Start time 12:45 p.m. (New York) / 18:45 (Geneva) / 19:45 (Jerusalem)
The World Jewish Congress, alongside the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (Crif), hosted Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, The United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism for a discussion on antisemitism, the growth of far-right movements, and Holocaust denial. The discussion was moderated by James McAuley, the Washington Post's Global Opinions contributing columnist focusing on French and European politics and culture and the paper’s former Paris correspondent.
In her remarks, Lipstadt asserted that the current rise in antisemitism is a global phenomenon and not limited to Europe or any single country. “If we had had this conversation 15 years ago, I would have said, ‘France is a unique situation.’ Sadly, it’s not unique anymore,” she said.
In response to the idea that there is an urgent need to address hatred directed at the Jewish people, she explained that “antisemitism is the canary in the coal mine. It may start with the Jews, it does not end with the Jews,” and that by fighting this form of discrimination, society will become increasingly aware of all forms of prejudice. In light of this, Lipstadt called on all people to speak up, saying, “The Shoah did not begin with the Third Reich, with Hitler and those around him, expecting that they would be able to do what they did.”
“You look at any genocide, it begins with words,” she added.
Also present was Crif President and WJC Vice-President Yonathan Arfi, who echoed Lipstadt in his opening remarks, declaring, “we all know today that antisemitism is not limited to France. It’s a threat to the world.”
The World Jewish Congress’ Associate Vice President Menachem Rosensaft closed the discussion by expressing his deep gratitude for the expertise that Ambassador Lipstadt has contributed to the fight against antisemitism over the years. “She’s [Lipstadt] unique in that she comes into the position with an absolute understanding of antisemitism in the context of world history, and in the context of Jewish history,” said Rosensaft.
The event in Paris comes a week after Ambassador Lipstadt's trip to Brussels where she met with WJC and European Union officials, European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas and the Commission’s Coordinator on combatting Antisemitism Katharina Von Schnurbein for a wide-ranging closed conversation on joint efforts to fight hate.