Antisemitism is not a thing of the past.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, here in Jerusalem, said “I would really like to make it clear that the struggle against racism and anti-Semitism is important to me.”
Also this week French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian while in Jerusalem said, “There is a friendship between France and Israel that is deep and enduring, and expresses itself in many, many ways. I wish to send through you my best regards to President Macron.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Affairs hosted The 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem, Israel, from March 19-21.
Together we can fight online hate speech was the opening plenary of the first day. The night before a large gathering listened to US Ambassador David Friedman.
People came from around the world, with 87 countries represented. This friend as you might guess came from Australia, but I also met a man from Trinidad, and several people from South African countries.
Ministers of Justice from Germany, Greece, and Italy joined Israel Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked in signing a joint statement confronting online hate.
Delphine Reyre, Facebook regional director of policy in southern Europe, told of Facebook efforts to curb terror sites.
This week it was reported that Facebook closed down a Hamas page.
However, Twitter has not closed even one hate site.
Near the end of the Global Forum, the former Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, speaking in French, received applause for stating anti-Zionism is antisemitism.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry spent plenty of shekels on this event. Here the delegation with the President of Bulgaria arrived and waited politely to be seated at lunch.
Abe Foxman was given the honor of introducing Bulgarian President Rumen Radev.
Radev remarks were in English. Not only is his English excellent, he showed amazing patience while being stopped for selfies during his visit.
Here Radev (center) posed with the Bulgarian Ambassador to Israel on the left and Ran Yaakoby, Chairman of the Global Forum (right) of MFA.
With lavish food and desserts, oh how very sweet the Global Forum was. Facebook photos HERE
But will it make a global difference to curb antisemitism?
Celebrity guests like Mayim Bialik got media coverage. Anti-Zionism, manifested in Israel Apartheid Week, has spread to India for the first time this year.
Meanwhile, for most locals what was happening to the streets was of more immediate concern.
Outside the International Convention Center where the Global Forum was held the streets change daily due to construction.
This road expansion was open after weeks, or months, of work.
I had to wait to cross until this small earth mover moved out of my way.
This is one of the new neighborhoods near those streets reaching completion.
The fast train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv will not open this month.
But when it does, those apartment dwellers are near the fast train station, and can be in Tel Aviv in half an hour.
Whatever they are doing in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, is to be completed soon.
Meanwhile, as I walked along Gan Sacher on my way home from the Global Forum, I saw something which all can appreciate now.
With spring weather and trees in bloom, we can appreciate what we have today and hope for a better future.
Spring is in the air. This year all Easter celebrations coincide with Passover, so tens of thousands of visitors are arriving daily.
Happy Holiday of Spring in Jerusalem.