As House Examines Rise of Anti-Semitism in Europe, Human Rights First Calls for Practical Policy Solutions to Create Accountability for Governments Which Encourage Hate
The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe held hearings today on how people and governments in North America and Europe can play a greater role in resisting rising antisemitism and xenophobia in European countries. As incidents of antisemitism and xenophobia rise in both regions, Human Rights First Senior Advisor for Combating Antisemitism Ira Forman testified to the seriousness of the threat to Jews and modern democratic societies.
Among other recommendations, Forman called upon Members of Congress to speak out against instances of antisemitism at home and abroad, conduct official visits to meet with Jewish communities in Europe, improve Holocaust education, and avoid treating the condemnation of antisemitism as a political tool. The same week as Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz, Forman said, “If we are going to rely on education to help stop the spread of anti-Semitism we must avoid teaching about the Holocaust as mere history. We must find ways to relate the lessons of the Holocaust to the lives of students.”
Forman continued, “Antisemitism can’t be fought by the Jewish community alone. At the local level, religious leadership, business leadership, law enforcement, political leadership and other civic leaders must be mobilized to counter not just antisemitism but also other forms of bigotry and discrimination.”
He called on Congress and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, specifically, to:
- Conduct hearings on the challenge of antisemitism in the countries where it is on the rise, and in countries where so doing would have a positive impact on the Jewish community;
- Travel to countries of specific concern to meet with government officials and local Jewish communities;
- Publicly call out, through congressional resolutions and letters, governments encouraging various forms of antisemitism.
“Continuing to focus the congressional spotlight on this most ancient of evils is a critical first step in combating its resurgence,” Forman noted. “This is ultimately a fight about democratic values. It is about the well-being of our democracy, and that of the democracies of our European allies. It could not, therefore, be of greater importance.”
Forman’s full testimony can be found here.
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