The United Nations, which is known for a disproportionally large number of resolutions and sessions dedicated to criticizing Israel, by its own standards opened its doors to an unusual session Monday.
The event, titled “Global Anti-Semitism: A Threat to International Peace and Security,” was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Palau to the U.N. at the international body's headquarters in New York, from where it was live-streamed.
The event was organized by Ugoji Eze, president of the Eng Aja Eze Foundation, a non-profit organization focusing on the rebuilding of societies following conflicts. As a result of publicity for the event generated from a report by Israel National News, more than 500 people signed up to attend.
“There has never been a meeting on anti-Semitism like this in the halls of the U.N.,” said Pastor Mario Bramnick, vice president and chief liaison for Israel and Middle East policy at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who spoke at the event.
Speaking up against anti-Semitism and defending Israel is “a matter of practicing our faith,” said H.E. Dr. Caleb Otto, Palau's ambassador to the U.N.
Palau is a Christian nation, and God has said, “I will bless those who bless Israel, and curse those who curse Israel,” noted Otto.
According to the World Zionist Organization, since the recent Israel-Hamas conflict there has been more than a 400-percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Europe. In South America and South Africa, anti-Semitic incidents have spiked 1,200 and 600 percent, respectively. In the U.S., such incidents are up 127 percent.
These numbers were emphasized by Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor in an opening speech at the Palau event. Prosor praised the courage of those who attended the session to “speak up against anti-Semitism,” and called on people to take a side and “stand up with democratic nations that believe in human rights, tolerance, and freedom” instead of demonizing Israel.
Many of the speakers focused on the connection between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, as exemplified by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky "3 D"s: Demonization of Israel with false or disproportional claims such as comparisons to the Nazis, double standards, and the delegitimization of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
The other point made by several speakers at the event was that Israel’s continued existence is preventing the full proliferation of radical Islamist groups, such as the Islamic State, and their violent philosophies around the world.
“The war that ISIS has declared on the world is the same war that Hamas has been waging on Israel for decades,” because although Hamas is specifically focused on fighting Israel, its philosophy is markedly similar to that of Islamic State, said Brigitte Gabriel, president of ACT For America.
Security Analyst Mark Langfan reiterated this point by calling Israel the “gateway” and “controlling node” preventing the radical groups from expanding their reach.
“Anti-Zionism of today will lead to a terrible, terrible catastrophe tomorrow in the Islamic world and in Europe,” he said.
Anne Bayefsky—director of the Touro Institute On Human Rights and the Holocaust, and president of Human Rights Voices—criticized the U.N. for being “the leading global purveyor of anti-Semitism."
Last November, Bayefsky and a group of Taglit-Birthright Israel alums were barred from attending the annual “U.N. Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”
Now, “the U.N. has launched a legal pogrom against the Jewish state” with the appointment of Israel critic William Schabas as the lead investigator into Operation Protective Edge.
“The perversion of the legal system” is how a Holocaust begins, Bayefsky said.
Michael Llorenz, director of the Entrepreneurship Center at the Touro College Graduate School of Business, described a positive strategy that can be implemented against anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel. He called on supporting budding entrepreneurs with incentives and encouraging them to take on projects that collaborate with Israeli innovators and other aspects of Israeli society. This way, it will become more difficult to treat Israel as a vilified “other.”
Entrepreneurship is also not limited to science and technology. Social entrepreneurship can be the modern version of tikkun olam (repairing the world)—for instance, by launching a social media campaign against anti-Semitism.
“Entrepreneurship is highly effective diplomacy,” he said.