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Powell Announces Helsinki Commission Members Among U.S. Delegation to Anti-Semitism Conference

Washington – Secretary of State Colin L. Powell today announced the appointment of  Helsinki Commission Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) and Ranking House Commissioner Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) to the U.S. Delegation to an international  Conference on Anti-Semitism.  The Berlin conference will be held April 28-29 under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe , an international regional security organization.

“I am greatly honored to represent the United States at this historic meeting,” said Chairman Smith.  “I expect this conference to be very instrumental in the battle against anti-Semitism, as elected officials, government leaders and executives of non-governmental organizations come together to discuss how to fight this destructive evil.  We will continue our efforts to speak out publicly in the struggle against this ancient plague.”

“The Berlin Conference will continue to shine the light on these destructive actions, and I am pleased to have been selected to serve on the official delegation at this important event,” said Commissioner Cardin. “Anti-Semitism still afflicts societies throughout the world, including the United States . While we’ve made some progress in moving governments to respond through public denunciations and vigorous law enforcement, there is much more we can do to confront and combat anti-Semitism.”

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch will chair the U.S. Delegation.  Chairman Smith served as Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Delegation to the first OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism, held last summer in Vienna and headed by former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

During the 2002 Berlin Parliamentary Assembly session, the U.S. and German Delegations organized an historic forum focused on the troubling rise in anti-Semitism and related violence in the OSCE region.  The forthcoming conference in April is another in a series of OSCE meetings on anti-Semitism since the U.S. and German delegations forged new ground on this critical issue.

The United States Helsinki Commission has been actively involved in the battle against anti-Semitism. 

May 22, 2002 – Helsinki Commission Hearing: Escalating anti- Semitic Violence in Europe

July 8, 2002 – Berlin Parliamentary Forum: The Disturbing Rise in anti-Semitism – organized by Helsinki Commission Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) and German Bundestag Member Gert Weisskirchen

July 9, 2002 – Congressional Record Statement: Concerning Rise in anti-Semitism in Europe (HRes. 393) by Chairman Smith

July 10, 2002 – Berlin OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Meeting Supplementary Item “anti-Semitic Violence in the OSCE Region” – offered by Chairman Smith and Commissioner Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)

December 6-7, 2002 – Porto OSCE Ministerial Council – Decision No. 6, Tolerance and Non-Discrimination – condemned increase of anti-Semitic violence and called for a special OSCE event to address the reoccurring problem

December 10, 2002 – Washington Parliamentary Forum: Combating anti-Semitism in the OSCE Region – cosponsored by Chairman Smith and Weisskirchen

February 13, 2003 – Introduction of concurrent resolutions on anti-Semitism (SConRes 7 and HConRes 49) – sponsored by Commission Co-Chairman Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) and Chairman Smith

February 13, 2003 – Congressional Record Statement by Co-Chairman Campbell: Resolution on anti-Semitism and Related Violence

February 19, 2003 – Congressional Record Statement by Chairman Smith: Condemning anti-Semitism

February 21, 2003 – Vienna Parliamentary Forum: Special Meeting on anti-Semitism – co-chaired by Chairman Smith, Weisskirchen and French National Assembly Member Michel Voisin

March 14, 2003 – Congressional Record Statement by Chairman Smith: Commemorating 60th Anniversary of Rescue of 50,000 Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust

April 30, 2003 – Statement by Chairman Smith: Ten Years of Remembrance: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

May 22, 2003 – SConRes 7 passes by unanimous consent – Concerning the Rise of anti-Semitism in Europe

May 22, 2003 – Congressional Record Statement by Co-Chairman Campbell: Prevention of anti- Semitic Violence

June 19-20, 2003 – Chairman Smith serves as Vice-Chair of U.S. Delegation to Vienna OSCE Conference on anti-Semitism

June 25, 2003 – Debate in House of Representatives on HConRes 49 with Chairman Smith, Commissioner Cardin, Commissioner Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL)

June 25, 2003 – House passes HConRes 49 – Concerning the Rise of anti-Semitism in Europe

July 5, 2003 – During Rotterdam OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Meeting, Chairman Smith sponsors Supplementary Item on Combating anti-Semitism in the 21st Century

October 14, 2003 – Warsaw OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Chairman Smith presents U.S. statement on Prevention of anti-Semitism

December 1-2, 2003 – Maastricht Ministerial Council – Decision No. 4, Tolerance and Non-Discrimination – approves Berlin follow-up meeting on anti-Semitism and tasks ODIHR with collecting information on legislation fighting anti-Semitism

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