Photo Credit: UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe
A view of the 30th plenary meeting of the General Assembly.

The foreign ministers of Israel and Germany issued a joint statement on Thursday welcoming the United Nations adoption of a resolution on Holocaust denial and distortion.

“This initiative was brought forward jointly by Israel and Germany,” the two officials said in their statement.

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“We are extremely concerned by the dramatic increase in Holocaust denial, distortion and revisionism. Deeply troubling is also the phenomenon of comparisons being made between current political disputes and the Shoah.

“Such comparisons are a perversion of history and an injustice to the men, women and children who were deprived of their rights, persecuted and murdered. Those comparisons are a form of antisemitism and stand in direct contradiction to the IHRA definition of antisemitism as well as the IHRA definition on Holocaust denial and distortion. They prepare the ground for prejudice and hatred ultimately threatening our societies.

“The promotion of Holocaust remembrance and education, as well as efforts to combat antisemitism, racism and xenophobia are priorities for our governments and our peoples.

“We carry an obligation to remember, to learn and to challenge the growth of Holocaust revisionism, denial and distortion both on and offline,” the two foreign ministers said.

“This resolution calls on member states, UN agencies, and also on private sector actors such as technology companies, to take active measures against the disturbing trend of Holocaust denial and distortion, foster education, research and Holocaust remembrance. It is a timely and important contribution to counter antisemitism and it is our shared moral duty.

“Today, 20 January 2022, marks the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference. This conference formalized the systematic persecution and murder of the Jews throughout Europe. We have a solemn duty to all the victims and survivors never to forget.

“We have the responsibility to preserve and protect the historical facts of the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people, along with members of other minorities. The Holocaust will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice.

“Today’s consensual adoption clearly shows that Holocaust denial is a topic on which the international community stands together and speaks with one voice. We are committed to keeping the memory of the victims alive and ensuring that the horrors of the past will never ever be repeated,” the two foreign ministers said.

Praise From Global Jewish Organization
The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) said in a statement Thursday night that it welcomed the passage of a historic resolution by the United Nations General Assembly which ‘rejects and condemns without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full or part.’

“The adoption of the resolution by the United Nations General Assembly on the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference is a powerful statement by the international community in combating Holocaust denial and distortion,” said Mark Weitzman, Chief Operating Office, World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO).

“As one of the lead authors of IHRA’s Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion, I applaud the commitment of the UN and its international membership to uphold the integrity of the historical record to ensure that we can seek justice for Holocaust survivors and Jewish communities whose property was brutally taken by the Nazis and their allies as an integral part of the genocide,” he added.

Could It Happen Again?
Ninety-three percent of American Jews are concerned with the current levels of antisemitism in the United States, with nearly half of US Jews (42 percent) experiencing antisemitism either directly or through family and friends over the past five years alone, according to a new panel survey commissioned and released today by the Ruderman Family Foundation.

The two-part survey, conducted by the Mellman Group examined 2,500 Jewish American adults in December 2019 and a further 1,000 Jewish adults from October – November 2021.

Despite being conducted before the synagogue hostage crisis in Colleyville, Texas, the newly released survey amplifies the renewed fears over antisemitism nationwide in the aftermath of that attack.

Seventy-five percent of American Jews believe that there is more antisemitism today in the US than there was five years ago. Almost all American Jews (94 percent) say they see at least some antisemitism in the US over the past five years.

One in three younger Jews (18-39 years old) say they have personally experienced antisemitism and 60 percent say they know a family or friend who has. Older Jews (older than 60 years old) are more likely to have seen “a lot” of antisemitism (62 percent) than younger Jews (47 percent), the survey found.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.