New York, NY, June 21, 2004 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today praised the leadership of the United Nations for confronting anti-Semitism and welcomed remarks by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan describing "an alarming resurgence of this phenomenon."
Speaking at the first U.N. Conference on Anti-Semitism, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, praised the Secretary General's leadership in bringing the issue of anti-Semitism to the forefront of the U.N. agenda. Yet Mr. Foxman cautioned that progress would be impossible unless nations first recognize the problem.
"It is appropriate to appreciate the leadership of this Secretariat and today's clear denunciation of anti-Semitism by Secretary General Kofi Annan," Mr. Foxman told the gathering of leaders at U.N. Headquarters in New York City. "From our perspective this is a very special moment in history. We need to say very, very clearly that it is a beginning, and we welcome it.
"Yet we cannot ignore that time and again, the General Assembly has said 'no' to putting anti-Semitism on the agenda," Mr. Foxman said. "How long will it take for this institution to begin to stop the delegitimization of the Jewish state and the demonization of the Jewish people?"
A Holocaust survivor, Mr. Foxman noted that, "The only antidote against prejudice, bigotry and anti-Semitism is education." Mr. Foxman said that those courageous individuals and nations who stood up during the Holocaust to protect Jews and others from certain death provided an example for the world to follow. "The lesson is that we can make a difference. But first we need to stop denying that there is hatred, that there is bigotry, that there is anti-Semitism," he said. "Then we need to make sure that the leadership we heard advocated today will in fact move forward and implement the proposals."
In addition to Mr. Foxman, Nobel Peace Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and other experts, academics and religious leaders participated in the U.N. Seminar.