On UN Video Call, Prominent US Rabbi Urges Global Unity in Coronavirus Fight
A prominent US rabbi issued a call for global unity amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis in a United Nations General Assembly video conference that took place on Tuesday.
Addressing representatives of all UN member states, Rabbi Arthur Schneier — president and founder of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, senior rabbi of Park East Synagogue and a member of the High Level Group and ambassador of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) — said, “During this tragic pandemic, it is essential that faith leaders help raise universal awareness about the multifaceted challenges facing each and every nation. Religious leaders must create messages of hope, optimism, and solidarity by teaching the need to embrace the importance of working together not only to fight this pandemic, but also to emerge stronger in the post-COVID era.”
Reflecting on his own experience as a Holocaust survivor, Schneier stated, “After my liberation in January 1945, on Allied Victory Day May 9th the world awoke to the realization of a Europe in shambles with the loss of over 50 million people including 6 million of the Jewish people including my grandparents and family members who perished in Auschwitz. At that time, the world was left with heavy losses and scars but with the aid of the Marshall Plan and the generosity of the victors, Europe was rebuilt. With hope the United Nations was established seventy-five years ago, a classic example of mankind’s history: destruction, devastation, loss of life, rebuilding, restoration as a result of united action and ultimately rebirth.:
He continued, “Once again we have an opportunity to build a better world together. United we prevail — divided we fail. COVID-19 has shown no mercy; there is no immunity — no borders, no denominations, the young, the old, the rich, the poor; the have nots most of all, but not exclusively. Together we must be a source of comfort and strength to our children, the lost and the infirmed.”
Schneier declared, “As people of faith, we must be in the forefront of countering the hatemongers in our midst who have invaded social media to disseminate xenophobia, antisemitism, bias against minorities and conspiracy theories exploiting this tragic time for hatred and division. We must also shield our children from the transmission of division and hatred. By example, we must serve as their moral compass to educate them of our commitment love your neighbor as yourself and respect for the other in a concerted effort to unite our divided human family.”
“As faith leaders we must fervently denounce and stem the scapegoating, the finger pointing and blaming others,” he implored. “We must isolate the lepers of bias, heal the divisions and strengthen those forces committed to uniting a divided human family through mutual acceptance and respect and peaceful coexistence. “
“We all have responsibility to come together with all sectors of society in an alliance of civilization to establish a 21st-century recovery plan to repair and improve our wounded world,” Schneier concluded.