Even as we speak, anti-Semitism is on the rise across the world, from Europe to America and throughout the Islamic world. According to a panel discussion at the Herzliya Conference entitled “The New Anti-Semitism and the Security of the Jewish people: Overstated Threat or Real Risk?” the root of this new anti-Semitism is the ascent of radical Islam, who is spreading the hatred of Jews in a coalition with radical leftist groups throughout the planet. The panelists posited that the effect of this ever increasing anti-Semitism can be felt by Jews everywhere but Jews in America and Europe are especially at risk since they are directly exposed to radical Islamists seeking to spread their ideology in the West.
According to Charles Small, the director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy, the majority of religiously motivated hate crimes in the US target the Jewish community and there has been a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the New York area: “Over 100 institutions in the US reported anti-Semitic attacks. 56% of US students experience anti-Semitism. Pro-Islamist funders are changing the culture on US university campuses.”
Rafael Bardaji, the former National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister of Spain, added: “The more Islam rises in Europe, the more anti-Semitism there is and no one wants to talk about it.” Yossi Hollander, the chairman of the Israeli Institute for Economic Planning, stressed: “Europe will wake up in a violent way.” He noted that in 1968, there was a conference at Al Azhar University, where the Islamists proclaimed that anti-Semitism will permit the Muslims to penetrate the world with little opposition. They also changed Islamic law to state that Jews are the eternal enemy of the Muslims and they must be annihilated. Bardaji noted, “The children of Muslim immigrants are educated in anti-Semitism.”
The question arises, how can this new anti-Semitism be stopped? Adam Milstein, the national chairman of the Israeli-American Council, declared that speaking up and telling the truth about Israel is not enough: “We need to show that the enemies of the Jews are also the enemies of America. Whatever starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews.” In order to highlight this, he noted that Linda Sarsour described Saudi Arabia as a bastion of women’s rights and he claimed that there are countless of other examples where anti-Israel activists can be quoted calling for violence against America or stating things that contradict American values. To the contrary, Bardaji calls upon the Jewish community to form an alliance with the far right, claiming that they are the only ones in Europe interested in putting a halt to radical Islam: “The Ultra-Right is not Nazism like the media claims. The sooner we talk to them, the sooner we can form the future relations between Europe and Israel.”
However, Ambassador Gideon Meir disagreed with the panelists. One of the main manifestations of the new anti-Semitism is the BDS Movement and he stressed that it is a purely anti-Semitic movement that has nothing to do with the conflict: “My grandfather Ludwig Mayer came to Israel in 1908. He established a bookstore in Jerusalem. In 1914, he was called back to Germany for the First World War and after the war, he reopened the bookstore in Berlin. On April 1, 1933, he came home from the synagogue with the family and there was a sign that said don’t buy from Jews. This was the first boycott in Jewish history. Whatever comes afterwards comes from the same school of thought as Nazi Germany. It is pure anti-Semitism.”
Meir believes that BDS needs to be fought against in a quiet and sophisticated way via legislation: “This must not be done through statements to the media. In my view, some of the Jewish and Israeli press are promoting the BDS Movement. They speak about how BDS is dangerous while in reality BDS did not hurt Israel and BDS is a failure. BDS must be fought against quietly in meetings with politicians and opinion makers. When our UN Ambassador makes conferences in the UN, it encourages them to continue.”
Yet Small disagrees with Ambassador Meir’s assessment: “I think that we should expose BDS. They are pumping money into the media and the universities. We should expose them for being sexist, racist and homophobic. They are opposed to equality under the law. We need to expose them and to be proud. It is time that we stop being afraid to fight. It is not just a Jewish problem. They attack democratic institutions. They take money from foundations that call for the killing of gays and women. It’s outrageous.”