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Helsinki Commission Co-Chairmen Hastings and Cardin Welcome State Department’s Report on Global Anti-Semitism

WASHINGTON– Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), issued the following statement welcoming the State Department’s report on global anti-Semitism. The report stems from the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004, which requires the State Department to document and combat acts of anti-Semitism globally.

“I welcome the State Department’s report on global anti-Semitism, which highlights the unfortunate fact that anti-Semitism is still taking place across the globe. Vigilance and action are necessary to prevent the resurgence of anti-Semitism and related violence in Europe and beyond, including in our own country. The Helsinki Commission has responded over the years by mobilizing Commissioners and others in partnership with the NGO community, to translate common concerns into action through hearings and even the legislation that created this report. In this regard, I note the strong leadership provided by my Congressional colleagues, who sponsored the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 and have helped to make this report a reality,” said Chairman Hastings.

“I, too, welcome this report. Unfortunately, our best efforts have not yet significantly decreased the record levels of violence and negative sentiments towards members of the Jewish community recorded at the beginning of this century. The Helsinki Commission has a long history of engagement in addressing the rise of anti-Semitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance within the OSCE region. This report publically sheds light on these tragic incidents and hopefully will allow for better monitoring of these events,” said Co-Chairman Cardin.

Co-Chairmen Hastings and Cardin noted, “While we welcome this report, we are concerned by the State Department’s commitment to adequately fund efforts by the OSCE to combat anti-Semitism globally. It is our hope this report will underscore the importance for the need of the U.S. to be a leader financially on this issue.”

On February 15, Co-Chairmen Hastings and Cardin sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressing concern over decreased funding by the United States to the OSCE. In particular, the letter pointed to the lack of funding to combat anti-Semitism by the United States, which could lead to an erosion of support by other nations for maintaining a unique focus on the plague of anti-Semitism in the OSCE region.

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