The Honorable Irwin Cotler, addressing an international conference at Indiana University called, “Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, and the Dynamics of Delegitimization,” also warned that rising global antisemitism is in fact an attack on universal public values and on the very institutions and mechanisms of global justice.
Published: April 04, 2016
Cotler said that the new antisemitism targets less the individual Jew than the collective Jew — the state of Israel — partly by ascribing to the Jewish state the various nefarious traits antisemites traditionally ascribed to individual Jews, but also by operating under a number of modern forms, including what he called “genocidal antisemitism” and “anti-Jewish terror antisemitism.”
“International law proscribes incitement to genocide,” Cotler said. “Yet such incitement is precisely what we regularly see from Israel’s enemies.” He cited remarks by Iranian leaders, and the charters of groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, explicitly calling for the destruction of Israel and the murder not of “Zionists,” but of Jews. “These are clear violations of the international conventions against incitement, yet nobody acts to prosecute them.”
Nor is genocide merely a threat, he added. Not only have thousands of Jews around the world been wounded or killed in “anti-Jewish terror” attacks over the past decade or so, including hundreds in recent months alone, he said. But, again, the world pays almost no attention to them.
The most sophisticated — and therefore most troubling — modern phenomenon, Cotler argued, is “the masking of antisemitism under ‘universal public values.’ Our international institutions and mechanisms for promoting human rights and global justice have been co-opted, corrupted, toward antisemitic ends.
The damage they do, however, is not limited to Israel and to global Jewry, he claimed. “The ‘laundering’ of antisemitism through these mechanisms greatly damages the mechanisms themselves. When international law is twisted toward bigoted ends, that undermines the authority of international law. When ‘human rights’ activism is used the same way, that corrupts the whole ‘human rights’ project.”