Steven Blaney and other world leaders gathered at first U.N. session on global anti-Semitism
On Jan. 22, the United Nations General Assembly, for the first time in its history, held an informal session for world leaders to address rising global anti- Semitism. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said the discussion was “long overdue” because of the increasing number of incidents of anti-Jewish violence around the world, particularly throughout Europe and the Mideast.
After the attacks on a kosher supermarket in Paris by Islamic militants and a recent global survey of 100 countries in which the ADL discovered anti-Semitic attitudes in 26 per cent of the adults surveyed, the ADL said the U.N. has to confront this growing anti-Jewish animus.
Abraham H. Foxman, the ADLs National Director, issued a statement commenting on the importance of the session:
“This U.N. special session on anti- Semitism was long overdue. In many respects, it is sad that it took the loss of Jewish lives and ongoing daily threats to Jews to bring about this meeting. Yet, it is entirely appropriate that the international body, founded in the shadow of the Holocaust, has recognized the urgency of this issue,” said Foxman.
“Our recent polling shows that more than a quarter of the world’s adult population is infected with anti-Semitism, so it is significant and telling that the U.N., which represents all countries, has finally turned a specific focus on anti-Semitism and recognized, in the words of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, that ‘The fight against anti-Semitism is inseparable from our wider quest for peaceful coexistence and human rights for all.’”
The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, said “When the human rights of Jews are repressed, the rights of other religious and ethnic groups are often not far behind…Attacks on Jews are attacks on us all”.
“We hope the passionate and heartfelt speeches delivered during the session will resonate with the entire world. The true success of the meeting will be measured by the implementation of urgently needed serious and concrete actions to combat the tide of rising anti-Semitism,” said Foxman.
The session was sponsored by a total of 37 countries, mostly from the European Union, but also included Canada, the United States, Australia, Israel, Norway, Andorra, Rwanda, Panama and Uruguay. Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, Steven Blaney, delivered a statement at the morning half of the session.
Blaney told the General Assembly that Canada is committed in the fight against global anti-Semitism, saying Canada has a “zero-tolerance approach” and also reaffirmed the Harper government’s position of defending Israel and its legitimacy as a state. Blaney said the attacks on the kosher supermarket in Paris were clear evidence that the “hatred of Jews is in resurgence.”
“The latest example was the anti-Semitic attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris that occurred on the heels of the horrific jihadist terror attack on Charlie Hebdo journalists,” he said. Blaney said the attacks in Paris were not just an incidence of terror but an assault on democracy and our way of life.
Blaney said it is for this reason that Canada has committed resources and arms against international Jihad and supporting the US-led coalition against ISIS in northern Iraq and Syria.
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch and do nothing,” said Blaney.
He also reminded the assembly of Canada’s past actions against global anti-Semitism, including the government signing the Ottawa Protocol on Combating Anti-Semitism in 2010.
“Canada has taken a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination including rhetoric towards Israel, and attempts to delegitimize Israel such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,” said Blaney.
The minister visited the kosher supermarket and laid a wreath at the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo magazine.