U.N. adopts resolution defining Holocaust denial, Iran disassociates from the process

The resolution was adopted without a vote on the 80th anniversary of the meeting during which the Nazis agreed to the "final solution"
U.N. General Assembly
U.N. General Assembly
(Andrew Burton / Getty Image)

The United Nations General Assembly has agreed on a definition of Holocaust denial, and moved to urge social media companies to "take active measures" to combat antisemitism. 

"The General Assembly is sending a strong and unambiguous message against the denial or the distortion of these historical facts. Ignoring historical facts increases the risk that they will be repeated," Germany's U.N. Ambassador Antje Leendertse said Thursday.

The resolution, which was drafted by Israel and Germany, was adopted without a vote by the 193-member General Assembly, though Iran disassociated itself. 

"Nations with seats in this hall openly deny the Holocaust, casting doubt on its occurrence and praising its perpetrators. In fact, those that most blatantly deny that Jews suffered a genocide are the ones now threatening Jews with another genocide," said Israel's U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan, in apparent criticism of Iran. 

Following the vote, an unidentified Iranian diplomat, said Israel was exploiting "the sufferings of the Jewish people in the past as a cover for the crimes it has perpetrated."

The resolution encourages member states and social media companies to take action against antisemitism and Holocaust denial by creating systems to report relevant content.

It clarifies that denial of the Holocaust, during which 6 million Jews were killed, refers to the "intentional" effort to "excuse or minimize the impact of the Holocaust or its principal elements.

The resolution also singles out collaborators and allies of Nazi Germany, minimizing the number of Holocaust victims, blaming the Jews for "causing their own genocide," referring to the Holocaust as a "positive historical event," and "attempts to blur the responsibility for the establishment of concentration and death camps devised and operated by Nazi Germany by putting blame on other nations or ethnic groups."

The U.N. meeting on Thursday coincided with the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, during which Nazi commanders met to coordinate the "final solution," which became their plan to exterminate the Jews.