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Anti-Semitism   
OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism
Berlin, Germany, April 28 - 29, 2004


Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and Public Advisor to the U.S. delegation to the OSCE, confers with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell at the start of the conference on anti-Semitism in Berlin.

Berlin Updates:

OSCE Ratifies Landmark "Berlin Declaration" Against Anti-Semitism
At the conclusion of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Conference on Anti-Semitism, the leaders of 55 nations unveiled a landmark "Berlin Declaration" against anti-Semitism, pledging to "intensify efforts to combat anti-Semitism in all its manifestations and to promote and strengthen tolerance and non-discrimination. A delegation of ADL leaders, on hand to participate in the two-day conference, hailed the unveiling of the Berlin Declaration as "the end of European denial" of anti-Semitism. More

The OSCE Declaration Against Anti-Semitism

ADL Urges Nations To Combat Anti-Semitism
Excerpts from an address by Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Conference on Anti-Semitism. More

U.S. Secretary of State: Anti-Semitism "Always Dangerous"
Secretary of State Colin Powell said: "We must send the clear message far and wide that anti-Semitism is always wrong and it is always dangerous." Full Text

American Civil Rights Groups Offer Support
A high level delegation of leaders from the premier civil rights groups in America attended the Berlin conference to show their solidarity and commitment to the fight against anti-Semitism. Among the representatives issuing statements at the conference was Wade Henderson, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. More


Background

To address the problem of anti-Semitism and its manifestations in Europe, Central Asia and North America, and the role of governments and civil society in promoting greater tolerance, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will convene a Conference on Anti-Semitism in Berlin on April 28 - 29, 2004. The meeting is a follow up to last year's initial meeting on the issue in Vienna.

The Anti-Defamation League has been very involved in the planning of the conference and is working closely with the U.S. State Department and foreign officials to urge the OSCE to implement a system of monitoring of anti-Semitism and to promote programs and practices to counteract expressions of anti-Jewish bigotry.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, a member of the official U.S. delegation to Vienna in 2003, will attend the meeting in Berlin along with Barbara B. Balser, ADL National Chair and other top League leaders.

During the conference, ADL will participate in a special session on anti-Semitism on the Internet. ADL is the sole American representative in the International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH), which will deliver a presentation during the OSCE conference. The session will bring together professionals from non-governmental organizations and to discuss ways to combat anti-Semitism online.

Now is the Time to Address Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is surging in the world to an extent unprecedented since the end of World War II. As the 55 member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meet in Berlin, we hope that Europe will act against this hatred.

It is critical that this meeting is being held at this time and in this place. For centuries, Europe was the home of rabid anti-Semitism culminating in the Holocaust. It has taken far too long for Europeans to admit that the problem of anti-Semitism in Europe today is not a history lesson, but a current event.

The OSCE meeting is an opportunity for Europeans and Americans, Jews and non-Jews, to cut through the rationalizations that what is really going on is a critique of Israel's policies, and not anti-Semitism. It is an opportunity for European governments to recognize that anti-Semitism is not a history lesson, but a current event, with more troubling incidents reported in Europe during the first few months of 2004.

Europeans and Americans must come together in Berlin to denounce such activities. A common understanding should emerge that at the root of these anti-Jewish efforts is the same kind of extremist thinking that lies behind the international terrorism that is threatening our civilization.

Manifestations of this thinking include: blaming the Jews for committing the terror of 9/11; labeling Zionism, the National Liberation Movement of the Jewish people as racism, as was done in at the U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001; spreading Holocaust denial throughout the Middle East; supporting the deliberate murder of Israeli men, women and children, as well as targeting of Jews around the world; boycotting of Israelis by all kinds of international institutions.

These murderous and one-sided approaches are not directed at finding a fair and balanced solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which two states will live side-by-side in peace and security. They are assaults not only on Jews but on democratic values, modern society, and on the West. The current assault on Israel and Jews should be seen as a warning for Western democracy.

European governments and civil society have a chance in Berlin to recognize the need to join America at this time against this menace to us all. There are many practical steps that can be taken.

At an interparliamentary OSCE forum on Confronting and Combating anti-Semitism held in Washington, D.C., December 10, 2002, ADL issued a 10-point action agenda against global anti-Semitism and urged the OSCE to mobilize its member nations to take positive steps in their home countries. In testimony before the forum, Ken Jacobson, ADL Associate National Director, urged parliamentarians form the U.S. and Germany to broaden the alliance of nations willing to speak out against anti-Semitism and to utilize the OSCE to "turn bold recognition and understanding of the problem and its urgency into concerted, multilateral action."

Above all, Europe must take seriously the ideology of anti-Semitism coming out of the Arab and Islamic world. They must denounce the deliberate targeting of Jews by terrorist groups, whether Al Qaeda or Hamas. They must denounce the vicious anti-Semitic material in the Arab press and educational systems, and call on Arab leaders to do something about it. They must understand that the Holocaust happened by the complicity, active and passive, of other Europeans.

The U.S. delegation to this year's conference in Berlin will be led by former New York City Mayor Ed Koch.

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News from Berlin

Echoes of the Past Haunt a Conference in Berlin
Op-ed by Joseph Smukler
Chair, ADL International Affairs

Anti-Semitism to be Confronted Head-On at European Meeting
Op-ed by Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director

ADL Survey Finds Some Decrease In Anti-Semitic Attitudes In Ten European Countries (4/46/04)

ADL Leader Tapped as Public Advisor to U.S. Delegation to Berlin (4/19/04)

Additional Links and Resources
OSCE Berlin Conference Web page
ADL's 10-point Action Agenda Against Global Anti-Semitism
ADL Survey of Five European Countries Finds One in Five Hold Strong Anti-Semitic Sentiment
Global Anti-Semitic Incidents 2004

2003 Conference in Vienna
U.S. Mission to the OSCE Statement on Anti-Semitism, Delivered By Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director (PDF Version)
(Requires Acrobat Reader)
OSCE Conference Ends with Call to Action Against Anti-Semitism
2003 OSCE Conference in Vienna Web Site
Includes updates and transcripts of speeches from Vienna
 
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