A French gendarme stands guard next to tombstones desecrated by vandals with Nazi swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans in the Jewish cemetery of Brumath near Strasbourg.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
KANSAS CITY – The US Senate will likely soon call on European leaders to appoint national anti-Semitism czars to monitor and combat hate against their countries’ Jewish minorities.
That call is included in a bipartisan resolution introduced on Wednesday, which is being co-sponsored by 53 senators.
“Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we are witnessing an alarming rise in anti-Semitic sentiment in Europe that must be condemned and addressed. Anti-Semitic attacks and incidents in Europe and around the world are a challenge not only to international stability and security, but to our shared morality as human beings,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), the resolution’s author.
“This resolution firmly recommits the United States and its European allies to combat anti-Semitism with even greater resolve, vowing to never again allow the atrocities of the past to be repeated,” he continued.
Citing an Anti-Defamation League poll indicating that nearly a quarter of Western Europeans harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, the resolution called on senior American officials to encourage further European action to combat hate, including the designation of “senior-level special envoys to monitor, prevent, and combat anti-Semitism regionally and domestically.”
The bill also called for regular consultations with European Jewish organizations and increased cooperation with European governments in combating xenophobia and racism.
In January, representatives of the European Jewish Congress made a similar request when they told EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy chief Federica Mogherini that the EU needs to establish a continental body to combat anti-Semitism.
Last summer, Eli Ringer, the immediate past president of Belgium’s Forum der Joodse Organisaties, demanded that “in the new Commission of Europe, a commissioner should be appointed, handling the problem of racism and specifically anti-Semitism.”
In December, the European parliament declined to establish a task force to deal with the issue, despite what was perceived to be widespread support, eliciting harsh condemnations from Jews worldwide.
“The recent rise in anti-Semitism in Europe is a disturbing reminder of the constant trials facing the Jewish people and the state of Israel,” said co-sponsor Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida).
The Reform movement, the Jewish Federations, B’nai B’rith and other Jewish organizations have come out strongly in favor of the resolution.
The resolution is “vital,” the ADL said.
The Canadian Parliament unanimously adopted a similar bill on Wednesday calling on governments to “advance the combating of anti-Semitism as a domestic and international priority.”
That bill, pushed by Liberal MP and former justice minister Irwin Cotler, referenced “an alarming increase in anti-Semitism worldwide” that it called an “assault on our shared democratic values and our common humanity.”
The Canadian bill reaffirmed the Ottawa Protocol, an international road map for combating anti-Semitism written in 2010, which asserts that “criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is wrong. But singling Israel out for selective condemnation and opprobrium – let alone denying its right to exist or seeking its destruction – is discriminatory and hateful, and not saying so is dishonest.”