Media Contact: Ben Anderson
(Washington) - Following the lead of the United States Helsinki Commission, 35 Members of the United States Congress have written President George W. Bush, urging him to use the upcoming Group of 8 (G-8) summit in France to draw attention to a resurgence of anti-Semitism and related violence throughout Europe and the United States.
“As the G-8 summit provides a timely opportunity to address political as well as economic issues facing societies represented and the wider international community, we respectfully urge you to raise this matter of mutual, international concern, and seek a joint commitment to work closely together to counter this disturbing trend,” the Members wrote.
“The G-8 summit provides an important and extraordinary occasion for leaders to discuss international issues of the day, and we hope you will take the opportunity to set anti-Semitism as an international priority,” the Members added.
Signing the letter to President Bush were Helsinki Commission Co-Chairmen Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) and Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Ranking Members Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), Commissioners Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR), Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN), Rep. Robert B. Aderholt (R-AL), Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL).
Other Members signing were Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), Senator Larry E. Craig (R-ID), Senator Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND), Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA), Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-NY), Rep. Timothy J. Ryan (D-OH), Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Brad Carson (D-OK), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX), Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel (D-PA), Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA).
A joint, public commitment from the political leaders, reflected in the summit communique, will bolster further efforts to eradicate anti-Semitism and deliver an unmistakable message to those who would promote bigotry and hatred, according to the letter.
The full text of the letter may be accessed through the Helsinki Commission’s Internet web site, www.csce.gov.
“We fully understand the problem, as the United States is not immune from sporadic acts of vandalism and violence against members of the Jewish community and their institutions,” the Commissioners wrote. “With your leadership we are confident that a strong and vigorous coalition will be formed to fight anti-Semitism.”
The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.