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Never Again: Nearly Fifty Countries’ Pledge against Anti-Semitism

October 11, 2021

by: Kate Norman

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UN office in Geneva where the UNHRC meets

Monday, 11 October 2021 | Nearly 50 countries pledged to combat anti-Semitism within their borders in a joint statement at the 48th United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meeting in Geneva last week.

The declaration was headed by Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic—heads of the Slavkov Format, a group which sees the three nations cooperate on certain issues—as well as the World Jewish Congress.

“We will remain steadfast in our pledge: Never again!” Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg vowed in a video statement on anti-Semitism.

“Even 75 years after the end of World War II it is a tragic reality that anti-Semitism is not a thing of the past,” the foreign minister continued. “This venom still exists, right in the midst of our societies. This is why today we declare our unequivocal solidarity in the face of hatred.”

“We restate our commitment to combatting anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, prejudice and discrimination anywhere, at any time,” he concluded.

The declaration was made on behalf of at least 43 other countries, including Israel, Germany, the United States, Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Seychelles, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

The topic of discussion was anti-Semitism and racism amid the resurgence of Nazism.

The UNHRC issued a statement on the session in response to the “recent global resurgence in anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic violence,” particularly as a result of COVID-19 and the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories sparked by the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has overshadowed many crises and has diverted our attention from critical developments such as rising anti-Semitism, intolerance and hatred,” Foreign Minister Schallenberg said in his video statement.

“This isn’t a fight between anti-Semites and Jews,” he added. “This fight is between anti-Semites and anyone who believes in the values of equality, justice and liberty.”

Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, reissued the clarion call of many Israeli and international leaders for every country to adhere to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism.

“Legislation and law enforcement mechanisms are essential,” Shahar said, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post, “but can only work when complemented by educational programs that embrace tolerance and diversity and promote the memory of past atrocities and their victims.”

Posted on October 11, 2021

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 11, 2021)

Photo Credit: UN Photo/Elma Okic/flickr.com

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