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U.N. envoy releases action plan for governments to combat global antisemitism

Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of religion, notes that attacks on Jews were committed “at record high levels in many countries” last year

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, released an eight-point action plan Thursday for governments to combat antisemitism. 

“Every government — including in countries where no Jewish communities reside — should adopt a national action plan to combat antisemitism,” Shaheed wrote in the plan. Alternatively, nations should draft blueprints to combat hatred on racial, religious or other grounds as long as they explicitly address antisemitism “and its unique characteristics and manifestations,” Shaheed advised.   

Shaheed, a career diplomat from the Maldives who was appointed to the post in 2016, released a first-of-its-kind report in 2019 that found a “disproportionate” increase in antisemitism across the globe. He recommended countries adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism as a “non-legal educational tool” to enable them to identify, monitor and respond to antisemitic discourse and attacks. Some 32 countries have already done so as of last year.

Some critics charge that the IRHA definition of antisemitism is problematic and can be misused for political purposes.

 

In his plan, Shaheed noted that attacks on Jewish people and sites were committed at record high levels in many countries last year, in addition to a substantial increase in online antisemitism since 2019.

And he claimed that very few governments’ efforts to monitor and report on antisemitic incidents yield “accurate and meaningful” assessments. 

Shaheed suggested governments adopt a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitic statements and incidents by its employees, politicians and citizens. Among other actions, the plan calls on countries to enact hate-crimes legislation and promote education about the Holocaust.

The American Jewish Committee welcomed the plan as “an essential roadmap” for governments to ensure that antisemitism is countered comprehensively and effectively.  

Shaheed’s mandate ends later this year.

Action plan on global antis… by Jacob Kornbluh

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