Saturday, 15 Aug 2020 - 25 of Av, 5780

Is Miguel Angel Moratinos the right person to be the UN antisemitism watchdog ?

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Miguel Angel Moratinos is a former Foreign Minister of Spain from 2004 to 2010. Between 1996 and 2003, he worked as the European Union Special Representative for the Middle East.

Before that, he was Spain’s foreign policy architect for Africa and the Middle East from 1993 to 1996 and participated in the organizing of the Middle East Peace Conference in Madrid in 1992. He was also Spain’s ambassador to Israel from July to December 1996.

The first-ever United Nations ”Focal Point to monitor anti-Semitism” was named this week by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. It is Miguel Angel Morantinos, who currently serves as the High Representative for the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).

In this position, Moratinos will be responsible for enhancing a system-wide response at the United Nations to longtime anti-Semitism.

“In his capacity as the United Nations focal point designated by the United Nations secretary-general to monitor antisemitism and enhance a system-wide response, the high representative underscores that the United Nations is fully engaged in combating antisemitism as well as all forms of discrimination and intolerance based on religion or belief,” the UNAOC said.

The alliance “promotes mutual respect, cultural diversity and religious pluralism, as well as strengthening interfaith dialogue across the faith spectrum in line with its motto ‘Many Cultures, One Humanity,’” it added.

“In this context, the high representative stresses that countering hate speech and all forms of discrimination, including against Jews and all other communities, religious or otherwise, requires adopting a human rights-based approach.”

In Europe, several countries – as well as the EU itself- have appointed special coordinators dedicated to the fight against antisemitism. The U.S. has also a State Department post of Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism, headed by Elan Carr.

Miguel Angel Moratinos is a former Foreign Minister of Spain from 2004 to 2010. Between 1996 and 2003, he worked as the European Union Special Representative for the Middle East.

Before that, he was Spain’s foreign policy architect for Africa and the Middle East from 1993 to 1996 and participated in the organizing of the Middle East Peace Conference in Madrid in 1992. He was also Spain’s ambassador to Israel from July to December 1996

The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM)  applauded the appointment. “The importance of this role is reflected by the wealth of high-level experience and prominent leadership” exhibited by Morantinos, said CAM director Sacha Roytman-Dratwa.

“The fight against anti-Semitism has never been more urgent. The rise in attacks across the world has reached truly worrying proportions,” he continued. “By appointing an anti-Semitism envoy, the United Nations is sending a very important message to the world that tackling hatred against Jews is very much a global priority.”

Moratinos’s first act within the role was to “unequivocally condemn” the statements made on social media by a senior member of the Board of Trustees of Britain’s largest Muslim charity, Islamic Relief Worldwide, after British daily The Times penned an article about these controversial statements last week – leading to a charity worker resigning from the role.

“The high representative unequivocally condemns such loathsome social media posts by a high-profile member of the management team at Islamic Relief, which remained on public display since 2014 before being recently removed,” the UNAOC said.

In 2014, IRW leader Heshmat Khalifa categorized Jewish people as the “grandchildren of monkeys and pigs,” adding that Egypt’s president is a “Zionist pimp,” via his Facebook page.

While the nomination by the UN of an  antisemitism watchdog is certainly a good news, one must not forget that some of the United Nations  bodies have been corrupted with anti-Semitic sentiments.

One of the most criticized bodies is the UNHRC ( United Nations Human Rights Council) which frequently lambastes Israel – the only real democracy in the Middle East- over alleged human rights violations while failing to address the wrongdoings of real oppressive regimes.

Some in the Jewish community of Spain are questioning the choice of Miguel Angel Moratinos for the post. They recall that he was Foreign Minister in the government led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, a Socialist Prime Minister between 2004 and 2011, who at time harshly criticized Israel for its intervention in Lebanon against Hezbollah. yle keffiyeh scarf.

Zapatero, speaking at a rally for young Socialists on Wednesday, said of Israel: “No one should defend themselves with abusive force that does not protect innocent human beings.”

He later allowed himself to be photographed wearing a keffiyeh scarf, which had been offered to him during a rally for young Socialists.

Moratinos defended Zapatero by saying that it was normal to criticize the  Israeli government for actions that “the majority of the Spanish people consider to be wrong.” A spokesman for the opposition Popular Party accused Zapatero of “anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and Israelophobia.’’

Moratinos reacted by saying one could be a loyal ally of Israel and still criticize it without being antisemitic.

“Moratinos was well known at the time for undermining Israel’s position at every turn, to regularly criminalize the Jewish State and to exhibit an open proximity to the enemies of the Jewish people, including Yasser Arafat,’’ argued Angel Mas, chairman of ACOM, Action and Communication on the Middle East, a pro-Israel advocacy group in Spain, to explain his stern opposition to the nomination of the former Spanish diplomat.

Share.

About Author

Leave A Reply