Ambassador Ron Prosor addresses the UN General Assembly. (Photo: Shahar Azran/MFA) Ambassador Ron Prosor addresses the UN General Assembly. (Photo: Shahar Azran/MFA)

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World powers have taken the first step in combating global anti-Semitism. Israel’s ambassador to the UN demanded better security for European Jews.

For the first time in history, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held a meeting on Thursday on global anti-Semitism. This unique three-hour session was broadcast live from UN headquarters.

The Israeli-led initiative was joined by 37 countries, including the US, Canada, Australia and all members of the European Union. About half of the UN’s members attended the meeting.

Rabbi Yaacov Monsonego, whose eight-year-old daughter Miriam was murdered in front of a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, attended the session.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor expressed Israel’s view on the current state of affairs, stating: “We don’t need any more monuments commemorating the Jews who were murdered in Europe. We need a strong and enduring commitment to safeguard the Jews living in Europe.”

Never Again?

Prosor spoke of his grandmother Elfrida, who was born in Germany and endured the extreme hardships that a Jew in Europe faced during the Holocaust. “The world pledged ‘Never again,’ but here we are again,” Prosor stated.

“Seventy years after the Holocaust ended, European Jews are once again living in fear. Two weeks ago, we watched in horror as innocent Jews were murdered in a Paris grocery store…. Violent anti-Semitism is casting a shadow over Europe.”

Prosor directly accused the UN of anti-Semitism. “Anti-Semitism can even be found in the halls of the United Nations,” he said. “Disguised as humanitarian concern, a number of delegates have used the General Assembly, this podium, to voice their anti-Semitic sentiments.”

The Israeli ambassador called on every nation to speak out as clearly as French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who declared: “When the Jews of France are attacked, France is attacked, the conscience of humanity is attacked,” and as clearly as Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said, “I do not accept any kind of anti-Semitic message or attacks at all, not least the ones that were…seen at the pro-Palestinian demonstrations, disguised as alleged criticism of the policy of the State of Israel.”

World-renowned French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy delivered the keynote address in the wake of the Muslim terror attacks on French magazine Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris.

“The United Nations was founded to fight this plague. This assembly was given the sacred task of preventing those terrible spirits from reawakening. But they have returned, and that is why we are here. It is up to you now to take the floor and to act. It is up to you, who are the faces of the world, to be the architects of a house in which the mother of all hate – anti-Semitic hate – will see its place reduced.”

Anti-Semitism Equals Anti-Israelism

The modern form of anti-Semitism is anti-Israelism, and “even if Israel were exemplary – a nation of angels – even if they granted the Palestinians a state…this enigmatic and old hatred would not dissipate one iota,” Lévy said.

“Grievances about Israeli actions must never be used as an excuse to attack Jews,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, adding that “in the same vein, criticisms of Israeli actions should not be summarily dismissed as anti-Semitism. This only suppresses dialogue and hinders the search for peace.”

The UN’s 57 Islamic nations unanimously condemned all words and acts that encourage “hatred, anti-Semitism [and] Islamophobia.” The statement, given by Saudi ambassador Abdallah Al-Moualimi, stressed the importance of dialogue in efforts to combat Islamophobia and anti-Semitism and denounced “any discrimination based on belief and religious practices.” However, they moved on to blame Israel for anti-Semitism.

Hate Crime in London More than Doubled

In the meantime, Scotland Yard revealed that there is a huge rise in anti-Semitic crime in London, doubling in just one year.

The statistics show there were 299 hate crimes against Jews between the start of April and the end of December, which represent a rise of 128 per cent on the same period in 2013, when there were 131 hate crimes.

Police said last week that they were increasing patrols in areas with large Jewish communities following the terror attacks in Paris. Scotland Yard said officers were continually liaising with the community, the Jewish Chronicle reports.

British Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: “The global picture of terrorist activity does give us heightened concern about the risk to the Jewish community in the UK. We are seeing continuing anti-Semitic rhetoric from extremists and attacks on this community in France and elsewhere.”

Europe has experienced a surge in anti-Semitism in recent years, especially in France, where anti-Semitic attacks are up by 312 percent.

A World Zionist Organization study in August found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the world jumped by 383 percent in July as compared to the same month the previous year, with Europe showing a 436-percent increase.

By Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel