Canadian Liberal MP Irwin Cotler told an international conference in Israel that this summer marked a “tipping point” in the “toxic convergence” of global anti-Semitism and terrorism perpetrated by Islamic extremists around the world.
Cotler was a speaker at the 14th annual World Summit on Counter-Terrorism held at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, in association with the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), from Sept. 8 to 11.
Cotler, who is the Liberals’ human rights critic, accused Hamas and the other radical Islamic groups, including the Islamic State, and their “leading state sponsor,” Iran, of seeking to not only wipe out Israel, but also the Jewish people wherever they are.
A commitment to “genocidal anti-Semitism” is the one thing this myriad of groups have in common, he said, and Hamas, which is engaged in “a war of attrition” against Israel, may be the worst of all.
“Israel is the only state and Jews the only people today who are the standing targets of state-sanctioned genocide,” he said, “while also being the only state and only people accused of genocide,” he said.
“There is a symbiotic relationship between genocidal anti-Semitism and international terrorism. This convergence represents a clear and present danger, not only for Jews, but for our common humanity.”
This past summer saw an “explosion” of anti-Semitism in the Middle East, and especially disturbingly in Europe, Cotler said.
“This summer we heard religious fatwas uttered in the mosques of Europe for the extermination of the Jews,” he said.
Violence against Jews has become legitimized, with radical Islam having integrated genocidal anti-Semitism – a term Cotler says he does not use lightly – into its ideology.
This ideology is being echoed in more sophisticated circles, which do not call for the death of Jews but legitimate such atrocities by “demonizing” the State of Israel.
“Israel is accused of every evil…imperialism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, child-killing, even of Nazism – and not only by Islamic terrorists – but leaders of world governments and the UN,” he said.
“This incites and justifies violence and terrorism. If Israel is a crime against humanity, then it has no right to exist.”
Cotler cited a recent poll which showed that more than 40 per cent of Europeans believe Israel is behaving toward the Palestinians as the Nazis did toward the Jews. More than 90 per cent of Palestinians responded that way to the same question.
Cotler called for the demilitarization of Gaza and the disarming of all terrorist groups, as well as for emergency humanitarian relief and longer-term development aid, which he hopes will strengthen Palestinian democracy “and free the people from a dictatorial, repressive government.”
The summit, whose theme was “Terrorism’s Global Impact,” brought together politicians, academics, security and legal experts, and students.
Six Israeli cabinet ministers spoke, including Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz and Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Liberman. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a commemoration of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the final day.
Cotler met privately with Liberman and Steinitz, as well as Naftali Bennet, the minister responsible for the economy and Diaspora affairs, as well as Boaz Ganor, head of the ICT and summit chair. n