UN Watch: UN must combat anti-Semitism

Report says anti-Semitism "aided and abetted" by "irrational UN measures to demonize Jewish State."

UNSC 224 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
UNSC 224 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
While some "unprecedented" steps have been made by the United Nations in recent years to recognize and reject anti-Semitism, the world body has yet to "to fully live up to its promise," according to a UN Watch report released Thursday. While much of the report deals with UN "inaction" on anti-Semitism, it also finds that anti-Semitism is "aided and abetted" by "an infrastructure of manifestly one-sided and irrational UN measures designed to demonize the Jewish state." The report by UN Watch, an American Jewish Committee-affiliated NGO that monitors UN activities, was written by the organization's executive director, Hillel Neuer, and examines UN action in recognizing and combating anti-Semitism through UN institutions since 2004. Noting that "both the [General Assembly] and the Human Rights Council, whatever their deficiencies, are influential on the global stage, with their decisions cited throughout the world," the report claims the two institutions' record on anti-Semitism "is mixed." "One hard-won advance came in November 2004, when the GA for the first time condemned anti-Semitism in its annual resolution on religious intolerance," the report notes. Despite the "determined efforts by Arab and Islamic states within the UN" to shoot down the condemnation, "the resolution successfully included a reference to anti-Semitism, recognizing with deep concern 'the overall rise in instances of intolerance and violence directed against members of many religions and other communities in various parts of the world, including cases motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia.'" While several more mentions of anti-Semitism followed the 2004 resolution, the overall attention has been minor, with each addition resisted by some three-dozen Muslim states. For example, the report notes that "since the [Human Rights] Commission was recreated as the new Human Rights Council in June 2006, no resolution has referenced anti-Semitism." This was shown in contrast to the treatment of Islamophobia. "Since 1999, resolutions making special mention of Islamophobia have frequently been enacted by the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights... in texts concerning 'defamation of religions,'" the report notes; however, "neither the GA nor the Human Rights Council has yet to pass any dedicated resolution or request any report on the hatred of Jews or Christians." The report also singles out UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour for special criticism: "We were unable to find any noteworthy action on [Arbour's] part against Holocaust denial or any other form of anti-Semitism. Because Ms. Arbour is charged with overseeing the UN effort to protect human rights and fight racism, this lapse is disappointing and cause for concern." The report notes that the council's first year, 2006-2007, saw 100 percent of its resolutions devoted to condemning Israel alone.