Head of Organization of American States Announces Creation of Antisemitism Commissioner Position

June 13, 2021

The head of the Organization of American States (OAS) — the largest intergovernmental body in the Western Hemisphere — announced on Thursday he would issue an executive order to create the position of OAS Commissioner for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism.

“The Commissioner’s main responsibilities will be to promote adoption and implementation by all countries in the region of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, and to vigorously engage states and civil society organizations to raise awareness of the need to remain alert to all forms of antisemitism,” OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro said at a virtual conference hosted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

“We are confident that our hemisphere needs to be adequately prepared to face the growing threats of antisemitism in the same way that many other nations and democratic international bodies have done so,” he noted.

Almagro also expressed concern about antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism — a phenomenon on display around the world last month amid the flare-up of violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

“We are witnessing antisemitic campaigns in many places trying to delegitimize Israel and calling for its disappearance,” he stated. “I want to say it loud and clear — calling for the disappearance of the State of Israel is an act of terrorism and is plain, simple antisemitism.”

The OAS — comprised of 35 North and South American countries — adopted the IHRA antisemitism definition in 2019.

Watch Secretary-General Almagro’s announcement below: