The Simon Wiesenthal Center(SWC), an NGO at the UN, praised the release of the UN’s first report on anti-Semitism.
“This landmark report has the potential to be a gamechanger. For the first time, the United Nations, which for decades has been a major source and legitimator of Jew-hatred, is seriously dealing with many of the sources of today’s anti-Semitism. The report acknowledges the rise of anti-Semitism today from radical Islamists who would delegitimize Israel and White Nationalists, as well as the anti-Semitism that is present on college campuses and political discourse in the West. The report does not shy away from also acknowledging how pervasive history’s oldest hate has become, and the impact it has on Jews throughout the world.”
L-R: Karel Fracapane, UNESCO; Kenote speaker, Professor Irwin Cotler, former Justice Minister of Canada; Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief and author of the report on anti-semitism; and Mark Weitzman, SWC Director for Government Affairs
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center’s Associate Dean and Director of the Global Social Agenda of the leading Jewish Human Rights NGO added: “We are very gratified to see that many practical recommendations on combatting anti-Semitism that SWC Founder and Dean, Rabbi Marvin Hier made during a 2017 SWC meeting with UN Secretary-General Guterres, are included in the report.
In addition, the report urges increased use of the International Holocaust Alliance’s (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism both in the UN and among member states. Mr. Mark Weitzman who was involved in helping draft the IHRA definition, increasingly used by nations and organizations worldwide to deal with anti-Semitism commended the author of the report, Professor Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief for, "Listening so closely to the voice of the Jewish community and for combining his exhaustive research into this issue with a moral vision.”
“This is a landmark report that represents the first time that the U.N., a body that has too often in the past been identified as a source of Jew hatred has seriously grappled with the stark reality of current antisemitism,” Mark Weitzman, director of government affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, tells JI. “In reading it we get a sense that the author of the report, Prof. Shaheed, is morally outraged not only by the surge in antisemitism but also by many governments lack of recognition and commitment to fighting antisemitism,” Mark Weitzman to The Jewish Insider.
SWC officials noted that the report also urges an appointment of a senior UN official in the Office of the UN Secretary-General to engage with Jewish communities worldwide and to monitor anti-Semitism. “An early litmus test of this proposal is whether the office of the Secretary General will now move to eliminate serial anti-Israel/anti-Semitic resolutions at UN agencies including the UN Human Rights Council, UNESCO and UNWRA,” Rabbi Cooper concluded.