Government’s Top Anti-Semitism Watchdog Says Holocaust Denial Has Become Rampant in Parts of the World
Hannah Rosenthal, the U.S. Department of State’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, told the B’nai B’rith International Policy Conference that the very real challenge of her job is how to make it clear that anti-Semitism “is a disease that was not cured after World War II.”Noting that anti-Semitism is on the rise globally, she said her job monitoring and combating anti-Semitism has been integrated into all aspects of the State department’s work.
Rosenthal talked about the major trends she’s observed, noting, “We see Holocaust denial every day as an obsession.” Holocaust glorification—where images of Holocaust victims are shown while clerics say the annihilation of the Jews will be completed soon—has become rampant in some parts of the world. Something she described as “bone chilling.”
Rosenthal’s overriding theme was that diplomacy does work, albeit slowly at times.
Working at the Department of State, Rosenthal said she sees the many aspects and trends of anti-Semitism play out in the world, including how the global economic downturn could be dangerous for Jews. She told a story of an ambassador from a European country to the United States who reached out to her during recent economic problems in his country, telling Rosenthal that when there is unrest and economic insecurity, someone will be the scapegoat and it is usually the Jews. But the ambassador said his government would not tolerate anti-Semitic acts as a response to troubling times. This, she said, “is good progress.”
She said of her job the “hardest thing is to figure out what does success look like? We won’t eradicate the oldest hatred on earth.” But to Rosenthal, success is getting others—people, communities, nations—to condemn anti-Semitism. She said each voice that’s added is a step forward.