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ADL Statement to The 2003 Osce Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Working Session on Prevention of Discrimination, Racism, Xenophobia And Anti-Semitism
Posted: October 14, 2003

In addressing the anti-Semitism issue the OSCE has begun a historic process -- not just to spotlight the problem, but to move beyond words to action. As an OSCE community, we have redoubled our efforts to fight anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry and xenophobia, not just on humanitarian grounds, but as a matter of the national security of all freedom loving peoples.

This process has already forged consensus among many participating States and their NGO partners in this endeavor that the time has come to turn our united commitment into action in key areas such as education and enforcement.

This meeting was born out of the understanding that implementation is the heart and soul of our mission. As the Chairman-in-Office aptly noted in opening this meeting, words are not enough. At the end of the day, our efforts will only be as valuable as the follow up and implementation. Our resolve here today and at the upcoming Ministerial Council in Maastricht will determine whether the landmark meeting in June will fade away or whether it will be a starting point for a new worldwide effort to stand up against anti-Semitism.

We, therefore, welcome the offer of Germany to host a follow-up meeting on anti-Semitism in Berlin and are gratified that many participating States have already expressed support for such a follow-up meeting.

Now is the time to lay the groundwork for a successful gathering in Berlin - that will not just continue a discussion but one that will mark progress made in the year since the June meeting and institutionalize sustained efforts by participating States and the OSCE.

Assigning a contact point within OSCE responsible for monitoring and implementation is critical. We cannot assess implementation of these recommendations without an accurate picture of the scope and nature of the problem. Data collection and public reporting on anti-Semitic incidents and the effectiveness of counteraction measures across the OSCE region is the cornerstone of any comprehensive effort to review compliance with OSCE commitments.

To that end, it is vital that work begin now crafting an appropriate and workable monitoring mechanism within OSCE. Excellent models exist. The Anti-Defamation League has worked with law enforcement in the US and internationally as well as with international law enforcement associations and training institutes in developing such models.

To be sure, across the region, there are differences in laws, and law enforcement policies and procedures which make uniform reporting a particular challenge. First efforts of such data collection in the US working in 50 states with varying legal contexts, were far from perfect. Yet, the difficulties involved in trying to assess the problem over such a large area should not deter us from taking the first steps to establish a framework for monitoring and compiling data. Let us begin work now to adopt an approach.

  • We urge all 55 OSCE Members to lend support to a stand-alone follow up meeting on anti-Semitism in 2004 so that this process may move beyond recognition of the problem to facilitating its counteraction.
  • We hope this meeting and the December Ministerial Council in Maastricht will endorse a mandate and mechanism within OSCE for monitoring and reporting on anti-Semitic incidents and action by participating States.
  • OSCE states must make it a matter of policy to address the dimensions of the problem that emanate from outside our region as well:

      -- First, the resounding condemnations of anti-Semitism we heard in Vienna were meaningful, but we cannot address the problem head on without recognizing and actively opposing the hatred and incitement against Jews flowing from the Middle East. OSCE nations must take seriously the ideology of anti-Semitism coming out of the Arab and Islamic world. Member states must denounce the vicious anti-Semitic material in the Arab press and educational systems and call on Arab leaders to do something about it.

      Political, intellectual, and religious leaders must insist in a variety of forums that, the Big Lie --blaming the Jews for 9/11, growing Holocaust denial, the spread of the infamous forgery the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other manifestations of anti-Semitism in the Arab and Islamic world, are unacceptable. The silence of many OSCE nations in the face of this dangerous incitement against Jews must end.

      -- Second, we must confront the connection between the bias against Israel internationally -- in the media, in governments -- and the surge of anti-Semitism on the streets in many participating States. While the state of Israel is not beyond legitimate criticism, states must reject the self-satisfying rationalizations that this bias and violence are manifestations of legitimate criticism of Israel and recognize that the singling out of Israel creates an environment in which anti-Semitism flourishes.

      -- Third, OSCE Member states have it within their power today to play a very different role in international organizations where anti-Israel bias has been reflected even in the revival of the infamous "Zionism is racism" ideology. This bias has shown itself to be easily transformed into outright anti-Semitism, as we witnessed at the U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001.
As an organization that has monitored anti-Semitism and bigotry in America, we can attest that this is a problem shared by the US and the other 54 OSCE members. Today, there are certainly many issues that divide members of this body and that divide the US from many of its partners. There should, however, be no difference of opinion concerning the attacks on Jews and the efforts to deny the right of the Jewish people, like other peoples, to an independent, sovereign state treated by the same standards as other nations.

The community of OSCE members came together in Vienna to denounce such activities with the hope that a common understanding would emerge: that at the root of these anti-Jewish efforts is the same kind of extremist thinking that lies behind the international terrorism threatening our civilization.

Our purpose here today is to move forward from our common understanding and recognition of the problem to concerted action.

I have attached only a brief listing of selected incidents of anti-Semitism across the OSCE region. This listing is in no way meant to be a quantitative representation of the number of incidents in specific countries but merely to provide examples of the kinds of incidents we continue to see. Many of the incidents have occurred since our June meeting in Vienna and attest to the pressing need to take this process to the next step and to put in place monitoring mechanisms and preventive measures to make the OSCE region more secure for Jews and all minorities now and in the future.
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