Reps. Zeldin, Cicilline, Mast, Sherman Lead 104 Members in Urging UN to Implement Report Recommendations to Combat Anti-Semitism | Congressman Lee Zeldin

Reps. Zeldin, Cicilline, Mast, Sherman Lead 104 Members in Urging UN to Implement Report Recommendations to Combat Anti-Semitism

January 27, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON - On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Representatives Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), David Cicilline (D, RI-1), Brain Mast (R, FL-18) and Brad Sherman (D, CA-30) urged Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres to implement the recommendations laid out in last year’s “Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief,” including the appointment of a senior-level leader in the Executive Office of the Secretary General with responsibility for engaging with Jewish communities worldwide, as well as for monitoring anti-Semitism and the response of the United Nations.

Last year’s report found that most countries in the world have few, if any, methods for monitoring hate crimes, which is further compounded by the fact that many victims do not report their experiences. It also addresses claims that the objectives, activities, and effects of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement are fundamentally anti-Semitic.

A signed PDF of the letter is available here.

Full text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

As Members of the U.S. House of Representatives who care deeply about the scourge of anti-Jewish hate, we have watched with horror the increases in anti-Semitic incidents, rhetoric, and violence, both here in the United States. and around the world. During Hanukkah in 2019, Jews in and around New York City were brutally beaten up and stabbed in a string of violent anti-Semitic attacks.

We write to express our deepest appreciation to the United Nations for releasing the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief’s report, Combatting Antisemitism to Eliminate Discrimination and Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief. We are grateful for the leadership and commitment of the Special Rapporteur, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, whose thoughtful research made this historic report possible.

The report finds that most countries in the world have few, if any, methods for monitoring hate crimes, which is further compounded by the fact that many victims do not report their experiences. Additionally, it addresses the claims that the objectives, activities, and effects of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as fundamentally anti-Semitic. It also underscores what we have long believed – that anti-Semitism is “toxic to democracy.” All too often, communities that accept anti-Semitism are equally accepting of other forms of discrimination and bias-based hate. 

The Special Rapporteur proposes several recommendations that different sectors can take to combat anti-Semitism. Under the report’s recommendation for the United Nations System, it suggests that the “Secretary General should consider appointing “a senior-level focal point in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General with responsibility for engaging with the Jewish communities worldwide, as well as for monitoring antisemitism and the response of the United Nations thereto.”  

We strongly urge you to implement this recommendation, as we believe the appointment of a senior-level leader – similar to roles that have been created in the United States, European Union, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom – would enable the United Nations to take significant steps in the fight against hatred of the Jewish people. 

We look forward to learning more about your policy initiatives and thank you for your consideration of this request.