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Yad Vashem Urges World Leaders to Transform Words into Action in the Global War Against Antisemitism

07 November 2023

Over the last few days and weeks we have been witnessing an exponential increase in antisemitic acts and antisemitic rhetoric aimed at Jews. These attacks, often perpetrated as part of pro-Palestinian protests, not only whitewash the recent atrocities committed by Hamas, they are increasingly menacing in words and violence resulting in a new reality for the Jewish community in the Diaspora. Jews no longer feel safe, and indeed, in many places, Jews are not safe. 

This sentiment is echoed with the recent attack of a 69-year old Jewish man in Los Angeles, California, who was struck by a pro-Palestinian protestor in the head with a megaphone this past Sunday. Paul Kessler, who attended a concurrent pro-Israel rally nearby, later succumbed to his injuries. The Ventura County Sherriff's office has yet to classify this attack as an antisemitic hate crime. Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan:

 "This underscores the need by law enforcement agencies to incorporate and transform their leaders words into policies and actions. Recently, many leaders have openly expressed the commitment to protect the Jewish communities in their jurisdiction and prosecute those who attack Jews and incite violence against Jews with the full force of the law."

Dayan continued:

"The distinction between the Holocaust and these events nowadays is clear. Over the past weeks there has been a clear message of support following the brutal pogrom of October 7th from many world leaders who have expressed support for the State of Israel and the need to protect their own Jewish citizens. The current internationally official state level support we are seeing in support of Israel is in stark contrast to the state-sanctioned antisemitic persecution and murder during the Holocaust era, and the great reluctance and outright refusal of many governments to come to the aid of the Jews.”

Dayan states:

"The Holocaust didn't start with the Einzatgruppen squads and gas chambers, but it started with words and acts of small-scale violence. Many people supported the antisemitic words which led to actions and the world turned a blind eye to Jewish suffering. Today, we are once again seeing public apathy towards, and even validation of antisemitic rhetoric and violence. We must not permit the silence to repeat itself."

Chairman Dani Dayan concludes:

"Only when our declarations, policies and actions permeate every facet of our society can we hope to protect our shared values, our communities, and the leaders of tomorrow from the insidious scourge of antisemitism."