Agudath Israel of America commends the United Nations for its release today of an interim report by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief on Monday, in which alarm is expressed over anti-Semitic “tropes by white supremacists including neo-Nazis and members of radical Islamist groups in slogans, images, stereotypes and conspiracy theories meant to incite and justify hostility, discrimination, and violence against Jews.”
The report also “takes note of numerous reports of an increase in many countries of what is sometimes called ‘left-wing’ antisemitism, in which individuals claiming to hold anti-racist and anti-imperialist views employ antisemitic narratives or tropes in the course of expressing anger at policies or practices of the Government of Israel.”
The Special Rapporteur, Ahmed Shaheed, was appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council, to which he submitted his report.
The report is “an unprecedented condemnation of Jew-hatred from an official office of the world body,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Agudath Israel of America’s executive vice president “and the fact that the report focuses wholly on anti-Semitism reflects a most welcome recognition on the part of the Rapporteur of both the pervasiveness of and the evil inherent in the world’s oldest prejudice.”
Rabbi Zwiebel went on to point out that the report, while not explicitly condemning the BDS movement, “plainly noted concerns that have been raised about its motivations, which many have charged include anti-Semitic sentiments, and its goal, which some contend is the dismantlement of Israel.”
While “non-violent expressions of support for boycotts are, as a general matter, legitimate speech that should be protected,” the report asserts, “expression which draws upon anti-Semitic tropes or stereotypes, rejects the right of Israel to exist, or advocates discrimination against Jewish individuals because of their religion, should be condemned.”
“We are,” Rabbi Zwiebel said, “unfortunately, living at a time when the most outlandish blood libels against Jews have been resurrected, and when more subtle but no less pernicious animus against Israel and Jews permeates even civilized societies.
“The report will not likely put brakes on such entrenched hatred. But as a sign that the United Nations has come to recognize the bane that is anti-Semitism and its pervasiveness in the world today, it is most welcome.”