Notes on a Webinar on Antisemitism sponsored by the G20 Interfaith Forum 9 May 2022 taken by James DiLuzio CSP

  • The G20 Interfaith Forum urges international attentiveness to formal legal and commonplace practices in various nation’s policies that infringe upon or deny rights to their Jewish populations and those of other minorities. Russia is a prime example of labeling people of the Jewish faith as enemies of the state on no other basis than that of their religion.
  • One of the myths contributing to Antisemitism is an assertion that Jews do not have loyalty to the nation in which they live. This remains an affront to reality. It is unconscionable that anyone in the public center describe any ethnic group in such a wide generalization. Furthermore, evidence abounds as to the substantial numbers of Jewish people actively involved in politics and social agencies for their respective nation’s welfare, not to mention numerous International Jewish agencies devoted to human rights concerns.
  • The Economic Crisis of 2008 quickly awakened Antisemitism. Various governments and political parties have often scapegoated the Jewish community during economic turmoil by fostering medieval, pre-modern and post-modern superstitions and fallacious arguments against the Jewish race.
  • Although Mainstream Politicians and News Media strive to avoid Antisemitic rhetoric, evidence of blatant Antisemitism is legion in many Non-Democratic Nations.
  • Often the World Stage exemplifies Antisemitism by an exaggerated attentiveness to Israel’s internal affairs. For example, the United Nations’ 2001 World Conference Against Racism exclusively railed against the Nation of Israel, paying little or no attention to racism and tribal warfare in Africa, Asia, Syria, Middle Eastern, and Latin America Nations.
  • The accusation that Israel is an “apartheid” nation is an example of Antisemitism. Apartheid in South Africa consisted of formal, legislated policies against a race of people in defiance of International Law. No such laws exist in Israel. Using the term “apartheid” makes a false generalization about an entire people and its representative government. Furthermore, the term presents a grave obstacle to negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people. Israel needs collaboration and support from other nations in addressing complex, territorial disputes. Condemnations alone is counterproductive. Regarding the political sphere, Israel would appreciate more international understanding of the fact that the Palestinians representative, Mahmoud Abbas, is a genuine dictator. The very nature of his position and policies make him (and the Palestinians who work for and with him) an affront to the democratic values they pretend to want for the Palestinian people.
  • Antisemitism is present in the lack of outcry against human rights violations in contemporary Russia where its government does not afford Jews and other minorities equal opportunities on many social levels. Russia’s propaganda that calls UKRAINE a Nazi nation ripe with antisemitism, provides fodder to blame the Jewish people for the invasion of Ukraine — an invasion the Jewish community actively protests. We urge an international outcry against Russia’s lies and hypocrisies.
  • The loss of a critical sense of history, including Holocaust denial, not only contributes to Antisemitism but perpetuates growing Christian and Islamic phobias in many countries. Efforts to combat these prejudices are not internationally unified. Governments must acknowledge Antisemitism as more than a political problem. In fact, it is a racial, religious, moral, existential, as well as a political problem. Historically, Antisemitic events often jumpstart active prejudices and racism against minorities in various religious, social, political, and cultural contexts.
  • A worthy historical example of a nation and Church effectively combating Antisemitism: In 1943, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church widely condemned the Nazis and their policies against the Jewish people. At the same time, they boldly supported and accommodated the Bulgarian Jews’ emigration to the land that is now the State of Israel.

For more information on the G20 Interfaith Forum, go to:

Moderator: Asher Maoz is dean of the Peres Academic Center Law School in Rehovot. He holds a PhD. In Philosophy from Tel Aviv University, and a Master of Law from the University of Chicago. He is a member of the G20 Interfaith Forum Advisory Council and Anti-Racism Initiative.

Speakers:

Yuli-Yoel Edelstein: Member of the Israeli Knesset. Mr. Edelstein is one of the most prominent refuseniks in the former Soviet Union. From 1984 to 1987 the Soviet government imprisoned him at a Gulag in Siberia for teaching Hebrew and Pro-Israel commentary. Freed via international protests, Mr. Edelstein emigrated to Israel and remains active in Israel’s public and political spheres.

Natan Sharansky: received Israel’s highest award for promoting Aliyah and the ingathering of the exiles in 2018. He is the only non-American citizen to receive the American Presidential Medal of Freedom (2006) Congressional Medal of Honor (1986). He has served as minister in four Israeli governments; Chair of the Shlihut (Emissary) Institute and The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP).

Dr. Peter Petkoff: A Senior Law Lecturer at the Brunel Law School in London, Dr. Petkoff is also Director of Religion, Law, and International Relations Programme at Regent’s Park College, Oxford. He is currently authoring a book for Oxford University Press on Holy Sites Under International Law. See also: