More than 200 people gathered at the Israeli embassy in Washington DC Tuesday evening for The American Zionist Movement and the World Zionist Organization’s symposium on anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
The event featured addresses by Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer; the US Special Envoy for Combating Anti-Semitism, Elan Carr; Vice Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, Yaakov Hagoel; Richard D. Heideman, the president of the American Zionist Movement; Alyza Lewin of the Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law; and anti-Semitism researcher Deborah Lipstadt.
In his address, Israeli Ambassador Dermer called it “ironic” that the State of Israel is often considered to the be ‘pretext’ for contemporary anti-Semitism, saying that “Israeli modernity” had become a ‘cure’ for many of the world’s ills.
Carr, the US special envoy for combating anti-Semitism, slammed anti-Zionism, linking it to anti-Semitism.
“The official position of the United States is that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. That is the official policy of the American administration. The Jewish people are not simply a religion. It is a combination of ethnicity, faith, and culture, and a group which merits the same rights to self-determination enjoyed by every other people.”
“Hatred of the Jewish state is hatred of the Jewish people. We must understand that Zionism is not a modern political movement. It began with Abraham the Patriarch, who was told by God to leave the land of his birth and go to the Land of Israel.”
World Zionist Organization Vice Chairman Yaakov Hagoel called for a tough line against all forms of anti-Semitism, including the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“Enough is enough. We say here: enough is enough of the anti-Semitism, enough of the hatred, enough of the incitement, and enough of the boycotting.”
“For a long time now we’ve been witnessing a frightening combination of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, whether it is the mixing of hatred of Jews with the hatred of the State of Israel, or the direct delegitimization against ‘Jewish power’ in the world, joined by calls to boycott Israeli goods.”
Hagoel praised the US State Department’s declaration this week that the US does not consider Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria to be illegal under international law, calling the move a ‘fatal blow’ to the BDS movement.
“This huge declaration is a fatal blow to the BDS movement, which calls for Israeli products to be labelled, especially those from Judea and Samaria.”