Anti-Semitism is being used to delegitimize the State of Israel, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said recently.

Speaking at the Foreign Ministry’s third annual Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism, Lieberman said “classic anti-Semitism, along with Iranian funding and Islamic anti-Semitism, is being used to incite hatred against Jews, and to delegitimize the State of Israel.”

He said that global anti-Semitism had “crossed the line,” and that those behind the effort were “seeking to destroy the Jewish state piece by piece… using academic boycotts and economic sanctions.” He also noted “human rights groups’ effort to deny Israel legitimacy by pushing the United Nations Security Council to adopt the Goldstone Report,” which accused Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

“Modern anti-Semitism,” the foreign minister asserted, “has taken on the form of being anti-Israel… Instead of saying ‘throw the Jews into the sea,’ they talk of a world without Zionism, and without Israel.”

Referring to the matter of Iran, Lieberman said, “It’s scary that 60 years after the horrors of the Holocaust, we see examples of anti-Semitism being funded by Iran.” He added that the Islamic republic “denies the Holocaust, calls for the destruction of Israel, and is trying to achieve nuclear capability. These efforts remind us of [the Nazis’ rise to power] 70 years ago.”

According to the registration list, over 500 participants to attended the two-day conference at Jerusalem’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. Delegations comprising diplomats, academics, and policy makers from the United States, Germany, France, Hungary, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Venezuela, and Argentina were listed on the GFCA roster.

Also speaking at the conference was Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, who cited anti-Semitic attacks around the world in the past year, noting that they took place “in 2009, not 1937.”

He too spoke of a change in the nature of anti-Semitism: “No longer permissible to openly proclaim hatred of the Jews? So the anti-Semite must seek new forms and forums to release his poison.”

“No longer politically correct to openly hate Jews? So he has repackaged his hate, and in doing so has been able to gain endorsement from academics, media outlets, and even political parties.”

Edelstein went on to tell delegates that Israel had become the focus of global anti-Semitism, saying, “There are no more Jews. Instead there are Israelis. [So, the anti-Semite claims that] Israeli soldiers kill babies; Israeli soldiers attack pregnant mothers; Israelis started wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

During his travels abroad, the minister said, he often heard people expressing support for the creation of a Palestinian state, as well as the removal of the Jewish state, which they called “inherently racist.” In response to such sentiments, Edelstein said, “I do not know if a more contradictory, irrational, and illogical argument has ever been made in the same sentence. The Palestinians are a people and therefore deserve a state. The Jews are a people, and therefore should not be allowed to have a state.”

He concluded his address by stressing the need for education on tolerance, saying, “It is our moral duty to educate our children about anti-Semitism and the evils of senseless hatred.”

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