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UN chief urges vigilance against anti-Semitism

UN chief urges vigilance against anti-Semitism and discrimination of all kinds

20 January 2018 – Warning that hate is on the rise and that Nazi symbols, mindsets and languages are back, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called for vigilance against anti-Semitism and discrimination of all kinds.

“We must stand together against the normalization of hate,” said the Secretary-General, speaking at the Park East Synagogue in New York, on Saturday.

“We must reject those who fail to understand that as societies become multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural, diversity must be seen as a source of richness and not a threat,” he underscored.

In his remarks, the UN chief cited examples from around the world showing the rise of the neo-Nazi threat as well as the growing concern that such groups are trying to “rebrand themselves” and present themselves as kinder or gentler to win wider favour.

“They are less crude and more dangerous,” warned Mr. Guterres.

He said that such groups sometimes seek to falsely claim that “they have no problem with Jews, their target is the other group, the other religion, the other minority,” cautioning that whenever and wherever the values of humanity are abandoned, “everyone is at risk.”

Recalling the theme of this year's Holocaust Remembrance Day that highlights the importance of education as a shared responsibility, the Secretary-General called on leaders across the board to step up.

“Words matter,” he stressed, adding:

“It matters what leaders say. It matters what kind of example is set by public officials from mayors to ministers to heads of state. As Rabbi Schneier has said, all of us have a responsibility to act against indifference.”

Concluding his remarks, the UN chief urged everyone across the globe to stand up to hatred and to work together to build a world of pluralism, mutual respect and coexistence for all.

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