Thank you, Madam President.
Jews have been targeted globally in what has become an antisemitic campaign that equates the Jewish people with the Israeli military and seeks to blame Jews around the world for the escalation of violence in the Middle East. Jewish communities and institutions worldwide have been witnessing a new loud, aggressive, and violent wave of antisemitism, and the World Jewish Congress, the representative body of more than 100 Jewish communities around the globe, is greatly concerned.
Here are just a few examples of antisemitic abuses around the world that happened since the escalation in the Middle East began:
In Germany, synagogues and a Holocaust memorial were vandalized; in Austria, Jews were verbally abused; in Spain, stones were thrown at a member of the Jewish community; in Canada, an elderly Jewish man was beaten with flag poles; in London, Jews were intimidated by calls to “rape Jewish daughters” over the loudspeakers of a car convoy that drove through Jewish neighborhoods while flying Palestinian flags; and in Florida, pro-Israeli protesters were circled by a van bearing a sign “Hitler was right.”
Simultaneously, there has been a surge of virulently antisemitic hate speech across social media. Posts on major platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok feature abusive and distorting Holocaust imagery, conspiracy myths, and Nazi glorification.
This verbal and physical violence has also been fueled by a tremendous amount of misinformation and antisemitic fake news in the international media and on social media.
Moreover, even state leaders did not shy away from spreading hateful messages, associating age-old antisemitic blood libel tropes with the actions of the Israeli State.
In the recent conflict, Hamas - an acknowledged terrorist organization whose stated goal is the destruction of the Jewish state - attacked Israel with a total of 4400 rockets. As the ruling authority in Gaza, instead of protecting and providing services to its citizens, Hamas chooses to invest in rockets, not in infrastructure. The conflict between Israel and Hamas creates waves of violence and hatred that spread all over the globe and are most acutely felt by the Jewish community.
The reality of world Jewry contains yet again existential threats, recurring trauma and living in packed suitcases. For a long time, Jews dreamt of a life without fear, of a life in which they could express and practice their religion freely. In many places, Jews cannot leave their homes with a kippah on their head or a Star of David around their neck without risking their safety and peace. An open and free Jewish life is again under threat; the necessity of having armed protection for synagogues, Jewish schools and community centers speaks volumes.
The World Jewish Congress urges the UN Human Rights Council to finally understand the influence the never-ending one-sided condemnation of Israel carries. Condemning Israel for defending itself rather than those terrorist organizations attacking it fuels and legitimizes antisemitism. The worst action that can be taken here is to continue to condemn Israel excessively as has been done over the years.
The World Jewish Congress calls for ending the incessant attacks on the only democracy in the Middle East and urges the UN Human Rights Council to realize that Jews around the world are in great danger and that this is a concern for all democracies all over the world. It is a wakeup call not to be missed, for in the words of the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, “It starts with the Jews, but it never ends with the Jews.” That is why we as the World Jewish Congress urge the UN Human Rights Council not to distort its mandate.