Members of Congress Encourage EU Commission President to Increase Vigilance on Anti-Semitism

Mar 17, 2010 Issues: Foreign Affairs

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, a prominent group of members of the U.S. Congress, led by Congressmen Joe Crowley (D-NY), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) called on the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso to bolster efforts to prevent anti-Semitism in Europe.  The letter was signed by twenty three members of Congress, who sent it in response to the significant increases in anti-Semitic acts that took place in Europe in 2009.  Last month, the Jewish Agency released data highlighting a spike in anti-Semitic acts that occurred in Europe during the 2009 Israeli Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.  The Agency pointed out that the number of anti-Semitic acts that took place in 2009 was the highest since World War II.
 
Concerned with the rise in anti-Semitism in 2009, the members of Congress said in their letter, "We realize that many European countries have taken... steps to combat tides of anti-Semitism, but the Jewish Agency’s findings underscore the need to redouble these efforts. We would like to work with you, wherever possible, to increase our efforts, by sharing best-practices and collaborating on our efforts."
 
Added the members of Congress, "We urge you to publicly condemn the increased acts of anti-Semitism – which, if left unchecked, could further escalate in number and intensity. Additionally, we urge the European Commission – as well as the member states of the European Union – to expand efforts to prevent anti-Semitic attacks."
 
For more information, see:
 
Associated Press: Israelis says anti-Semitism peaked in 2009 https://www.salon.com/wires/world/2010/01/24/D9DE8JM01_ml_israel_anti_semitism/index.html
 
Report: Record high number of anti-Semitic acts in 2009:
https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3838933,00.html
 
In face of anti-Semitism, Jewish Agency Chairman Will Work Toward Promoting Israel on College Campuses https://www.jewishagency.org/JewishAgency/English/About/Updates/Personal+Stories/Archive/2010/jan26.htm
 
More global anti-Semitic incidents reported in 2009 than any year since WWII https://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1144733.html
 
The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism - 2009 Summary https://www.antisemitism.org.il/
 
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FULL TEXT OF LETTER
 
March 15, 2010
 
Excellency José Manuel Barroso
President, European Commission
Brussels, Belgium
 
Dear President José Manuel Barroso:
 
We wanted to bring to your attention recent data compiled by the Jewish Agency, which found that there were more documented incidents of anti-Semitism in Europe in 2009 than at any time since World War II.  In fact, a greater number of incidents occurred during the first three months of 2009 than in all of 2008, including the burning of synagogues and the defacing of cemeteries and Holocaust memorials.  These alarming statistics cannot be ignored and require the immediate attention of the European Commission.
 
The U.S. House of Representatives has been deeply involved in combating anti-Semitism throughout the world, passing a resolution as early as 2002 which states that “although the continued violence in the Middle East is disturbing and must be resolved, exploiting that violence to fuel hostility or violence against Jews and Jewish institutions is reprehensible.”  We realize that many European countries have taken similar steps to combat tides of anti-Semitism, but the Jewish Agency’s findings underscore the need to redouble these efforts. We would like to work with you, wherever possible, to increase our efforts, by sharing best-practices and collaborating on our efforts.
 
As you know, EU states were present at the OSCE Berlin Conference on Anti-Semitism in 2004 and adopted the following April 2004 Permanent Council Decision No. 607 on Combating Anti-Semitism, which condemned without reservation all manifestations of anti-Semitism and that international or political developments in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East never justify anti-Semitism.  Indeed, modern-day Europe was formed on the basis of religious freedom and equal rights for all.  When these rights are trampled upon, governments must step in and act in order to protect their citizens. For this reason, we urge you to publicly condemn the increased acts of anti-Semitism – which, if left unchecked, could further escalate in number and intensity. Additionally, we urge the European Commission – as well as the member states of the European Union – to expand efforts to prevent anti-Semitic attacks.
 
Ultimately, any attack on any minority group represents an attack on all who believe in human rights, and efforts to defend victims of such attacks are efforts to defend us all.  We know you agree with this sentiment and we look forward to working with you to address this issue.
 
Sincerely,
 
Joseph Crowley
Alcee L. Hastings
Christopher H. Smith
Anthony D. Weiner
Michael E. McMahon                                    
Dan Burton                            
Jared Polis                                          
Al Green        
Ron Klein       
Heath Shuler
Mike Quigley             
Maurice Hinchey
Doug Lamborn           
Donald A. Manzullo
Jerrold Nadler
Frank R. Wolf
Laura Richardson
Shelley Berkley
Elijah E. Cummings   
Keith Ellison
Mary Jo Kilroy           
Gus R. Bilirakis
Debbie Wasserman Schultz   

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