US to Vote Against UN Resolution Condemning Nazi Speech

United Nations Office at Geneva. Photo: Falcon Photography/Flickr

The United States intends to vote against a yearly United Nations resolution that condemns the glorification of Nazism, U.S. State Department officials said Wednesday.

Officials stated that free speech protections and other problems with the resolution make it impossible for America to support it this week.

The resolution, introduced by Russia, calls on all U.N. nations to ban pro-Nazi speech and organizations, and to implement other restrictions on speech and assembly. For the United States, where First Amendment protections guarantee all the right to utter almost anything they want — even praise for Adolf Hitler‘s followers, this is a non-starter.

The United States votes against the resolution every year, along with just a handful of others, while the European Union nations and some others typically abstain. The resolution always passes overwhelmingly, usually with little fanfare.

But this year, the “no” vote from the U.S. is likely to create more of a stir, given it’s the first rendition of the vote since President Donald J. Trump entered office. Trump adamantly denies any secret affinity for white supremacists. Yet his blame-on-both-sides response to violence in August at a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, gave fodder to Trump critics who say he’s insufficiently critical of neo-Nazis.

So U.S. officials are working overtime this year to try to explain that no, America doesn’t support pro-Nazi speech — but can’t vote for a resolution that calls for outlawing it, either. The vote is scheduled for Thursday in the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee.