Anti-Semitism ‘toxic to democracy’, UN expert warns, calling for better education

UN Photo/Manuel Elias Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief addresses the UN General Assembly (file)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

To counter anti-Semitism, which is “toxic to democracy” and poses “a threat to all societies if left unaddressed”, countries must invest more in education, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief has warned, speaking at UN headquarters in New York.

Ahmed Shaheed reported his findings on the growth of the anti-Semitism to the General Assembly on Thursday, and took part in a panel discussion on the importance of education in addressing the problem on Friday.

Mr. Shaheed noted that anti-Semitism is rising amongst groups associated with both the political right and left: “I am alarmed by the growing use of anti-Semitic tropes by white supremacists, including neo-Nazis and members of radical Islamist groups, in slogans, images, stereotypes and conspiracy theories to incite and justify hostility, discrimination and violence against Jews. I am also concerned about the increasing expressions of anti-Semitism emanating from sources in the political left and about discriminatory State practices towards Jews.”

In his report, the Special Rapporteur described the Holocaust against the Jews during the Second World War, as a graphic example of the way that religious and racial hatred can lead to genocide and the destruction of societies.

Nevertheless, an increase in anti-Semitism incidents is being reported internationally – including violence, discrimination and expressions of hostility – and the problem is being boosted by the internet, with online anti-Semitic hate speech prevalent.

Invest in education

In an exclusive interview with UN News, Mr. Shaheed described anti-Semitism as the “canary in the coalmine of global hatred”, which presents serious challenges to the elimination of all forms of intolerance, hatred and discrimination based on religion or belief, and poses risks to members of minorities everywhere, as well as to Jews.

In order to counter the problem, Mr. Shaheed urged countries to invest in education and training, at all levels, to enable a better understanding of anti-Semitism: “education is a key factor in addressing issues and preventing future incidences of hate”.

Speaking on Friday’s UN panel discussion, Mr. Shaheed insisted on the importance of engaging with the younger generation, in order to ensure that they reject anti-Semitism. A global coalition is needed, he continued, to speak out against anti-Semitism, and education is a vital tool to achieve this end.

Enforce laws, empower citizens

The problem, he pointed out, is a human rights issue, that affects a whole range of rights, including the right to life. It is also widespread, coming from all sectors of society, including world leaders and Heads of State, a phenomenon Mr. Shaheed described as “very serious”.

The Special Rapporteur called for anti-Semitism to be placed within a wider human rights framework, in which citizens are empowered with the requisite critical thinking, empathy and literacy to withstand and reject extremist ideologies, including anti-Semitic propaganda.

States must also make incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence based on religion or belief, including against Jews, illegal, added Mr. Shaheed, and ensure that these laws are enforced. In addition, members of civil society have a role to play, said the UN expert, recommending inter-faith networks aimed at advancing social cohesion.

In his interview with UN News, Mr. Shaheed said that he is heartened by the growing investment by states in tackling anti-Semitism: whilst the world has been struggling to tackle online hate, some technical solutions are emerging as potential answers, and States are now better equipped to deal with the problem.

“There is a growing recognition that hatred undermines all societies, and a growing awareness that we need to act. And this is the first towards us getting it right”.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

All for equality – 2020 is a pivotal year for Gender Equality

State aid: Commission approves €6 billion Italian schemes to support SMEs affected by coronavirus outbreak

Binding legislation needed to stop EU-driven global deforestation, say MEPs

Monday’s Daily Brief: human rights in the Near East and a Forum for Refugees

Youth not prioritised in new Commission

Aid teams respond to escalating southwest Syria conflict: 750,000 civilians are at risk

Making Europe’s businesses future-ready: A new Industrial Strategy for a globally competitive, green and digital Europe

10 start-ups that are helping to change the Arab world

Security Council welcomes Yemen breakthrough, but lasting peace remains a ‘daunting task’

Why we need to redefine trust for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Parliament sets conditions on EU-China investment deal

How innovation from within is transforming International Organizations as well as lives

More billions needed to help Eurozone recover; ECB sidesteps German objections about QE

SMEs are driving job growth, but need higher investment in skills, innovation and tech to boost wages and productivity

EU job-search aid worth €2 million for 500 former shipbuilding workers in Spain

Joint press release: Republic of Korea – EU Leaders’ video conference meeting

Greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere break another record, UN report shows

Back to the basics for the EU: Investment equals Growth

In a time of rising xenophobia, more important than ever to ratify Genocide Convention

EU-US trade war? EU calls for logic while Trump’s administration is a loose cannon in a dangerous lose-lose situation for global prosperity

The world wide web is 30. Here are 8 things you should know about it

Iceland won’t talk with Brussels about EU accession

WHO and UNICEF in campaign to protect 1.6 million in Sudan from cholera

A European young student shares his thoughts on Quality Education

Colombia: New Congress marks rebel group’s transition ‘from weapons to politics’, says UN

How universities can become a platform for social change

Eurozone’s sovereign debt not a problem anymore?

EU elections: The louder the threats and the doomsaying the heavier the weight of the vote

EU funds must reach media and creative sector, say MEPs

Aid spending fell in 2018, for the second year in a row

Syria: UN food relief agency ‘doing everything we can’ to reach Idlib civilians

Sustainable Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): a stimulating China-EU dialogue at European Business Summit 2018

As ride-hailing firms drive into the future, who is being left behind?

Young and unemployed the perfect victims of ‘vultures’

How learning in a crisis can build more resilient leadership

Around 260,000 children in DR Congo’s Kasai region suffering severe acute malnutrition

World Bank downgrades global growth forecasts, poorest countries hardest hit

No patents on naturally obtained plants and seeds

European Innovation Scoreboard 2018: Europe must deepen its innovation edge

EU makes key TTIP document public as protests get louder

The Great Reset needs great leaders to help the most vulnerable

Inclusion, empowerment and equality, must be ‘at the heart of our efforts’ to ensure sustainable development, says UN chief

EU Visa Policy: Commission welcomes agreement to strengthen EU visa rules

On Brexit: the outcome of UK elections next May to be based on false promises?

World must do more to tackle ‘shadowy’ mercenary activities undermining stability in Africa, says UN chief

Parliament seals 2014 EU budget and the spending ceiling until 2020

Historic first, as Tolstoy’s War and Peace lands in Geneva, to mark international centenary

These EU countries have the most government debt

The importance and the need of mobile technology in the health care system and in saving lives

Coronavirus: Commission issues guidance to ensure essential freight keeps moving by air

Afghanistan: top UN official denounces ‘extreme’ suffering of civilians in Ghazni

Human Rights breaches in Russia, Afghanistan and Burkina Faso

In New Zealand it takes less than a day to start a business

Public opinion misled by the Commission on air transport safety

There are now four competing visions of the internet. How should they be governed?

Improving Italy’s capital market will boost growth opportunities for Italian companies and savers

EU-China: Council authorises signature of the agreement on geographical indications

UN rights chief calls for release of hundreds abducted and abused in South Sudan

EU reconfirms support for Afghanistan at 2020 Geneva Conference

EU’s social crisis and unemployment to deteriorate

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s