Speaking in front of 900 people at the St Kilda Town Hall in Melbourne, Australia, Mariaschin discussed how Iran's lust for Israel's destruction, rampant anti-Semitism in majority Muslim countries and the pervasiveness of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has created an environment where anti-Semitism is at a post-World War II high.
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Introduced by B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich and philanthropist John Gandel, Mariaschin, B’nai B’rith International’s executive -vice-president, delivered this year’s Anti-Defamation Commission Gandel Oration, regaling his 900-strong audience at St Kilda Town Hall with a sobering ledger of anti-Semitism, noting anti-Jewish hatred is now at a post-World War II high.
For Iran, “Israel’s destruction is non-negotiable”, while its Holocaust cartoon competition this year drew 150 entries from 50 countries.
Arab-language media ensure -anti-Semitism pervades the Arab and Muslim world, and Pew Research Centre findings, he said, showed “almost in all of the Muslim-majority countries that it has surveyed, nearly 90 per cent of respondents openly report being … not simply anti-Israel or anti-Israeli, but anti-Semitic”.
In the West, Holocaust deniers claim “Jews are worse than the Nazis and are perpetrating a holocaust among the Palestinians”.
In the US, some academics have reinvented canards about Jews controlling the universities, media and foreign policy, while anti-Semitism in Europe, rising since Israel’s 1967 war, is at its most lethal since World War II.
Israel, unique among nations, finds its very statehood challenged. Boycotts, divestment and sanctions’ “economic warfare has both directly and indirectly been strengthened by the ritualistic mistreatment of Israel in the UN,” Mariaschin said.
Israel’s “staying power, remarkable development and increased population share” mean that, for the first time in its 68 years, it has become “the senior partner in the Jewish world”. But from a high after 1967, young Diaspora Jews are increasingly turning away from Israel, with Pew research showing only a quarter of Jews aged 18-29 “strongly connecting” with the Jewish State.
Ending on an upbeat note, however, Mariaschin cited many of today’s church groups and legislators in the West as supportive, just as historically, Jews found support from some righteous Europeans during the Holocaust.
“To succeed in the battle against the anti-Semites, and the perniciousness of the new anti-Semitism, trumpeted through the internet at the speed of a keystroke, with Twitter, Facebook and other social media placing anti-Semitism within the reach of everyone, anywhere in the world,” he said, “we need friends and allies in the non-Jewish community to aid us in our efforts.”