United Nations report calls on member states to adopt IHRA antisemitism definition

It called for a senior UN appointment to monitor global Jew hate and the UN's response to it


Jewish and Israeli leaders have welcomed a new United Nations report that encourages member states to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

The report by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, said the definition offered “valuable guidance for identifying antisemitism in its various forms”, but said it was recommending it as a non-legal, educational tool.

It  also addressed claims that the Israel boycott movement BDS is antisemitic, describing how critics says one of its core aims is to bring about the end of the State of Israel.

“[The critics] further allege that some individuals have employed antisemitic narratives, conspiracies and tropes in the course of expressing support for the BDS campaign.”

But the report also noted that proponents of BDS “rejected these allegations”.

It also found that a lack of Jewish presence historically appeared to have little difference on a country’s ability to hold antisemitic attitudes: “For example, over 57 per cent of teachers and lecturers and 53.74 per cent of students in Indonesia agreed with a survey statement claiming that ‘Jews are the enemies of Islam’.”

Dr Shaheed report, titled Combatting Antisemitism to Eliminate Discrimination and Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief, also said UN Secretary General, António Guterres should consider appointing someone of a “senior level” to engage with Jewish communities worldwide and monitor the UN’s response to antisemitism.

Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, said the report was unprecedented and reflected an “organisational change towards Israel.”

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, who helped with some of the research for the report, said his organisation was “extremely pleased”, adding: “Antisemitism is a virus that is rapidly spreading throughout the world. We hope that this report serves as an eye-opener to the United Nations and its member states and that they finally take concrete action to stem the surge of antisemitism across the globe.”

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