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Duty to Fight Antisemitism

By Erol Avdovic (Webpublica) UNITED NATIONS – Countering Antisemitism, is crucial for every society that aspires to be a democratic and civilized one, the United Nations General Assembly concluded at its full day historic debate titled: “Time to declare war on Antisemitism”


Guterres’ promise


Rabbi Goldstein with President of UN General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinoza and Dany Danon ambassador of Israel to the UN (Photo credit by Israel Mission to the UN)

Rabbi Goldstein with President of UN General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinoza and Dany Danon ambassador of Israel to the UN (Photo credit by Israel Mission to the UN)

At the opening of the debate the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, the world must tackle “the tsunami of hatred that is so visible and violent across the world today.” Mr. Guterres promised stating personal guarantees,  he will “continue to call out Antisemitic racism and other forms of hatred loudly and unapologetically.”

Addressing this problem is crucial in particular on law-making and education level, while political, spiritual and religious powers that cherish human and democratic values should always openly face this, many other participants stated in a broad discussion.

Representatives from ore than 90 countries participated in a discussion that, according to the Israeli Mission to the United Nations included hundreds of guests from the Jewish community in the United States, Jewish and pro-Israel organizations.


Modern warfare and spreading love and light


“The world’s approach to eradicating Antisemitism must be like that of modern warfare. It must attack on multiple fronts,” Israeli UN ambassador Dany Danon told General Assembly. He called the world “to declare war on Antisemitism,” and also asked the United Nations and other UN member states to implement a series of steps to eradicate Antisemitism, including calling for a special envoy to fight Antisemitism on behalf of the UN Secretary-General.

Israeli UN envoy also asked for promoting an active policy for monitoring and removing Antisemitic content on the Internet. Danon called countries and leaders of the world to adopt legislation to educate their population on identifying Antisemitism.

As a special guest of Israeli UN Mission at the UN General Assembly debate who was wounded in the recent shooting attack in Poway, California, Rabbi Goldstein, talked about Jews still “paying a shockingly high price to keep themselves safe.” He said “in far too many places around the world Jews are becoming more vulnerable.”

Goldstein emphasized he is with the “personal mission to harness the tools used for spreading darkness and hate for spreading love and light.”

He said darkness not need more darkness—but “a great big light.”


Responsibility for Hate and Free Speech


UN General Assembly 73 session 25 September 2018 UN photo by Cia Pak

UN General Assembly 73 session 25 September 2018 UN photo by Cia Pak

Other participants at the UN discussion talked about need for inspiring new generations to understand how past lessons can help shape the future and fight against Antisemitism and other forms of intolerance.

In the era of digital technology advances like newer before in history the goal for civilized societies remain the free speech online, and off-line. It is, as reminded by some European representatives an “essential prerequisite for the development of all progressive social, scientific and creative ideas,” but there is “no way to ignore the fact that it will also be exploited by people generating destructive and hateful notions.”

And we all witnessed some horrendous terrorist attacks throughout the world that were designed to go viral. While online platforms have indeed revolutionized the public sphere – it is crucial to recognize that they also became new platforms for hate speech.

Thus, there is growing pressure all over the world for an effective “all-encompassing response to this inherently dangerous phenomenon,” as some representative said in their discussion calling for more regulated responsibility for using Internet.

Fight against racism, xenophobia, slamophobia and all other related intolerance, stay important task as outlined in the EU Treaty obligations as a solid legal framework for that. More is to be done in that sphere, as some participants in the UN discussion concluded — to create more opportunities to raise public awareness as needed.

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