Statement Introducing an Amendment to a Third Committee Resolution on the Glorification of Nazism

Ambassador Kelley Currie
U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 15, 2018


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Every year since this resolution was introduced in 2005, the United States has expressed our concerns about the resolution’s politcized roots, as well as its provisions calling for restricitions on fundamental freedoms. Last year, we did things a bit differently; we offered a lengthy amendment from the floor to remedy every part – 27 different paragraphs – of the resolution that we believe violated individual freedoms of speech, thought, expression, and association – the bare minimum for what we believe needed to be fixed with the text.

Although our amendment was not adopted last year, we declared our commitment to taking yet another approach this year. Prior to informals, we had multiple meetings with multiple delegations that shared our concerns about the text. We listened to our colleagues, and we took all comments on board. It was our goal to work with likemindeds and with the sponsor to improve the text. After all, any resolution that purports to combat racist ideologies and totalitarian regimes deserves the best and most serious effort the UN can put forward. Unfortunately, this is not what we have here today.

The United States does not need to defend our position against Nazism. The “Greatest Generation” of Americans spilled their blood on foreign soil fighting the Nazis and liberating the people of many of the Member States with us today. The Nazis’ worst fear and greatest enemy was the United States of America and our Allies. While the Nazis stood for tyranny, oppression, and genocide, we stood for freedom, liberty, and humanity. A resolution that condemns Nazism should honor that truth.

Instead, this resolution was born of a political controversy decades removed from the defeat of the Nazis. This resolution is an annual power play by one nation over its sovereign neighbors, a cynical piece of agitprop by a delegation that is the master of these dark arts. It attempts to exert a sphere of influence over a region and strives to criminalize free speech and expression without any genuine effort to effectively combat actual Nazism, discrimination, or anti-Semitism.

Let me be clear: the United States is disgusted by anti-Semitism and the glorification of Nazi ideology. We fought a war against it, and we will continue fighting it in the hearts and minds of our people. But the solution to hate is not to be found in censorship. It will only be found in the free marketplace of ideas and expression where the values of tolerance and justice can triumph over evil and hatred. From our own experience and throughout the course of history, the United States remains convinced that the best antidote to offensive speech is, in fact, free speech. Rather than bans, censorship, or criminal prosecution, we have established robust mechanisms that protect individual liberties and defend against discrimination and violence.

The United States continues to take great strides to remember and memorialize victims of the Holocaust and supports the UN’s effort to do the same. We are an active partner in promoting remembrance of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations and counter the denial of the Holocaust. We continue to lead efforts to bring perpetrators of Nazi crimes and other atrocities to justice.

So this year, for the first time, the United States engaged in negotiations. We offered constructive proposals, and we made suggestions. Some small ones were taken, but ultimately, this text still falls far short of addressing our serious and deeply held concerns.

For this reason, the United States has offered the amendment that the Secretariat has passed out to all Member States in the room. We convey it to your attention, and we encourage you to support us in voting for this amendment.

We will continue to oppose this resolution because this amendment is only a small fix. But we believe that it is a place to start in addressing the cynical and politicized nature of this resolution. And we encourage all Member States to support this amendment, but continue to oppose this resolution.

Thank you.