UN approves Israeli resolution combating Holocaust denial

January 21, 2022 by J-Wire
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The U.N. General Assembly on Thursday adopted an Israeli-sponsored resolution that condemns denial and distortion of the Holocaust.

The United Nations building in New York City. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The resolution—co-sponsored by Germany, and backed by the United States, Russia and many other countries—affirms that the Holocaust “will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice.”

The text also points out the “growing prevalence of Holocaust denial or distortion through the use of information and communications technologies,” and urges all U.N. members to “reject without any reservation any denial or distortion of the Holocaust as a historical event, either in full or in part, or any activities to this end.”

Its passage also came on the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, where Nazi leaders coordinated plans for the so-called “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” in 1942.

The resolution commends nations that have worked to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and calls on all U.N. members to “to develop educational programs that will inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide” and encourages “social-media companies to take active measures to combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial or distortion.”

The 193-member world body approved the resolution by consensus, meaning no vote was taken. Iran, which has supported Holocaust denial, “disassociated” itself from the resolution. Its passage also came on the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, where Nazi leaders coordinated plans for the so-called “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” in 1942.

“We now live in an era in which fiction is becoming fact and the Holocaust is becoming a distant memory,” Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan told the world body. “And as this happens following the greatest crime in human history, now comes the greatest cover-up in human history.”

Erdan, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, said the resolution made sure that Holocaust distortion and denial “will be tolerated no more.”

The Israeli diplomat also slammed social-media companies such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for their role in spreading “pandemic of distortions and lies” about the Holocaust.

“Social-media giants can no longer remain complacent to the hate spread on their platforms,” he said, urging them to take action now.

The passage of the resolution was only the second time the General Assembly had adopted an Israeli-backed resolution. The first was in 2005 when a resolution establishing International Holocaust Remembrance Day was approved.

Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, welcomed the adoption.

“As the international community focuses their attention on the events of the Holocaust, with the approach of International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27), we must redouble our efforts to expand and support unfettered and fact-based Holocaust research and education,” states Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan. “Holocaust distortion is so dangerous because, quite plainly, it misrepresents essential facts of history in order to legitimize past and present misdeeds. The Holocaust carries substantial relevance for many vital contemporary issues, denying and distorting the uniqueness and unprecedented aspects of events is not only detrimental to the memory of the Holocaust but to that of other atrocities and genocides as well.”

 Mark Weitzman, Chief Operating Officer, World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO)T said: “The adoption of the resolution by the United Nations General Assembly on the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference is a powerful statement by the international community in combating Holocaust denial and distortion,” said. As one of the lead authors of IHRA’s Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion, I applaud the commitment of the UN and its international membership to uphold the integrity of the historical record to ensure that we can seek justice for Holocaust survivors and Jewish communities whose property was brutally taken by the Nazis and their allies as an integral part of the genocide.”

The Zionist Federation of Australia welcomed the UN resolution condemning Holocaust denial, passed overnight in New York.

ZFA President Jeremy Leibler said, “The UN was created following the horrors of the Holocaust and Second World War. But as memory of that war fades, so too do the lessons of the Holocaust among too many people. This resolution, and its encouragement of countries to implement Holocaust educational programs, will help prevent the world from forgetting the lessons of the war and the Holocaust.”

Mr Leibler continued, “We thank and congratulate the Australian Government for being a co-sponsor of this important resolution, and for Australia’s UN Ambassador Mitch Fifield’s unequivocal backing of it. It demonstrates the continuing determination by successive Australian governments to fight antisemitism.”

Mr Leibler noted, “The realities of the Holocaust – the ramifications of which are still felt so many decades later – are obvious to everyone of good conscience. Unfortunately, the Internet and social media have allowed Holocaust denial and minimisation to proliferate among the wilfully ignorant. This resolution condemns such behaviour, and encourages countries to work against it.”

Mr Leibler pointed out the UN is part of the problem of modern antisemitism. “The UN plays a key role in delegitimising Israel, and allowing those who want to foment hatred an excuse to isolate Israel and Jewish people. If the UN really did want to internalise the lessons of the Holocaust, it would stop discriminating against the world’s only Jewish state, and work to undermine those who wish to enact a second Holocaust, this time on the State of Israel.”

The resolution was passed on the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee conference, in which the Nazi leadership decided upon their ‘Final Solution’ to murder Europe’s Jews. The death camps and other measures emanating from this decision resulted in the murder of a third of the global Jewish population.

The chairperson of the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, Deborah Hart said: “We welcome this support for the fight against those who want to falsify history by saying that the Nazi German Holocaust against Jews and other groups didn’t happen.”

“It comes on a significant day: the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference on 20 January 1942 when Nazi leaders approved the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Question’ – the extermination of 11 million Jews,” she said.
“Antisemitism, including Holocaust denial and distortion, has been increasing around the world, including in this country,” Deborah Hart added.
The resolution asks member states and, significantly, social media companies to take active measures to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denial through information and communication technologies.
“This UN resolution will help the delivery of the recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Christchurch mosques massacre: that the government increase efforts against racism and for greater social cohesion,” she concluded.
The resolution urges all U.N. members “to develop educational programs that will inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide” In New Zealand that education is offered through our nation’s Holocaust centre – the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand.


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