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'Unprecedented' UN Report Condemns Alarming Rise of Anti-Semitism

Aftermath of the Chabad of Poway synagogue attack in California (AP Photo)

JERUSALEM, Israel - The United Nations released an interim report Monday detailing the alarming rise of anti-Semitism among people from a range of political and religious backgrounds.

Ahmed Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, submitted the report as an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council.

Shaheed's report said that anti-Semitic incidents, specifically those committed at the hands of white supremacists and Islamic extremists, were on the rise in several countries, creating "a climate of fear among a substantial number of Jews, impairing their right to manifest their religion."

Shaheed attributed the rise of anti-Semitism to the growing use of anti-Semitic narratives by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and radical Muslim extremists. He also cited reports of "left-wing anti-Semitism" in various countries, "in which individuals claiming to hold anti-racist and anti-imperialist views employ anti-Semitic narratives or tropes in the course of expressing anger at policies or practices of the Government of Israel."

"In some cases, individuals expressing such views have engaged in Holocaust denial; in others, they have conflated Zionism, the self-determination movement of the Jewish people, with racism; claimed Israel does not have a right to exist and accused those expressing concern over antisemitism as acting in bad faith."

In a rare move, Shaheed noted claims that the Boycott, Divestments, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is "fundamentally anti-Semitic."

"International law recognizes boycotts as constituting legitimate forms of political expression and that non-violent expressions of support for boycotts are, as a general matter, legitimate speech that should be protected," said Shaheed. However, the Special Rapporteur stressed that "expression which draws upon antisemitic tropes or stereotypes, rejects the right of Israel to exist, or advocates discrimination against Jewish individuals because of their religion should be condemned."

Shaheed urged countries and the United Nations to root out and prohibit anti-Semitism.

He warned that "anti-Semitism if left unchecked by governments, poses risks not only to Jews, but also to members of other minority communities" because it is "toxic to democracy… and threatens all societies in which it goes unchallenged."

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon called the report "unprecedented' and said it "is another example of the change in the UN attitude towards Israel."

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