UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. General Assembly will hold an informal meeting on the growth of anti-Semitism on Jan. 22 in response to a request from dozens of nations, including Israel, the United States and all European Union members.
The 37 countries sent a letter to assembly President Sam Kutesa on Oct. 1 calling for a meeting in response to "an alarming outbreak of anti-Semitism worldwide." That was well before last week's attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris.
Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor said Monday: "We have a great deal of work to do to move this issue from the headlines to the history books."
The killing of four French Jews in last week's hostage standoff at the Paris kosher market was just the latest to raise fears among European Jews. It follows killings at a Belgian Jewish Museum and a Jewish school in southwestern France.
The Jan. 22 meeting will feature a keynote address by French philosopher and author Bernard Henri Levy and speeches by representatives from several countries.
The letter, whose signatories also included Rwanda, Uruguay, Canada and Australia, noted Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's statement last Aug. 3 expressing concern at the spike in anti-Semitic attacks.
"At rallies, crowds have chanted 'Gas the Jews" and 'Death to the Jews,'" the letter said. "Firebombs have been thrown at synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses have been vandalized."
The 37 countries said they were requesting a meeting of the 193-member world body because "a clear message from the General Assembly is a critical component of combatting the sudden rise of violence and hatred directed at Jews."