Upheaval Around the World is Fueling a Rise in Anti-Semitism. Leaders Must Step Up to Defeat It

Sima Vaknin-Gill, Israel chief military censor, reads a local Israeli newspaper in her office in Tel Aviv July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Nir Elias

August 18, 2020

In a recent op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, former Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and senior advisor to the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement, Sima Vaknin-Gill, analyzes the recent surge in anti-Semitism around the world and offers a number of prescriptive actions to help halt this trend.

In her piece titled, Global Chaos is Breeding Antisemitism. Global Leaders Must End It, the brigadier-general (res.), argues that the “dominant issues of the day – coronavirus and the struggle for black rights – have been manipulated beyond belief to fuel almost unprecedented levels of anti-Semitism.”

Within living memory of the Holocaust, Vaknin-Gill states that “Jewish communities once again feel the earth shaking under their feet.”  While this is not the 1930s, she argues, the gravity of the present reality needs to be confronted. Anti-Semitism was already on the rise in unprecedented ways prior to the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. News headlines and statistics from nations around the world in 2019 showed this unfortunate reality. However, Vaknin-Gill observes that with the outbreak of the pandemic, bigots immediately began circulating dangerous anti-Semitic conspiracies with increased fervor.

“As the economic and social stress of the pandemic took hold, so did allegations that Jews were responsible for the virus, were utilizing it for profit, harnessing it to gain political control or to reduce the world population. The accusations were bizarre and extreme and yet they gained traction. The old blood libels of centuries long gone came back to haunt us.”

Describing the multiple sources of anti-Semitism, the piece lays out how groups on the far-right and the far-left have both taken advantage of the current global chaos to target Jews and the Jewish state. When the classical anti-Semitism of the right converges with the newer “rational” anti-Semitism on the left, the current state of Jew-hatred is more dangerous than ever before in the modern era. Jewish history teaches us that these worrying trends must be addressed.

To comprehensively confront rising anti-Semitism, Vaknin-Gill suggests several steps that must be taken. Governments must first publicly acknowledge the present threat anti-Semitism poses to both Jewish people and society in general. Jewish lay leaders and governmental bodies need to collaborate more closely to fight anti-Semitism. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition should be used as a framework to hold governments and enterprises such as media companies accountable. Lastly, alliance-building between governments and institutions around the globe is essential for creating best practices and unity in the battle against anti-Semitism.

Read the Original Piece Here: https://bit.ly/2CCCI0r