(Communicated by the Permanent Mission fo Israel to the UN)
Today, November 22, 2004, the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution that calls for "Elimination of all forms of religious intolerance", including a paragraph that, " Recognizes with deep concern the overall rise in instances of intolerance and violence directed against members of many religious communities in various parts of the world, including cases motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia".
Last year, Israel was compelled to abstain of the resolution as a result of its failure to refer to anti-Semitism, despite the alarming rise in incidents of anti-Semitism around the globe.
This year's resolution was adopted with specific mention of anti-Semitism, despite the efforts of the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) to remove or amend references to anti-Semitism in the text. The European countries, headed by Germany and Netherlands, did not accept the OIC's argument. As a result, OIC amendments were rejected by a large majority and the resolution as a whole was adopted unanimously.
Israel is pleased with this result. As Zina Kleitman, Israel's representative in the Third Committee stated: "This worrying increase in acts of hatred and incitement against Jewish communities, individuals and places of worship, is reprehensible and unjustifiable - it is a threat to our universal humanity and it demands a universal and urgent response," She added that despite the flimsy pretexts offered by the OIC, the motives for seeking to alter the references to anti-Semitism were "as transparent as they are repulsive". "Anti-semitism and its meaning is well known and indisputable, it is not open to revisionist or cynical interpretation".
Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman, expressed satisfaction that this year's resolution included specific reference to anti-Semitism, despite OIC efforts. Gillerman emphasized the fact that the European countries had not accepted the OIC's unacceptable tactics in trying to take anti-Semitism out of the resolution. The Ambassador stressed that: "Both the State of Israel and the United Nations were founded on the ashes of the Holocaust. For both of us, the fight against religious intolerance is part of our raison detre. To deny that, is to deny our history and endanger our future…This January we will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. We owe it to the victims of the Holocaust, to its survivors and to those who fought and died for their liberation, never to forget its lesson and to be ever vigilant against the scourge of religious intolerance in all its forms, including Anti-Semitism."