ECI warns against toxic antisemitism ahead of high-level General Debate of the 74th UN General Assembly

UN New York

UN New YorkNew York, September 23rd, 2019 – The European Coalition for Israel has sent its own delegation to New York in time for the General Debate of the 74th session of UN General Assembly which opens on Tuesday.

The official program of the high-level week starts already on Monday with a Climate Action Summit where sixty world leaders are expected to speak. In a statement on Monday, ECI warned of another existential threat to the world community, namely the alarming spread of the deadly virus of antisemitism, which in some parts of the world has already reached epidemic levels. World leaders need to pay proper attention to this climate change of the hearts and minds of people which 80 years ago resulted in the Holocaust and subsequently in the creation of the United Nations in order to prevent similar human tragedies.

“But if Europe was the source of the problem 80 years ago, today we want to offer creative solutions,” ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell said.

In high-level meetings with government leaders from several continents, ECI will present a concrete proposal on how to stop the spread of this toxic scourge of antisemitism.

“The antidote to Jew-hatred is not passive tolerance but rather an active expression of appreciation and celebration of Jewish culture and its immense contribution to humanity as well as to the creation of the United Nations 74 years ago. As we approach the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust and the creation of the UN, we need a two-fold strategy: better coordination in the global fight against antisemitism, at the same time as we highlight the immense contributions of the Jewish people to all the communities where they have settled throughout history, including in the reborn state of Israel,” ECI Director for UN affairs Gregory Lafitte said.

For the last seven years, ECI’s UN initiative, the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy, has worked in close partnership with the UN Secretariat to support a better inclusion of Israel in the family of nations by highlighting the universal messages of the Jewish holidays and their relevance for today. In 2014, ECI initiated, together with the Israeli government, a process which in 2016 led to the addition of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur as a floating UN holiday.

Last year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres participated in a Jewish New Year event which was co-hosted by ECI together with the Israeli Mission to the UN. During his term as Secretary-General of the UN, Guterres has often pointed out the tragic loss for Portugal after having expelled their Jewish communities in the 16th century, and as Prime Minister he has offered a historic apology.

The General Debate of the UNGA is scheduled for 24-30 September. The ECI delegation consists of J. Rudolf Geigy, Gregory Lafitte and Tomas Sandell.


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