Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor called on European leaders on Thursday to take a stand against anti-Semitism.
The UN General Assembly held its first-ever meeting devoted to anti-Semitism in response to a global increase in violence against Jews – a meeting scheduled even before the recent attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris.
"Let the message echo from the halls of the UN to the streets of Europe to the capital of every nation – stand for human rights and human dignity by taking a stand against anti-Semitism," Prosor said.
Prosor asserted that "The struggle against anti-Semitism must be a priority for every nation because the hatred that begins with the Jews never ends with the Jews. History has shown us time and again that when a nation’s Jews are not safe, the entire society is at risk."
"Europe is being tested," he said. "We don't need any more monuments commemorating the Jews who were murdered in Europe, we need a strong and enduring commitment to the living Jews in Europe. If the governments of Europe succeed in defending their Jewish communities, then they will succeed in defending liberty and democracy."
And vowed that "The days when Jews were the world’s victims are over. We will never again be helpless and we will never again remain silent. Today we have the State of Israel standing guard.
"We have seen the evil that man is capable of, and so we must be vigilant. We must spot the warning signs and act swiftly to condemn anti-Semitism. I call on every nation to stand tall beside us. Refuse to allow evil to take root. Refuse to be silent. And refuse to submit to indifference."
The daylong informal meeting will feature a keynote address by French philosopher and writer Bernard-Henri Levy and speeches by Canadian, German and French ministers and US Ambassador Samantha Power in the morning. A panel discussion in the afternoon will include US and Canadian lawmakers and several human rights experts including an Israeli professor.
Assembly spokesman John Victor Nkolo said the 193-member world body has discussed anti-Semitism many times in sessions dealing with intolerance, xenophobia, violence, racism and human rights violations. But he said "based on the available records we were able to check, this is indeed the first time that anti-Semitism as such is specifically the subject of an informal meeting of the UN General Assembly."
The meeting was requested by 37 countries who sent a letter to assembly President Sam Kutesa on October 1 calling for a meeting in response to "an alarming outbreak of anti-Semitism worldwide." They said they wanted a meeting because "a clear message from the General Assembly is a critical component of combatting the sudden rise of violence and hatred directed at Jews."
The killing of four French Jews at a kosher market during three days of terror in Paris earlier this month was just the latest attack to raise fears among European Jews. It follows killings at a Belgian Jewish Museum and a Jewish school in southwestern France.
The letter seeking the meeting noted Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's statement last August 3rd expressing concern at the spike in anti-Semitic attacks.
"At rallies, crowds have chanted 'Gas the Jews" and 'Death to the Jews,'" it said. "Firebombs have been thrown at synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses have been vandalized."