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January 23, 2015 10:51 am

At UN Antisemitism Conference, Saudi Arabia Blames Israel for Rise in Antisemitism

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Saudi Arabian ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi spoke at the UN on behalf of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Countries. Photo: Twitter. – At the first-ever informal United Nations conference addressing antisemitism, surprise attendee Saudi Arabia blamed Israeli “occupation” for the global rise in antisemitism.

“Colonization and occupation fuels antisemitism… occupation is an act of antisemitism. It threatens human rights and human kind,” said Saudi Arabian ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi, who spoke on behalf of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Countries.

Al-Mouallimi also condemned all words and acts that lead to “to hatred, antisemitism, Islamophobia.”

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon struck a different tone, arguing that “grievances about Israeli actions must never be used as an excuse to attack Jews.”

Amid the Gaza war last summer, antisemitic attacks in Europe and elsewhere in the world rose to their highest levels in decades, with protesters in several countries going as far as calling for Jews to be attacked and even gassed. More recently, four Jewish shoppers were killed in an attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris.

“Violent antisemitism is casting a shadow over Europe,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said, calling out other UN member countries for their antisemitic remarks.

“This summer, disguised as humanitarian concern, delegates have used this podium to commit antisemitism, accusing Israel of behaving like Nazis,” Prosor added. “It doesn’t matter how much you’re angered or frustrated by our conflict. There is no excuse for statements like that.”

Germany’s representative at the conference, Michael Roth, echoed this concern, saying that “antisemitism is gaining ground in a loud and aggressive manner” and that it poses a threat to European society.

US Ambassador Samantha Power, noting that nearly two-thirds of religion-driven hate crimes in the US target Jews, said the world must take action against “this monstrous global problem.”

“When the human rights of Jews are repressed, the rights of other religious and ethnic groups are often not far behind,” Power said.

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