6 Luglio 2023

L’ONU sta elaborando un piano d’azione per contrastare l’antisemitismo

WASHINGTON – The United Nations is deep in working toward creating an action plan on antisemitism, months after the Biden administration established a similar national strategy.
Like the Biden administration, the UN is now forced to engage with how to properly define antisemitism and the role criticism of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights plays in anti-Jewish hatred.
Israel and Jewish organizations are strongly advocated for the codification of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, while progressives cautioned it too easily conflates criticism of Israel with antisemitism.
They, in turn, advocated for the inclusion of alternative definitions such as the Nexus Document and the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism.
The Biden administration‘s explicitly embrace of IHRA while nodding toward the others and mentioning Nexus – something both camps pointed toward as a sign of victory.
The discussion surrounding the UN debate, however, has garnered perhaps even further mutual concerns about IHRA’s prominence, with dueling ends of the political spectrum warning that IHRA’s embrace (or lack thereof) will have profound impacts on properly dealing with antisemitism.
The high-level UN official responsible is Miguel Moratinos, in his capacity as the High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC); and as the “UN Focal Point to monitor Anti-Semitism and enhance a system-wide-response,” a position he was appointed to in February 2020 by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Since his appointment, pro-IHRA stakeholder organizations – including the U.S. Jewish establishment organizations that pressured the Biden administration to codify IHRA – have conducted multiple consultations with Moratinos.
These organizations – such as the AJC, ADL, B’nai B’rith, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, European Jewish Congress, Jewish Federations of North America and World Jewish Congress – also coordinated the recent pro-IHRA letter from 177 global Jewish groups and 120 international academics to Guterres and Moratinos.
This effort was undertaken amid the backdrop of not only the Biden administration’s final considerations for the plan but also ever-present concern about pervasive antisemitism in the UN system.
The pro-IHRA missive followed a dueling effort from 104 civil society organizations strongly urging the UN not to formally adopt IHRA on the grounds that it muzzles freedom of expression on Palestinian rights. Eleven Israeli human rights organizations have since similarly urged the UN not to promote IHRA in its action plan.
The action plan’s launch event was originally scheduled for earlier this month in Cordoba, Spain but was recently postponed until September.
A preliminary program for the Cordoba event detailing the main elements and actors obtained by Haaretz reveals that the Combat Antisemitism Movement – one of the Jewish world’s biggest IHRA proponents which has recently found itself embroiled in controversy – is slated to play a central role in the launch.
The growing coalition recently lost two of its most prominent members in the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council of Public Affairs after releasing a video condemning so-called “woke antisemitism,” charging that anti-Jewish hatred on the political left was the result of “the emergence and dominion of what many call woke ideology.”
The coalition, founded in 2019 by Republican megadonor Adam Beren, has made championing IHRA a central tenet of its platform along with holding conferences where mayors have declared their opposition to antisemitism, calling attention to antisemitic incidents reported in the news and championing Jewish American Heritage Month.
The self-described broad-based coalition has also reported increases in antisemitic incidents on a left-wing ideology while attributing some instances of far-right antisemitism to the left.
Despite this, CAM board member Robert Singer is slated to address the launch event’s first official dinner, sponsored by a separate pro-Israel organization in the Center for Jewish Impact – for which Singer serves as chairman and co-founder.
Many IHRA-skeptics are concerned that the UNAOC’s planned elevation of CAM and CJI will only serve as validation for their efforts that have always trended rightward but are now going against much of the Jewish center, particularly after Moratinos committed to a “enhanced response to antisemitism anchored in human rights.”
The UN plan’s architects are undoubtedly looking toward the Biden administration’s plan, which empowered both sides of the argument to claim political victory after being explicitly divided about how the plan would define antisemitism.
Legacy organizations claimed the plan offered a full embrace of IHRA, while progressive groups noted it nodded toward opposing definitions and explicitly mentioned the Nexus Document (which affords more nuance to criticism of Israel as it relates to antisemitism) as an alternative definition to IHRA.
Despite slowly emerging critiques that the plan did not lean hard enough into the IHRA definition, Israeli President Isaac Herzog recently lauded the plan as a “critical milestone” and “a historic moment deserving of recognition and gratitude.”
22 House Democrats, led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, recently urged U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield to advocate for a model that mirrors the Biden administration’s strategy.
“The gold standard set by the National Strategy should set the tone for the United States’ policies abroad and, as the United Nations develops its own plan to combat antisemitism, we urge you to push for the UN to implement a similar comprehensive, nuanced and action-based approach,” they wrote, applauding the decision not to codify the IHRA definition.
“We believe the U.S. National Strategy properly uses all tools at the Administration’s disposal while maintaining a focus on specific and direct actions to counter antisemitism. We hope this inclusive and effective model to counter antisemitism will be used across the globe,” they added.