ADL Urges European Governments To Partner With Communities In Combating Anti-Semitism
New York, NY, September 25, 2007… The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on the 56 states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to meet their obligations to combat anti-Semitism and hate crime and to partner with Jewish communities and other civil society representatives in crafting and implementing policies.
At the OSCE's annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Poland, the League reported on the disturbing findings of ADL's surveys of anti-Semitic attitudes in 11 European countries and presented recommendations to government delegates on how to combat anti-Semitism across Europe.
"Our overriding message to governments is to maintain their resolve to not only recognize the problem, but take proactive steps to monitor, expose and combat anti-Semitism," said Stacy Burdett, ADL's Associate Director for Government and National Affairs, who is attending the OSCE meeting in Poland. "Anti-Semitic violence is on the rise in the OSCE region. There is a need for a distinct focus on the problem."
ADL's recommendations to the members-states of the OSCE include:
• Maintain focus on Anti-Semitism. Available data show that anti-Semitic violence is on the rise. Governments must not weaken their resolve to confront the issue. The OSCE and its participating states should focus on the problem and maintain momentum to counter hate by holding an expert-level implementation event focused on anti-Semitism in 2008, and a high-level conference in 2009.
• The incoming OSCE Chair in Office should reappoint the Personal Representative on Anti-Semitism as well as Personal Representatives on Racism and Xenophobia, and on Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims, and strengthen their capacity.
• States must fulfill their pledge to monitor hate crime. Data collection is a powerful tool to confront anti-Semitism and bigotry because it highlights the issue of hate violence for policymakers and the public -- and prompts government outreach and police training to identify, report, and respond to hate violence. Successive reports and meetings have noted that in too many states, government and law enforcement efforts to address hate crime are inadequate.
• Forge Links with Civil Society. States should establish a framework for communication between communities and relevant officials. Visible partnerships with civil society organizations are essential to the success of any hate crime response. States should also welcome and support efforts to build the capacity of non-governmental organizations to serve as a bridge between police and communities to ensure an effective response.
• Support the specialized work of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Tolerance and non-Discrimination Unit and utilize and promote its education programs and other tools to combat anti-Semitism and hate crime.
• Parliaments should serve as catalysts for action against anti-Semitism. It was the Parliamentary Assembly that first adopted important language on anti-Semitism included in the 2004 Berlin Declaration. In a more recent example, the UK's All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism provided an excellent model of parliamentarians documenting and challenging anti-Semitic attitudes and encouraging government action at the highest level. Parliamentarians across the OSCE region should embrace and seek to replicate this model. In addition, the hearings, reports, and advocacy by the United States Helsinki Commission -- a parliamentary group which works full time to encourage states to comply with OSCE commitments – were instrumental in building momentum toward an OSCE focus on anti-Semitism and intolerance.
In its just-released report, Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region, OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) called anti-Semitism a threat to security and stability in the region and noted a widespread pattern of anti-Israel sentiment fueling anti-Semitic incidents, particularly in connection to the 2006 fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.
Since 2003, the Member States of the OSCE taken on a series of commitments to combat anti-Semitism, in areas such as hate crime data collection, law enforcement training, and education on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. The OSCE comprises 56 nations, including the U.S., Canada and the countries of Europe and Eurasia.
More information on the League's recommendations to and involvement with the OSCE is available at www.adl.org/osce
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.