Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel and a Holocaust survivor, spoke on Thursday at the March of the Living.

In his remarks, Rabbi Lau said that during the period of the Holocaust, Jews were urged to leave Europe and move to Palestine, “which means ‘we hate you because you are here in our home. If you will have a home of your own, if you will be independent like all the other nations, we will embrace you. We will appreciate your contribution to mankind.”

“So, in 1948, finally we received an independent state and we became owners of our old homeland, the Land of Israel. Ask our neighbors: Did they accept us? Did they say ‘Hello, welcome to the Middle East after 2,000 or 3,000 years?’” he continued.

“You hated us here because we are strangers. You fight us there because we are at home. So decide! What do you want from us? We are human beings. What do you expect? Help us understand. Just say the correct words.”

“Anti-Semitism is a madness. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s sheer madness,” said Rabbi Lau, who referred to recent anti-Semitic attacks in San Diego, Pittsburgh, Argentina and Moscow, among other places.

“Fighting anti-Semitism is not a logical fight. You need a medicine. Maybe we don’t have it, but we have to explain our attitude, our position, and this is the only way: To show the entire world that we exist, that we are eternal, that we have our continuity from generation to generation.”