Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Expression: While the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly have continued to adopt "defamation of religions" resolutions, these are passed with steadily eroding margins of support. For example, in the March 2010 vote in the Human Rights Council, the resolution came within four votes of being defeated. Resolutions on the "defamation of religions" and related initiatives provide international cover for domestic blasphemy laws that are used by governments in some countries to punish the peaceful expression of religious dissent and generally to restrict freedom of expression.As a community that has been the target of incitement to religious hatred, hate violence, discrimination and also the denial of rights of freedom of thought conscience and religion, the Jewish community is vigilant in countering the demonization of any group based solely on their faith. We abhor hateful expression and work daily to counter it and address both its causes and effects. But as a matter of policy, we oppose any move to restrict speech that is deemed critical or "defamatory" of religion. We urge governments to oppose proposals codifying "defamation of religion" as an unacceptable erosion of human rights protections developed to protect the individual from repression. The Jewish community is vigilant in its support for free expression including the fundamental right to conduct open debate about faith and religion and opposes attempts to curb freedom of conscience and expression under the guise of protecting religions or any ideology from criticism.
Editor's Note: At the opening of the U.N. General Assembly (GA) in September 2010, ADL will meet with key leaders and foreign ministers to discuss issues such as Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Iran's march to nuclear weapons capability, the treatment of Israel at the U.N., anti-Semitism, and other crucial issues of concern. This report looks at some of the key issues the U.N. will be taking up in 2010-2011.