Report Urges UN to Take Action Against Antisemitism; Adopt IHRA Definition

GENEVA, July 13, 2021 — As a coalition of U.S. Jewish organizations gathered Sunday in Washington D.C. to rally against a rising wave of antisemitism, and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs  hosts the Global Forum to Combat Antisemitism this week in Jerusalem, Geneva-based NGO UN Watch has released a report criticizing the United Nations for its role in increasing antisemitism and urging the global body to take action.

The report highlights recent violent threats and incitement against Jews in Brussels, London, Chicago and Buenos Aires as well as physical assaults in Los Angeles, New York and Montreal against Jews just for being Jewish.

The UN has published the report as an official document in conjunction with the 47th session of the Human Rights Council that runs until July 13—the first time such antisemitic assaults have been documented by the UN.

The report makes a direct line to today’s antisemitism from the UN’s 2001 Durban anti-racism conference, which was “hijacked by pro-Palestinian activists who turned the event into the worst international manifestation of antisemitism in the post-war period.”

As the UN prepares to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Durban Conference, the Czech Republic yesterday became the ninth country to boycott the Durban IV conference in New York in September 2021, joining the Netherlands and Austria, which withdrew last week. Other countries already intending to boycott the conference include the U.S., Israel, Canada, Australia, the UK and Hungary.

Accusing the UN of “disproportionately and obsessively” focusing on Israel, the report pays particular attention to the Human Rights Council’s inquiries that “prejudge Israel’s guilt, have invariably given a free pass to Palestinian terrorism, denied Israel’s right to self-defense and accused Israel of multiple egregious war crimes, baseless charges that have fueled antisemitic attacks on Jews worldwide.”

The report emphasizes the importance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, calling out its critics for “manipulating liberal and democratic values like free speech and anti-racism to mask antisemitism.”

UN Watch urged “UN bodies, UN officials and Member States to endorse the IHRA definition of antisemitism and to strongly condemn all manifestations of antisemitism.”

The IHRA definition has been endorsed by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s monitor on religious freedom who, in September 2020, stressed “the importance of all stakeholders using IHRA Working Definition on Antisemitism as an educational tool to respond to antisemitic hatred.”

“The United Nations has played a key role in the spread of global antisemitism. Those countries boycotting Durban recognize this and should be commended for not commemorating a festival of Jew-hate,” commented UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

“The UN should stop legitimizing antisemitism under the guise of its discriminatory behavior towards the world’s only Jewish state and start taking action against antisemitism. Adopting the IHRA definition immediately would be a welcome start,” he added.

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