Iranian chair of UN Social Forum should step down, says European Coalition for Israel

Ambassador Bahraini, Iran

Ambassador Bahraini, Iran5 September 2023 | All Israel News

The Iranian chair of the upcoming United Nations Social Summit should step down to restore the faith in the legitimacy of the UN Human Rights Council, the international board of the European Coalition for Israel (ECI) demanded in a statement on Sept. 1.

“Only by removing the current chair of the Social Forum can the objectives of the forum be given fair and proper attention,” the ECI said.

Ali Bahraini, Iran’s ambassador the UN, was appointed to chair the forum set to take place in in Geneva, Switzerland on Nov. 2-3.

The summit – organized by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) – will focus on “the contribution of science, technology, and innovation to promoting human rights, including in the context of post-pandemic recovery.”

“The path to hell is paved with good intentions,” said ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell during its international board meeting in Jerusalem.

Sandell noted that this year marks the 22nd anniversary of the UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban.

“No single event after the end of the Second World War has contributed more to the resurgence of antisemitism than this conference. Behind the noble cause of fighting racism, murky but powerful forces managed to divert the attention away from fighting racism to simply blaming the Jews,” Sandell said.

“In Christian circles, the so-called Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme has effectively influenced a new generation of Christian activists in believing that Israel is the only obstacle to peace in the Middle East.” This program originated in the Durban conference, he added.

Sandell sees similar developments happening today.

“As we mark this sad anniversary, we need to remain vigilant against new forms of deception.”

The ECI also called on the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) to “show their unwavering support for the persecuted church in Iran as well as for Iranian women and youth who are currently out on the streets.”

He noted that the WCC in Geneva “warmly” received Islamic clerics and government representatives from Tehran this summer, while the WEA “has joined forces with Iran, Pakistan and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to discuss ‘the role of religion in protecting human rights.”

Neither organization has yet to adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, the most widely-supported standard to identify manifestations of antisemitism as established by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

“When Christian organizations turn a blind eye to the persecutions of fellow believers it usually goes hand in hand with also turning their backs on the Jews,” Sandell said.

The ECI was established in 2003 as a coalition of non-Jews who felt it was their moral obligation to stand up for the Jewish people and the State of Israel in a time of threat.

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