January 18, 2020

Elan Carr, Israeli MK Spar Over How to Fight Anti-Semitism

Elan Carr; Photo courtesy of Israel-American Council National Summit

United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr, and Israeli Meretz Party Chairman and Knesset Member Nitzan Horowitz shared differing views on how to combat anti-Semitism during a Dec. 6 panel at the 2019 Israel-American Council National Summit at the Diplomat Beach Resort hotel in Hollywood, Fla.

Speaking on a panel titled “How Can America Win the Fight Against Anti-Semitism,” Carr said there are three sources of anti-Semitism: the far-left demonizing and delegitimizing Israel; white supremacists and neo-Nazis on the far-right; and radical Islamists. All, he said, need to be addressed to adequately fight anti-Semitism.

“When you leave two-thirds of a tumor untreated or even one-third of a tumor untreated, the patient doesn’t do well,” he said.

Fighting anti-Semitism also involves combating its various manifestations, whether it’s vandalism or anti-Semitic propaganda being disseminated on internet chat rooms, Carr argued.“[Anti-Semitism] is a worldview. It’s an idea. It’s a deep and ancient human sickness.”

He added the best way to defeat to anti-Semitism is to provide education on philo-Semitism. He said there are a multitude of ways Jews have positively contributed to humanity worldwide, including that most Germans don’t know that the German language is rooted in Ashkenazi Jewish vernacular.

Additionally, most Americans don’t known that every May is Jewish-American Heritage Month, Carr said. “We now have for 20 years a presidentially declared month and we do nothing.”

Horowitz called anti-Semitism a global phenomenon and that partisan politics need to be put aside in order to combat it. “Sometimes it’s hard for some political people to acknowledge that anti-Semitism comes from a certain side,” he said, noting that anti-Semitic violence primarily comes from the right, pointing to the shootings at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in October 2018 and at the Chabad of Poway in April.

White supremacy, he said, is the more “immediate threat,” which prompted shouts of “No,” from the audience.

Carr said the sources and manifestations of anti-Semitism shouldn’t be ranked. “Jew-hatred is Jew-hatred,” he declared. “We don’t care what ideological clothing it wears. Once you rank it, even if you have reason and argument to rank it … you feed into the [extraordinarily] divisive times we’re in.”

Horowitz argued that while the targeting and singling out of Jewish and pro-Israel students on college campuses is a serious issue that needs to be fought “very severely … you cannot equalize and say that it’s exactly the same thing as a shooter getting into a synagogue.”

He also said anti-Semitism needs to be treated as another form of racism, calling it “the worst form of racism since Jews pay the heaviest price.” Anti-Semitism then can only be properly addressed through combating all forms of hatred, Horowitz argued.

Carr disagreed, stating that anti-Semitism needs to be handled separately because it’s unique “in terms of its relentlessness, its ubiquity and destructive power.”

Horowitz asked Carr what President Donald Trump’s administration is doing to combat anti-Semitism. Carr replied: “President Trump has made this a priority unlike any other previous administration.” He pointed to Trump inviting Holocaust survivors as well as a survivor of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting to the 2019 State of the Union address.

He also highlighted the Department of Education designating Jews as an ethnicity, thereby protecting Jewish students on college campuses from discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security has made money available to Jewish institutions to use for security purposes, Carr said.

Carr also cited the Trump administration’s moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and preventing taxpayer dollars from going toward the Palestinian Authority’s “pay-to-slay” policy of funding terrorists.

“That is the sign of an administration that is determined to fight anti-Semitism,” he said.