How Europe Can Do More to Fight Anti-Semitism and Hate Crime

  • December 19, 2014

Many people ask: What are governments doing to combat anti-Semitism and hate crime?  The sobering answer can be found ina scorecard on Europe’s response to anti-Semitism and hate crime  which documents where most countries are falling far too short. ADL is pushing back with leading-edge analysis and advocacy in the 57 countries from North America, Europe and Eurasia that make up the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).


ADL’s Director of Government and National Affairs, Stacy Burdett spoke directly to governments this week in Vienna, Austria, where they were gathered to discuss the fight against intolerance.  She presented the scorecard and ADL’s Global 100 survey to the 57 governments and outlined model practices and steps they could take to partner with communities to address anti-Semitism and hate crime.  Since a stunning 72 percent of OSCE countries do not report or report zero hate crimes, ADL challenged governments to reject “the false and superficial notion that reporting a rise in hate crime makes a city or country look like a dangerous place to live” and told them, “it means your country is a safer place to call the police, where the public trusts them to take hate crime seriously.”

ADL also urged governments to take a hard look at hate incidents targeting communities reported by 109 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in 45 OSCE countries and where there was no government monitoring.  Ms. Burdett told them, “You can’t have policies to protect them if you don’t have eyes on the problem.” and recalled ADL’s experience when it first began its audit of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., at a time beforethere was any official monitoring.  “That forced officials to take a hard look at the need to understand the nature and magnitude of the problem.  Today we have broad hate crime reporting that is a powerful tool to confront violent bigotry”, she said.

ADL’sprimary message was that these governments must partner with community organizations in order to be effective.  “When governments work with civil society, they craft better policy, they mobilize broader support, and they implement it more successfully” and suggested some practical steps that could make a difference in how communities feel about the government response.  Ms. Burdett noted in her remarks, “It may not be enough to eradicate anti-Semitism and hate crime.  But there’s no question that, if we partner, we can transform a place that turns its face away from hate crime to a place where, in the face of hate crime, people have a place to turn.”

The OSCE is the leading intergovernmental organization tracking hate crime and its response and providing tools to help governments and civil society address it.  ADL has worked closely with the organization to develop resources for governments on effective ways to confront violent bigotry, including resources on anti-Semitism, and key components of their tool-kit to help states address hate crime: Preventing and Responding to Hate Crime: A resource guide for NGOs in the OSCE Region, and ODIHR's Hate Crime Laws: A Practical Guide, which provides practical advice for lawmakers, community organizations and law enforcement for responding to bias crimes.