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October 20, 2019 1:05 pm

‘The Canary in the Coalmine of Global Hatred’: UN Special Rapporteur ‘Alarmed’ by Growing Antisemitism on the Left, Right

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

The UN General Assembly meeting hall in New York. Photo: Reuters / Brendan McDermid.

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief presented his findings on the rise of antisemitism to the General Assembly late last week, referring to the Jew-hatred as “toxic to democracy” and “a threat to all societies if left unaddressed.”

Ahmed Shaheed, a Maldivian diplomat and politician, told the Assembly, “I am alarmed by the growing use of antisemitic tropes by white supremacists, including neo-Nazis and members of radical Islamist groups, in slogans, images, stereotypes, and conspiracy theories to incite and justify hostility, discrimination, and violence against Jews.”

“I am also concerned about the increasing expressions of antisemitism emanating from sources in the political left and about discriminatory state practices towards Jews,” he said.

Shaheed also cited the role of the internet in promoting hate speech and incitement, and recommended educational programs to ensure the young generation rejects antisemitism.

“Education is a key factor in addressing issues and preventing future incidences of hate,” he told a United Nations publication on Friday, and added that he sees antisemitism as the “canary in the coalmine of global hatred.”

Shaheed told a panel discussion on the issue that antisemitism is a human rights issue, especially the right to life.

To deal with the challenge, he said, states should make incitement to antisemitic discrimination and violence illegal, and enforce such laws consistently.

However, he also said that many countries are making progress in tackling the problem.

“There is a growing recognition that hatred undermines all societies, and a growing awareness that we need to act,” he stated.

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