(Photo by: Agência Brasil)
(Los Angeles, CA -- August 5, 2020) -- The StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism (CCA) was encouraged to learn that the United Nations has decided to appoint an envoy for the specific purpose of monitoring antisemitism. We were deeply disturbed, however, that the individual appointed to the position is Spanish diplomat Miguel Moratinos, a man with a clear history of antagonism and contempt toward Israel and a failure to rightly understand the many forms antisemitism can take.
The person holding this position should be someone who is unbiased and objective, especially when it comes to the treatment of Jews and the Jewish State. Moratinos' record demonstrates he is not such a man. In a farewell message to the European Union in July 2003, addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an obviously complex situation, Moratinos advised Israelis to "wake up and shake off their die hard prejudice which sometimes prevents them from perceiving reality." With such overly-simplistic and one-sided perspectives as this, which demonstrate his own ignorance of reality, it is difficult to understand how Moratinos was identified as an appropriate choice for the new position of antisemitism monitor.
His failure to acknowledge Israeli efforts at peace is coupled with a blindness toward the threats facing the Jewish state. Moratinos saw Yasser Arafat as the hope for peace in the region, even while the Palestinian Authority leader supported murderers, promoted suicide bombing and other terrorism as virtuous, stole money intended for the Palestinian people, and actively thwarted efforts to make peace with Israel. In his myopic view, Moratinos apparently failed to perceive the daily doses of hate-filled indoctrination from Palestinian media that served to poison both the possibilities of peace and the possibility of a prosperous future for the Palestinian people.
The passing years did not make Moratinos any more objective to Israel's position. In 2017, he expressed his disappointment in the Oslo Peace Process, lauded Arafat for the fact that "the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) recognized the State of Israel," but utterly ignored Arafat's renewed terrorism campaign. Instead, Moratinos faulted Israel for the failure to achieve peace, called direct negotiations between the parties a "mistaken trap," and urged the EU to recognize the State of Palestine without demands that the Palestinian leadership renounce terrorism.
Moratinos can’t fight antisemitism when he fails to identify it when it occurs. In the same farewell EU speech referenced above, Moratinos chastised Jews not to bracket “criticism” of Israel with antisemitism. Yet, according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which has been adopted by both the UN and the EU, there are in fact overlaps between advocating for the death of a single Jew and the demise of the Jewish collective, Israel. Indeed, consistent with the IHRA definition, the current UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has rightly recognized that "[d]enial of Israel's right to exist is antisemitism." A failure, or refusal, to identify these manifestations of antisemitism is a serious cause for concern about Moratinos as the UN's go-to for monitoring and combating the increasing worldwide focus on antizionist forms of antisemitism.
The person tasked with "enhancing a system-wide response" to combat global antisemitism - within an international body that has long engaged in anti-Israel bias (e.g., in 2018 the UN General Assembly approved six anti-Israel resolutions in a single day, including two that rejected Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem) - should certainly not have a long history of bias against Israel himself. Nor should he be so insensitive to antisemitism that he is unable even to recognize it. We urge the UN to reverse this latest move against the interests of Israel and the Jewish people and to appoint instead an antisemitism envoy who is capable of, at the very least, remaining objective and unbiased.
StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.
Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and programs on 5 continents, including the U.S., Israel, UK, Canada, South Africa and Brazil.
For the last 7 years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).