The United Nations has failed to seriously combat antisemitism and in some cases has de-Judaized the Holocaust, a Geneva watchdog group said on Monday.UN Watch made the accusation in a report it presented at a special event at the Knesset.
Israel has long argued that the UN’s treatment of it is tantamount to antisemitism because of the body’s long record of excessively condemning Israeli actions above and beyond those of other nations.“When it comes to Jews, when it comes to Israelis, the UN has become a hostile and biased body,” said Yesh Atid head MK Yair Lapid, who chaired the Knesset event. “The organization that is meant to fight antisemitism, which is sworn to fight antisemitism, is guilty of antisemitism itself.”The UN Watch report, presented by the group’s executive director, Hillel Neuer, said that in addition the UN has done little to tackle antisemitism even though it is tasked with combating worldwide racism, xenophobia and discrimination.The report lauded some UN actions on antisemitism, including UNESCO’s Holocaust education program and the statements of some UN officials, including Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.But the bulk of the report protested the failure of UN officials and relevant bodies, including outgoing High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, to properly address the problem of antisemitism.Zeid did not make a “single standalone statement” in reaction to an antisemitic event during his four years in office, UN Watch said. He also “trivialized and de-Judaized the Holocaust,” the group said.Among the examples it gave was Zeid’s opening speech to the UNHRC in June 2017, in which he “juxtaposed Hitler’s concentration camps to Palestinian refugee camps.”The watchdog group added that Zeid “cynically instrumentalized the Holocaust to defend Muslims and criticize Israel, but “has never used the Holocaust to defend Jews against modern antisemitism.”The General Assembly, the report stated, has passed only two resolutions in the last decade that addressed antisemitism as part of a larger text that also included Christianophobia and Islamophobia.The report noted that the General Assembly had, however, held its first ever informal meeting on antisemitism in January 2015. Since 2014 it has also condemned Holocaust denial.The UNHRC and the UNGA should receive annual reports on antisemitism, UN Watch said.“We call on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to acknowledge the demonstrable failure of the world body when it comes to antisemitism, and to set forth an action plan that will mobilize key UN stakeholders, and in particular those within its human rights machinery, to exercise their responsibilities to condemn and confront bigotry, hatred or violence targeting Jews worldwide,” UN Watch said.Former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler told The Jerusalem Post after the meeting, “the real issue is what might be called the laundering of the delegitimization of Israel in general and of antisemitism, in particular under universal human values and those human values find expression in the UN and all its institutions.”
Haley says UN could benefit from fresh set of eyes, calls out anti-Israeli bias at UN, January 19, 2017 (Reuters)