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Gilad Erdan

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan addressing the Security Council. Oct. 19, 2021. 

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations and the United States, Gilad Erdan, met on Wednesday with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)’s antisemitism envoy Miguel Moratinos to encourage the United Nations to adopt the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism.

Adopting the IHRA definition will allow the United Nations to more efficiently fight antisemitism within its ranks, including in the United Nations Human Rights Council and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said Erdan. It will also facilitate improved sanctioning of state representatives who espouse antisemitism, as officials from Iran and other countries have done on numerous occasions on U.N. stages.

During the meeting, Erdan told Guterres that “the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism is now the global standard, and has been adopted by 34 countries.”

The definition, he said, “provides an answer not just to the fight against classical antisemitism, but also against modern antisemitism—including the negation of Israel’s right to exist, along with discriminatory treatment and demands of Israel that are not made of any other country.”

Erdan noted that the definition had even been adopted by Bahrain’s King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence, saying it was “essentially the first time the definition was fully adopted by an Arab state.”

The Israeli ambassador went on to emphasize that “it cannot be that even Arab countries are starting to adopt the definition and only the U.N. remains behind.”

Just this week, he added, the Anti-Defamation League had published a report showing that a third of Jewish students reported experiencing antisemitism on U.S. campuses over the past year.

“Fifteen percent of Jewish students felt the need to conceal their Jewish identity on campus,” said Erdan.

“Sadly, antisemitism is everywhere, and is a phenomenon that the United Nations cannot ignore,” he said, adding that the United Nations had a duty to do more than just talk about it.

“Recognizing the correct definition of antisemitism is a first and important step in being able to fight it, and I expect the United Nations to move quickly on this issue. If the definition is adopted by the United Nations, it will be an important achievement for the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” Erdan said.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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