'Anti-Semites Hiding Behind Human Rights'

Rabbi Sacks explains how 'highest authority' has dictated the way Jews are hated, and how a Europe unsafe for Jews 'is unsafe for them too.'

Ari Yashar ,

Former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Former UK Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks spoke on Monday about anti-Semitism, and warned that not only is the volatile trend which is spreading out of control in Europe a threat for the continent's Jews, but it is also a destructive threat for all Europeans.

Speaking at a discussion entitled "Islam and BDS in Europe: A Strategic Threat?," which was held on Monday at the 2015 Herzliya Conference, Rabbi Sacks spoke about the connection between BDS - the boycott movement targeting Israel economically - and classical anti-Semitism.

According to the rabbi, who is Chief Rabbi Emeritus of the United Hebrew Congregation of the Commonwealth, "anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism," and just as attacks on Jews must be stopped, Europe must likewise stop attacks on the Jewish state.

Tracing the evolution of Jew hatred, the rabbi noted that once anti-Semitism was based on religion, and then race, but "today they (Jews) are hated for the new nation state."

"The assault on Jews has had to justify itself in the highest cannon of authority," he said, explaining that in the Middle Ages religion was the highest authority, whereas in the 19th century CE it was replaced with science in Western culture. As a result, "the scientific study, that today we know is a pseudo-science of race and social Darwinism was used to justify hate against Jews."

"Now, human rights are the highest form of authority. For this reason it is used against Israel. The new anti-Semitism has to be spoken in the language of human rights," said Sachs, explaining modern anti-Semitism.

The rabbi concluded, "we need to make it clear that if Europe is not safe for Jews, it is not safe for them either. It is an assault on freedom. We must not be left to face this battle alone."