But did Levy’s message—essentially, that anti-Zionism, the denial of the right of national self-determination to the Jewish people, is the principal pillar upon which today’s anti-Semitism rests—get through?
Sadly, it didn’t. After Levy left the podium, we were treated to a seemingly endless stream of anodyne statements from the various delegations, with a couple of noble exceptions—Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor, who had the guts to say that anti-Semitism “can even be found in the halls of U.N., disguised as humanitarian concern,” and American Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, who reminded those delegates sitting in the General Assembly that Holocaust denial remains a staple of official media across the Middle East and North Africa.
The lasting impression, however, was left by Arab and Muslim delegates, most of whom pushed the insidious—and deeply stupid—myth that because the Palestinians are “Semites,” they cannot be anti-Semitic. As far as I’m aware, no one countered these remarks by pointing out that first, there is no such nationality or ethnicity as a “Semite,” and second, that the term “anti-Semitism” was devised by anti-Semites to give their loathing of the Jews scientific respectability.
It got worse, though—much worse. Imagine a meeting about segregation in the Deep South, with one speaker paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and another pointing out that these uncivilized descendants of African slaves bore the lion’s share of the blame for the racism heaped upon them, and you’ll have some idea of what the delegate from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)—Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the U.N. Abdallah Al-Moualimi—had to say on the topic of anti-Semitism.
“Occupation itself is an anti-Semitic act, because it threatens humankind and human rights,” he said. “The persecution of the Palestinian people and the denial of their human rights—this is also an example of anti-Semitism.”
In other words, the man from the OIC was saying, why are we talking about hatred directed towards Jews when the real issue is the “anti-Semitic”—his word, definitely not mine—treatment of the Palestinians by Israel? In listening to the denial of the historical nature of anti-Semitism as a form of prejudice targeting Jews, I and everyone else in that room witnessed an act of, well, anti-Semitism.
Nobody walked out or protested (although when I muttered my own disgust, a few people turned around and gave me glaring looks). And this seemed to me to underline Prosor’s point: that not only does anti-Semitism stalk the halls of the U.N., but that we expect nothing else.
Why, then, bother trying to engage the U.N. as a partner in the fight against anti-Semitism?...It's an exercise in futility as long as the OIC retains its power and influence there, which is to say as long as the thuggish Zion-loathing inmates continue to run the loony bin.