Update: As the OSCE conference in Cordoba drew to a close, ADL called on members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to make good on their promises to take action to stem attacks on Jews and Jewish communities. More>>
June 8, 2005, Cordoba, Spain . . . As the Conference on Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Intolerance of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) opened in Cordoba, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) urged governments to redouble efforts to implement their commitments to monitor and combat anti-Semitism and intolerance.
ADL shared with key officials the results of a new survey of attitudes towards Jews in 12 OSCE participating states which demonstrates that classical anti-Semitic attitudes continue to be entrenched in many parts of the OSCE region, underlining the need for government action.
Stacy Burdett, ADL Associate Director of Government and National Affairs, who is serving as a Public Advisor to the U.S. delegation headed by New York Gov. George Pataki, noted: "The participating states of the OSCE have undertaken an impressive set of commitments to fight anti-Semitism in the areas such as education, legislation and law enforcement. But two years into this process, too few states have turned these commitments into action. We hope this gathering of ministers and high-level officials will mobilize greater political will by more states to take meaningful action."
Since OSCE states have pledged to promote education programs on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, ADL held a side event showcasing its Bearing Witness program as a model for promoting both tolerance and interfaith understanding that could be adapted in other OSCE states. The Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver and Member of the Official U.S. Delegation, and Karen Brady, a Catholic educator and graduate of the Bearing Witness program spoke about the importance of such programs.
In the conference plenary, U.S. delegates cited ADL reports and highlighted several ADL programs as promising practices in the fight against anti-Semitism and all hate crime. In addressing the session on Responding to Anti-Semitism and Hate Crime, U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Edward O'Donnell highlighted ADL education and law enforcement training initiatives as promising practices in the fight against anti-Semitism.
ADL European Affairs Director Ben Cohen highlighted the need to preserve a distinct focus on anti-Semitism in the OSCE. "We welcome the opportunity to address all forms of intolerance, but we must recognize that anti-Semitism is a distinct phenomenon with deep roots in Europe. That is why we are urging the OSCE to renew the mandates of the Personal Representative on Anti-Semitism, as well as the Personal Representatives on the other forms of bigotry."
ADL is participating in the conference as part of a delegation of leading civil and human rights organizations who came together to send the message that "the failure to address racial, ethnic, and religious intolerance against any of us carries a price for all of us." The delegates from ADL, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Human Rights First, the National Council of La Raza, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee presented a declaration and series of recommendations to the conference.
The Declaration noted the importance of maintaining a distinct focus on issues like anti-Semitism. "We have seen, for example, that the historic scourge of anti-Semitism has its unique origins and characteristics, and calls for unique remedial approaches. At the same time, addressing anti-Semitism poses many of the same challenges for governments and societies as other forms of racism and intolerance. We welcome the OSCE's commitment to allow the space and focus to approach individual problems effectively – tailoring responses to various challenges in different parts of the OSCE region."
A similar LCCR delegation attended the Berlin Conference on Anti-Semitism to demonstrate support for and solidarity with the fight against anti-Semitism across the OSCE region.