B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin presented at the International Conference of the Responsibility of States, Institutions and Individuals in the Fight against Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Area on Jan. 29 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome.
Mariaschin spoke in a plenary session, titled “The Meaning of Responsibility,” with Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and Founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio professor Andrea Riccardi.
Mariaschin discussed the connection between anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hatred: “Such manifestations of blatant anti-Israel sentiment demonstrate a willingness to vilify the Jewish state and apply double standards to it — to condemn Israel for actions for which no other country in the world would receive similar criticism. Demonization, de-legitimization and a double standard — what Natan Sharansky called the “3 D’s” of anti-Israel criticism — are in evidence in many parts of the world. While for many centuries Jews have been singled out by anti-Semites for discriminatory treatment, Israel is now regarded as the Jew among nations and is similarly singled out as a pariah nation by the international community, a country targeted for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.”
He also noted, “Meanwhile, a contemporary version of Holocaust denial has emerged, as Israel’s detractors claim that Jews are worse than Nazis and that Israel is perpetrating a ‘Holocaust’ upon the Palestinians. Rhetorical attacks on Israel often feature phrases such as ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘forced transfers,’ and ‘human rights violations’ and ‘racism.’ Claims that Jews are exploiting the Holocaust to collect reparations money or that they have used the Holocaust to justify the creation of an ‘apartheid’ state also serve as troubling examples of the misuse of the Holocaust for political purposes.”
Click here to read Mariaschin’s remarks as prepared.
The conference began with an audience at the Vatican with Pope Francis for delegates and speakers. In his remarks, the Pope said: “I offer you a warm welcome and thank you for your presence here. I am grateful for the noble aim that brings you here: to reflect together, from varying points of view, on the responsibility of States, institutions and individuals in the struggle against anti-Semitism and crimes associated with anti-Semitic hatred.”