Some references from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the UN conference on antisemitism
"The United Nations itself is still living with the legacy of the unfortunate resolution that declared Zionism to be a form of racism and racial discrimination, even though the General Assembly revoked it in 1991.
In some cases, anti-Semitism appears to be a byproduct of the Israel-Palestine conflict, particularly with the escalation of hostilities in the past several years. Criticism of Israeli policies is one thing. But it is quite another when such critiques take the form of attacks, physical or verbal, on Jewish individuals and the symbols of their heritage and faith. The situation is painful and complex enough as a political matter, without adding religion and race to the debate.
Noone should be allowed to use criticism of Israel's actions as a mask for anti-Semitism. Nor, on the other side, should Israel's supporters use the charge of anti-Semitism to stifle legitimate discussion. The United Nations, for its part, must reject all forms of racism and discrimination. Only in so doing, clearly and consistently, will it be true to its Charter and to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to people of all creeds and colours striving for their dignity."
Source: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 2004
‘Jews everywhere must feel that the United Nations is their home, too,’ Secretary-General tells seminar on anti-semitism. The day long Programme ss the First in Series on ‘Unlearning Intolerance’.
Holocaust survivor and Nobel peace laureate, Elie Wiesel, said that anti-Semitism was the oldest collective bigotry in recorded history. Anti-Semitism had even managed to penetrate the United Nations’ atmosphere. Speaking about that at the United Nations had made him wonder whether the world body and its moral and intellectual leadership had perhaps forgotten the consequences of anti-Semitism. Some in the audience had endured the consequences, and knew what that had meant. “We were there. We saw our parents, we saw our friends die because of anti-Semitism”, he said.
Had it not been for Mr. Annan’s courageous intervention, the infamous resolution comparing Zionism to racism would still be in effect, he said. At the 2001 Durban World Conference against Racism, the Secretary-General’s efforts had been less successful, however. Instead of being a conference against hatred, it had become a conference of hatred -- for Israel, the State and the people.
In the ensuing discussion, panellist and Professor at Toronto’s YorkUniversity, Anne Bayefsky, said the Durban Conference had been a breeding ground and global soapbox for anti-Semitism. The relationship between Jews and the United Nations was at an all-time low, with the Organization the leading global purveyor of anti-Semitism. The Secretary-General’s criticism of Israel’s construction of a security barrier on the West Bank and its assassination of Hamas leaders had made no mention of Israeli victims of terrorism. The United Nations led the demonization of Jews while deifying the Palestinians.
KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General, said the United Nations had come into being when the world had first learned of the full horror of the concentration and extermination camps, he said. It had been rightly said that the United Nations had emerged from the ashes of the Holocaust. A human rights agenda that failed to address anti-Semitism denied its history. Indeed, worldwide revulsion at that terrible genocide had been the driving force behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The day before its adoption in 1948, the General Assembly had adopted a convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide. Sixty years later, anti-Semitism, once again, was rearing its head. The world was witnessing an alarming resurgence of that phenomenon in new forms and manifestation.
The Secretary-General said that anti-Semitism was a good place to start because, throughout history, that had been a unique manifestation of hatred, intolerance and persecution. Anti-Semitism had flourished even in communities where Jews had never lived and had been a harbinger of discrimination against others. The rise of anti-Semitism everywhere was a threat to people everywhere. In fighting anti-Semitism, the world was fighting for the future of all humanity. The Holocaust had been the epitome. Germany in the 1930s was a modern society on the cutting edge of human technological advance and cultural achievement, yet it was that society that had sought to exterminate Jews from the face of earth. He knew, and yet still could not really comprehend, that 6 million innocent Jewish men, women and children had been murdered just because those were Jews. That had been a crime against humanity, which defied imagination.
This reference has many great quotes from many people and should be read in full.
This time, the world must not, could not, be silent, Kofi Annan said. Everyone owed it to themselves and his or her Jewish brothers and sisters to stand firmly against a particular tide of hatred that anti-Semitism represented. Everyone must be prepared to examine the nature of today’s anti-Semitism more closely, which was the purpose of the seminar. The United Nations’ record on anti-Semitism had, at times, fallen short of its ideals. The General Assembly resolution of 1975, which equated Zionism with racism, had been an especially unfortunate decision. He was glad it had since been rescinded. But, there remained a need for constant vigilance. He urged everyone to actively and uncompromisingly refute those who sought to deny the fact of the Holocaust or its uniqueness, or who continued to spread lies and stereotypical views about Jews and Judaism or who tried to use the Palestinian cause to incite hatred against Jews in Israel and elsewhere. The human rights machinery of the United Nations had been mobilized in that battle and must continue.
He said there was no more fitting time for Member States to take action on the need to combat anti-Semitism in all its forms, in action comparable perhaps to the resolution on apartheid or the admirable recent resolution of the Commission on Human Rights concerning the protection of Arabs and Muslims, particularly attacks on their religious and culture sites. Were not Jews entitled to the same degree of concern and protection? Member States could follow the excellent lead of the Berlin declaration, recently adopted by the member States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Those 55 governments condemned, without reservation, all manifestations of anti-Semitism and all other acts of intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, wherever they occurred. They also condemned all attacks motivated by anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred or religious intolerance and it had also declared unambiguously that international development or political events, including in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East, never justified anti-Semitism.
ELIE WIESEL, Holocaust survivor and Nobel peace laureate, said he had thought that the virus of anti-Semitism had disappeared, but he had been wrong. He was here today to plead to the Secretary-General, on behalf of his people, who, in some quarters continued to be vilified, threatened, offended and physically marked for humiliation, if not worse. Call that anti-Semitism, a term coined at the end of nineteenth century, or simply Jew hating. Anti-Semitism was the oldest collective bigotry in recorded history. Of all group hatreds in antiquity, anti-Semitism alone had survived. That was no longer political, social, religious or ethnic -- that was existential, metaphysical. Other people, traditions, religious communities and cultures had been persecuted for a variety of reasons, but anti-Semitism combined them all. The anti-Semites did not know him, but they hated him. Actually, they hated him even before he was born. The anti-Semite hated the dead, not only the living.
He said that not a week or even a day went by without an anti-Semitic incident. Several European Jews had told him that they lived in fear. Who would have thought that 60 years after the worst tragedy in human history, the incitement to hatred and violence would continue to fill the pages of newspapers and occupy the televisions in too many Muslim countries encouraging hatred towards the entire Jewish people? Anti-Semitism had even managed to penetrate the United Nations’ atmosphere. Had it not been for the Secretary-General’s courageous intervention, the infamous resolution comparing Zionism to racism would still be in effect. The Secretary-General, behind the scenes, had done everything possible and had succeeded. In the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, his efforts had been less successful, and instead of being a conference against hatred it had become a conference of hatred for Israel -- the State and the people.
The U.N. discovers the cause of anti-Semitism: Jews By ANNE BAYEFSKY, Opinion Journal, November 18, 2004
Useful quotes made by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Elie Wiesel on the UN and antisemitism
The UN's Jewish Problem Ruth R. Wisse, Weekly Standard, March 31/02 (04/08/2002, Volume 007, Issue 29)
Israel faces rampant discrimination at the United Nations Julian Schvindlerman, the Miami Herald, November 1, 2002.
A Typical UN Press Release Forum Post by Wendy, Thu Aug 25, 2005
British diplomats push Annan for a 'no excuses' definition of terrorism By Charles Laurence, Sunday Telegraph, 24 July 2005
UN Record on Israel and Arab East Jerusalem Forum Posts by Oboler, Wendy, Aug 25, 2005
Some good news, Dan Gillerman appointment Forum Posts by Wendy Sept 2005 + JPosy article
ADL suggestions for reforming the UN Forum Posts by Wendy Sept 2005
Sharon and Peace at the UN Forum Posts by Wendy Sept 2005 and article New York Times, September 16, 2005 By JOEL BRINKLEY
The UN's Palestinian Problem Forum Posts by Wendy October 2005 and article
Australia for Israel at the UN Forum Posts by Miriam downunder and Wendy October 2005 and article from The Australian
Canada to reject anti-Israel UN resolutions Forum Posts by Wendy visiting Canada December 2005 and article
Bauer on UN antisemitism From lecture notes on antisemitism
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