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OSCE Urged to 'Stay the Course' in Fight Against Anti-Semitism

Posted: October 5, 2008

Warsaw, October 5, 2008 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on the 56 states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to stay the course in fighting anti-Semitism and hate violence across the region. 

At the OSCE's annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Poland, the League highlighted its new report on the wave of anti-Semitic Web postings following the U.S. financial crisis as evidence of the continued need for vigilance and presented recommendations for action to government delegates.

“Too often in these hallways, we hear about fatigue around the issue of prioritizing the fight against anti-Semitism and intolerance, “ said Stacy Burdett, ADL Associate Director for Government and National Affairs, who attended the OSCE meeting in Poland. "But the reaction to the financial crisis is another reminder that the perpetrators of hatred are not fatigued, but emboldened by trends and events around the region. And while Jews may be the first scapegoat, they will never be the last.”

In its just-released 2007 annual report, Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region, OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) noted that “the persistence of anti-Semitic stereotypes and sentiments not only in extremist circles, but occasionally also in mainstream society.” 

The report said that despite growing efforts by governments to promote Holocaust remembrance, the Holocaust was frequently invoked as part of anti-Semitic harassment as “a rhetorical means to threaten and offend Jews.”

Since 2003, the member states of the OSCE have made a series of commitments to combat anti-Semitism, in areas such as hate crime data collection, law enforcement training, Holocaust education and anti-Semitism.  The OSCE comprises 56 nations, including the U.S., Canada and the countries of Europe and Eurasia.

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