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How Government Can Combat Anti-Semitism Focus of Helsinki Commission Hearing

The Helsinki Commission will hold a public hearing to assess the results of the historic April 2003 Berlin Conference on Anti-Semitism, organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and consider appropriate concrete steps to follow up to the conference.

“Government Actions to Combat Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Region”

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

10:00 AM

334 Cannon House Office Building

Testifying before the Commission:

Panel I:

Rep. Tom Lantos, Ranking Member, House International Relations Committee

Panel II:

His Excellency Natan Sharansky, Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs and Head of the Israeli Delegation to the Berlin OSCE Conference on Anti Semitism

Panel III:

Betty Ehrenberg, Director, Institute for Public Affairs, Orthodox Union of Jewish Congregations

Paul Goldenberg, National Security Consultant, American Jewish Committee

Jay Lefkowitz, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis, LLP

Fred Zeidman, Chairman, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council

Panel IV:

Stacy Burdett, Associate Director, Government & National Affairs, Anti-Defamation League

Shai A. Franklin, Director of Governmental Relations, NCSJ: Advocates on Behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States, & Eurasia

Dan Mariaschin, Executive Vice President, B’nai B’rith International

Israel Singer, Chairman, World Jewish Congress

James S. Tisch, Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Mark Weitzman, Director, Task Force Against Hate, Simon Wiesenthal Center

The Berlin Declaration, issued at the conference, highlights commitments made by the 55 OSCE States and declares that “international developments or political issues, including those in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East, never justify anti-Semitism.”  The action-oriented declaration also highlighted the commitment to monitor anti-Semitic crimes and hate crimes, including through collection and maintenance of statistics about such incidents.

Helsinki Commission Members have spearheaded efforts to draw attention to anti-Semitism and related violence.  These efforts helped create the momentum that moved the OSCE to convene this historic and high-level conference on anti-Semitism, attended by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Commission leaders recently introduced resolutions in the House and Senate encouraging the “ongoing work of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)” in combating anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance, urging the 55 OSCE countries to do more.

An un-official transcript will be available on the Helsinki Commission’s Internet web site at www.csce.gov within 24 hours of the hearing.

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.

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