Hamas is a global issue, not just Israel's problem: Jewish activist

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Tel Aviv, November 7 (IANS) Sacha Roytman Dratwa is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), which is a global coalition that fights against anti-Semitism which many consider as the world's oldest hatred.

CAM engages more than 750 partner organisations and four million people across the globe from a diverse array of religious, political and cultural backrounds in the common mission of fighting anti-Semitism.

In an exclusive interview with IANS, Dratwa spoke on a range of issues, from hate-mongering against Jewish people, the Hamas leadership to pro-Jewish narratives and much more.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

IANS: What is the Combat Antisemitism Movement all about ?

Dratwa: The Combat Antisemitism Movement is a global coalition engaging more than 750 partner organisations and four million people from a diverse array of religious, political, and cultural backgrounds in the common mission of fighting the world’s oldest hatred. CAM acts collaboratively to build a better future, free of bigotry, for Jews and all of humanity.

IANS: Do you feel there is rising hate-mongering against Jewish people?

Dratwa: First of all, there are facts. In many parts of the world, Antisemitism has risen by many hundreds of per cent. In the US, where Jews represent just over 2 per cent of the total population, attacks against Jews account for over 60 per cent of hate crimes.

Then there is the feeling of fear. Jewish schools have cancelled classes, Jews are taking off any identifiable dress or markings, and are being attacked physically, verbally and online wherever they go. They are attacked regardless of what they think, who they support or where they are.

IANS: Is this hate-mongering part of an orchestrated campaign?

Dratwa: In some parts of the world, it is. We see that Jews are attacked disproportionately after so-called pro-Palestinian events, which are very well-organised and funded. However, much if not most, is because of general incitement, online, on the streets and even in schools. People are fed a constant barrage of Antisemitism, so it results in a deep hatred towards Jews.

Hamas openly said a few months ago that their war on Israel is just the beginning. Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar has called for world domination, saying 'The entire planet will be under our law, there will be no more Jews or Christian traitors'. Only if everyone adopts to his law, will there be peace. This is their own words.

IANS: How’s the CAM movement helping the Jewish cause?

Dratwa: Firstly, we expose Antisemitism at all levels and of all types. We call for leaders, governments, parliaments, regions and organisations to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition of Antisemitism.

More than 1,200 entities around the world -- including a broad array of international institutions and organisations, national and local governments, NGOs, universities, athletic clubs, and corporations -- have adopted or endorsed the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism and its 11 accompanying examples as a framework for recognising all modern-day iterations of Jew-hatred, training and educational programmes, and policymaking initiatives.

Forty-three countries have already adopted the IHRA definition, and we hope that India will become the 44th nation. It is a vital tool to fight Jew-hatred as it manifests itself towards rhetoric about Israel.

IANS: Iran is a Shia country, while Hamas operatives are Sunnis. Yet, Iran is supporting Hamas. Do you fee that there is a rare unity against Jewish people?

Dratwa: The Jewish people always know how to unify at moments of challenge. As former Prime Minister Golda Meir used to say, Israel’s secret weapon is that we have no other place to go.

IANS: Is radical Islam becoming a problem to the world as such?

Dratwa: Radical Islam as opposed to peaceful Islam is a major global challenge. It formed murderous groups like Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas and Hezbollah. These are dangerous groups which were or are all interconnected and the attacks from one group on one people anywhere in the world are celebrated by the other groups. These groups thrive on violence and bloodshed and it requires a global response. Hamas is not just Israel's problem, but a global problem.

IANS: There are reports of Hamas top leadership living a life of luxury while people in Gaza are poverty-ridden. Your thoughts?

Dratwa: Sadly, in Israel, we have known what Hamas and its leadership truly are for decades, but it took the atrocities of October 7 for the world to see. Hamas leaders don’t care about their people. They are billionaires who have taken international aid and assistance funds for themselves. They have built underground bunkers for themselves and their families, and mansions around the world.

Only days ago, Moussa Abu Marzouk, a prominent member of Hamas’ political bureau, declared that the terror group that rules Gaza is not responsible for protecting the Strip’s civilians, saying that the vast tunnel network underneath the enclave is only for the protection of Hamas terrorists.

IANS: Are you creating a pro-Jewish narrative across the globe?

Dratwa: We are telling the truth and sharing the facts. The State of Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people. It is surrounded by 22 Arab states and 57 Muslim-majority countries. We stand on the frontlines of the fight against intolerance and hatred.

We have seen so many times throughout history that attacks against Jews never end with Jews. We are always the first target, but never the last. That is what the world has to understand. The world is next. If we don’t stop Hamas and Hezbollah, organisations that have called for genocide under the Iranian umbrella, more countries will be threatened.