New York, October 21st, 2020 – Forum for Cultural Diplomacy (FCD) co-founders Gregory Lafitte and Tomas Sandell have met with government leaders from around the world on the sidelines of the high-level segment of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly which this year took place virtually. In what can best be described as a diplomatic marathon, Lafitte and Sandell have been explaining that the best way to fight antisemitism is by learning to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate the immense contributions of Jewish culture to the international community. It is estimated that there are at least 120 nations that are currently hosting or sometime in the past have hosted Jewish communities. In each case their contributions have been of tremendous value to the prosperity and health of the nation.
“Fighting antisemitism is most effective when we do not simply plead for tolerance but when we encourage respect and appreciation for Jewish life and culture”, they further explained. This includes respect for the only Jewish state in the world, the State of Israel. The real antidote to antisemitism is to acknowledge the richness of Jewish culture and its many contributions to mankind, from philosophy to technology.
As a result of earlier campaigns, FCD notes that the last five years have seen a number of important reforms: from the UN recognition of the Jewish religious holiday of Yom Kippur in 2015 to the appointment, earlier this year, of a UN Focal Point in the fight against antisemitism. Although things are now moving in the right direction, FCD has added that there is still a lot more work to be done, and is now calling for celebration of Jewish life and culture as the most effective antidote to Jew hatred and anti-Israel bias at the global level.
The diplomatic marathon, which is continuing this week despite the fact that the high-level segment of this 75th session came to an end a few weeks ago, has for the first time also included contact with several Arab nations which are interested in learning more about Jewish culture as they gradually open up for more religious diversity and pluralism and are in the process of establishing diplomatic relations with the State of Israel.
The Forum for Cultural Diplomacy is an initiative at the United Nations which was launched by the European Coalition for Israel in 2014.