ADL Urges OSCE Countries Gathered in Berlin to Confront Rising Anti-Semitism

New York, NY, November 13, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today urged the 57 countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to take action and confront rising anti-Semitism on the continent.

“This is a moment of truth that challenges governments to decide whether Jews can be assured a future of safety and dignity in their countries. If governments do not meet the challenge, they will provide Hitler with a posthumous victory of a ‘Judenrein’ Europe,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, who is currently in Berlin as a member of the U.S. delegation to the OSCE Berlin Conference on Anti-Semitism 10th Anniversary.

“While meeting that challenge, governments must find a way to de-link the Middle East conflict from anti-Semitism and stop using it as a shield to do very little or nothing about anti-Semitism in their countries,” Mr. Foxman added.

The U.S. delegation is being led by Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

The event marks the 10-year anniversary of the OSCE’s landmark 2004 Berlin Conference Against Anti-Semitism, where governments first publicly rejected anti-Semitism that is cloaked in and legitimized by animus toward the Jewish State of Israel.

The 10th anniversary of the Berlin Declaration has galvanized an added sense of urgency because anti-Semitism has sharply escalated in the decade since those governments pledged to act. Violent anti-Semitic incidents flared up across Europe during Israel’s military operation in Gaza over the summer, and ADL’s recent Global 100 Survey found that anti-Semitic attitudes are still deeply entrenched on the continent, with 24 percent of the adult population in Western Europe and 34 percent in Eastern Europe holding deep-seated anti-Jewish views.

“The growth of anti-Semitism is not just an urgent human rights problem that affects Jews,” Mr. Foxman said. “It is a serious warning sign that the fundamental health of pluralism and democracy across the OSCE region is being threatened.”

ADL issues an annual scorecard to rate how the 57 participating states are doing in meeting their obligations to take action against anti-Semitism, discrimination and hate crime. The findings have consistently pointed to the failure of too many governments in fulfilling basic commitments. 

ADL helped organize and lead a diverse delegation of American civil and human rights leaders who traveled to Berlin to demonstrate that all communities have a stake in fighting anti-Semitism. The 25 African-American, Asian-American, LGBT, Latino, Sikh, Muslim, and human and civil rights leaders presented a ten-point action plan for governments.

They also issued a declaration condemning the “clear and troubling pattern of violence targeting Jews purportedly to express opposition to Israeli policy or action” and declaring that hate violence and anti-Semitism are not acceptable forms of criticism of Israel or any government.

Michael Salberg, ADL Director of International Affairs, served on the Steering Committee for the Civil Society Forum and participated in the conference.

At the civil society meeting which preceded the government gathering, Stacy Burdett, ADL Director of Government & National Affairs, led a panel discussion on building broad, inclusive coalitions against anti-Semitism to support Jewish communities and to promote a public demand for a more accountable and credible government response.

Panelists included Zainab Al Suwaij, Executive Director of the American Islamic Congress; Mee Moua, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice; Tanya Clay House, Policy Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and Jasjit Singh, Executive Director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

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