US anti-Semitism envoy slams UN ‘double standards’ on Israel
Administration to re-engage with HRC in order to "pressure it to fulfill mandate."
By JONNY PAUL
LONDON – The US has decided to reengage with the UN’s Human RightsCouncil in order to pressure the body to fulfill its mandate, PresidentBarak Obama’s special envoy on anti-Semitism told a London audience.HannahRosenthal, who heads the State Department’s Office to Monitor andCombat Anti-Semitism, was speaking at the Community Security Trust(CST) annual dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London onThursday night.She told guests, including MPs, diplomats,policy advisors and community leaders, that the American administration“felt it important for the US to deploy our stature and moral authorityto strengthen [human rights] and hold violators accountable,” addingthat it will pressure the council to fulfill its mandate, and wouldchallenge it when necessary.“We will assertively exercise ourpresence on the council, pressing it to live up to its mandate toaddress human rights violations and make recommendations including, andwe will stress, anti-Semitism. We will support what they do well butalso challenge those aspects of its work that we think call forfundamental change,” she said.Rosenthal heaped praise on the“crucial” work of CST, the community charity that provides security tosynagogues, schools, communal organizations and events, and representsthe Jewish community on a wide range of police, governmental andpolicy-making bodies dealing with security and anti-Semitism. She saidthat when the unit she heads produces Congress-mandated reports on theUK, it relies on CST for their comprehensive data and information.“Iwant to applaud your work, not only in protecting members of the Jewishcommunity in the UK but sharing your best practices with other groups,working with other members of vulnerable communities that have been orcould be targets also,” she said. “You’ve organized the community,you’ve stood up for what’s right, you’ve educated others and you’vepromoted tolerance.”CST is the only organization in the UKthat collects, analyzes and publishes statistics and incidents relatingto anti-Semitism. It publishes an annual Anti-Semitic Incidents Report.The 2009 report, published in February, showed a record high number ofincidents in one year since records began in 1984.AdvertisementRosenthal also spoke about the use of double standards, which she said often implicate Israel and cross into anti-Semitism.“Anti-Semitismand anti-Israel sentiment often overlap. It is important to note thatcriticism of Israel is not necessarily anti-Semitic, but it crosses theline when that criticism applies a double standard comparing thecurrent policy of Israel to that of the Nazis, [or] holding all Jewscollectively responsible for the actions of the sovereign state ofIsrael,” she said.The special envoy was scathing of the UN, questioning its seeming double standards.“Lookingat UN statistics over the last six years, where there have beennegative remarks against a country, 170 have been against Israel.Compare that to North Korea that had eight... Israel has had 50resolutions condemning alleged human rights abuses. Compare that to theSudan which has had five. Clearly Israel is being held to a differentstandard and that means it has crossed the line from anti-Israel policyto profound anti-Semitism,” she said to enthusiastic applause.“We will continue to see that Israel is treated fairly at the UN and in other international bodies,” Rosenthal said.Speakingalso at the dinner, Deputy Commissioner Tim Godwin – chief operatingofficer of the London Metropolitan Police, the second most powerfulposition in British policing – emphasized the importance and strengthof the relationship between UK police and CST.“I am very proud to be here to celebrate what is a very effective andstrong partnership we have with CST, forged over many years workingtogether both in the prevention and response to anti-Semitism,” he said.Thedeputy commissioner said that the effective response to the backlash tothe Gaza conflict in London last year, which saw often violent protestsand anti-Semitic incidents soar, was in part a result of working withCST.Godwin affirmed the police’s commitment to protecting the Jewish community and fighting anti-Semitism.
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