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Anti-Semitism: Modern-day Issues in Anti-Semitism

Modern-day Issues in Anti-Semitism

In 2008, the State Department's Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism Report found increases in incidents of reported anti-Semitism around the world. The report also found growth in contemporary expressions of anti-Semitism that demonize Israel and Israelis and attribute Israel's perceived faults to its Jewish character.

With the onset of our current economic crisis, reports of anti-Semitic attitudes and incidents at home and abroad appear to be on the rise. A 2009 ADL survey of 3,500 adults in seven European countries found 31% of those surveyed "blame Jews in the financial industry for the current global economic crisis" and 40% "believe that Jews have too much power in the business world."

The 2001 and 2009 United Nations Conferences Against Racism (nicknamed Durban I and Durban II as the 2001 Conference was held in Durban, South Africa) were engulfed by the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel agendas of many participating entities. The 2001 conference was the third of its sort since 1978 and it brought together delegations from many world governments to discuss the issues of racism. Much like other UN meetings, there was a parallel meeting also held in Durban of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to discuss the same topic.

Despite many planning meetings worldwide, there was a remarkably and unexpectedly contentious discussion of alleged Israeli racism against Palestinians at the meeting. There was a great deal of debate on the issue ending in both the United States and Israeli delegations walking out of the conference before the final declaration was published. In the end, the draft treated Israel more fairly than expected, though it was still not supported by the Jewish community, and was disappointing to many of the Arab states who sought to turn the discussion to equating Zionism with racism.

However, this was not the case at the parallel NGO meeting, which ended with the NGO Forum Declaration, calling for an end to "the Israeli racist system including its own brand of apartheid," and repeated calls to end Israel's "racist crimes against humanity." The Declaration went even further, stating point blank: "We declare and call for an immediate end to the Israeli systematic perpetration of racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing...We declare Israel as a racist, apartheid state in which Israel's brand of apartheid as a crime against humanity has been characterized by separation and segregation...and inhumane acts."

The Durban II Conference was held in April, 2009. Ten countries either boycotted the conference, or walked out after it had begun. The U.S., Canada, Italy and Israel refused to participate in the conference after negotiations to remove certain "redlines" from the draft document proved unsuccessful. These redlines for the United States in particular, included references to issues concerning any specific countries (namely Israel), and any reaffirmation of the 2001 conference's declaration because of its anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements. Also, during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's address to the conference, member-nations of the European Union walked out as Ahmadinejad railed on the Jewish state.

In the end, the 2009 conference document included no new anti-Israel or anti-Semitic language, despite its affirmation of the 2001 document. Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN watch called it, "the least toxic outcome from such a conference in three decades."

For more up to date information and statistics about anti-Semitism around the world, visit the Anti-Defamation League's website.