Annan at anti-Semitism Meet: Jews Must Feel at Home in UN'

UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday told the world organization's first-ever seminar on anti-Semitism that Jews must feel "the United Nations is their home."

Author Elie Wiesel, a Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor, told the seminar that he thought anti-Semitism had died at Auschwitz. However, he said, it has turned out that Auschwitz killed Jews but anti-Semitism lives on.

Jewish leaders say anti-Semitism is escalating around the world but is ignored by UN institutions.

Annan said yesterday the UN must participate in battling anti-Semitism, and called on the members of the UN to pass a resolution against anti-Semitism in September's General Assembly meeting.

"The fight against anti-Semitism must be our fight, and the Jews everywhere must feel that the United Nations is their home," Annan said at the opening of the all-day conference.

Annan also called on the human rights organizations affiliated with the UN to "actively explore a way of combating anti-Semitism more effectively in the future."

"We owe it to ourselves, as well as to our Jewish brothers and sisters, to stand firmly against the particular type of hatred that anti-Semitism represents, and that means we must be prepared to examine the nature of today's manifestations of anti-Semitism more closely," Annan said.

Anti-Defamation League director Abe Foxman and World Jewish Congress president Edgar Bronfman were also scheduled to speak at the seminar.

Seminar discussions are expected to be tough on the UN, which has adopted countless resolutions condemning Israeli actions against the Palestinians.