On behalf of over 40 supporting countries, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg made today an unambiguous plea to the members and observer states of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to stand firm and united against antisemitism and other forms of racism, during the Council’s 48th session. The statement was supported by the World Jewish Congress.
In welcoming Austria’s statement, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said, “Amid rising antisemitism and hatred around the world, Foreign Minister Schallenberg’s message, supported by so many countries, is a much needed call to action for all nations and governments.
I thank Austria for taking a lead on this issue, together with Czechia and Slovakia, at such a critical time and look forward to working together as we build a broad international coalition to fight this age-old hatred.”
“The Second World War ended more than 75 years ago. The atrocities of the Shoah are still present in our minds,” said Foreign Minister Schallenberg. “And the tragic fact is: antisemitism is not a thing of the past. This venom still exists, right in the midst of our societies.”
Quoting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who WJC honored with the Theodor Herzl award in November 2020, Schallenberg affirmed “Antisemitism continues to blight our world.”
“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has overshadowed many crises and has diverted our attention from critical developments. Such as rising antisemitism, intolerance and hatred. When we allow hate speech, conspiracy theories and disinformation to spread like a virus, they lead to violence and hate crimes,” said the foreign minister.
“This is why today we declare our unequivocal solidarity in the face of hatred... We will remain steadfast in our pledge: never again!”
“Therefore, we pledge collective action throughout the entire UN system to mainstream the fight against antisemitism. We pledge to increase our efforts to counter hate speech. And we pledge to promote education as key in combatting antisemitism and hatred of all kinds.”
Concluding the statement, Schallenberg said “Finally, let me emphasize that this fight isn’t between antisemites and Jews. This fight is between antisemites and anyone who believes in the values of equality, justice and liberty.”
The statement by Austria and the overwhelming support from dozens of UN member states is an outcome of the longstanding efforts by the World Jewish Congress at the United Nations to mainstream the fight against antisemitism across the organization.