Why The 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism Was a Huge Disappointment
The last two days, I attended the 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, in Jerusalem.
Let’s start with the positives. The networking was good. And the food. I also got to meet Mayim Bialik and Tzipi Hotovely, both who proved to be charming in real life. And kick-ass.
But as a forum for combating antisemitism, it was a bust.
Here was the main problem: The issue of antisemitism in the Muslim world was largely ignored or minimized, even though it is the most pernicious form of antisemitism in the world today.
You can see the agenda here. Out of all the sessions, only one was dedicated to the topic: Antisemitism in Arabic Language Mass Media – New Tools and Strategies for the Advance of Inter-Semitic Understanding. Another session on monitoring antisemitism dealt with it to some extent. And apparently in the very last session of the conference (which I ditched, due to fatigue and frustration), the former Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, dealt at length with the issue, but more focused on Islamist factions in France and Europe. Other than that, antisemitism in the Muslim world was hardly mentioned and, in some cases, almost dismissed when brought up by participants in the Q&A.
As far as I am aware, the constant incitement against the Jews by the PA and Hamas was not mentioned, let alone discussed.
On the other hand, the antisemitism of the far Right was mentioned time and again. (In fact, the Israeli government was criticized more than once for its relationship with far Right parties in Europe).
In another frustrating development, two panelists in a session on The Denial of Jewish History in International Organizations (one, the former Director-General of UNESCO, and the other, Director for International Relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center) claimed the Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site. It isn’t; that would be the Temple Mount. In other words, they themselves were denying Jewish history(!), a point I made to them during question time.
If a conference in the Jewish state tiptoes around the real causes of antisemitism and can get such basic facts wrong, it is not a great sign.