UN chief vows to be ‘on front lines in fight against anti-Semitism’

In a Holocaust Remembrance Day address, the Portugese UN secretary-general condemned his country’s “tremendous crime and the most stupid mistake ever made” in expelling its Jews in the late 15th century. 

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres vowed to be at the forefront of combating anti-Semitism while addressing the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly on Sunday night on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“As secretary general of the United Nations, I will be on the front lines in the fight against anti-Semitism,” Guterres stated. “Anti-Semitism never died despite the shock of the Holocaust.” 

Guterres acknowledged that opposition to Israel’s right to exist amounts to contemporary anti-Semitism.

“The modern form of anti-Semitism is the denial of the existence of the State of Israel,” he said. “Israel has an undeniable right to exist and to live in peace and security with its neighbors.”

The Secretary-General also took the opportunity to condemn the dark points in the history of his native country, Portugal, regarding anti-Semitism. Pointing to the “systematic policy of discrimination of Jews in the Middle Ages,” he referred to Portugal’s decision shortly following the Spanish Inquisition to expel its Jews, which he described as a “tremendous crime and the most stupid mistake ever made in Portugal.”

Other UN officials who spoke at the event included UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Director-General Irina Bokova, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.

US President Donald Trump also addressed the assembly by video, calling to “stamp out prejudice and anti-Semitism everywhere it is found.”

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News