July 22, 2024
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Amid Stark Disagreement, UN Postpones Meeting on Antisemitism

(JNS) The United Nations was supposed to convene a meeting with Jewish leaders and global antisemitism envoys next week in Cordoba, Spain to unveil its plan to combat antisemitism. It has postponed that meeting, amid stark disagreement over the contents of the draft plan.

That document, which the United Nations circulated two weeks ago, is “deeply flawed and generated much criticism,” Rabbi Andrew Baker, director of international Jewish affairs at the American Jewish Committee, told JNS. “It was clear that nothing would be agreed at Cordoba.”

Miguel Moratinos, high representative for the U.N. alliance of civilizations and U.N. focal point to monitor antisemitism and enhance a system-wide response, sent a letter to would-be meeting participants last week.

“After very careful consideration and aiming to ensure the action plan is inclusive and benefits from the inputs of all stakeholders, I would like to allow more time for further work and finalization of the plan during summer 2023,” he wrote.

The meeting, which was slated for June 20 and 21, is postponed until September, with no exact date set yet.

“We are still receiving feedback and input on the proposed draft past the deadline that was set last week,” Nihal Saad, director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations and a Moratinos spokeswoman, said on Monday, June 12 in response to a JNS inquiry. “We are keen to incorporate those inputs and allow more time for consultations, hence the postponement.”

The draft plan, a confidential copy of which was reviewed by JNS, gives equal weight and mention to competing antisemitism definitions—the widely-accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition, as well as the Nexus definition and Jerusalem Declaration.

The Nexus definition states, in part, that “paying disproportionate attention to Israel and treating Israel differently than other countries is not prima facie proof of antisemitism,” while the Jerusalem Declaration states, in part, that “singling out Israel as uniquely colonial or apartheid, and saying that Israel has no right to exist, are not, ‘in and of themselves,’ antisemitic.”

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