UN chief decries antisemitism, urges stand against hatred

Jan 25, 2022, 9:36 PM | Updated: 9:52 pm

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decried the resurgence of antisemitism in comments Tuesday night at a service commemorating victims of the Nazi Holocaust, and he urged people around the world to “stand firm against hate and bigotry anywhere and everywhere.”

The U.N. chief said he was alarmed to learn recently that barely half of adults worldwide have heard of the Holocaust, which saw the murder of 6 million Jews, comprising one-third of the Jewish people, and millions of others during World War II. He said the lack of knowledge among the younger generations “is worse still.”

“Our response to ignorance must be education,” Guterres said. “Governments everywhere have a responsibility to teach about the horrors of the Holocaust.”

He spoke at the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Service at Park East Synagogue on the eve of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, which was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution in November 2005 establishing the annual commemoration and chose Jan. 27, the day the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by troops from the Soviet Union in 1945.

Guterres said the rise in antisemitism — “the oldest form of hate and prejudice” — has seen new reports of physical attacks, verbal abuse, the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, synagogues vandalized, and last week the hostage-taking of the rabbi and members of Beth Israel Congregation in Colleyville, Texas.

Around the world, Guterres said, Jewish boys are warned not to wear a kippa, the skullcap worn by observant Jews, in public “for fear of being assaulted,” and there are conspiracy theories devolving into “heinous antisemitic tropes” and “deeply disturbing attempts to deny, distort or minimize the Holocaust,” especially on the internet.

He welcomed the Jan. 20 adoption by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly of a resolution condemning a denial of the Holocaust and urging all nations and social media companies “to take active measures to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denial or distortion.”

Rabbi Arthur Schneier, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor and Park East Synagogue’s senior rabbi whose family perished in the crematorium of Auschwitz, spoke of witnessing the burning of his synagogue in Vienna, his birthplace, on Kristellnacht — Nov. 9, 1938. It was the beginning of the Holocaust, the night Hitler and his henchmen destroyed every temple in Germany and Austria.

Schneier said “hate mongers” always target houses of worship, saying the perpetrator of last week’s hostage-taking in Texas flew from England “to commit this vicious attack.” The hostages managed to escape and 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, who had ranted against Jews, was killed by police.

Schneier said his hopes and dreams that no other people would have to suffer the atrocities perpetrated on the Jews have been “shattered by persistent antisemitism, xenophobia, racism, all forms of hatred and Holocaust denial.” This has been exacerbated today “by societal upheaval, social media, and pandemic conspiracy theories” as well as “camouflaged anti-Zionism, which is really also a manifestation of antisemitism.”

Schneier said he was forced to wear a yellow star “to be marked for dehumanization and death” by the Nazis. “For anyone to wear a yellow star after 1945 is not ignorance, it is a sign of vicious hatred,” he said, pointing to opponents of coronavirus vaccinations who showed up at municipal meetings in Kansas wearing yellow stars, “equating themselves with victims of the Holocaust.”

“Distorted Holocaust analogies can only be countered through education,” the rabbi said. “Children are born to love, and they are taught how to hate. They must be guided not just to tolerate `others’ but to respect and accept your neighbor.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Relatives sit outside the Abdoul Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in Tivaouane, Senegal, a town 90 kms ( 60 ...
Associated Press

President: 11 babies killed in fire at Senegalese hospital

TIVAOUANE, Senegal (AP) — Police were on guard and nearby residents and parents stood mourning outside a hospital in Senegal where a fire in the neonatal unit killed 11 newborns. Only three infants could be saved, President Macky Sall said before calling on Thursday for three days of mourning for the young lives lost. Mamadou […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Dr. Larry Nassar, appears in court for a plea hearing on Nov. 22, 2017, in Lansing, Mich. Th...
Associated Press

No charges for agents in botched Larry Nassar probe

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday it will not pursue criminal charges against former FBI agents who failed to quickly open an investigation of sports doctor Larry Nassar despite learning in 2015 that he was accused of sexually assaulting female gymnasts. The agency’s inspector general found that two former agents likely provided […]
20 hours ago
The Nakagin Capsule Tower, a famed capsule hotel in the Ginza district, shows its unique architectu...
Associated Press

Japan’s landmark capsules coming down to sit in museums

TOKYO (AP) — Nakagin Capsule Tower, a building tucked away in a corner of downtown Tokyo that is made up of boxes stacked on top of each other, is an avant-garde honeycomb of science-fiction-era housing long admired as a masterpiece. It’s now being demolished in a careful process that includes preserving some of its 140 […]
20 hours ago
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, and his counterpart from the Solomon Islands, Jeremiah Mane...
Associated Press

China’s FM visits Kiribati, where fishing ground is at stake

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — China’s foreign minister was due Friday to visit the remote Pacific nation of Kiribati, where the future of a vast fishing ground is at stake. The four-hour visit by Wang Yi was his second stop on an eight-nation tour that comes amid growing concerns about Beijing’s military and financial ambitions […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks from the podium during a campaign rally, on May 1, 2022...
Associated Press

Trump loses appeal, must testify in New York civil probe

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump must answer questions under oath in the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into his business practices, a state appeals court ruled Thursday, rejecting his argument that he be excused from testifying because his answers could be used in a parallel criminal probe. A four-judge panel in […]
20 hours ago
Christina Aguilera poses for photographers upon arrival at the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS benefit at...
Associated Press

Aguilera, Hanks, De Niro and more light up Cannes amfAR gala

ANTIBES, France (AP) — Robert De Niro was the honored guest at the 28th annual amfAR Gala Cannes, where one lucky guest won an auction to have lunch with the actor and a piece of his family history. One of the most anticipated events of the Cannes Film Festival, over 800 guests attended Thursday’s exclusive […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Christina O’Haver

Stroke month: Experts call attention to stroke prevention

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Have you gotten your booster shot?

Do you remember when you got your last COVID-19 vaccination? If it has been more than five months since you completed your primary vaccination series, it’s time for you to get your booster. You may be eligible even sooner depending which vaccine you received. If you are over the age of 50 and received your […]

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to in April

April brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Suns and Diamondbacks.
UN chief decries antisemitism, urges stand against hatred