Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, author and frequent contributor to Arutz Sheva was the keynote speaker at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s (CIJR) annual gala in Montreal on December 1.
At the gala, Gerstenfeld was presented with the CIJR’s International Lion of Judah award for "distinguished service to Israel and the Jewish people.” The invitation to the evening announced him as the recognized leading international authority in the field of anti-Semitism.
In his speech, Gerstenfeld noted three strategic priorities in the fight against almost unlimited antisemitic threats, first stating that according to the Global Study of the Anti- Defamation League, there are more than one billion anti-Semites in the world. This number refers only to classic religious and ethnic/national antisemitism. It does not include people who consider themselves only anti-Israel. He remarked that this finding translates into about 75 anti-Semites for every Jew, including babies and self-hating Jews.
Gerstenfeld defined his three priorities as follows;
- He claimed that forming an anti-propaganda agency should be the top priority of the Israeli government. Only such a body can systematically deal with the widespread hate campaigns against both Israel and Jewry worldwide. Israel has the funds available to establish and maintain such an organization. Such an agency could provide invaluable aid to the many pro-Israeli organizations and individuals. Gerstenfeld cited examples of how easy it was to deter pro-BDS academics from supporting this antisemitic activity.
- The second priority according to Gerstenfeld, is to convince primarily non-Jewish politicians and other prominent people to admit that antisemitism has been an integral part of Western culture for over a thousand years. As culture developed, so too did antisemitism and its mutations.
Gerstenfeld gave as an example of this, the horrendous false notion that Jews are absolute evil. In Christianity, such evil was that Jews were held responsible for the death of the alleged son of God, Jesus. In the worst manifestation of ethnic nationalism, Nazism, the Jews were absolute evil because they were considered subhuman. As vermin or bacteria, the Nazis decided that Jews should be exterminated.
Gerstenfeld added that once it is more accepted that Western culture is permeated with antisemitism, it will be easier to expose many contemporary cases of antisemitism in a historic perspective. Once Jews and non-Jews agree on this issue it will be possible to act against this oldest hatred more effectively.
- As third priority, but not less in importance than the first two, Gerstenfeld mentioned the need to expose Jewish masochists. He said that there is a longstanding current of masochism in the Jewish tradition. Contemporary Jewish masochists in Israel and abroad claim that Israel has to be perfect while others do not have to be so. They will rarely, if ever, tell anyone what Israel’s enemies do wrong. This is an antisemitic attitude according to the most accepted definition of antisemitism, that of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
Jewish masochists, he continued, are the ideal useful idiots to be manipulated and used by Israel’s enemies. The latter can always base themselves on statements by masochist Jews to criticize Israel. One example said Gerstenfeld, of a prominent Jewish masochist is US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Sanders has called Netanyahu a racist while he remained silent about Mohammed Abbas who said that no Israelis will live in the future Palestinian state.
Gerstenfeld said that many Jewish activists who are acquainted with Jewish masochists should tell them that by singling out Israel and remaining silent about the criminality of the Palestinians, they are committing anti-Semitic acts.
He furthermore pointed out that the central forces spreading hatred of Israel in the Western world’s public domain come from the liberal left. Muslim fanatics and extreme rightists are far more violent, yet they are marginal in mainstream media and politics.
Gerstenfeld also addressed the free speech issue. Free speech on social media has led to an explosion of hate speech. Those who are in favor of unlimited free speech indirectly undermine Western democracy. He continued that the interaction of Jews with society at large enables one to see this and many other problems far more clearly.
Gerstenfeld’ was introduced by former Canadian Justice Minister and leading international human rights advocate Irwin Cotler who spoke in his honor and called him a renaissance man. There were also videos of praise from Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Vice Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, and Hillel Neuer, Director of UN Watch in Geneva. Professor Alvin Rosenfeld, the Director of The Institute for the Study of Contemporary antisemitism at Indiana University sent a written text of praise which was read out by the Director of CIJR, Professor Fred Krantz.
In earlier years, Gerstenfeld, who is the chairman emeritus of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was given the lifetime achievement award by the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, and the International Leadership Award by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.