(July 14, 2021 / JNS) The U.N. General Assembly acknowledged a link between terrorism anti-Semitism in its recently passed Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) for the first time—a move that has been applauded by pro-Israel and Jewish organizations.
The GCTS, which lays out the world body’s strategy for combating terrorism, is required to be reviewed and passed every two years.
The latest version, passed on June 30, “Recognizes with deep concern the overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance and violence, regardless of the actors, directed against members of religious and other communities in various parts of the world, including cases motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Christianophobia and prejudice against persons of any other religion or belief.”
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan pointed out the condemnation of anti-Semitism in a speech to the General Assembly on July 6.
“For Israel, the adoption of the GCTS is, unfortunately, not a theoretical or academic exercise,” he said. “During the weeks we sat here debating this resolution, Israeli civilians from our capital in Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and Ashkelon, sat in bomb shelters because of Hamas’s relentless terror attacks.”
The addition is the first time that GCTS has officially recognized the existence of anti-Semitic terrorism.
“We welcome the GCTS’ acknowledgment of the upswing in hate speech and terrorist attacks targeting religious and ethnic communities, which included an explicit condemnation of anti-Semitism, in line with the findings of the Secretary General’s report on global terrorism,” he said. “We have all witnessed anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish communities around the world, including here in the streets of New York, in recent weeks. It is critical that the international community take a clear stance against these attacks and develop additional tools to combat such appalling assaults against Jewish and other groups.”
The resolution also censured the use of Internet tools to encourage and recruit terrorists, and called for online companies to take responsibility for the misuse of their technology—something, according to a news release, Erdan has worked for since his time as Israel’s Minister of Public Security and at the United Nations.
It further condemned the failure by Hamas in Gaza to take feasible precautions to protect civilian populations and buildings, such as schools and hospitals, and using them for launching attacks and storing weapons. It also strongly condemned the use of civilians to shield military objectives from attacks.
“Israel was glad to see the important language condemning the use of human shields retained in the resolution. Terrorists must not be allowed to use schools, homes and hospitals to shield their murderous activities,” said Erdan in his speech. “The use of such horrific tactics epitomizes the flagrant disregard for international law and human life that characterizes groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. These tactics also pose great challenges for law-abiding states trying to defend their own citizens. The unambiguous stance on this issue adopted by the international community underlines the challenges posed by modern, asymmetric warfare in which democratic states face off against terrorist organizations.”
The passage of the resolution was also commended by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, whose leaders issued a joint statement on Tuesday.
“Amidst a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the United States and around the world, it is imperative that the international community calls out this disturbing trend in the cause of terrorism,” said chair Dianne Lob, CEO William Daroff and vice chair Malcolm Hoenlein.
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