In recent years, we have witnessed new forms of antisemitism that demonstrate how racism is not just a dangerous weapon, but often an easily disguisable one, too. Antisemitic groups mask themselves as peace advocates, when in fact they call for nothing more than hatred of Jews.

 Israel's statement on racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia

 

Copyright: UN Webcast

Mr. Chairperson,

The famous professional boxer Muhammed Ali once said: "Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong."

Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance have plagued the world since the dawn of man. Fighting against it is a constant battle that, for future generations’ sake, we must win.

Mr. Chairperson,

The Jewish people have known racism in the form of antisemitism for time immemorial. We know all too well, what happens when racism goes unchecked: The memory of 6 million Jews who were exterminated at the hands of the Nazis and their Allies is etched in the very founding of this institution.

Even today, antisemitism remains a part of daily life for millions of Jews. In recent years antisemitism has reared its ugly head to heights we hoped it will never reach again. According to the 2014 Anti-Defamation League Global 100 Index, over 1 billion adults around the world harbor antisemitic attitudes towards Jews.

These numbers are overwhelming. It seems that the promise that the world made after the Holocaust has been forgotten.

In recent years, we have witnessed new forms of antisemitism that demonstrate how racism is not just a dangerous weapon, but often an easily disguisable one, too. Antisemitic groups mask themselves as peace advocates, when in fact they call for nothing more than hatred of Jews.

The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Campaign (BDS) is at the forefront, promoting scare tactics and bullying anyone who may show a speck of support for, or identification with, Israel or anything Jewish. The BDS movement is just centuries-old antisemitism in a new packaging, targeting Jews solely on the basis of their religion.

Nowadays, the widespread prevalence of antisemitism is merely a Google search away. The Internet creates a forum for the global free-flow of racist content and sadly the web is used as a place for racist incitement – a weapon as dangerous as any other. Judicial ideas are shared via Facebook, re-tweeted, and transferred amongst millions of people. Hatred is now spread with a click of a button.

With this in mind, we must find more creative ways of utilizing the Internet to better spread messages of diversity and tolerance. In this way, the World Wide Web can be a wonderful tool for social action and our strongest platform for challenging racist narratives. 

Mr. Chair,

The UN must combat this phenomenon. In January of this year the General Assembly convened for an historic session to address the rise in antisemitic violence worldwide. But that is just the first step. The international community must do more. We call for the appointment of a special rapporteur on antisemitism. We also call on the UNDPI to fulfill its commitment to a follow-up conference, by the end of 2015, to the "Unlearning Intolerance" series on antisemitism, with a goal to review progress and identify new challenges.

Mr. Chair,

In today’s diverse world, it is more imperative than ever for governments to make it a National Priority to combat racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia.

In Israel, our Ministry of Education has developed programs such as the “Other is Me" in order to reduce prejudice and violence among students, and to better understand the meaning and importance of coexistence in Israeli society.

Mr. Chair,

Governments cannot achieve this goal alone. Strong involvement of the private sector and true partnership with civil society is crucial.

Even in times of great difficulty, like the one we are currently experiencing, heartwarming initiatives are taking place in Israel. One example for such initiatives is a hummus restaurant that offers a 50 percent discount off their hummus platters to tables where both Jewish and Arab diners are seated together.

Israeli civil society is strongly engaged in social inclusion initiatives. ‘Light Tag’ for example, is a grass-roots organization that stands to ‘spread the light’ and fight discrimination on the ground level. They strive to embrace all Israelis, regardless of religion, background and ethnicity.

Mr. Chair,

As an international community we must strive to eradicate racism and discrimination. It is our duty to stand against xenophobia, as fellow nations – united for a cause.