The UN Headquarters in New York was filled on Tuesday for a special forum discussing Christian anti-Semitism, marking 50 years since the Catholic Church's historic Nostra Aetate decision canceling claims that Jews killed Jesus and denouncing anti-Semitism.
The forum was organized by Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN) and the World Council of Independent Christian Churches (WCICC), which represents 44 million Christians worldwide.
It was sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Israel, Palau and Cyprus, and was attended by ambassadors and representatives from 13 permanent UN missions, including the three sponsoring nations, Canada, the Holy See, Italy, Poland and others.
Experts from around the world spoke at the forum about the growing threat of anti-Semitism and means of combating it. Participants were encouraged to have their countries adopt the US State Department definition of anti-Semitism, and push for legislation protecting Jewish communities in their states.
“Over the last 54 years, we’ve seen a dramatic theological shift in the Catholic Church as four Popes have come out to condemn the church’s anti-Semitism," said Laurie Cardoza-Moore, President of PJTN and a Special UN Envoy for WCICC.
She noted that those popes included "Pope John the 23rd, Pope John the 6th, Pope Paul the 2nd, and most recently, Pope Francis, as he stated: 'I've said it other times and I would like to repeat it now – it’s a contradiction that a Christian is anti-Semitic. His roots are Jewish. A Christian cannot be anti-Semitic! Let Anti-Semitism be banished from the heart and life of every man and every woman!'"
"As anti-Semitism grows worldwide, the need to thoroughly repudiate and stop the spread of the Protocols (of the Elders of Zion) and to champion the message of Nostra Aetate is critical. There is no longer any point in pretending that the horror and intensity of the violence and hatred will soon cease," warned Cardoza-Moore.
Archbishop John Lupoli, President of the WCICC, was unable to attend the forum but sent the following statement: "hatred based on race, color or creed must be stopped at all levels. Israel and the Jewish People receive this hatred, (of) all three (types) in anti-Semitism. The WCICC calls on all churches to stop anti-Semitic action at once, be it in doctrine or practice."
Also addressing the special forum was Monseigneur Guy Massie, a representative of the Catholic Church.
“In our generation, in our time of Google, of internet, of technology that puts us in touch with the world in an instant, we are still facing the primitive behavior of hatred because of national, religious or ethnic background," said Massie. "There is something profoundly sinful in that."
Even though anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, Nelly Shiloh of the Israeli permanent Mission to the UN noted that the UN itself has not taken enough action.
Shiloh pointed out that "despite the urgency of the threat we are here to discuss, there is still no UN resolution condemning anti-Semitism…calling on UN member states to fight it."
"Let’s join together to declare that we will not give up. We will not be silent. We will not ignore the minor anti-Semitic incidents nor will we ignore grave cases. …We will speak up. We will educate. We will not look away from the suffering of others.”