Press Releases

Combat Anti-Semitism Movement Welcomes UN Secretary General’s Appointment of a Focal Point to Monitor Antisemitism

July 29, 2020

The High-Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Miguel Moratinos, appointed by UN Secretary General as the UN Focal Point to monitor antisemitism.

29 July 2020 (New York) – The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM) today welcomed the appointment of a United Nations (UN) Focal Point to monitor antisemitism. Miguel Morantinos, the High-Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), was tasked with being the first-ever UN Focal Point to monitor antisemitism, and will be responsible for enhancing a system-wide response to anti-Semitism.

From Halle to Pittsburgh, Jersey City to Paris – In parliaments and in UN agencies, anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head. Anti-Semitic activity accelerated across the world in 2019, at the most alarming pace since the founding of the UN. Globally, there was an 18 percent increase in violent cases of anti-Semitism, compared to the previous year. The United States experienced its highest level of anti-Semitic incidents on record last year. Meanwhile, research indicates that the global Coronavirus pandemic has further increased levels of anti-Semitism across the world, as age-old anti-Jewish conspiracies and tropes are being repackaged and disseminated.

Against this backdrop, the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement has for some time supported the creation of a position within the United Nations, to help confront this alarming global trend. A UN Focal Point to monitor antisemitism, like similar roles in the European Union, United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, is critically important to stymie anti-Jewish hatred and to coordinate global efforts among governments and organizations. Encouragingly, in his first act in the role, High-Representative Morantinos yesterday unequivovcally condemned the anti-Semitic views expressed by a senior member of the Board of Trustees of the charity Islamic Relief on social media.

The new role is an important and meaningful continuation of the UN’s determination to tackle anti-Semitism. In particular, UN Special Rapporteur on the freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, submitted a groundbreaking report last year, in which he called for the creation of such a position and stated that “anti-Semitism is toxic to democracy and mutual respect of citizens and threatens all societies in which it goes unchallenged.”

Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement Director: “We warmly welcome the appointment of Miguel Morantinos as the United Nations’ Focal Point to monitor antisemitism. The importance of this role is reflected by the wealth of high-level experience and prominent leadership positions High-Representative Morantinos has served in. We will do all we can to enhance his efforts monitoring and responding to incidents of anti-Semitism which have become all too common.

“The fight against anti-Semitism has never been more urgent. The rise in attacks across the world has reached truly worrying proportions. By appointing a Focal Point to monitor antisemitism, the United Nations is sending a very important message to the world, that tackling hatred against Jews is very much a global priority.”

The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement is a non-partisan, global grassroots movement of individuals and organizations, across all religions and faiths, united around the goal of ending anti-Semitism in all its forms. Since its launching in February 2019, 260 organizations and 270,000 individuals have joined the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement by signing the campaign’s pledge. The CAM Pledge draws upon the IHRA international definition of anti- Semitism and its list of specific behaviors used to discriminate against the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel.