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Israel advancing UN General Assembly resolution aimed at combating Holocaust denial

Envoy confident measure will pass overwhelmingly later this month; it won’t have enforcement mechanism, but Erdan says effects of new international standard will be significant

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at a high-level meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration during the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York, on September 22, 2021. (John Angelillo/Pool Photo via AP)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at a high-level meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration during the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York, on September 22, 2021. (John Angelillo/Pool Photo via AP)

Israel will bring a resolution aimed at combating Holocaust denial for a vote before the United Nations General Assembly later this month, Ambassador Gilad Erdan announced on Wednesday.

The resolution will provide a specific classification for Holocaust denial, using the working definition put together by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. It will provide actions expected of signatory countries in order to address the phenomenon, and will demand social media networks remove posts that fall under the IHRA definition, Erdan said in a briefing with reporters.

The vote will be held on January 20, the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference organized by the Nazis to coordinate the implementation of Hitler’s Final Solution.

The envoy said the decision to advance the resolution followed a “dramatic rise in antisemitism and Holocaust denial” in recent years, particularly following last year’s Gaza conflict.

Erdan acknowledged that like all GA resolutions, this latest one will not come with an enforcement mechanism. However, he expressed hope that by setting a new “international standard” for what constitutes Holocaust denial and how social media companies are expected to act in response, the resolution will have significant ramifications on the discourse moving forward.

Erdan said he has been in talks with various missions representing countries around the world in order to lobby support for the resolution. He predicted that the measure would pass overwhelmingly with some 160 of the 193 UN member states throwing their support behind it.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan addresses the Security Council on October 19, 2021. (Courtesy)

“I hope that even countries with whom we don’t have relations will understand the importance of this resolution… and decide to vote in favor,” Erdan said.

In the coming days, diplomats will convene for a write-up of the resolution and negotiate various changes to the Israeli draft.

If it passes, as Erdan anticipates, the initiative will be just the second time since Israel’s establishment that a resolution submitted by Jerusalem has been adopted by the GA. The first time came in 2005 when the body passed an Israeli resolution declaring January 27 — the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp — as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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