דברי הנשיא בכנס מאלמו למאבק באנטישמיות
מילות מפתח: אנטישמיות, הכחשת שואהת
I am honored to address the Malmo International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, in what I hope and believe, will be a historic milestone in the fight against antisemitism and hate.
Prime Minister Lofven, my good friend- your leadership in combatting antisemitism is a tribute to your moral integrity. I wish you well, dear Stefan, in all your future endeavors.
I am also pleased that my friend Nachman Shai, Israel’s Minister for World Jewry is representing the Israeli Government in this Forum. I vividly recall over twenty years ago, when former Prime Minister Göran Persson, launched the Stockholm Declaration, and established the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
At the time, I was the Cabinet Secretary of the Government of Israel and we all knew this to be a historic step. Indeed we can be proud of the accomplishments in this field over the past two decades: The IHRA has become a widely-accepted reference point in the fight against antisemitism and Holocaust denial, with over thirty countries having adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which I call on all nations to accept; Just days ago, The European Commission presented its first-ever “Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life”, and we have seen numerous countries take important steps to counter this age-old hate, including Ukraine, whose parliament recently passed very significant legislation against antisemitism; Over three dozen countries shunned the recent UN commemoration of the 2001 Durban Conference, which deteriorated into a festival of Jew-hatred. I commend each of these countries’ leaders for their courageous moral stance and growing commitment to combatall forms of modern antisemitism.
As a true democrat and as former head of the Israeli Parliamentary Opposition, I not only support but insist on the right to criticize a specific policy of any government, including the Israeli government. But when criticism of a particular Israeli policy mutates into questioning Israel’s very right to exist- this is not diplomacy, this is demonization and antisemitism, because Israel is the Nation State of the Jewish People. So while we can be proud, we must acknowledge that so much more must be done. Not on behalf of the Jewish people- but on behalf of any civilized nation, whose people can recognize the humanity in their fellow men and women.
Antisemitism is an infusion of hate into pockets of ignorance, a force of destruction which wears down any virtue in its path. A virus. Distinguished forum, The virus of antisemitism continues to spread. Antisemitic incidents are rising throughout Europe, but also in North America, Canada, Latin America, Australia and more.
Last week I participated in a historic ceremony in Ukraine, alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, marking the 80th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre. It was a frightful reminder of what antisemitism can lead to. How can we stand by when, once again, 80 years later, Jews do not feel safe in Europe? How can we allow this?
We have witnessed thousands of antisemitic assaults, vandalism and threat, from extremists on all sides, including here in Malmo. This rise in antisemitic attacks on the streets, the physical assaults and verbal insults, offensive articles and increasing intimidation, have been fueled, in large part, by an explosion of antisemitic incitement online. Because hate that begins online, never remains online.
We are also seeing a rise in Holocaust denial, coupled with a decrease in the most basic knowledge of the Nazi genocide. The urgency of this crisis is clear. Because the challenges before us are great, our goals and aspirations in meeting them must be even greater.
Over the coming years, we must aim to correct course, and create sincere, lasting change. Such change will require unprecedented cooperation and best practice sharing, between all stakeholders. It will require legislation, strict litigation, and unrelenting law enforcement. It will require not only improving Holocaust education in schools, but Holocaust education and training for teachers. We must work aggressively with social media companies to ensure that hateful incitement is quickly removed.
And we must continue to promote the adoption of the IHRA definition, provide Jewish institutions with physical security, and insist that any form of antisemitism is simply unacceptable. There are no excuses for hate.
The path we set today is critical, for the future of Europe’s Jewish communities, and for the future of Europe we all wish to see. Jews must be free to live full, open and proud Jewish lives. They must be safe. Just like anyone else in their city, town or village.
Once again thank you all, Prime Minister Lofven and the Government of Sweden, and each governments and organizations represented here today, for your commitment to remember and react against antisemitism and Holocaust denial. I share your vision, and I share your determination.
Stay safe, thank you all. Shalom to you all from Jerusalem!