Brian Mast, Ted Deutch Lead Congressional Letter Calling on UN to Do More to Battle Anti-Semitism

With Monday marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, more than 100 members of Congress signed a letter call on United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres to do more to combat anti-Semitism across the globe.

U.S. Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Brad Sherman of California led Democrats on the letter. U.S. Reps. Brian Mast of Florida and Lee Zeldin of New York led Republicans on the letter.

“It is absolutely critical that we remind ourselves every day – especially today on International Holocaust Remembrance Day – that anti-Semitism has no place here in the United States or anywhere around the world” Mast said on Monday. “We must work together to reject the hatred of the BDS movement and those who support it.”

The co-chairs of the House’s Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, which includes U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., also signed the letter. Other signers from Florida include Democrat U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Republican U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Francis Rooney, Ross Spano and Ted Yoho.

“As members of the U.S. House of Representatives who care deeply about the scourge of anti-Jewish hate, we have watched with horror the increases in anti-Semitic incidents, rhetoric, and violence, both here in the United States and around the world. During Hanukkah in 2019, Jews in and around New York City were brutally beaten and stabbed in a string of violent anti-Semitic attacks,” the members wrote. “We write to express our deepest appreciation to the United Nations for releasing the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief’s report, Combatting Antisemitism to Eliminate Discrimination and Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief. We are grateful for the leadership and commitment of the Special Rapporteur, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, whose thoughtful research made this historic report possible.”

The congressional representatives praised the report for finding the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel to be anti-Semitic.

“The report finds that most countries in the world have few, if any, methods for monitoring hate crimes, which is further compounded by the fact that many victims do not report their experiences. Additionally, it addresses claims that the objectives, activities, and effects of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement are ‘fundamentally anti-Semitic.’ It also underscores what we have long believed – that anti-Semitism is ‘toxic to democracy. All too often, communities that accept anti-Semitism are equally accepting of other forms of discrimination and bias-based hate,” the members wrote.

“The Special Rapporteur proposes several recommendations that different sectors can take to combat anti-Semitism. Under the report’s recommendation for the United Nations System, it suggests that the ‘Secretary General should consider appointing a senior-level focal point in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General with responsibility for engaging with the Jewish communities worldwide, as well as for monitoring antisemitism and the response of the United Nations thereto,’” they added. “We strongly urge you to implement this recommendation, as we believe the appointment of a senior-level leader – similar to roles that have been created in the United States, European Union, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom – would enable the United Nations to take significant steps in the fight against the hatred of the Jewish people. We look forward to learning more about your policy initiatives and thank you for your consideration of this request.”


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