The United Nations General Assembly held an informal session Wednesday on combating anti-Semitism and other forms of racism.
The meeting was organized at the initiative of Israel’s envoy to the UN Danny Danon, the Israeli mission said in a statement.
Danon called on the UN to “declare war on anti-Semitism” and urged measures such as appointing a special UN envoy for countering anti-Semitism.
Over 90 countries participated including representatives from Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Morocco. There were also hundreds of guests from the US Jewish community, as well as Jewish and pro-Israel organizations. Among those who took part were Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was injured in the April 27 shooting attack at the Poway synagogue in San Diego, as well as the daughter and sister of Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was killed in the assault. Three people were injured and the gunman was arrested.
Opening the session, held at the UN headquarters in New York, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared: “We must tackle the tsunami of hatred that is so visible and violent across the world today. I guarantee you that I will continue to call out Anti-Semitic racism and other forms of hatred loudly and unapologetically.”
Guterres cited figures from a recent Tel Aviv University report which found that the number of violent anti-Semitic incidents around the world rose by 13 percent in 2018 compared to the year before.
“In the United States, Europe and elsewhere, attacks on synagogues, graveyards and individuals continue to make many Jews feel insecure,” Guterres continued. “This age-old hatred is showing grim staying power.”
Danon said “the world’s approach to eradicating anti-Semitism must be like that of modern warfare. It must attack on multiple fronts.”
The Israeli envoy called on the United Nations and countries to apply measures, including an annual UN report on anti-Semitism around the world, appointing a special envoy for combating the phenomenon and adding the eradication of anti-Semitism to the UN’s sustainable development goals.
Rabbi Goldstein warned the assembly of the danger that rising anti-Semitism presents to Jewish people all over the globe.
“In far too many places around the world Jews are becoming more vulnerable,” he said. “They are paying a shockingly high price to keep themselves safe.”