September 13, 2021 — Brussels, Belgium
In an unprecedented transatlantic initiative, 313 cross-party lawmakers from Europe, North America, and Israel urged EU countries and democracies worldwide to help end the discrimination against Israel at the United Nations. Spearheaded by AJC’s Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI), the interparliamentary statement comes ahead of tomorrow’s opening of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly.
This morning, the leadership of the Transatlantic Friends of Israel sent the statement to the governments of all EU member states, the UK, Norway and Switzerland, to the EU leadership as well as the UN Secretary General and the heads of major UN agencies. The signatories are overwhelmingly European legislators and include government ministers, party leaders, parliamentary vice-presidents, and chairs of key committees.
The lawmakers underline in the declaration that the UN bias not only damages Israel but the UN’s own reputation and its effectiveness to tackle global problems:
“Within the context of rising global antisemitism, the relentless, disproportionate, and ritualistic condemnation of the world’s only Jewish state at the UN is particularly dangerous and must finally end. Israel deserves attention and scrutiny, as does every other nation. But it also merits equal treatment – nothing more, nothing less,” the text reads in part.
The statement goes on: “By violating its own Purposes and Principles, which commit the organization to ‘develop friendly relations among nations,’ and to the ‘principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members,’ the UN is undermining its credibility and losing public support.”
The interparliamentary declaration concludes with three concrete demands:
-- EU members and fellow democracies ought to reject the excessive number of anti-Israel resolutions.
-- Reform the Human Rights Council to eliminate its permanent anti-Israel agenda Item 7.
-- Abolish discriminatory committees and programs within the UN system that single out Israel.
Austrian MEP Lukas Mandl (EPP), Chair of the TFI group in the European Parliament (EP): “The UN has shown a long-standing bias against Israel which is often targeted more frequently than all other countries combined. The time is long overdue to end this shameful practice. Democratic governments have a responsibility to bring about this much-needed change.”
Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of American Jewish Committee’s Brussels-based EU office, the AJC Transatlantic Institute, and TFI Secretary General: “It is heartening to see the growing transatlantic consensus to finally end the shameful discrimination against Israel at the UN. AJC has previously praised the EU for its commitment to extend the fight against antisemitism across all policy areas, which naturally also includes foreign policy. Addressing the UN’s bias against the world’s only Jewish state must therefore be part of this initiative.”
“This statement couldn’t be more timely as next week the General Assembly will shamefully mark the 20th anniversary of the 2001 Durban World Conference against Racism. In 2001, the conference diverted from its original goals, turning into an anti-Israel and antisemitic hate fest. The Jewish state was demonized as racist and Jewish participants were intimidated amid slogans such as ‘Hitler Should Have Finished the Job,’” Schwammenthal continued.
Austrian MP Martin Engelberg (ÖVP), incoming TFI Chair in the Austrian National Assembly: “The surreal torrent of one-sided resolutions condemning Israel out of all proportion serves to demonize the world’s only Jewish state. This is an outrage and we Europeans have a special duty to put an end to it.”
Greek MEP Anna Michelle Asimakopoulou (EPP), TFI Vice Chair in the EP: “It is time for EU member states and other democracies to follow the United States’ example and vote against these one-sided UN resolutions that unfairly target Israel.”
Romanian MEP Carmen Avram (S&D), TFI Vice Chair in the EP: “Like any other state, Israel obviously warrants scrutiny and sometimes criticism. However, the problem is that it is currently not being treated like any other state. This discrimination must end.”
German MEP Dietmar Köster (S&D), TFI Vice Chair in the EP: “As a strong-supporter of the rule-based international order, it is discouraging to see that the organization so vital for international security and peace constantly fails to uphold its own principles to treat all member states equally. The one-sided condemnations of Israel at the UN cannot continue.”
Lithuanian MEP Petras Auštrevičius (Renew Europe), TFI Vice Chair in the EP: “When Israel, the Middle East's only true democracy and a leader in gender equality, is singled out for allegedly violating women’s rights, but regimes such as Iran are elected to the UN Women's Rights Commission, then you know something is seriously flawed. We must finally fix this UN bias.”
Czech MEP Alexandr Vondra (ECR), TFI Vice Chair in the EP: “The late UN Secretary General Kofi Annan famously said that both Israel and the United Nations ‘rose from the ashes of the Holocaust.’ We Europeans have a special duty therefore to ensure that the UN system is no longer misused to vilify the world’s only Jewish state.”
The Transatlantic Declaration is an initiative of AJC’s growing cross-party Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI) interparliamentary group. Founded in July 2019, the network includes over 130 lawmakers from Europe, North America, and Israel and is dedicated to strengthening the transatlantic alliance with Israel.