Wiesenthal Center Praises Efforts of Israel & US Delegations to UN to Convene Session on Anti-Semitic Violence

January 23, 2015

“Words themselves are not enough—specific action is urgently needed,” said Center official attending the session.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center praised the United Nations General Assembly for holding an informal session on Thursday to address rising violence against Jews worldwide, but cautioned that words were not enough to stem the tide of anti-Semitism. Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs for the Wiesenthal Center, praised the meeting, saying, “It was a positive and noteworthy session that had a wide range of support among the member-states. We especially commend Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, and US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, for their efforts in making the session happen.”

Photo: L-R, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, SWC Director for Government Affairs, Mark Weitzman and Israel's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, David Roet

Weitzman attended the session, representing the Wiesenthal Center, an accredited NGO at the UN. “Although it is good that the United Nations finally recognizes that anti-Semitism is a specific hate that needs to be addressed on it's own, and not just subsumed into other forms of prejudice, words themselves are not enough—specific action is urgently needed,” he added. He also praised the session’s keynote speaker, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who told the Assembly that one of the components of today’s anti-Semitism stemmed from an ‘anti-Zionist delirium’ that opposed the re-establishment of Jews to their historical homeland.

Professor Robert Wistrich of Hebrew University and the author of the joint Wiesenthal Center-UNESCO exhibit, People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land, joined Irwin Cotler, the former Canadian Justice Minister and current member of the Canadian Parliament participated an afternoon panel. Proffesor Wistrich stressed that 70 years after the Nazi Holocaust, anti-Semitism is not a historical hatred, but a problem fueled by current affairs. Weitzman expressed the hope that the panel’s “advice and suggestions will translate to positive action,” adding, “It is critical any declarations and points made in this session are followed through quickly and concretely, otherwise this was nothing more than a self-congratulatory propaganda session".

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.