New York, Nov. 1, 2007 — While the United Nations has taken several “unprecedented” steps in recent years to recognize and reject anti-Semitism, the world body has yet to “to fully live up to its promise,” according to a report released today by UN Watch.
“Founded upon the ashes of the Holocaust, the UN as a global organization has a unique role to play in combating the alarming resurgence of this age-old scourge,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based human rights monitoring organization. “We need renewed commitment from UN officials and member states to combat anti-Semitic violence and incitement, and greater vigilance against those who, in the words of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, ‘use criticism of Israel’s actions as a mask for anti-Semitism.’”
Based on an examination of key actions by leading UN agencies and officials, the 64-page study, “The UN and Anti-Semitism, 2004-2007 Report Card ,” marks the first time the UN’s record on fighting anti-Semitism has been measured since Mr. Annan issued a call to action in June 2004, urging NGOs to “keep us to the mark.”
The report gave the UN high marks for new Holocaust commemoration activities, and for condemnations of Iran’s Holocaust denial issued by the Security Council, the General Assembly, and several senior officials. Mr. Annan won special praise for his “key role in these efforts,” while “early indicators show that his successor, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is similarly willing to speak out against anti-Semitism.”
Others received mixed grades. UN investigator on racism Doudou Diène “on more than one occasion confronted the government of Iran for its anti-Semitic statements,” while religious intolerance investigator Asma Jahangir addressed rising anti-Semitism during a mission to France. However, despite numerous appeals, both experts have “insufficiently addressed the incitement to hatred against Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims, that have been documented in children’s textbooks distributed by the governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia.”
The report also revealed “inaction” by certain UN officials. Despite numerous appeals made by NGOs to High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, the report failed to find any “noteworthy action on her part against Holocaust denial or any other form of anti-Semitism.” Because Ms. Arbour is charged with overseeing the UN effort to protect human rights and fight racism, said the report, “this lapse is disappointing and cause for concern.”
The report describes how the UN’s Islamic bloc of fifty-six states is waging a campaign in key UN bodies “to gut anti-Semitism of its meaning, by making the absurd argument that the term also refers to hatred against Arabs and Muslims.” In September, Ambassador Masood Khan of Pakistan, speaking for the Islamic group, said that Islamophobia was “a cruel form of anti-Semitism.”
The report examines the annual plethora of resolutions by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council “that contribute—whether by intent or in their effect—to an atmosphere that demonizes the Jewish state and promotes hostility toward Jews as a whole.” In its first year, the Human Rights Council “passed one hundred percent of its condemnatory resolutions against Israel, ignoring the other 191 UN member states, including the world’s worst abusers.”
The report analyzes speeches and articles showing how Iran, Syria, and other Middle Eastern extremists “make direct use of these resolutions to justify their cause and to delegitimize Israel.”
For the Full Text of the Report (PDF), Click Here.