Diplomats and faith leaders from across Europe met at the UN headquarters in Geneva last week for a one-day symposium to discuss the surge in antisemitism following the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel.
“This is our Evian moment”, said Founding Director of the European Coalition for Israel (ECI) Tomas Sandell during his opening remarks.
In 1938, then-U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt called world leaders to a conference in Evian, France to decide whether to help Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany and confront its leader Adolf Hitler. The conference was a failure on both counts.
“Will we be any different, at a time when Israel is being openly threatened with annihilation by the Islamic Republic of Iran and these calls are being echoed on the streets of Europe?” Sandell asked.
Speakers at the summit drew attention to the rise of worldwide antisemitism that began immediately after the terror attack on Oct. 7, even before Israel had begun its military operation to eradicate the Hamas terror organization in Gaza.
The CEO of the Conference of European Rabbis, Gady Gronich, called for a concrete action plan to address the rise in Jew-hatred.
“The last few months I have been thinking, 'What did we do wrong? What have the Jews done wrong for our neighbors in Europe and the world to hate us?'”
“Even in Berlin, the [former] capital of Nazi Germany, sweets were handed out to children to celebrate this massacre,” noted World Evangelical Alliance co-Director Matthias Boehning.
Katharina Stasch, the Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN in Geneva, and her Israeli counterpart Meirav Eilon Shahar, expressed their shock over the UN’s failure to condemn the Oct. 7 attack.
Shahar said the United Nations had again failed the Jewish people. She also differentiated between criticism of Israel’s military operation in Gaza and clear instances of antisemitism in Europe.
“It is one thing to criticize Israel, it is another thing to undermine the very existence of the State of Israel. When the calls for annihilation of Israel, from the river to the sea, are heard on the streets of Europe, no Jew feels safe," Shahar said.
Sandell urged that action be taken against media platforms that spread antisemitism and misinformation, especially the Qatari state-owned Al Jazeera network.
“Those nations which are actively financing hatred and antisemitism in Europe and elsewhere in the world need to be singled out, among them Qatar, Turkey and Russia, but especially the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Sandell said.
The former prime minister of Slovakia, Eduard Heger, appeared via video at the ICE symposium and shared that his nation had publicly asked for forgiveness for the treatment of Jews during the Nazi occupation. He urged the conference attendees to be aware of the current trend of growing antisemitism.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, said he is not optimistic about the future and asked leaders to be on their guard.
“Israel is under threat on a level that seems equal to anything they have experienced after 1948,” Lord Carey said.
"Christian people must stand with Israel at this time. To do otherwise would be a rejection of our faith and democracy.”
The one-day summit was co-hosted by the World Jewish Congress.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.