Lapid Criticized for ‘Minimizing’ Concept of Antisemitism

YERUSHALAYIM -
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid garnered harsh criticism Thursday after stating that antisemitism did not target Jews alone, but was rather part of a “broader family of hate.”

In a speech he gave at a conference organized by the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, he said: “Antisemites weren’t only in the Budapest ghetto. Antisemites were [also] slave traders who threw slaves bound together with chains into the ocean.

“Antisemites were [also] members of the Hutu tribe in Rwanda who slaughtered members of the Tutsi tribe,” he said, adding that “Muslim fanatics,” such as the Islamic State and Boko Haram terror groups were also antisemites.

Lapid’s remarks were immediately condemned by right-wing MKs and Jewish organizations.

Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu called the foreign minister’s statement “outrageous and irresponsible.”

“Lapid’s comments minimize the uniqueness of the hatred of Jews in history, and the span of the tragedy of the Holocaust which destroyed a third of our people,” Netanyahu posted.

Addressing Lapid, Religious Zionist Party leader MK Betzalel Smotrich wrote: “Great responsibility rests on your shoulders and the disrespect towards antisemitism that your faulty speech created is causing great damage to battling this hatred.”

Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Acting Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency Yaakov Hagoel said that “Antisemitism is hatred of Jews because they are Jews. Millions of Jews have been massacred in the name of antisemitism … The hatred of man against man exists today, but it does not detract from the unique phenomenon called antisemitism which is defined in every dictionary as hatred of Jews.”

In response, Lapid said “members of the extreme Right have been attacking my speech that I gave at a conference on battling antisemitism … Turns out not only do they seek to destroy Israeli society, but are even willing to help antisemites for the sake of a political blow.”