UN Issues ‘Unprecedented’ Report Warning of Perils of Mounting Global Anti-Semitism

September 25, 2019 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The United Nations has released a scathing report condemning the mounting global antisemitism which “poses risks not only to Jews, but also to members of other minority communities.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Credit: U.K. Department for International Development via Wikimedia Commons

The interim report, titled “Combatting Antisemitism to Eliminate Discrimination and Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief,” was published on Monday by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. The report, submitted to the Human Rights Council (UNHRC), follows recent addresses by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on antisemitism and religious freedom.

The report denounced antisemitic violence, discrimination, and expressions of hostility as “serious obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief,” and warned that the “frequency of antisemitic incidents appears to be increasing in magnitude,” as does the “prevalence of antisemitic attitudes and the risk of violence against Jewish individuals and sites.”

If left unchecked by governments, antisemitism “poses risks not only to Jews but also to members of other minority communities,” the report cautioned.

Anti-Semitic-motivated violence is “toxic to democracy and mutual respect,” the report said while urging states to adopt a “human-rights based approach” to combating the hatred of Jews.

The report pointed to three main sources of Jew-hatred – “the growing use of antisemitic tropes by white supremacists, including neo-Nazis and members of radical Islamist groups,” the increase in “‘left-wing’ antisemitism [that] employ antisemitic narratives or tropes in the course of expressing anger at policies or practices of the Government of Israel,” and the Boycott Divestment Sanctions’ (BDS) “objectives, activities and effects [which] are fundamentally antisemitic.”

The report notes that in the US in 2017, 58%, or 1,749 incidents of the religiously-motivated violence and discrimination “were driven by antisemitic bias.”

Governments also enact laws and policies that restrict Jewish practice, including the limiting of kosher slaughter methods in Belgium, or barring Jews from political participation in higher office, the UN report charged.

The report concluded with a list of steps that governments, civil society organizations, and the media can take to limit expressions of antisemitism, including using the “Working Definition of Antisemitism” that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) drafted in 2016, investing in education and training, and requiring governments to acknowledge that “antisemitism poses a threat to stability and security, and that antisemitic incidents require prompt, unequivocal responses from leaders.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon welcomed the “unprecedented” report and said it reflects the UN’s “organizational change towards Israel.”

He underscored that “the assertion that the BDS movement encourages antisemitism is an important UN statement. As I have said many times, antisemitism has no place in our society, and must be denounced everywhere and from every platform.”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said the organization is “extremely pleased” with the results of the report.

“Anti-Semitism is a virus that is rapidly spreading throughout the world. We hope that this report serves as an eye-opener to the United Nations and its member states and that they finally take concrete action to stem the surge of antisemitism across the globe,” he stated.

The year 2018 was one of the worst years in the last decade with regards to antisemitism and anti-Jewish violence, the Antisemitism Worldwide 2018 Annual Report, published in April by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the European Jewish Congress (EJC), showed.

The report showed a staggering 13 percent increase in violent attacks against Jews in the past year which left 13 Jews dead, including 12 in the US.

The number of major violent cases documented by the team has increased from 342 in 2017 to 387 in 2018.

The countries with the highest number of cases are the US with over 100 cases, the United Kingdom with 68 cases, and France and Germany with 35 each. Argentina closed the list with 11 incidents.


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