In what was described as “a special emergency conference” on anti-Semitism, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted representatives from Europe and the United States to discuss ways to combat the worldwide scourge.
Participating in the gathering on Monday were: European Commission Coordinator on combatting Antisemitism, Katherina von Schnurbein, U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism, Elan Carr, U.K. Special Envoy for post-Holocaust issues, Lord Eric Pickles, German Government Commissioner on Anti-Semitism, Dr. Felix Klein and French Special Representative on Racism, Anti-Semitism and Discrimination, Frédéric Potier.
“Your clear voices and the work you do are crucial, particularly at such a challenging and hostile time,” the president told the coordinators, and spoke about the worrying rise in anti-Semitism around the world. “We share the understanding that anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem alone. It is a problem for all humanity. We are engaged in a bitter joint fight against any expressions of anti-Semitism – from the right, the left or from radical Islam. Anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism is anti-Semitism. There are no gray areas and there is no option other than zero tolerance. One can criticize us so long as it is criticism. The moment it turns to boycotts and actions against Israel that are influenced by anti-Semitism – we will not accept it.”
Elan Carr said that, “ President Trump calls anti-Semitism poison. It is important that you know that my country, headed by my boss President Trump, and my boss Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, stand with you in the struggle for the security of Jewish people around the world and for the State of Israel.”
Following the meeting with the envoys and coordinators, the president marked the anniversary of Kristallnacht, titled “Rising Anti-Semitism – the New Reality for Jews Around The World.” The conference was organized in collaboration with the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, Gesher and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“It is inconceivable that 81 years after Kristallnacht, synagogues from Pittsburgh to Halle are under attack,” the president said. “It is inconceivable that Jews are afraid to wear a kippah in the street, and that Jewish schoolchildren feel the need to hide their identity. We must not accept the fact that in marches in Belgium, on the pages of the New York Times, and in official media across the Arab world, anti-Semitic cartoons are printed and displayed. Anti-Semitism has developed and adopted new guises. It comes from the hard right, the hard left and from radical Islam, is expressed online, in the streets, in academia and in more and more positions of power. Anti-Semitism is spreading to parliaments and political parties in the west – the British Labour Party and the Austrian hard-right party, and in other countries.”
The president added, “To fight anti-Semitism we need to define it. We must adopt and use the IHRA definition, which takes into account all forms of anti-Jewish hatred. These definitions must be adopted at all levels.”