Archive for the 'Anti-Semitism' Category

NGO urges UN to condemn ‘global epidemic’ of anti-Semitic incidents

sarcellsRioters in Paris, July 20, 2014.

GENEVA, July 21, 2014 – Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch today called on UN leaders to condemn what it called a “global epidemic” of anti-Semitic attacks, spiraling from Paris to Ankara, in wake of the Israeli army’s Gaza operation to stop rocket fire against its cities.

In Paris, Jewish-owned shops were burned and pillaged last night during a second violent anti-Israel demonstration in two days. Riot police held back a mob of youths who tried to attacks two synagogues in the suburb of Sarcelles.

“When you menace synagogues and when you burn a grocery because it is Jewish-owned, you are committing anti-Semitic acts,” said French interior minister Bernard Cazeneve today.

UN Watch called on UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon and high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay to speak out, citing attacks in several cities, including in Antwerp, Berlin, Boston, Casablanca, Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, and New York.  (See list of incidents below.)

“Given the global nature of the contagion, it’s vital that we hear the voice of the UN’s leadership and of its human rights officials, including Ms. Pillay and all of the relevant human rights special procedures and treaty bodies,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based human rights group. 

UN Watch called on Ban and Pillay to echo the words of the OSCE’s 2004 Berlin Declaration against anti-Semitism, which affirmed that “international developments or political issues, including those in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East, never justify anti-Semitism.”

“Just as the UN has rapidly condemned anti-Islamic films, it must also rapidly condemn physical assaults and threats against Jews, and vandalism of their businesses, homes, and places of worship,” said Neuer.

“For now, regrettably, we’re hearing silence from the UN.”

Continue reading ‘NGO urges UN to condemn ‘global epidemic’ of anti-Semitic incidents’

UN seminar on Holocaust remembrance


High Commissioner Navi Pillay discussing with Prof. Dan Michman

For the first time, a seminar took place today at the Palais des Nation on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. The seminar was organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with the support of the Permanent Missions of Israel and Canada.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay delivered opening remarks. In her speech, she focused on the story of Petr Ginz, a young Jewish boy from Prague who was killed in the Auschwitz gas chambers. The text of her speech that was circulated also featured a picture of Petr, the first time that any photo has been added to a speech by the High Commissioner. After her remarks, the High Commissioner called for a minute of silence.

The first speak was Prof Dan Michman, Chief Historian of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum. Prof Michman discussed the topic of how the Nazis were able to exterminate 6,000,000 Jews and numerous others, their motivations and the means they used. He referred to modern antisemitism as a main driving force and ended his remarks by stressing the importance of education and legislation.

The second speaker was Karolina Mirga of the Ternype International Roma Youth Network who discussed the issues around the Roma killed during the Second World War and the efforts of her group to keep the memory alive, educate young people and remember the people who perished during that dark period.

The last speaker was Mario Silva, the Canadian chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance, an intergovernmental organization charged with promoting remembrance, education and research on the Holocaust. He spoke of the different activities of the organization and the important role they play, bringing together governments, academics and civil society.

Mr Silva quoted the words of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that “…we must resist the error of viewing the Holocaust as a strictly historical event.  It’s not good enough for politicians to stand before you and say they remember and mourn what happened over six decades ago…they must be unequivocal in their condemnation of anti-Semitic despots, terrorists and fanatics.  That is the only way to honour the memory of those who were consumed by the Holocaust.”

The seminar concluded by representatives from different countries taking the floor to reflect about the events of the Holocaust and the universal lessons it brings us, in terms of prevention and protection.

Obama Rights Envoy Accuses UN Human Rights Council of Anti-Semitism

One of President Obama’s top human rights officials has accused the  UN Human Rights Council of anti-Semitism.

In a speech delivered yesterday before the superb Canadian Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism — before whom I had the pleasure to speak recently in Winnipeg — Hannah Rosenthal, the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, addressed the “increasing tendency of blurring the lines between opposition to the policies of the State of Israel and anti-Semitism.”

Citing Natan Sharansky’s 3-D test to identify where sharp but legitimate criticism crosses the line into anti-Semitism — namely, where there is demonization, delegitimization or double standards — Rosenthal provided examples of such anti-Semitism occurring at the United Nations: Continue reading ‘Obama Rights Envoy Accuses UN Human Rights Council of Anti-Semitism’

UN Watch salutes UN for high-level visit to Auschwitz to combat Holocaust denial

Kudos to the UN for taking a determined stance against Holocaust denial and organizing this trip to Auschwitz. This is an instance where the UN’s moral authority could have a big impact. The UN News Service reports:


Top United Nations officials led a visit by 150 eminent personalities and representatives of 40 Governments today to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest and most notorious of all the Nazi death camps, to combat denial of the Holocaust of millions of Jews and others during the Second World War.

“As the poet and philosopher George Santayana said, ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’,” said UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova, who led the visit with Bertrand Delanoë, Mayor of Paris, and the Aladdin Project, which seeks to counter all forms of denial and promote a rapprochement of cultures, particularly between Jews and Muslims, based on mutual respect. Continue reading ‘UN Watch salutes UN for high-level visit to Auschwitz to combat Holocaust denial’

UN Calls Fight Against Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial “Their Own”






One cannot begin to understand the origins of the Holocaust without cknowledging the anti-Semitism that led to it. And, one cannot understand the dangers f anti-Semitism without learning the universal lessons of the Holocaust. Ignoring these facts increases the risk that they will be repeated.

Holocaust denial is anti-Semitism. It wounds the people who suffer the most – the survivors. And it extends this hurt to every Jewish person, as a heartless reminder of unspeakable cruelty and the ruthless attempt to eliminate every member of their families.

Anti-Semitism fuels hatred and hatred kills. Yet it persists.

It persists because we have not yet learned. We have not fully understood that discrimination against people anywhere hurts people everywhere. Minorities of all kinds continue to be persecuted and murdered. And too often, we have been indifferent.

The United Nations takes this indifference to heart. As Secretary-General Ban said, earlier this year, “the United Nations Outreach Programme on the Holocaust is working closely with survivors to ensure that their stories are heard and heeded as a warning of the consequences of anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination. Holocaust survivors will not be with us forever, but the legacy of their survival must live on. We must preserve their stories, through memorials, through education, most of all through robust efforts to prevent genocide and other grave crimes.”

The Programme also partners with teachers and civil society groups in furthering Holocaust education. These partnerships help to weaken Holocaust deniers, who in the face of the truth, can no longer claim ignorance of historical fact. The Programme’s “Discussion Papers Journal” provides a forum for scholars to examine the causes of the Holocaust and its relevance today. It encourages the international community to work together to help stop crimes against humanity, including genocide.

I congratulate the organizers of this important International Conference on Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial and encourage all of the scholars and experts here to continue to examine these issues, work to dispel myths, and fight discrimination.

Your cause is the United Nations’ own.

Syria to UN: Israel glorifies sucking Arab blood

NGO in UN Debate Slams Syrian Diplomat for Blood Libel, Calls on World Body to Condemn “Anti-Semitic” Remarks

Syria: Israeli anti-Arab hatred teaches children to sing “With my teeth I will rip your flesh, with my mouth I will suck your blood

Geneva, June 9,  2010 - In a speech today to the United Nations (see full text below) the Geneva non-governmental human rights group UN Watch called on the world body to condemn “hateful and “anti-Semitic remarks” made yesterday by the Syrian delegate to the UN Human Rights Council.

In comments reported today in the the US and Canadian media, Syrian diplomat Rania Al Rifaiy had accused Israel of being a state “built on hatred, discrimination, oppression and a paranoid feeling of superiority.” (See transcript at bottom.)

As evidence, she purported to quote anti-Arab comments from a rabbi and a children’s song. “Let me quote a song,” said Al Rifaiy, “that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school: `With my teeth I will rip your flesh, with my mouth I will suck your blood.”Continue reading ‘Syria to UN: Israel glorifies sucking Arab blood’

UN Watch Exposes Syrian Blood Libel, Calls on World Body to Condemn Anti-Semitic Speech

Geneva, June 8 – UN Watch is calling on the United Nations to condemn hateful and anti-Semitic remarks made today by the Syrian delegate to the UN Human Rights Council. 

“Let me quote a song,” said Syrian diplomat Rania Al Rifaiy, “that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school: `With my teeth I will rip your flesh, with my mouth I will suck your blood.”‘

She also accused Israel of being a state “built on hatred, discrimination, oppression and a paranoid feeling of superiority.” (See details below.)
Continue reading ‘UN Watch Exposes Syrian Blood Libel, Calls on World Body to Condemn Anti-Semitic Speech’

Wall Street Journal: UN Watch takes on Islamist U.N. assault on free speech

Yesterday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal Asia (page 18) published the following two letters to the editor, by U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley and by UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. Both were in response to a Nov. 5th editorial entitled “Hillary vs. State,” which critiqued the U.S. co-sponsorship with Egypt of a UN resolution concerning freedom of speech. For an excellent in-depth summary of the issue, see The Dangerous Idea of Protecting Religions from “Defamation”  by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. *** Continue reading ‘Wall Street Journal: UN Watch takes on Islamist U.N. assault on free speech’

UN slams Switzerland for failing to investigate “pattern of anti-Semitic incidents”

The legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt is still alive in Geneva, within at least some UN human rights bodies.

Today the United Nations Human Rights Committee (an 18-member expert body that is not to be confused with the politicized Human Rights Council) issued the following concluding observations from its review of Switzerland:  Continue reading ‘UN slams Switzerland for failing to investigate “pattern of anti-Semitic incidents”’

Lantos widow on Robinson medal and Durban lessons

As reported by the JTA, Annette Lantos, widow of the late congressman Tom Lantos, is “deeply disappointed by the decision to honor former [U.N. Human Rights High] Commissioner [Mary] Robinson” but also feels that “this provides a good opportunity to reflect on the failures of Durban.” Her full statement:
Continue reading ‘Lantos widow on Robinson medal and Durban lessons’

Denis MacShane MP, Member of the UK Parliament, at Durban II Parallel Conference

Durban 2 Conference: speech given at parallel NGO conference

Denis MacShane, MP, at Conference Against Racism, Discrimination and Persecution
Co-Organized by UN Watch and 20 other human rights NGOs, Geneva, 22 April 2009

Let us just imagine that this week the leader of a so-called Christian or northern caucasian state had taken the podium at a United Nations conference and made remarks about Muslims or about black people or about a democratically constituted rule of law nation such as those that were made by the President of Iran on Monday. There would have been an outcry. There would have been a mass walk out from Latin America, from Africa, from Asia. There would have been calls for sanctions and reform of the UN to prevent such a scandal happening again.

Continue reading ‘Denis MacShane MP, Member of the UK Parliament, at Durban II Parallel Conference’