AJC Welcomes UN Expert Dr. Ahmed Shaheed's Action Plan on Combating Antisemitism

NEW YORK, May 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — American Jewish Committee (AJC) welcomes the Action Plan to Combat Antisemitism by Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The plan, released today, identifies antisemitism as a pressing and enduring challenge that all governments, as well as social media companies, faith leaders and other actors, should be confronting with urgency.

“Dr. Shaheed’s thorough review of antisemitism globally confirms that the problem of hate targeting Jews has grown and become more mainstream,” said Felice Gaer, Director of AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights. “The special rapporteur’s action plan is an essential roadmap for governments, companies, and other UN experts to follow to ensure that their efforts to combat antisemitism are comprehensive and effective.”

The plan released today follows on Dr. Shaheed’s ‘historic’ 2019 report on global antisemitism as a human rights concern. In that first stand-alone report on antisemitism by a UN expert, Dr. Shaheed expressed his conviction that antisemitism is not a problem for the Jewish community alone, but that it “threatens all people’s human rights” and is “toxic to democracy.”

In June 2021, Dr. Shaheed had pledged in his remarks to AJC’s Global Forum that he would present an action plan on combating antisemitism to the UN before his mandate ends later this year.

In the plan Dr. Shaheed expresses alarm at reports that antisemitic attacks and incidents were recorded at record-high levels in many countries in 2021, that antisemitic discourse has become increasingly normalized, and that despite many important measures taken by countries and international organizations to combat antisemitism since 2019, the phenomenon has become even more pervasive.

Yet, at the same time, “in many countries, a lack of awareness of what antisemitism is, and particularly its contemporary manifestations, remains widespread,” he writes.

The plan notes “a substantial increase in the prevalence of and public engagement with antisemitic content on several online platforms since 2019,” and, importantly, points out that the efforts platforms have taken to diminish its visibility “have thus far not been sufficient to stem its spread.”

Participants in an expert consultation convened in late 2019 by the Special Rapporteur in cooperation with AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights informed his findings and recommendations for future action.

Dr. Shaheed’s Action Plan, following on his 2019 report, sets out eight areas in which renewed attention and action to combat antisemitism is essential. He calls on governments to ensure that all people in their societies can recognize antisemitism. He reiterates his 2019 recommendation that governments should use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism “as a non-legally binding educational and training tool and ensure it is incorporated…into training and educational materials for all public officials, such as police, prosecutors, and judges, government employees, educators, and national human rights institutions, and integrated into diversity and inclusion programs.”

He calls on every government, including in countries where no Jewish communities reside, to adopt a national action plan to combat antisemitism. Governments are encouraged to step up their efforts to monitor, record, and publish data on antisemitic hate crimes and incidents. Social media companies are urged to take a range of actions to prohibit and remove antisemitic content and Holocaust distortion and denial on their platforms.

“Today, we once again applaud Dr. Shaheed for his conviction and commitment to ensure attention remains focused on the need to combat rising global antisemitism,” said Gaer. “His action plan on antisemitism should guide all stakeholders, from governments, to companies, to UN experts and officials concerned with promoting human rights and ensuring equality, as they seek to make good on their commitments to address an issue with serious implications for the human rights of Jews, and the human rights of all people.”

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SOURCE American Jewish Committee

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