Former Chief Rabbi of the UK Lord Jonathan Sacks. ( (
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Speaking at the 2015 Herzliya Conference, former British Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks discussed how today’s anti-Semitism targets the Jewish state using the “language of human rights.”

“If Europe is not safe for Jews, it is not safe for Europeans either,” former UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sachs stated Monday at the 2015 Herzliya Conference.

The conference, which continues through June 9 at the IDC Herzliya campus, is the Middle East’s annual leading security and policy gathering.

At a roundtable discussion titled “Islam and BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] in Europe: A Strategic Threat?” Sacks discussed the issue of new anti-Semitism and its manifestation with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, claiming that “Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism” and calling on Europe to support Jews in opposition against this new form of racism.

In the past Jews were hated because of religion, and later race, but “today, they are hated for the new nation state,” Sachs explained.

“The assault on Jews has had to justify itself in highest cannon of authority,” which in the Middle Ages was religion and, in the 19th century, science. “The scientific study, which today we know is a pseudo-science of race and social Darwinism, was used to justify hate against Jews,” he said.

In this era, “human rights are the highest form of authority. For this reason it is used against Israel. The new anti-Semitism has to be spoken in the language of human rights.”

Jews in Europe Afraid to Support Israel

The BDS campaign has made it “almost impossible” for Europe-based Jews to support Israel openly, he added. “Jews have been faced with a choice: live in Europe and criticize Israel or be silent, or leave Europe,” he said. “Israel was always a uniting factor in Jewish life; it has become a divisive factor.”

According to Sachs, anti-Semitism in Europe is an “assault on freedom. We must not be left to face this battle alone.”