WASHINGTON—With violent anti-Semitic attacks doubling in some European countries over the past year, today the House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed Helsinki Commission Chair Rep. Chris Smith’s (NJ-04) resolution (H. Res. 354) that urges key actions from the United States and European governments to keep Jewish communities safe. The resolution passed with broad bipartisan support and endorsement from leading Jewish community groups.
“This resolution is a blueprint for actions that are critical to prevent more deadly attacks on Europe’s Jewish communities. Formal recognition and partnerships between governments and Jewish community groups are key, as we see here in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France,” said Rep. Smith. “The resolution also highlights the need for research, training, resources, public awareness campaigns, and communication as part of the fight against anti-Semitic violence.”
Rep. Smith added, “If our government encourages and works with our European allies to do these things, it will help save lives.”
Rep. Smith has a long record as a congressional leader in the fight against anti-Semitism. He is a Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Task Force for Combatting Anti-Semitism and authored the provisions of the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 that created the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism within the U.S. State Department.
Following his 2002 landmark hearing on combating the escalation of anti-Semitic violence in Europe, “Escalating Anti-Semitic Violence in Europe,” he led a congressional drive to place the issue of combating anti-Semitism at the top of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) agenda, as a result of which in 2004 the OSCE adopted new norms for its participating States on fighting anti-Semitism. In 2009, he delivered the keynote address at the Interparliamentary Coalition Combating Anti-Semitism London conference.
In the 1990s, he chaired Congress’s first hearings on anti-Semitism and in the early 1980s, his first trips abroad as a member of Congress were to the former Soviet Union, where he fought for the release of Jewish “refuseniks.”