The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement held a digital awards ceremony on Sunday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Human-rights advocate and former Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky and U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism Elan Carr discussed anti-Semitic efforts to use coronavirus for spreading anti-Jewish sentiment.

Around 30,000 watched the online event, after the original event at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.

Sharansky condemned all forms of anti-Semitism from the left, right, and in particular, emanating from political Islam, which he blames for a significant role in the current day resurgence of anti-Semitism. He called out the recent propaganda evident in Turkey, Iran, Jordan and elsewhere falsely accusing Jews of spreading coronavirus as just one more recent example of the delegitimization campaign emanating from the Middle East.

“The idea that Jews are behind the virus, that Jews want to destroy markets, to make money or that Israel is behind it … there is nothing new in it. We saw it during the Black Death in the Middle Ages. There was broad belief that Jews were behind it,” said Sharansky. “The difference between then and now is that today the State of Israel is strong; we are fighting anti-Semitism, and we will defeat it.”

“See what happened in the U.K., when people took to the streets and said they wouldn’t allow their country to be filled with hatred,” said Carr. “They acted against the rise of anti-Semitism and caused an earthquake.”

Carr remarked that the Trump administration is “determined by its words and action to fight anti-Semitism. The administration is committed to secure the physical security of Jews, to fight the spread of anti-Semitism on the Internet, to end radicalization of students in the Middle East through textbooks, to educate about philo-semitism and to take legal action against those who engage in anti-Semitism.”

At Sunday’s event, 37 winners of round 1 of the Venture Creative Contest were announced and will share grants of $100,000 awarded by CAM.

The contest was sponsored by 8 CAM coalition partners, including CAMERA, Aish Ha’Torah, Artists4Israel, the Tikvah Fund, Israel on Campus Coalition, the American Sephardi Federation, the Galila Foundation and JNS.

More than 140 individuals and organizations submitted proposals to help fight anti-Semitism in various categories including art, poetry, essays, video projects and social action.

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