Leading human rights defenders and experts today sounded the alarm over the rampant antisemitism and anti-Israel bias that pervades the United Nations and international organizations across the globe at a congressional hearing chaired by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) that brought the critical issue of surging antisemitic hate to the front lines of Congress.
“The rising tide of antisemitism worldwide is cause for serious alarm,” said Smith, who authored the law that created the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism at the US State Department and another law that upgraded and strengthened the Special Envoy to the rank of Ambassador, reporting directly to the Secretary of State.
“With no sign of abating anywhere, Jewish men, women and children continue to suffer bias, cruelty, hate and violence simply because they are Jewish,” said Smith, Chair of the House Global Human Rights Subcommittee, who noted two chilling incidents that have recently occurred in his congressional district.
“Just two weeks ago, Ron Carr from my hometown of Manchester painted swastikas on fifteen houses and burnt a house to the ground,” said Smith, “and last April, Dion Marsh, also of Manchester, attacked a Jewish man waiting at a stop sign in Lakewood, New Jersey, stole his car and ran over two other Jewish men and stabbed another.”
Smith’s hearing—entitled “Responding to Antisemitism and Anti-Israel Bias in the UN, Palestinian Authority, and NGO Community”—took an especially close look at the form of antisemitism that masquerades as criticism of Israel.
“Israel faces an ongoing existential threat due in large part to antisemitism,” said Smith, Co-Chair of the Israel Allies Caucus in Congress. “America—and the free world—must continually strengthen the bond of friendship and tangible support for Israel.”
The hearing included compelling testimony from a distinguished panel of expert witnesses, including the legendary human rights leader and former Soviet political prisoner Natan Sharansky, who developed the incisive “3-D” test for identifying antisemitism that often tries to “hide behind the veneer of legitimate criticism of Israel.”
According to Sharansky’s test, criticism of Israel is nothing less than antisemitic when it passes over into a demonization of Jews and Israel, delegitimizes the Jewish state, or applies double standards, that is one standard for Israel, another for every other country.
“There can be no success in the fight against antisemitism if we do not fight it on all fronts,” said Sharansky.
Also testifying at the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing was Hillel Neuer—the Executive Director of UN Watch—who Smith said “has been a mighty force for good in exposing and fighting an unconscionable UN bias against Israel, including at the UN Human Rights Council.”
“Key bodies of the United Nations are being willfully and systematically misused by an organized campaign to demonize and delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people,” said Neuer. “The United Nations will never live up to its founding promise so long as this pathology endures.”
Another expert witness, Dr. Sharon Nazarian from the Anti-Defamation League, noted that “antisemitic hate and prejudice is deeply entrenched” globally—including throughout Europe and the United States—and that Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) countries have “by far the highest levels of antisemitic attitudes.”
Itamar Marcus, Director of Palestinian Media Watch, exposed the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) unrelenting antisemitic attacks and noted that the “combination of political and religious antisemitism with hatred of Israel, all in the name of Allah directly leads to the PA’s policy to see murdering Israelis as heroic and Allah’s will, and as a result: 100 percent of the murderers of Israelis are honored; 100 percent of terrorists in jail for murdering Jews receive PA salaries; 100 percent of terrorists killed while murdering Jews are declared ‘Shahids—meaning ‘Martyrs’ who ‘died for Allah.’”
Smith, who serves as Co-Chair of the House Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, said today’s congressional hearing will be part of series of hearings over the coming year examining antisemitism and the most effective ways to fight it.
“This pernicious manifestation of evil needs to be exposed and more effectively combatted,” Smith said. “The purveyors of antisemitism never take a holiday—nor should we. Silence is not an option.”