Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai
Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai Foreign Ministry

In the opening address of the Global Forum for Combatting Antisemitism conference, Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai said that it is time for the State of Israel to acknowledge how its military actions directly impact the safety, security, and communal cohesion of Jewish communities around the world. "From the extreme right and extreme left, events in the Middle East are harnessed as a concerning political tool to target and isolate Jewish communities," Minister Shai said in his address.

Minister Shai also touched on the unique way in which anti-Semitism and its connection to Israeli action impacts liberal Jewish individuals and groups. As Minister of Diaspora, Shai said, "It is my role to take on and reflect these realities within the Government Cabinet and Israeli society. As the nation-state of the Jewish people, we stand in mutual solidarity with Jewish communities in times of both conflict and calm…We must build opportunities for Israeli society to listen to and appreciate how Jewish communities experience these challenges.”

Additionally, the Minister said that it will be a priority of the new government to show up in an organized way on the international stage in the face of anti-Semitism. "The State of Israel is here to engage and educate our allies around the world on the history and reality of anti-Semitism," he said. "This will empower all sides to identify it and respond appropriately out of a sense of understanding and respect for each other. We aim to work in direct partnership with Jewish communities and governments to ensure that Jews can live freely and proudly wherever they choose."

Finally, the Minister stressed that anti-Semitism is a global problem and must be addressed as such in connection to all other forms of hate, ending with a call to action: "Our shared work is great. We must model and replicate best practices, create and hold each other to global standards. Remain conscience of the distinctions between anti-Semitism and legitimate critique of the State of Israel," he said.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog also addressed the conference and said that the global fight against anti-Semitism will be one of the most important tasks of his term as president.

"The fight against anti-Semitism will be one of the key tasks during my tenure as President. We have seen an increase in anti-Semitism recently, for example during Operation Defenders of the Wall where we went through a complex and challenging period. One of the key issues we have to deal with is the upcoming 'Durban Conference'. Previous conferences have caused damage and so we must act decisively, unanimously and fearlessly against this conference. It is a gathering of hatred and slander, an anti-Semitic event in the worst sense. For this purpose, we must work with governments, organizations and opinion makers and ensure that this terrible gathering does not take place," Herzog said.

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