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Home / Press Release / Massimino Urges Countries to Combat Antisemitism in United Nations Address
January 22, 2015

Massimino Urges Countries to Combat Antisemitism in United Nations Address

New York City — In remarks today delivered to the United Nations, Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino urged countries to combat the rise of antisemitism globally. Her address at today's special meeting comes after 37 member nations, including the United States, urged U.N. General Assembly President Sam Kutesa to hold the gathering after an “alarming outbreak of antisemitism worldwide.”

"At Human Rights First, we view antisemitism as a grave threat to human rights. To us, that is obvious," noted Massimino. "But antisemitism is sometimes viewed as distinct from—and even subordinate to—other human rights issues. That is a mistake. Antisemitism, left unchecked, invariably leads to the persecution of other minorities, and an overall increase in repression.

During today's remarks, Massimino called on government officials to counter hate speech not with restriction of speech, but by speaking out against antisemitism and hate crime.

Human Rights First experts recently visited Hungary and Greece, where they researched the rise and political success of violent ultranationalist antisemitic parties including Jobbik in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece. This informed recommendations in Human Rights First’s report “We’re Not Nazis, but…  The Rise of Hate Parties in Hungary and Greece and Why America Should Care.”

"Make no mistake: the rise of antisemitism in Europe presents a daunting political challenge. Ultimately, the most effective response is good and accountable governance," concluded Massimino. "This is the unfinished challenge of the 20th century. Failure to meet it risks unravelling the progress we made in the wake of the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust towards building a just and peaceful world based on respect for universal rights."