The UN is debating how to properly define antisemitism and the role criticism of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights plays in anti-Jewish hatred.
The United Nations is deep in working toward creating an action plan on antisemitism, months after the Biden administration established a similar national strategy.
Israel and Jewish organisations have strongly advocated for the codification of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, while progressives cautioned it too easily conflates criticism of Israel with antisemitism.
They, in turn, advocated for the inclusion of alternative definitions such as the Nexus Document and the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism. In the US antisemitism strategy announced in late May, the Biden administration explicitly embraced IHRA while nodding toward the others and mentioning Nexus – something both camps pointed toward as a sign of victory.
The discussion surrounding the UN debate, however, has garnered perhaps even further mutual concerns about IHRA’s prominence, with duelling ends of the political spectrum warning that IHRA’s embrace (or lack thereof) will have profound impacts on properly dealing with antisemitism.
The high-level UN official responsible is Miguel Moratinos, in his capacity as the High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC); and as the “UN Focal Point to
monitor Antisemitism and enhance a system-wide-response,” a position he was appointed to in February 2020 by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Since his appointment, pro-IHRA stakeholder organisations – including the US Jewish establishment organisations that pressured the Biden administration to codify IHRA – have conducted multiple consultations with Moratinos.
The pro-IHRA missive followed a duelling effort from 104 civil society organisations strongly urging the UN not to formally adopt IHRA on the grounds that it muzzles freedom of expression on Palestinian rights. Eleven Israeli human rights organisations have since similarly urged the UN not to promote IHRA in its action plan.
The action plan’s launch event was originally scheduled for earlier this month in Cordoba, Spain, but was recently postponed until September.
Israel has had a good relationship with UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres. The Jenin raid has caused tensions (JTA)
Antonio Guterres harshly critiqued the raid, and Israel’s ambassador to the UN called his comments “shameful”.
Israeli tech warriors code a solution to fight online antisemitism (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli tech company and volunteer movement collaborate to develop algorithm combating online antisemitism, enabling more efficient monitoring and reporting of offensive content.
Jewish leaders condemn ‘appalling’ Jenin cartoon in Independent newspaper (Jewish Chronicle)
The sketch is accused of comparing Palestinian militants to Ukrainian soldiers.
Photo: The Golden Rule Mosaic, on which are inscribed the words, Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You, at the UN in New York (UN)