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The Continued Need to Combat Anti-Semitism

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 10, 2014 | USCIRF

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two anniversaries this month highlight the importance of continually confronting and combatting anti-Semitism wherever and whenever it arises. 

This past Sunday, November 9th, marked the 76th anniversary of the 1938 Night of Broken Glass, also known as Kristallnacht, an event many consider the start of the Holocaust.  On November 12-13, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will mark the 10th anniversary of the Berlin Declaration on anti-Semitism for which participating States and civil society representatives will gather in Berlin. The Declaration acknowledged that anti-Semitism has assumed new forms and poses a continued threat to security and stability in the OSCE region.  OSCE participating States pledged to foster an environment free of anti-Semitic harassment, violence or discrimination, and combat anti-Semitic and other hate crimes. 

High-level delegations at the Berlin meeting will assess what has been achieved during the past ten years and focus on addressing current challenges. U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair, Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, and USCIRF Commissioner Hannah Rosenthal will attend the meeting as part of the U.S. delegation. 

“Kristallnacht and the OSCE meeting both serve to remind us that we must remain vigilant. The denial of freedom of religion or belief serves as a warning sign that malignant forces threaten civil society and freedom. The hatred that targets Jews knows no boundaries and relentlessly targets others, including Baha’is, Christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and Yazidis, and those somehow deemed to be different,” said USCIRF Chair Katrina Lantos Swett.

“The fight against anti-Semitism is a struggle for the basic values and principles of liberty against the forces of tyranny in every form.  Anti-Semitism is prevalent in many of the countries USCIRF monitors.  Even in Western Europe, where some of America’s strongest allies reside, anti-Semitism is increasing, and some Jews question if they have a future there. It is vitally important that anti-Semitism is denounced whenever and wherever it occurs and that ‘never again’ will the forces of democracy and freedom turn their backs,” said USCIRF Commissioner Hannah Rosenthal.

USCIRF’s 2014 Annual Report highlights anti-Semitism in several countries featured in the report, including Western Europe, Turkey (Turkish Translation), Russia (Russian Translation), Iran (Persian Translation) and Egypt (Arabic Translation).

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at media@uscirf.gov or 202-285-6868 or 202-786-0613.