TEL AVIV – Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday that the UN is a breeding ground for anti-Semitism. His remarks followed the release of a poll which showed that a quarter of Israelis fear another Holocaust in addition to harboring the belief that the State of Israel will cease to exist, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“At the UN, I live with anti-Semitism 24/7,” UN envoy Danny Danon (pictured right) said at a conference on combating the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and anti-Semitism. He added that the UN is a “different world, where BDS is felt every minute of every hour.”
“You can’t ignore BDS; it poses a potential for psychological damage for younger generations and convinces them to not do business with Israel, that Israel is another South Africa,” Danon said.
“The world wants us to hang our head in shame, but we should walk with our chin up, and my message to you is, when it comes to BDS, we have an obligation to tell the truth in the face of lies.”
Prior to the conference, which was organized by the World Zionist Organization, WZO released a poll which found that a quarter of Israelis fear that another Holocaust could occur. The poll also found that more than half of Israelis are fearful of travelling abroad and an overwhelming majority hide the fact that they are Jewish when traveling.
Almost 66% of Israelis think that European governments are not doing enough to combat rising anti-Semitism, while 14% believe that nothing is being done at all. 67% of Israelis are concerned for the safety of Jews in the Diaspora and a further 39% believe that immigration to Israel is the only way forward for European Jews. 83% called on Israel’s government to give financial aid to new immigrants in the job market.
The new data flies in the face of conventional theories, which maintain that Israelis lack concern for their co-religionists abroad.
Yaakov HaGoel, WZO’s vice chairman and the former director for combating anti-Semitism, said that the results of the poll were “intensely worrying,” but was comforted by the concern displayed by Israelis for other Jews.
“I didn’t know how much the Israeli community had empathy and a connection with the Diaspora,” he told the Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “I was surprised to see how strong it was.”
He added, “On the other hand, it is sad to see how many Israelis worry to travel abroad now.”
A poll conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights shows that a third of European Jews do not wear religious clothing or symbols that would identify them as Jewish out of fear of anti-Semitic attacks. 23% avoid attending Jewish events or visiting Jewish venues altogether. A further 74% of Jews have declined to report anti-Semitic incidents.
Anti-Semitic violence in Europe is on the rise with protests calling for Jews to be sent “to the gas” and synagogues being torched by mobs. Anti-Semitic violence rose by 40% worldwide in 2014.
In light of this, Goel stressed the need for “mutual responsibility” between Jews in Israel and the Diaspora.
“Until now we received solidarity from abroad – it’s the time to connect the Israeli community to the struggle against anti-Semitism. We can strengthen the partnership,” he said.
Goel added that a number of initiatives were being launched to train Israelis to combat anti-Semitism online. Asserting that it was time for Israelis to give back to their Diaspora counterparts who supported Israel in times of need, Goel said that the opposite of anti-Semitism is “Jewish pride.”