The U.N. Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide said that the current rise in anti-Semitism parallels the period of the rise of Nazism, The Times of Israel reported on Thursday.
“The signs of the (19)30s are resurfacing. You all are witnessing every day the anti-Semitism which is rising,” Adama Dieng, a diplomat from Senegal, said Wednesday at the Second Global Summit on Religion, Peace and Security in Geneva.
Dieng pointed in particular at the prevalence of anti-Semitic rhetoric. “Big massacres start always with small actions and language,” Dieng warned, noting that the Holocaust was preceded by hate speech and hate crimes against Jews.
“I think unless we are blind or of a bad faith we should admit that it is time to stand up. It is time to speak out… We cannot allow human beings to be treated the way they are being treated,” he said.
Dieng has been with the U.N. since 2001 when he was appointed by then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to work on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, investigating the Rwandan genocide during that country’s civil war in 1994, in which up to a million people were killed.
The U.N. official’s words contrasted, though, with those of Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin who spoke at Yad Vashem on Wednesday night.
While Rivlin acknowledged that “we cannot ignore the old-new anti-Semitism which is once more raising its head, fueled by waves of immigration, by economic crises, and by disillusionment with the political establishment,” he explicitly rejected the comparison to pre-Hitlerian events.
“It is important to be clear: We are not in the 1930s; we are not on the brink of a second Holocaust or anything like it,” Rivlin said.