Following the dramatic rise in antisemitism and Holocaust denial in recent years, especially on the internet and social media, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan has decided to advance and submit a historic resolution directly to the UN General Assembly. The resolution gives a clear definition of Holocaust denial, calls on countries and social media companies to take practical steps in the fight against antisemitism and Holocaust denial, calls on countries to develop education programs on the Holocaust, and provides guidance for the UN’s Outreach Programme on the Holocaust and other relevant UN bodies to develop programs to combat Holocaust denial and to promote cooperation with civil society organizations on Holocaust remembrance.
According to Erdan’s office, negotiations with UN members on this resolution have been ongoing for several months and will go public this week. The vote is scheduled to take place in the UN on January 20, the 80th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s Wannsee Conference that designed the nuts and bolts of the Final Solution for the Jews in occupied Europe. The resolution is being coordinated with Israel’s foreign ministry which is working to promote it around the world.
Should the resolution pass in the UN General Assembly, it would be only the second time since Israel’s establishment that the body adopted an Israeli resolution. The first and only time to date was in 2005 when the Israeli-backed resolution on establishing International Holocaust Remembrance Day passed in the General Assembly.
A pattern emerging?
Ambassador Erdan said in a statement: “With every year that passes, the number of Holocaust survivors diminishes. These conditions, alongside the increasing way social media has come to dominate the conversation, have created a vile breeding ground for denial, lies, and historical distortion regarding the Holocaust. These are critically dangerous trends, which this resolution aims to combat.
“The passing of this resolution is of great importance so that the shocking phenomenon of Holocaust denial becomes a red line in the international arena. The UN resolution will set a new international standard for combating this terrible trend and will hold everyone, including countries and internet companies, responsible for fighting Holocaust denial and teaching the younger generation about what really happened to the Jewish people and what the background to these heinous acts was.”
It’s a lot to ask of a UN resolution, though…