Jeff Jacoby, a conservative op-ed columnist for the Boston Globe, spoke on the present state of anti-Semitism in the eastern and western world Monday at an event sponsored by Chabad, the Jewish Studies Program and the Rockefeller Center.
The speech, enitled "The Universal Menace of the 'New' Anti-Semitic Onslaught; A Modern Incarnation of the Timeless Curse," was given on the 100th anniversary of the publication of the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," a document that blames Jews for Russia's problems at the end of the 19th century. Jacoby called the document "one of the most notorious anti-Semitic documents" in history.
"Sometimes it is called the new anti-Semitism but the truth about it is that it is really familiar," Jacoby continued.
According to Jacoby, it became taboo to hate Jews after the Holocaust.
In recent years, though, anti-Semitism has become more apparent.
In modern times, Jacoby said, anti-Semitism has reached a peak with the President of Iran's new conference and his declaration to destroy Israel.
"In the U.S., I am happy to say that this is not as a prevalent," Jacoby said.
He also noted that in the west anti-Semitism is primarily concentrated among liberals, though it used to be a phenomenon dominated by right wing conservatives.
The main reason why people have historically hated Jews, Jacoby said, is that they were encouraging monotheism and burning the idols of pagan gods.
Jacoby, however, believes that the Jews were responsible for "calling society to a higher moral conscience," and that anti-Semites are "the enemies not just of Jews, but of us all."
Jacoby mentioned many examples of contemporary anti-Semitism, such as a teacher in Norway who was told not to wear his Star of David to prevent provoking the Muslim students. However, a law was approved to allow Muslim women and girls to wear religious dress.
In a Belgium soccer game against Israel, fans held signs that read, "Send the Jews to the gas chambers."
Jacoby believes that anti-Semitism today primarily manifests itself as anti-Zionism.
"Someone [who] says 'I am not anti-Semitic but I think the world would be better without Israel', is anti-Semitic," Jacoby said.
Jacoby's lecture also focused on the "Three 'D' Test." The three 'Ds' are the double standards that he believes Israel is held against, the dehumanization of the people and the delegitimization of the nation.
In the United Nations countries are allowed to have terms on the Security Council but Israel has never held one.
"This is the one where Israel is treated like a bastard nation, treated less than legitimate," Jacoby said.
Reference to the double standard, though, is not meant to suggest that legitimate criticism of the state of Israel, as one would criticize the United States or any other nation, is unacceptable.
Jacoby suggested that instead Israel is being held to a higher standard than most nations, while at the same time being delegitimized in the international community.