Twenty years after the Stockholm Declaration that founded the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the Forum brought together Heads of State and government representatives from nearly 50 countries, researchers, experts, civil society and social media companies.Among participating dignitaries—virtually and in-person—were the Royal Court of Sweden, U.N. Secretary- General António Guterres; President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog; French President Emmanuel Macron; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; European Council President Charles Michel; European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen; and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Ahead of the Forum, delegations were encouraged to submit concrete pledges.
The event addressed themes such as fighting distortion and trivialization, expanding educational reach to new target groups, fighting anti-Semitism and hate speech online and implementing national and international strategies.
B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin participated virtually and conveyed B’nai B’rith’s pledge: sponsorship of the None Shall Be Afraid program, which provides a way for individuals and local communities to foster tolerance and responsibility. President Charles O. Kaufman and Deputy Director of the B’nai B’rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy Eric Fusfield also took part virtually, along with EU Affairs Officer Caterina Cognini.
Director of EU Affairs Alina Bricman represented B’nai B’rith at the Forum in Malmö and met on the sidelines with key partners in the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the OSCE/ODIHR (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe/ Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights), and the IHRA.
We welcome important commitments made by states, international organizations and technology platforms, increased financial assistance for Holocaust museums and the protection of sites, support for civil society, the drafting and implementation of national action plans and adoption of the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism among others.
Herzog acknowledged accomplishments since the establishment of the IHRA, drew attention to the growing threat of anti-Semitism stemming from hatred and demonization of Israel, encouraged all states to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and made an impassioned call on government representatives to take legislative action against the proliferation of hate online.
High Representative for the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Moratinos announced the U.N. will develop an action plan on anti-Semitism, insisting that the body must eradicate anti-Semitism both externally and internally—within the U.N. itself—including in the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Blinken announced the allocation in the coming year of $1 million to counter hate speech online in the Middle East and North Africa and an additional $1 million allocated, together with the U.S. Congress to Central Europe, in support of efforts against denial and distortion of the Holocaust.
Michel and von der Leyen committed to the thorough implementation of the new EU Strategy on Combating anti-Semitism and Fostering Jewish Life, developed by Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and Coordinator Katharina von Schnurbein.
Trudeau announced that the role of Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combating anti-Semitism will be made permanent and supplemented by increased resources.
Macron stressed the need for collective action on an international level. He announced a new national strategy for combating anti-Semitism by the end of the year as well as an increase in budget for memorial institutions and noted national legislation against hate speech.
We are encouraged by these and other pledges by governments as well as companies.
We are grateful to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for convening this event. As the Forum concludes, we must work together to move the pledges into effect. Sweden will resume the IHRA chairmanship in March of 2022—an important moment to take stock of progress made.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org.