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Chairman Smith Receives Congressional Leader Award

WASHINGTON –The American Jewish Committee (AJC) presented Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), with its 2011 Leadership Award for his work combating anti-Semitism and promotion of other humanitarian issues at its 2011 Global Forum on April 26, 2011.

“For 30 years, Chris Smith has been our friend, ally and a tireless advocate for human rights,” said Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC Director of International Jewish Affairs, who presented the award at the opening session of the AJC Global Forum. “As Co-Chair of the Helsinki Commission, Chris organized a hearing on Escalating Anti-Semitic Violence in Europe. It led to the first official conference on anti-Semitism ever mounted by an international governmental organization, the OSCE, in Vienna in 2003, and a year later a second conference in Berlin—this time with a declaration of fifty-five countries, acknowledging the problem and proposing steps to address it.” Click here to read Rabbi Baker’s presentation to Smith.

“Whether it be strengthening support for Israel or Jews worldwide or confronting the Iranian threat or pushing reconciliation in Sudan, or opposing the hypocrisy of Syria’s all-too-serious bid to join the already discredited U.N. Human Rights Council, the American Jewish Committee has a record of unparalleled competence and accomplishment,” said Smith. “So I am especially grateful to receive the AJC Congressional Award tonight from an organization that has made a huge, positive difference in the world.” Click here to read Chairman Smith’s remarks at the award ceremony.

Smith is also a co-chair of the Congressional Anti-Semitism Task Force, chairman of the House Human Rights Subcommittee and an Executive Committee Member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

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