Thank you, Mr. President,
The World Jewish Congress was established in this city of Geneva in August of 1936, in reaction to the rise of Nazism and the growing wave of European antisemitism. Today, 83 years later, unfortunately our claim is still valid.
We are witnessing an alarming rise in antisemitism across the globe. On the one hand, we denounce the resurgence of populism and nationalism exploiting and obfuscating Holocaust memory and glorifying Nazis as part of a nationalist agenda. On the other, the disagreement with Israeli government policies has morphed into a virulent anti-Zionism that is nothing more than a politically correct disguise of traditional antisemitism to attack the Jewish people wherever they are.
The World Jewish Congress is deeply disturbed by the findings of a European-wide CNN poll which found that this shocking rise in antisemitism has coincided with a marked decline across the continent in the level of public knowledge about the Holocaust. In fact, it details that one in 20 Europeans has never even heard of the Holocaust. At the same time, neo-Nazi marches occur in different cities in Europe. Shouldn’t we ask to ourselves, how is it possible that the biggest tragedy that ever happened in Europe, is in our days either celebrated or forgotten?
As a way to fight the ignorance that feeds antisemitism, the World Jewish Congress recently launched together with UNESCO a website entitled “Facts about the Holocaust” which aims to educate those unaware about the horrors of the Holocaust and the danger of what can happen when such atrocities are ignored, forgotten, or distorted.
In this session commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we urge member states to review their educational curricula and include the Holocaust, its causes and consequences. Understanding that education is a crucial tool will serve to avoid the dangerous advance of nationalism and racism that can lead Europe and the world back to its darkest days.