Wiesenthal Centre claims that, “in the case of antisemitism, the contributing factor of anti-Zionism/anti-Israelism is inadequately addressed... urging adoption of the IHRA Definition.”

Paris, 15 August 2020 

In letters to UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, and European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels – also Permanent Observer to UNESCO and active NGO participant at the European Parliament – commended this joint initiative: “The objective of this project is announced as providing 'new resources to counter COVID-19 conspiracy theories online, through critical thinking and empathy'.”

The letter welcomed “the new series of infographics aimed at dealing with how the Coronavirus gave rise to an increased level of online hate speech, racist and antisemitic attacks,” but claimed, “Nevertheless, we believe that, in the case of antisemitism, the contributing factor of anti-Zionism/anti-Israelism is inadequately addressed.”

The Centre urged “both UNESCO and the European institutions related to the Commission to follow this important step, by adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Definition of antisemitism.”

“In the case of UNESCO, this move may even assist in consideration by the United States and Israel to return to the institution,” concluded Samuels.