Senate Tackles Antisemitism in Europe

Today the Senate introduced a bipartisan resolution calling on the U.S. government to confront the rise of antisemitism in Europe. The resolution, with 54 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle, comes on the heels of new Pew Research data showing antisemitism has reached a seven-year high. It has sometimes manifested in violence, from the terrorist attacks at a Parisian kosher market to the vandalism of Jewish gravesites.

While some senior European leaders have roundly decried antisemitism and several U.S. officials have called attention to its growing prevalence, the Senate resolution is the first action taken by Congress on the issue. The measure calls for senior-level special envoys, law-enforcement training, and better data collection—recommendations Human Rights First has advanced as well.

Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino recently spoke before the United Nations General Assembly in its first-ever special meeting to combat anti-Semitic violence. She highlighted that antisemitism is promoted not only among an extreme segment in some Muslim communities in Western European countries, but also by far-right neo-fascist parties like Jobbik in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece, who are gaining strength in elections. Human Rights First has also called on the new U.S. ambassador to Hungary to hold Prime Minister Viktor Orban to his promise of “zero tolerance” for antisemitism.

The presence of antisemitism is a threat not just to Jews but also other vulnerable minorities. Where Jews are discriminated against and bias is left to fester, more human rights abuses invariably follow. The surge of antisemitism in Europe is a grave warning sign, and Human Rights First welcomes U.S. leadership to stem its tide.


Published on February 27, 2015


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