Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman,
The ODIHR today unveiled a report on hate crime which documents that hate crime is a worrying fact of everyday life in the OSCE region even where robust laws are in place to punish perpetrators. Young people are increasingly represented among both victims and perpetrators, which makes it especially clear that, by the time one of these laws is used, our society has already failed these young people. My focus today is on steps we can take to prevent those failures in the first place and to institute policies and programs to help raise a new generation that will embrace diversity as a strength.
Survey of Anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism is a major concern for the Anti-Defamation League -- not just because we are a Jewish community organization, but because anti-Semitism, the longest and most persistent form of prejudice, threatens security and democracy, and poisons the health of a society as a whole. The Anti-Defamation League was established in 1913 with its core mission to combat the then horrific discrimination against Jews in all facets of American life and the growth of anti-Jewish movements and organizations peddling their hate around the world. Over nearly a century, as part of the fight against anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, we have been at the forefront of the campaign to secure historic civil rights achievements, pioneered the development of model hate crime laws and developed anti-prejudice education models to address all forms of prejudice and to prepare the next generation to live in our increasingly diverse society. And we have seen that, where anti-Semitism flourishes, no minority group is safe.
Anti-Semitism manifests itself in societies where Jews are present and – as we sadly see in the constant stream of anti-Semitic images and words in much of the Arab and Islamic world -- in societies where Jews are absent. Throughout history, anti-Semitism has mutated in many different ways. Anti-Semites have sought to convert the Jews, to physically isolate us, and, of course, to annihilate us. The Jews have survived, but so has anti-Semitism.
It is often said that Jews today face greater insecurity and uncertainty than at any other time since 1945. Yet there is a crucial difference which marks our own period for the better. It is this: we are now, in the majority of states where Jewish communities live, protected by the laws and norms of democratic societies. In the OSCE region, anti-Semitism is driven by toxic, backward-looking forces in society, rather than by the state. If, in the past, the challenge we faced was to combat state supported anti-Semitism, the challenge now is to harness political will by governments to put into action their commitment to bring up our children in a world where respect, and not hatred, is the basic currency of human exchange.
Over the last year, we have seen anti-Semitic agitation and violence remain at disturbingly high levels. During the July-August period of this year, as conflict raged in the Middle East, Jewish communities found themselves facing verbal abuse, vandalism and physical violence. The 2004 Berlin Declaration laid down an important marker about this new mutation of anti-Semitism when it said: "international developments or political issues, including those in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East, never justify anti-Semitism." Yet, incidents of this summer indicate that, in some circumstances, anti-Semitism is intimately connected with events in the Middle East. In many cases, targeting Jews because of events in the Middle East is blended with more traditional anti-Semitic sentiments. In other cases still, anti-Semitism rears its head within broader expressions of social disorder: delinquency, street violence, and other verbal abuse.
While we had come to view anti-Semitism as a relic of history, or as views of a dying generation, events indicate a startling trend that the offenders are young, and, sadly, so are their victims.
Two shocking examples from the last year serve to illustrate this last point. In January of this year, in a suburb of Paris, a young French Jew named Ilan Halimi was lured by an attractive young female into a trap laid by a gang composed of mainly Muslim youngsters. They kidnapped and incarcerated him for several weeks. He was tortured and beaten in the most brutal manner while the gang tried to extract a ransom from his family. Finally, on February 13, Ilan's naked and gagged body, covered in bruises and cigarette burns, was dumped by a roadside. An ambulance sped him to hospital, but not soon enough. On the way, he died.
It was heartening that, in mourning his death, Ilan's family was joined by French leaders and people of goodwill all over the world, who were appalled by this savage crime carried out by a gang who called themselves "The Barbarians". And yet, for a time, there was a debate: was Ilan the victim of an anti-Semitic crime? As the details of the case unraveled, the answer became clear. One young female witness interviewed by the police related that the leader of the gang had said to her: "We want a Jew". And why did they want a Jew? Because of two anti-Semitic myths: that Jews are rich and that they stick together clannishly. That was why the gang had tried to target other young Jewish men. In Ilan's case, they succeeded.
Looking back at the Ilan Halimi case, it is clear that the motivation for the crime was financial, although no ransom was ever paid out. The motive was infected by the twisted logic of prejudice; a kidnap victim should ideally be rich, Jews are rich, therefore kidnap a Jew. But the financial motive cannot even begin to explain the vicious treatment meted out to Ilan Halimi during his ordeal.
In the other case I want to mention, the victim, thankfully, is alive. But she has suffered hugely from trauma, as any young girl beaten within an inch of her life would be. I refer to the case of Jasmine Kranat, a 12 year old British Jewish girl from north London. On a Saturday evening last August, Jasmine and a non-Jewish friend boarded a bus. They were chatting to each other when a group of black and Asian teenagers approached them and began behaving aggressively towards them. And the question they kept asking was this one: "Are you Jewish?" Jasmine replied that she was English. That did not save her from a frenetic beating, which her friend, who wore a cross around her neck, was spared. After a few blows, Jasmine was knocked unconscious. The gang continued to stamp on her and kick her. Nobody on the bus intervened. Jasmine spent that night in hospital with horrific injuries. When Jasmine's mother spoke about the attack to the press, she said that her daughter kept seeing the eyes of her attackers. And those eyes, she said, were full of hate.
And the hate Jasmine described is directed not only at Jews. Racist, xenophobic, homophobic hate incidents are a growing problem from which no country is immune. The arsons, assaults, defaced places of worship, and violence that we read about in headlines doesn't tell the story of the everyday violence, intimidation and fear that grip communities and the large number of incidents that never rise to the level of being reported or covered by the media.
Youth Hate Crime: Victims and Perpetrators
Even in participating states with established data collection systems, there is a paucity of data on juvenile hate crime offenders. But there are strong indicators.
Ø In the landmark UK Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism – nearly every incident of violence and intimidation highlighted involves either a youth victim or youth perpetrator.
Ø In the United States, according to the most recent FBI hate crime data, schools and college campuses are the third most common place for a hate crime to occur.
Ø An October 2001 report by the US Justice Department carefully analyzed nearly a subset of the hate crimes reported to the FBI and revealed that a disproportionately high percentage of both the victims and the perpetrators of hate violence were young people under 18 years of age:
Ø 33% of all known hate crime offenders were under 18; 31% of all violent crime offenders and 46% of the property offenders.
Ø Another 29% of all hate crime offenders were 18-24.
Ø 30% of all victims of bias-motivated aggravated assaults and 34% of the victims of simple assault were under 18.
Ø 34% of all persons arrested for hate crimes were under 18; 28% of the violent hate crimes and 56% of the bias-motivated property crimes.
Ø Another 27% of those arrested for hate crimes were 18-24.
Clearly, these numbers can hardly capture the magnitude of their impact on each child, each family, each community. Behind each and every one of these statistics lies a story, like the ones I highlighted, of an individual or community targeted for violence for no other reason than race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or ethnicity.
The OSCE: A Welcome Forum
We, in the civil society community, still scarred from a United Nations Racism Conference which turned into a forum for anti-Jewish hatred, recognized unique attributes of the OSCE that made it an ideal forum to promote improved state-sponsored responses to hate crimes. The OSCE's unique focus on human rights, its record in securing government commitments on anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred, and its appreciation for the critical role NGO's play in working with national and local civic and religious leaders, have made this international body a vital voice on issues of anti-Semitism and intolerance.
When we first were confronted by the surge of anti-Semitic hate violence in the OSCE region, one problem faced in so many communities was that, in the face of hate, there was no one to call. Too many communities did not know where to turn to report an incident or a threat or to seek help for victims. While some countries were still denying the problem and failing to respond, members of civil society in partnership with governments and parliamentarians worked within the OSCE to urge Participating States to commit to address it.
Important progress has been made since then, beginning with the 2002 Porto Ministerial Council Decision and successive Ministerial Decisions supported by resolutions of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. The Vienna Conference on Anti-Semitism in 2003, the Berlin and Brussels Conferences in 2004 on anti-Semitism and xenophobia, and the Cordoba Conference on Anti-Semitism and Intolerance in 2005 secured commitments for action by Participating States and for the OSCE institutions. The Tolerance and non-Discrimination program that grew out of those conferences, in only two years, has made tangible progress in fulfilling its tasking to monitor and report on hate incidents and to share promising programs with states. The appointment by the Chair in Office of Personal Representatives on anti-Semitism, on Xenophobia and on Discrimination against Muslims has added political muscle to OSCE efforts to raise the profile of these issues. So now, in the face of hate, there is a place to call, a locus for action, an intergovernmental partnership with civil society to spotlight and combat this problem.
But tragically, the need for this focus has increased, not diminished. We are here today to address the toll bias-motivated violence takes on its youngest victims and to make recommendations which our organization, the Anti-Defamation League – an organization which has combated anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred for nearly a century – believes can make a real impact.
Next Steps for OSCE to Confront Intolerance
The tolerance promotion efforts of the OSCE Permanent Council and by the ODIHR have been vital in shining a spotlight on the problem of anti-Semitism, intolerance and hate violence across this region, and have also reinforced civil society efforts. There are further steps OSCE institutions can take to build on these efforts:
- Extend the Mandate of Three Personal Representatives. The Ministerial Council should endorse and the incoming Chair in Office should reappoint the three Personal Representatives on Anti-Semitism; Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination; and Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims. The Personal Representatives should focus on the impact of hate on youth in their monitoring and reporting and seek ways to engage youth, and youth organizations as part of their outreach.
- Conduct High-Level Follow Up in 2007. The Permanent Council and Ministers Council should authorize a high level conference on anti-Semitism and intolerance in 2007 to follow up on implementation efforts in 2006.
- Sustain ODIHR Efforts. The problem of anti-Semitism and intolerance is not a fleeting one and the work to address it must be sustained. The ODIHR tolerance work should be institutionalized and funded as part of its core budget. In addition, more Participating States should take advantage of the ready tools prepared by the ODIHR which, with very minimal assistance can reach educators and youth service professionals in more countries. These programs are supported by voluntary contributions from far too few States and more governments should step forward.
- Provide Participating States with Model Guidelines. ODIHR should craft model guidelines for a comprehensive national approach to combating hate crime that could be used to develop and implement new laws where none exist, and strengthen existing laws, to improve the response of the criminal justice system to hate violence.
- OSCE should pilot an anti-prejudice curriculum for use in the public school systems in Participating States. Schools and NGOs in various Participating States have been involved in the development and implementation of anti-prejudice and diversity curricula, both in selected schools and in peer-led organizations. We urge the OSCE to examine these resources, and to adapt them for use in all schools in OSCE states.
Recommendations to Participating States: Concrete Action to Implement Commitments
While OSCE commitments and programs are firm foundations on which to build, in the end, it falls to Participating States to demonstrate the political will to institutionalize practices and programs that make the most critical difference. Participating States have taken the first important step in committing to take action. While there have been improvements, successive reports and conferences have pointed to a decided lack of implementation. Below are ten recommendations for concrete action to close this gap.
1) Improve data collection. As part of meeting commitments, states should take steps to more comprehensively collect hate crime data on the basis of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or ethnicity. Data collection efforts should include information on both the age of both the victim and the suspected offender. This information would be especially useful in efforts to learn more about juvenile hate crime offenders and victims. States should publicize this data and share it with ODIHR. Experience tells us that data collection efforts increase public awareness of the problem – and spark improvements in the local response of the criminal justice system to hate violence. Police officials have a growing appreciation for the law enforcement and community benefits of tracking hate crime and responding to it in a priority fashion. Authorities now better understand that they can advance police-community relations by demonstrating a commitment to be both tough on hate crime perpetrators and sensitive to the special needs of hate crime victims. By compiling statistics and charting the geographic distribution of these crimes, police officials may be in a position to discern patterns and anticipate an increase in racial tensions in a given jurisdiction. When police implement data collection efforts in partnership with community-based groups, the effort should enhance police-community relations.
2) Establish a focal point for Information and Resource. States that have not yet done so should designate a special representative and an office to coordinate and strengthen government interagency efforts to confront hate violence. This office can become both the repository for information and the central address for community-based organizations that work with youth in targeted communities.
3) Make anti-prejudice skills a foundation of education. Anti-prejudice lessons should be directly integrated into the curriculum and into after-school program activities. In order to make such efforts effective, the curricula cannot exist as an add-on or extra part of the day, but rather must be incorporated as part of the educational experience for all children. Educators and students must see that diversity skills are an essential component of their teaching and learning.
4) Programs which universalize messages without focusing on distinct problems will be ineffective. While diversity education imparts skills that are applicable in confronting different forms of bias, the most effective programs provide tools for youth to confront problems they are facing with specificity. More Participating States should implement the ODIHR curriculum on anti-Semitism and other available resources which address specific forms of bias.
5) Education efforts should target the community of providers who impact youth. Providing anti-prejudice training and hate crime prevention training for education authorities, administrators and school personnel, as well as students can develop awareness and build skills among youth. It can also evoke a positive community-wide response to hate and bias-motivated behavior. Many children are exposed to role models and peers with stereotypical beliefs, and consequently further perpetuate the cycle of hate. This is the premise behind comprehensive initiatives such as the Partners Against Hate program.
6) Education Ministries should establish anti-prejudice teaching standards and model policies to protect students from school-based hate crime and harassment. Schools should adopt formal written policies governing how teachers, administrators and security professionals identify and respond effectively to bias-motivated bullying, violence, and harassment. The policy should include formal reporting and complaint procedures and facilitate cooperation between educators and law enforcement officials.
7) Police officials should be especially mindful of special circumstances involved with youthful hate crime offenders. States should establish a framework for dealing with first-time and non-violent juvenile hate crime offenders. Where appropriate the law should provide an opportunity for alternative sentencing, such as community service, for a range of non-violent bias crimes. In addition, the murder of Ilan Halimi, demonstrates that gang-based violence can be directed at individuals on the basis of race, religion, and ethnicity. States should take steps to recognize that fact and tailor anti-gang initiatives appropriately.
8) Empower youth as agents of change. The men and women who will be the leaders of tomorrow, now walk the hallways of our schools. They need opportunities to develop their leadership skills. Many school systems already use peer education models to engage students on health awareness issues like HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. Peer-to-peer programs give students both understanding of particular forms of bias and the skills to intervene and interrupt bias related behavior and to support victims. ADL's highly successful Peer Training Program has been successfully adapted and disseminated throughout Western Europe through the efforts of CEJI and EPTO. The Partners Against Hate program developed a resource guide on peer leadership programs for educators, law enforcement, families and communities. This reference tool provides a framework and resources for establishing peer leadership programs in secondary schools and youth service organizations.
9) Harness the power of technology and the Internet to reach students. As a vehicle for spreading hate, the Internet is more powerful than anything extremists of past decades could have imagined. Using simple search tools, young Internet users can easily find hate propaganda – or stumble upon such propaganda inadvertently. In fact, misleading extremist Web sites designed to lure unsuspecting children are increasingly prevalent. Practically and legally, combating online hate is a daunting task. Under American law, censorship is not the answer. Instead, we encourage exposure of online bigots – coupled with tools to empower parents, teachers, and librarians to help young people refine their critical thinking skills in responsible use of the Internet. In addition, however, more must be done to leverage the interactive potential of the Internet to provide young people interested in reducing prejudice, bigotry, and hate with the information, resources, and skills development necessary to combat effectively the irrational fears and prejudices that can lead to acts of violence. These "high tech antidotes" can help young people reject these haters and their propaganda.
10) Promote Holocaust education. We welcomed the publication of the ODIHR's overview and analysis of Education on the Holocaust and Anti-Semitism in the region which surveyed activity in Participating States. The study highlighted the broad interest in Holocaust education, but it also showed deficiencies in both state support through directives and other policies. The study stressed that, Holocaust education alone does not address new forms of anti-Semitism. Effective programs must also address contemporary anti-Semitism as a subject on its own. States should utilize the teaching tools ODIHR has developed on anti-Semitism, the ODIHR guidelines on Holocaust commemoration and other program resources.
Success Stories and Promising Practices
These recommendations are a tall order, but the good news is that excellent resources are readily available to ministries that wish to take up this call. The public private partnerships with civil society organizations with the expertise are critical to actualizing these commitments and putting them to work There are many quality programs operating in many participating states that are too numerous to name here. The ODIHR has done an impressive job pulling together many examples from across the region in a systematic way in the Practical Initiatives Database they have launched today and other reports and interactive resources on tolerance programs. I will refer briefly to just some of the models the Anti-Defamation League has found to be adaptable in different contexts. In my written statements, I have provided links to more detailed information and I urge you to refer to the online version of my full statement.
The Case for Comprehensive Youth Hate Prevention Initiatives
While authorities must outlaw and punish hate crime, prevention through education is a critical antidote and our organization devotes significant resources to programs that counter and interrupt bias and prejudice and promote intergroup dialogue and respect. If we are to achieve peace and understanding across racial, ethnic and religious lines, it is imperative that such initiatives become a core foundation of education.
From the nursery room to the classroom, from the classroom to the boardroom or military strategy room, and yes, even in our own living rooms, we need to be educated about hate and the skills necessary to stand up to it. Moreover, we need to learn to work together across our differences and to understand that diversity is our greatest asset. History has shown that when people of conscience are given tools and skills to recognize and combat bigotry, prejudice and discrimination, they will do so. We know that people are not born to hate - they learn to hate. And, if we learn it, so might we "un-learn it" or prevent the initial learning from taking place.
Research has shown that from the age of 3-5 years-old when children begin to recognize differences and form attitudes based on their perceptions of differences. How important is this early intervention? One recent study found that almost 50 percent of children had racial biases by age 6. Fortunately research also proves that, through positive, interactive experiences they can develop an appreciation of themselves and an appreciation of people who are physically and culturally different themselves.
It is critical to recognize the connection between hurtful words and hateful acts. Hate and bias exists on a continuum and if stereotypes and biases remain unchecked, they can -- and often will – escalate to discrimination, scapegoating and even violence.
As children age, they are continually seeking to understand, define - and redefine - themselves and the world around them. They do so by watching, learning and observing others -- their families, the media, their peers and their political leaders.
What is it that we will teach them? What are some of the essential education practices that can address the pernicious problems of hate and bias? Let me outline briefly five ADL educational program models that have proven sound in combating racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred.
A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute's A CLASSROOM OF DIFFERENCE Teacher Training: This model, provided to more than 400,000 educators throughout the United States and adapted and delivered across Europe through our partnership with CEJI, the Centre European Juif d'Information, provides educators with the knowledge, skills and resources to interrupt bias and prejudice with students as well as to incorporate anti-prejudice curriculum lessons into their daily teaching practices. The foundation of this program is designed to promote educators' reflection on their own biases, language and teaching methods so that they can learn how to most effectively create inclusive, respectful learning environments for all students.
Peer Training Program: This model, adapted successfully and delivered through CEJI and EPTO, the European Peer Training Organisation in Europe, is one of the most highly-recognized education programs of the ADL in the United States. Recently independently evaluated by Yale University, researchers concluded that "the A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute Peer Training Program can have an important effect on reducing prejudice in schools." The model offers a unique combination of instructional and peer influence strategies that help students combat name-calling, bullying and harassment. It builds on the power of positive peer pressure; training and supporting students to work as change agents in their own schools and communities.
Hate Comes Home: ADL has been working for several years to explore innovative ways to harness technology to combat bigotry. In addition to many online curricular resources and tools for educators and families, including the launch of a full anti-bias online course for educators in 2007, the ADL created Hate Comes Home. Hate Comes Home is a virtual-experience interactive CD ROM that allows students to become the lead characters in a plot immersed in everyday occurrences of bias and hate-motivated behavior. The opening scene depicts a dance no school should ever have: two students are killed in a hate crime committed by other students. Users are able to make choices and decisions as the four lead characters that then either de-escalate the violence or allow it to continue.
Holocaust Education: There are two leading ADL program models that are training teachers to educate students about the Holocaust and universal messages about the dangers of hatred, scapegoating and bigotry left unchecked. The first is Bearing Witness, which has trained over 700 Catholic school teachers across North America. Offered around the United States, this model provides Catholic school teachers with the training and resources necessary to teach their students about anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. Through Bearing Witness, participants explore the history of anti-Semitism, from biblical times to modern day, including the role of the Church during the Holocaust; recent changes in Catholic teachings on Jews and Judaism; issues of prejudice in contemporary society; and strategies for teaching students about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. Echoes and Reflections, Reflections is a new multimedia curriculum on the Holocaust – combining the experience of its partners, the education networking expertise of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the visual history resources of the Shoah Foundation, and the historical expertise of Yad Vashem. Through the use of survivor testimony video, Echoes and Reflections draws students into a more personal interaction with the material and helps them make connections to their own personal lives.
Partners Against Hate. In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Anti-Defamation League, along with two other American NGOs, created a three-year comprehensive program of outreach, education, and training to address youth-initiated hate violence. The program, jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education, developed new resources to support youth hate crime awareness, education, prevention, and intervention. This innovative collaboration between government and community-based organizations leveraged the experience, networks, and resources of its three cooperating national NGOs to promote governmental priorities – safer schools and reduced juvenile hate violence.
The Partners Web site, www.partnersagainsthate.org continues to serve as a comprehensive clearinghouse of hate crime-related information. The Web site includes America's finest database of hate crime laws that form the basis of criminal enforcement in the United States, as well as promising programs and other counteraction tools.
The Partners initiative concentrated on utilizing advanced communications technologies – especially the Internet -- to promote character development, personal responsibility, and community awareness of the problem of juvenile hate violence. The project has provided parents, teachers, librarians, and criminal justice and youth-service professionals with access to information on promising techniques to prevent and reduce juvenile hate-related behavior. Importantly, the Partners Against Hate's online and offline resource materials and training initiatives have provided youth with a greater understanding of effective ways they can be empowered to address prejudice and bias.
A Call to Action
As governments and civil society leaders, we have seen in so many OSCE states how a single bias-motivated incident can trigger tensions between communities and even waves of violence -- and we know this is touching our youth in magnified ways. One need only recall the story of Ilan Halimi, or Jasmine Kranat, or Matthew Shephard, the young man in Wyoming killed because he was gay; or to ponder the gleam in a child's eye that is extinguished every time he or she is taunted.
Thomas Jefferson once said that if we solve all the problems of the world but fail to solve the problems of education, our children will destroy what we bequeath them. But – if we solve only the problems of education, our children will solve the problems of the world. We teach our children about sex because we know one day they will need to make choices and we want them to be safe & healthy choices. We teach our children about drugs because we know one day they will have to make choices and we want them to make safe & healthy choices. We reinforce those choices by having both sex and drug policies in our schools and our workplaces, as well as within our armed forces. We need to teach our children about hate, prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination – how to recognize them – how to combat them – how to prevent them. Hate hurts. Hate kills.
If Participating States act on this sense of urgency and take these recommendations back to your capitals, you will have taken an important step to build on your efforts to educate a new generation who will embrace diversity as an asset and as a strength.