Allegations of antisemitism in the United Nations: Wikis


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Allegations of antisemitism in the United Nations (UN) have been made by various government officials, non-governmental organizations and academics, as well as officials of the United Nations itself. On 1 December 1999, the UN General Assembly defined antisemitism as a contemporary form of racism and racial discrimination.[1] Secretary General Kofi Annan acknowledged in 2004 that "the United Nations' record on antisemitism has at times fallen short of our ideals."[2]



Morris B. Abrams, Chairman of UN Watch, writes of the UN that "there is a considerable anti-Semitic component behind the policies pursued there and expressed without challenge (except by the United States) in its fora."

Hannah Rosenthal, Chief of the US State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, said in a 4 March 2010 speech to the UK Community Security Trust that the United Nations' double standard against Israel constitutes "profound antisemitism". "Looking at UN statistics over the last six years, where there have been negative remarks against a country, 170 have been against Israel. Compare that to North Korea that had eight... Israel has had 50 resolutions condemning alleged human rights abuses. Compare that to the Sudan which has had five. Clearly Israel is being held to a different standard and that means it has crossed the line from anti-Israel policy to profound antisemitism", she said.[3]

On 3 September 2009, United States Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said that antisemitic bias "pervades the UN system." The statement was made in the course of addressing the Hamas-UNRWA Holocaust dispute. Ros-Lehtinen charged that the bias was highlighted by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency's disconnecting of the Holocaust from human rights.[4]

Professor Anne Bayefsky, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and member of several Canadian delegations to the UN, told participants at the first UN conference on antisemitism held in New York in June 2004: "The United Nations has become the leading global purveyor of anti-Semitism.[5]

According to AIPAC, The UN Human Rights Commission "promotes anti-Israel, anti-Semitic resolutions".[6]

General Assembly Resolution 3379

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, sponsored mainly by African and Arab states and adopted on 10 November 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions), "determine[d] that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination". The resolution was revoked by Resolution 46/86 on 16 December 1991.

The European Fundamental Rights Agency cites the claim that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor as an example of denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination. The agency further defines such denial as a manifestation of antisemitism.[7][8]

On the day of the resolution's adoption Israeli ambassador Chaim Herzog called the resolution "another manifestation of the bitter anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish hatred which animates Arab society."[citation needed]

Years later, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in an address to the Israel Foreign Relations Council and the United Nations Association of Israel, on 25 March 1998 in Jerusalem:[9]

Still, the broader fight against anti-Semitism must be addressed. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We must use the occasion to denounce anti-Semitism in all of its manifestations. This brings me to the lamentable resolution adopted by the General Assembly in 1975, equating Zionism with racism and racial discrimination. That was, perhaps, the low-point in our relations; its negative resonance even today is difficult to overestimate. Fortunately, the General Assembly rescinded the resolution in 1991.

According to an essay prepared for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the equation of Zionism with racism is "an anti-Semitic slogan".[10]

World Conference against Racism 2001

The World Conference against Racism 2001 (WCAR) was held at the Durban International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa, under UN auspices, from 31 August 2001 until 8 September 2001. The conference was quite controversial, and the delegations of the United States and Israel withdrew during its procession.

In a 2002 interview with the BBC, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson said that although some good came out of the summit, it included "horrible antisemitism".

I also admit that it was an extremely difficult conference. That there was horrible anti-Semitism present - particularly in some of the NGO discussions. A number people came to me and said they've never been so hurt or so harassed or been so blatantly faced with an anti-Semitism.[11]

Navanethem Pillay, the UN human rights chief as of 2009, wrote in 2008 that some non-governmental organizations at the sidelines of the conference engaged in antisemitic behaviour, but stressed that the document that emerged from the conference itself "transcended divisive and intolerant approaches".[12]

In a joint statement on 23 January 2008, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Bernier and the Minister of Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity Jason Kenney said the conference had "degenerated into open and divisive expressions of intolerance and anti-Semitism that undermined the principles of the United Nations and the very goals the conference sought to achieve." The statement was made to explain Canada's decision to boycott the conference's sequel, the Durban Review Conference (see below).[13]

Durban Review Conference

The Durban Review Conference, also known as Durban II, took place on 20–24 April 2009 at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.[14] The governments of Canada, Italy and Australia stated that based on the draft document, they expected antisemitism in the conference, citing this as a reason for their decisions to boycott the summit. The conference was boycotted by seven other countries which did not cite expected antisemitism as a reason.

On 23 January 2008, Canada stated it would not participate in the Durban Review Conference. A joint statement by Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Bernier and the Minister of Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity Jason Kenney said the conference would not remedy the mistakes of the previous conference, which had "degenerated into open and divisive expressions of intolerance and anti-Semitism that undermined the principles of the United Nations and the very goals the conference sought to achieve."[13]

On 5 March 2009, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini announced at a NATO summit that his country was pulling out of the conference because of "aggressive and anti-Semitic statements in the draft of the event's final document." Ministry Spokesman Maurizio Massari confirmed Frattini's statements, and charged that the final draft document of the Durban Review Conference contained "expressions of anti-Semitism." Massari said Rome would not participate in the conference unless the document was changed.[15]

On 12 March, Australia's Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, said in the federal parliament that Australia would withdraw from the United Nations-sponsored conference if the draft documents were not revised. "If we form the view that the text is going to lead to nothing more than an anti-Jewish, anti-Semitic harangue and an anti-Jewish propaganda exercise, Australia will not be in attendance," Smith said.[16]


Antisemitic canards, including the accusations that Jews ritually drink the blood of gentiles and that Jews exploit and corrupt the societies in which they live, have been voiced within the UN by representatives from Arab and Muslim countries.

In 1983, Libyan representative to the UN Ali Treiki declared:

It is high time for the United Nations, and the United States, in particular, to realize that the Jewish Zionists here in the United States attempt to destroy Americans. Look around New York. Who are the owners of the pornographic film operations and houses? Is it not the Jews who are exploiting the American people and trying to debase them? If we succeed in eliminating that entity, we shall by the same token save the American and European peoples.[17]

In December 1984, Saudi Arabian delegate and President of the World Muslim Congress Dr. Ma'ruf al-Dawalibi, speaking before the UN Human Rights Commission conference on religious tolerance, stated

Jews have indeed been the victims of discriminations throughout the centuries. But why? Let them answer this question themselves. The Talmud says that any Jew who does not drink every year the blood of a non-Jew will be damned forever.[18][19]

A similar remark was made by Syrian Ambassador Nabik Salaan in 1991 at a Geneva meeting of the Human Rights Commission. After mentioning the "Nazi crimes perpetrated by the Zionist occupation authorities," Salaan invited the members of the commission to read The Matza of Zion, a book by Syrian General Mustafa Tlass in which the author claims that Jews use the blood of children to bake matzo. The remark was understood by the press as referring to the blood libel.[20]

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

On 23 September 2008, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered an antisemitic speech to the UN General Assembly, blaming the Jews and Israel for all the world's ills.[21] The speech was condemned as antisemitic by then-US Senator Barack Obama[22], German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier[23] and Israeli President Shimon Peres.[24] In his speech, Ahmadinejad said:[25]

This means that the great people of America and various nations of Europe need to obey the demands and wishes of a small number of acquisitive and invasive people. These nations are spending their dignity and resources on the crimes and occupations and the threats of the Zionist network against their will...

On 20 April 2009, Ahmadinejad addressed the UN Durban Review Conference in Geneva with a speech that sparked a mass walkout by European Union delegates. British Ambassador Peter Gooderham called the Iranian president's remarks "outrageous and antisemitic",[26] while Israeli President Shimon Peres called the speech "the darkest antisemitic libel".[27]


In February 2006, UN officials launched an investigation into antisemitic actions by staff members the previous summer. An Israeli national who worked for the United Nations' security force had come across swastikas drawn by a fellow guard in a book they shared as part of their job. Following that incident there were two cases in which guards performed a straight-armed Nazi salute. Undersecretary general for management Christopher Burnham wrote a memorandum on 22 December 2005 in which he warned that the antisemitic incidents were part of a "pattern" at the UN.[28][29]

See also



  1. ^ Elimination of racism and racial discrimination, United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights
  2. ^ [ The Secretary-General: Opening Remarks at DPI Seminar on anti-Semitism], UN Chronicle Online Edition
  3. ^ Jonny Paul, US anti-Semitism envoy slams UN ‘double standards’ on Israel, Jerusalem Post 08-03-2010
  4. ^ Karen Laub, UN caught in Gaza dispute over study of Holocaust, Associated Press (retrieved 10-09-2009)
  5. ^ The United Nations: Leading Global Purveyor of Anti-Semitism: An Interview with Anne Bayefsky, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs 01-04-2005
  6. ^ U.N. Bias Against Israel, AIPAC 20-05-2002
  7. ^ "Working definition of antisemitism", EUMC.
  8. ^ "Antisemitism: Summary overview of the situation in the European Union, 2001-2005 (working paper)", European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, May 2006.
  10. ^ Joel S. Fishman, [ THE COLD-WAR ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY ANTI-SEMITIC TERMINOLOGY], Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs 2–16 May 2004
  11. ^ Badawi, Zeinab (2002-11-21). "Talking Points: Mary Robinson, UN Human Rights chief". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  12. ^ Pillay, Navanethem (2008-12-16). "Nations must unite against racism". Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  13. ^ a b Canada's position on Durban Review. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
  14. ^ Durban Review Conference 2009, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  15. ^ Ravid, Barak. "Italy pulls out of Durban II over 'anti-Semitic' draft statement" Haaretz, 5 March 2009.
  16. ^ [1], Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  17. ^ Cohn-Sherbok, p. 326
  18. ^ Israeli, p. 170
  19. ^ Cohn-Sherbok, p. 326
  20. ^ Israeli, pp. 170-171
  21. ^ Philp, Catherine (2008-09-24). "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blames George Bush and Zionists for financial woe". London: Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  22. ^ Obama, Barack (2008-10-10). "Obama Statement on Ahmadinejad’s UN Remarks". The Page. Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  23. ^ source:Reuters (2008-09-27). "Germany: Ahmadinejad anti-Semitic". Retrieved 2008-10-10. 
  24. ^ VIDEO / Despite UN speech, Jews dine with Ahmadinejad in New York, Haaretz 26-09-2008
  25. ^ Bayefsky, Anne (2008-09-24). "Again. Antisemitism, welcomed and cheered". National Review Online. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  26. ^ Iranian speech sparks mass walk-out at UN racism conference, Deutsche Welle 20-04-2009
  27. ^ Peres to UN: Iran thwarts efforts to forge peace in Middle East, Haaretz 25-04-2009
  28. ^ Benny Avni, Swastikas Found at United Nations Cause Uproar Among Israelis, New York Sun 22-02-2006
  29. ^ U.N. launches investigation of anti-Semitic incidents in U.N. security service, Associated Press 02-03-2006

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