Daily Israel Report

Bedein: Israel Needs to Watch the Anti-Semitism in its Backyard

David Bedein says that Israel should pay closer attention to the anti-Semitism which is spread by its closest neighbors in the PA.
By Elad Benari and Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 1/24/2011, 7:57 PM / Last Update: 1/25/2011, 1:47 AM

On Sunday, the Annual Report of the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism was presented in a special press conference at the Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem.

The report summarizes the trends in worldwide anti-Semitism during 2010, but David Bedein, the head of the Center for Near East Policy Research, used the opportunity to present another no less concerning threat: the anti-Semitism in the Palestinian Authority.

“I handed to [Jewish Agency Chairman] Natan Sharansky a Palestinian schoolbook with quotations which are clearly anti-Semitic,” Bedein told IsraelNationalNews TV’s Yoni Kempinski. “I asked him: ‘What are you doing in your global forum against anti-Semitism to stop Palestinian anti-Semitism?”

In response to Bedein’s question, Sharansky said: “In all those years that I was in the government I was insisting that the most important criteria of whether there is a real desire for peace on the side of our partners, has to be what they’re teaching their children in their schools.”

Sharansky said that he has pushed for this for the past 13 years, ever since the negotiations in the Wye Plantation in 1998. “I am very sorry that in spite of constant publications on our side of all those awful things which are published in Palestinian TV or in Palestinian books, it’s not one of the necessary conditions of peace negotiations,” he added.

“We have a situation where Israel is watching anti-Semitism all over the world but not in its own backyard and as a matter of fact, is not saying anything on the record to the Palestinian Authority to stop its anti-Semitism,” said Bedein.

Figures presented during Sunday’s conference show that “classic” anti-Semitism was statistically somewhat less common in 2010 than in 2009. But despite these figures, it was also shown that there is a new threat to Jewish communities in the form of the campaign of deligitimization and demonization of Israel.