USC Shoah Foundation Presents Testimonies at 73rd Session of United Nations General Assembly

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 5:14pm

A film by USC Shoah Foundation featuring video testimonies on current antisemitism opened a high-level panel Wednesday organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) titled, “The Power of Education for Countering Racism and Discrimination: The Case of Anti-Semitism,” at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. 

The panel featured United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay, as well as various ministers and high-level officials from many countries. The main objectives of the event were to mobilize national governments and education stakeholders to address racism and discrimination, including antisemitism, through education and to further international collaboration with UNESCO and the United Nations on relevant initiatives.

“Jews continue to be attacked for no other reason than their identity. And antisemitism is not a problem for the Jewish community alone. Where there is antisemitism, there are likely to be other discriminatory ideologies and forms of bias feeding each other in a cauldron of contempt,” Guterres said at the meeting.

The speakers highlighted the importance of combating racism and discrimination on a global scale, with a focus on antisemitism, as part of the overall effort to prevent and counter violent extremism.

“We were honored to present our work to this high-level panel and hope this testimony educates and informs their decisions moving forward,” said USC Shoah Foundation Finci-Viterbi Executive Director Stephen Smith, who holds the UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education, “While antisemitism dehumanizes all of us, testimony can elevate our ability to empathize and inspire us to action.”

The film used testimonies collected by USC Shoah Foundation across seven countries over three years. The testimonies capture the experiences of people deeply affected by antisemitism and extremism.  Produced under its Stronger Than Hate initiative for its Countering Antisemitism Through Testimony program, the film featured testimonies from government leaders such as Robert Badinter, Former Minister of Justice, France; Viviane Teitelbaum, Member of Brussels Parliament, Belgium; Jan DeBoutte, Head of Belgian Delegation to International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Belgium; Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Belgium; as well as other experiences.

A link to the video is available on USC Shoah Foundation’s Focal Points: Antisemitism page.