Major European Body and German Government Commended For Initiative to Fight Anti-Semitism and Secure Jewish Communities

New York, NY, September 29, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the launch of a new initiative to address anti-Semitism in the 57 European and Eurasian countries that comprise the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The three-year initiative, entitled “Words into Action to Address Anti-Semitism” is sponsored by the government of Germany, which chairs the OSCE, and was initiated by Germany’s parliament. The effort, which was announced on September 28, is being spearheaded by the body’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and its Director, former Bundestag Member Michael Link. The program will provide governments with tools to address Jewish community security, to promote education and awareness about anti-Semitism and to encourage diverse and inclusive coalitions against anti-Semitism.

“The participating European and Eurasian states have recognized the serious threat posed by anti-Semitism and have made critical commitments to address this concerning issue,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “We commend the German government for challenging states to put their commitments into action and for funding and catalyzing this initiative.

“Its strategic focus on both short term needs like Jewish communal security and longer term efforts like education and coalition building reflects a commitment to a sustained and serious effort to make an impact,” Mr. Greenblatt said.  

When anti-Semitism first re-emerged in the early 2000’s, the OSCE was the first intergovernmental organization to mobilize a response and to recognize that anti-Israel animus can be a pretext for anti-Jewish animus. Since then the ODIHR has built a comprehensive toolkit to help governments to counter anti-Semitism, hate crime, and all forms of discrimination.

Earlier this week, ADL presented recommendations to the OSCE’s annual human rights conference on advancing the security and dignity of targets of anti-Semitism and hate crimes.

In 2014, ADL conducted an unprecedented worldwide survey on anti-Semitism which found that anti-Semitic attitudes are persistent and pervasive around the world. In the aftermath of the shocking violence against Jews in Western Europe in 2015, the level of anti-Semitic attitudes among the general population in France showed a dramatic decline, while Germany and Belgium registered significant reductions, according the League’s follow-up poll in 2015.

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