The Israeli diplomat called Wiesel “a great champion of human rights and a true spokesperson for the Jewish people.”
“His spirit is guiding us here today and will guide us in the days to come,” Danon said.
The one-day forum that took place on Wednesday was a follow-up to a special General Assembly meeting on antisemitism that was convened last year. Participants in Wednesday’s event included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Ambassador Samantha Power, Canadian Ambassador Marc-André Blanchard and EU Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, among other officials.
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal