UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Israel is hoping the U.N. General Assembly will unanimously adopt a resolution rejecting and condemning any denial of the Holocaust and urging all nations and social media companies “to take active measures to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denial or distortion.”
The 193-member world body is scheduled to vote Thursday on the resolution, which is strongly supported by Germany.
Holding the vote on Jan. 20 has special significance: It is the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference at a villa on the shores of Berlin’s Wannsee Lake in 1942 during World War II where Nazi leaders coordinated plans for the so-called “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.”
The result was the establishment of Nazi death camps and the murder of nearly six million Jews, comprising one-third of the Jewish people. In addition, millions of people from other nationalities, minorities and targeted groups were killed, according to the draft resolution.
“We hope it is going to be adopted in a consensus,” Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan told several reporters on Wednesday. “If we want this body, the U.N., to succeed in preventing genocide we must remember what happened in the past and this is the goal of tomorrow’s decision.”
He said that with many Holocaust survivors passing away and the use of the internet now very prevalent “this dangerous phenomena of distorting and even denying the Holocaust became very common.”
The draft resolution commends countries that have preserved Nazi death camps and other sites from the Holocaust and urges the 193 U.N. member states “to develop educational programs that will inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide.”
It requests the U.N. and its agencies to continue developing and implementing programs aimed at countering Holocaust denial and distortions and to mobilize civil society and others to provide truthful facts about the Holocaust.
Currently, the U.N. has an outreach program on the Holocaust and the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, has a program on Holocaust education and combatting anti-Semitism.
The General Assembly designated Jan. 27 — the day the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Soviet army — as the annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of victims of the Holocaust in 2005. The draft resolution underlines that remembrance “is a key component to the prevention of further acts of genocide.”
The draft says Holocaust denial “refers to discourse and propaganda that deny the historical reality and the extent of the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis and their accomplices during World War II” and “any attempt to claim that the Holocaust did not take place” or call into doubt that gas chambers, mass shooting, starvation, and intentional genocide were used against the Jewish people.
It says distorting or denying the Holocaust also refers to “intentional efforts to excuse or minimize” the role of Nazi collaborators and allies, “gross minimization” of the number of victims, “attempts to blame the Jews for causing their own genocide,” statements casting the Holocaust as a positive event, and attempt to “blur the responsibility” for establishing concentration and death camps “by putting blame on other nations or ethnic groups.”