Opening Remarks by
Mr. Miguel Moratinos
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
At the Joint UNAOC EU Meeting:
“Briefing on Efforts on Combating Antisemitism”
ECOSOC Chamber – June 15, 2022
Your Excellency Mr. Oolf Skoog, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations,
Your Excellency, Ms. Katharina Von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator of Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life,
I wish to welcome you all to our joint meeting Briefing on Efforts to Combat Antisemitism. I would like to welcome the United States Special Envoy to Combat and monitor Antisemitism Amb Deborah Lipstadt and Rabbi Arthur Schneier, UNAOC Ambassador, and President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.
It is great pleasure to have you all join our meeting: member states, Jewish organizations and UN entities working on combating antisemitism.
Because Antisemitism is the oldest and most persistent form of prejudice and hate has not ended. It continues to persist, morphing into different shapes and forms and using new innovative medium. The distortion of history and the horrors of the Shoah are the most troubling of these forms.
Across the world, social turmoil during the pandemic and beyond exacerbated prejudice, hate speech and discrimination against minorities on account of their religion, belief, race or ethnicity but especially targeting Jews as well as other minorities. This pattern still continues.
Why do we have in our meeting those distinguished speakers?
Because antisemitism is a global problem. True, antisemitism started in Europe more than 77 years ago but it is not a European problem or an American problem. It is a global problem that needs to be addressed globally.
When antisemitism exists in a society, there will be most likely other forms of discrimination and racist ideologies. Therefore, antisemitism and all manifestations of discrimination are an affront to democratic values, human rights laws and to the core values that the UN Charter upholds. When left unaddressed, antisemitism poses a threat to the social cohesion and the stability of our communities. Antisemitism does not occur only in countries where Jewish communities live. But it is also present in countries where there are no Jews at all. The rise in conspiracy theories and hate speech on line and off line and in mainstream media against the Jews during the pandemic were iterated by hate mongers who lived in countries where there were only few Jews lived or worse where there were no Jews at all.
Therefore, to combat antisemitism, we need to adopt a global holistic approach rooted in human rights that brings together governments, civil society, faith communities, religious leaders, media, educational institutions and municipalities.
That is why we are bringing together today all these stakeholders who are engaged in the fight against Antisemitism to hear from them the good practices and see how we can bring together our efforts and work collectively to uproot antisemitism.
As such, The United Nations will continue to be on the frontline of the fight against antisemitism and all other forms of religious bigotry and racism.
The United Nations Secretary-General has always underlined that rising racism, antisemitism, virulent anti-Muslim bigotry, and anti-refugee hatred are all so dangerous.
That is why he has made tackling the root causes of intolerance and hate an urgent priority for the United Nations. I am honored that he has designated me in 2020 as the UN focal point to monitor antisemitism and enhance a system-wide response.
The adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution on the “Holocaust Denial” in January 2022 demonstrates the collective will of the international community to take another step in the right direction in the global fight against antisemitism since the denial of the Holocaust in its various forms is an expression of antisemitism.
Without further ado, I wish to give the floor to H.E. Mr. Oolf Head of Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations
I will elaborate on my thoughts during the segment dedicated to the UN entities.