In Surprise Move, U.N. Assembly Condemns Holocaust Denial
By: George Baumgarten
In a rare departure from its usual pattern of hostility, the United Nations General Assembly recently passed a resolution against “Holocaust Denial and Distortion”. In a world where the veracity of the Holocaust has been increasingly and repeatedly challenged—particularly by the Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (”B.D.S.”) movement—this resolution also serves to confront the recent dramatic rise in antisemitic acts worldwide.
The Resolution is grounded on the most prominent U.N. documents on Human Rights: the Charter of the United Nations (1945) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), as well as other more recent documents and resolutions.
The Resolution noted that we recently celebrated the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, which—in the memorable words of the Charter—“brought untold sorrow to mankind”.
It also cited the Genocide Convention, which was passed in order to “avoid repetition of genocides such as those committed by the Nazi regime”.
In addition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it also bases itself on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was passed in 1966, and entered into force a decade later.
The Resolution also addresses the issue of impunity. This is a critical concept and an increasingly important issue, wherever in the world there has been war or violence. Its advocates passionately believe that no one committing violence or war crimes should be allowed to do so, with impunity. Therefore, mechanisms have been—and must be—set up, to bring to justice those responsible for such criminal and immoral acts. This concept was the justification behind the establishment of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals, in the aftermath of World War II. And it was the basis and justification also for the passage of the Rome Statute, and its establishment of the International Criminal Court. That Court has come in for some criticism, but it is still always there, to remind those who would behave in such a criminal fashion that they may always be brought to justice.
The Resolution notes that 27 January has been designated as the Annual Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. And it notes that a “Programme of Outreach” has been established by the U.N. on the subject of “the Holocaust and the United Nations”. Therefore, there are events each year to commemorate the Holocaust, and its victims.
The Resolution also notes that this year marks the 80th Anniversary of the notorious Wannsee Conference, at which the most intense period of the Holocaust was planned and organized, in that suburb west of Berlin.
The Resolution particularly mentions the willful murder of 6 million Jews, 1.5 million of them children. And it notes that this “denial” includes any effort to assert that the Holocaust did not take place.
The Resolution then enumerates five actions or practices, to which the phrase “Holocaust Denial” refers:
1) Efforts to minimize the Holocaust
2) Minimization of the number of its victims
3) Blaming Jews for their own genocide
4) Calling the Holocaust a “positive historical event”
5) Blurring the responsibility for operation of the Camps
In conclusion, the Resolution absolutely rejects and condemns such denial. And it directs the United Nations Outreach Programme on the Holocaust to develop and engage in educational activities to implement the above principles.
In summation, the Resolution is a very constructive and well-written one. And it contrasts with repeated efforts on the part of multiple agencies to condemn Israel…and the Jewish people.
George Baumgarten is a UN Correspondent and contributor to Jewish Newspapers in North America
© Copyright 2022 George Alan Baumgarten