Remarks at a General Assembly Meeting on Combating Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Racism and Hate

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen
Acting Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
June 26, 2019


Mr. President, honored guests, colleagues, good afternoon. Each and every one of us should be working hard to tackle the challenges of anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, violent extremism, and hate speech. It is critical that we share best practices for addressing these challenges while respecting human rights.

Combating anti-Semitism requires a comprehensive strategy.

Contemporary anti-Semitism takes many ugly forms around the world and it keeps evolving. To be successful in our efforts to combat it, governments, law enforcement officers, courts, educators, and the public must be able to identify its manifestations, call it out for the evil it is, and take action to counter it.

I encourage all of us to share best practices and to converse about this regularly. Only through our collective efforts can we hope to turn back the tide of rising anti-Semitism.

We must be united in condemning anti-Semitism anytime and anywhere we find it.

Since the passage of the Global Anti-Semitism Act of 2004, the United States has committed our country’s resources and energy to specifically target this virulent form of hate, as part of our wider commitment to expanding the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Congress has been generous with resources, and the Department of State has funded programs to combat anti-Semitism for many years.

Past U.S. programs include: an education program in Central Europe connecting teachers and students to modern Jewish history; media campaigns and public engagement in the Middle East and South Asia that address Holocaust denial; public education efforts in Europe on combatting anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic hate crimes; and countering anti-Semitic rhetoric in the media in South American countries.

Recent U.S. programs built interfaith networks in Central Europe to advocate for increased tolerance for members of all minority groups, including Jews.

The U.S. Government devotes significant resources to countering anti-Semitism online. For example, we support civil society organizations, which use a range of media platforms to fight against intolerance and xenophobia targeting Jewish Muslim, Christian and other minority communities in Europe. These efforts help raise awareness of the problems, debunk inflammatory rhetoric, and advance strong and credible counter-narratives.

We are particularly committed to working with countries around the world to remove anti-Semitic content from textbooks used in their public schools. Once a child is indoctrinated in hate, that hinders mutual respect and coexistence critical for a functioning, democratic society.

In closing, my government seeks to work with other government leaders, Jewish and other faith communities, civil society organizations, and international bodies to maximum effect.

We need to address this issue together. We need to speak out, and report and document anti-Semitic incidents. We need to ensure that hate crimes are investigated and prosecuted. We need to call out anti-Semitic rhetoric from government officials and other public figures. We need to educate our youth and our citizens about historical fact and teach them to stand against hate.

My government is committed to combatting anti-Semitism in all of its forms, whenever and wherever it arises. As called for by Rabbi Goldstein this morning, we will fight that darkness together, with the strongest possible light.

I thank you.