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May 4, 2020 3:38 pm

Jewish Human Rights Icon Natan Sharansky Urges Unity in Fight Against Antisemitism

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Natan Sharansky. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Former Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky called for unity in the fight against antisemitism during an online forum on Monday.

In a conversation hosted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the 72-year-old Sharansky — who currently serves as chairman of the Institute of the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy — said, “We just have to overcome unbelievable polarization, which is happening all over the world, but which is also happening now in the Jewish world, when even the problem of antisemitism, which always united us, today there is antisemitism on the left and antisemitism on the right, and it’s very difficult to convince people to fight antisemitism in their camp and not in the opposite camp.”

“We have to be very clear that those who say that they love Jews but hate Israel and those who say that they love Israel but hate Jews, they are equally our enemies,” he stated.

“There should always be a lot of freedom to criticize ourselves as people or ourselves as the state,” Sharansky added. “We should never even try to restrict ourselves or anybody else in their right to criticize. … It’s in our culture, it’s so natural. But just because of this, we have to draw a clear border when criticism of Israel turns to antisemitism.”

Sharansky noted he was certain that “in spite of the antisemitic attacks…none of our enemies will undermine our future, because today there is a State of Israel—–that changes the life of every Jew in the world.”

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