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UN chief appeals for global action against hatred, underscores need to return to reason

(Xinhua)    14:51, November 10, 2020

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday appealed for global action against hatred and underscored the need for the world to return to reason.

"We must stand together against hatred in all its forms. Our world today needs a return to reason -- and a rejection of the lies and loathing that propelled the Nazis and that fracture societies today," the UN chief said in his virtual message upon receiving the World Jewish Congress' (WJC) highest honor, the WJC Theodor Herzl Award, which recognizes outstanding individuals who work to promote Theodor Herzl's ideals for a safer, more tolerant world for the Jewish people.

The UN secretary-general said that in recent months, "a steady stream of prejudice has continued to blight our world: anti-Semitic assaults, harassment and vandalism; Holocaust denial; a guilty plea in a neo-Nazi plot to blow up a synagogue."

"And with COVID-19, another virus has spread -- anti-Semitism and hatred of many kinds," he added. "Age-old blood libels have been given new life."

"Other groups have also been falsely accused -- and faced not just vilification but violence," said Guterres.

Noting that in the meanwhile, "disinformation and conspiracy theories have gained alarming ground and come in different forms," Guterres said that they "all traffic in the same venom: dehumanizing and scapegoating the other, whether it is Jews, Muslims, migrants, refugees, and so many others."

"We must fight on two fronts: the pandemic and the poison," he said, adding that "solidarity within and among countries will be crucial."

"For us as individuals, that means speaking out even when one's own group may not be in the direct firing line, and never abetting efforts to target others," he said.

"Hatred doesn't discriminate. Let's remember what history tells us about the descent into repression and violence: one day it is your neighbor under attack, the next it is likely you," the UN secretary-general warned.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year's award was presented during a virtual gala. At the online event held on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder emphasized the dangers of indifference to antisemitism and divisiveness among the Jewish people, calling for action from political leaders, university administrations and social media companies.

Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, also called the November Pogroms, was a pogrom against Jews carried out by Sturmabteilung paramilitary forces and civilians throughout Nazi Germany on Nov. 9-10, 1938.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

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