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ADL Conference on Global Anti-Semitism

  A Call to Conscience:
Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel Opens ADL Conference on Global Anti-Semitism

October 31, 2002

Anti-Semitism is an "irrational disease" that remains just as virulent and resilient as it was in the previous century when the Holocaust consumed a continent and a people, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel author, scholar and Holocaust survivor told the Anti-Defamation League's Conference on Global Anti-Semitism Thursday. Abe Foxman at the ADL Conference on Global Anti-Semitism

"The world has changed in the last 2,000 years, and only anti-Semitism has remained," he said. "We have made great strides in philosophy, in science, and we can even prevent disease. The only disease that has not found its cure is anti-Semitism."

Mr. Wiesel was the keynote speaker for the two-day conference, a gathering of Jewish leaders from more than 15 countries in Europe, the former Soviet Union and North, Central and South America. The Jewish community leaders have joined with diplomatic and consular representatives from 30 countries to deliberate and discuss the rising tide of anti-Semitism around the world, and especially in Europe and the Middle East, and to pursue a course of action to counteract it.

In his address to delegates, he issued a call to conscience to all nations to fight against the rising tide of anti-Semitism, which he termed "the oldest prejudice in history."

"Hatred is very strange because it has a face, and it has a setting, and it is not limited to frontiers. It has no culture or boundaries," he said. "It is more than one country. The anti-Semite hates people who have not been born yet, which means that anti-Semitism is not linked to something a person has done or will do. It is a sickness. There is mental sickness and there is moral sickness, and an anti-Semite is morally sick. He is sick because he lives in a delusion."

The spread of anti-Semitism in the past two years has led to violent attacks against Jews in Europe and America. Traditional anti-Jewish stereotypes and canards have also spread to Muslim and Arab lands, where anti-Semitic invective has become a mantra in the minds and hearts of entire populations. Mr. Wiesel said that this trend of increased anti-Semitic violence and intimidation, even in countries where there are no Jews, is cause for "sounding the alarm."

"I feel that this is a critical period that we are in now," he said, cautioning that any U.S. campaign against Iraq could lead to further outbreaks of anti-Semitism and attacks against Israel. "As we entered the 21st Century, all of us believed and were convinced that the worst century was behind us. Then the next century began with terrorism and suicide killings."

All nations have a responsibility to combat anti-Semitism. It is a responsibility that begins with the Jewish community, but extends to all communities and people of goodwill.

"Anti-Semitism is not only something that happens to us. It could happen to all of us, and in fact it does," he warned. "Anti-Semitism is an attack not only on the Jewish people. It's an attack on all people."
Conference Highlights

Nov 1, 2002

Foreign Minister Vows Germany Will Lead Fight to Defend Jews and Israel Against Rising Anti-Semitism

October 31, 2002

ADL Survey of Five European Countries Finds One in Five Hold Strong Anti-Semitic Sentiments.

State of Anti-Semitism in Four Countries: National Representatives Report

Diplomats, Delegates from Around the World Gather at ADL Conference


More on Global Anti-Semitism

Demonizing Jews: Anti-Semitism in the Saudi Media

Amiri Baraka Poem Spreads Big Lie

Anti-Semitism/Anti-Israel Incitement in the Arab and Muslim Media


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