ADL Plays Significant Role in London Conference on Anti-Semitism
Posted: February 17, 2009
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) played a significant role in the London Conference on Combating Antisemitism, which took place February 16-17, 2009 in the House of Parliament under the auspices of an Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism.
The conference brought together more than 120 lawmakers from over 40 countries spanning the globe to devise an effective framework and forge new strategies to confront anti-Semitism on a global scale.
Although the conference was planned months ago to deal with the growing and increasingly sophisticated manifestations of global anti-Semitism, it took on much greater significance as a result of the worldwide explosion of anti-Semitism in response to Israel's three-week long military action in the Gaza Strip.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, made remarks to the conference and chaired a working group on "Fighting Anti-Semitism in the Political Sphere." The panel included British MP Denis MacShane, chairman of the all-Parliamentary committee to inquire into anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom, as well as two British political consultants and the executive director of the umbrella organization of Canadian Jewish organizations.
Principle recommendations of the panel included:
• Encouraging parliamentarians to adopt the model of the British All-Party Parliamentary Group against Anti-Semitism to build a broad coalition of support across political parties;
• lobbying on the issue of anti-Semitism by representatives of the Jewish community;
• expanding the definition of hate crimes to include basing a determination on the identity of the victim and not just on the state of mind of the perpetrator;
• developing non-Jewish coalition partners from varied religious and ethnic communities;
• dealing with the symptoms of anti-Semitism through governmental investment in education;
• encouraging political leaders to address the problem of anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery disguised as criticism of Israel and place anti-Semitism in the context of national values of respect and equality; coordinating a global approach, including engagement with diplomats and multi-lateral organizations such as the OSCE, European Union and UN bodies;
• acquiring accurate and timely analysis crucial to enabling political figures to have credibility – "naming and shaming" the perpetrators of anti-Semitism should be encouraged.
In his remarks, Mr. Foxman provided his view of the current state of global anti-Semitism in the aftermath of Israel's operations in Gaza, calling it "the most intense, sustained and widespread outbreak of anti-Semitism" since World War II. He called on the parliamentarians to recognize that no country is immune from the recurring virulent virus of anti-Semitism and noted that the conference was urgently needed to address the problem.
Anti-Semitism in Cyberspace
Christopher Wolf, Chair of ADL's Internet Task Force and Chair of the International Network Against Cyber-Hate (INACH) served as the consulting expert on Internet-based anti-Semitism to a working group of parliamentarians chaired by Israel's Social Affairs Minister, Yitzak Herzog. Others in the group were members of parliament from Canada, Hungary, Switzerland and Poland. Mr. Wolf presented a paper explaining how Internet-based anti-Semitism is taking on a new dimension because its prevalence makes hatred toward Jews seem "normal" and socially acceptable, especially to young people.
On The Sidelines
ADL also held meetings with colleagues from Jewish communities around the world to discuss ways to further cooperation and provide ADL's expertise and assistance to them in the struggle to respond to the current outpouring of anti-Semitic hatred.