Both American and European governments are failing to adequately monitor and track anti-Semitism, Anti-Defamation League national chairman Abraham Foxman impugned.
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Foxman, who came to Israel for prime minister Ariel Sharon’s funeral, lambasted hate-crime-data collection efforts on both sides of the Atlantic in an interview by The Jerusalem Post last Thursday.
“There is no serious monitoring by continental entities,” Foxman asserted. “We [the Jewish community] take the poll, we do the measuring and they’re not doing their job, they’re not monitoring.”
Pointing a finger at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and “even governments,” Foxman said that more must be done by national and European bodies.
The EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency recently came under fire by Israeli diplomats and Jewish organizations for the removal of a working definition of anti-Semitism from its website.
In response to requests for the reinstatement of the text, the FRA replied that as a corporate entity it did not “have a mandate to develop [and] impose, in any way, definitions.”
“We cannot provide a measure based on which people will assess how one Jewish organization records incidents in one country versus a Jewish organization in another country versus a police authority in a third country versus a civil society organization in a fourth country,” an FRA representative told the Post in December.
“Look we have [issues with reporting] in the United States as well,” Foxman added. “We have hate crimes legislation and half the states don’t do their job in recording, in monitoring. The FBI issues a report on religious hate crimes which is based on volunteerism. We have a law and it’s not implemented in terms of monitoring and in Europe it’s a lot worse.”
In November the ADL called into question the validity of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s national hate crime statistics for 2012, calling them incomplete and “seriously flawed.”
Reporting statistics to the FBI is purely voluntary and “only 13,022 law enforcement agencies out of approximately 18,000 provided data to the FBI in 2012,” the ADL complained at the time.
Foxman said that Jewish groups should be on the lookout for extreme nationalist parties, which have been gaining influence in several countries, “flex[ing] their muscles” during the upcoming EU parliamentary elections.
“They’re going to try to maximize their political impact,” Foxman warned. “I think we need to be very aware and vigilant to what [kind] of a power base they establish pan-Europe. The irony is [they] are against a pan-Europe, they are against the EU, because they are super hyper-nationalist and yet they woke up to discover that one way that they may be able to strengthen themselves and strengthen their impact is to work on the European, continental scale.”
“Our job is to strengthen the backbone of the political leadership of Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, to stand up and say no” to extremist parties rather than to accommodate them due to “political expediency,” he added. “This is the big test.”
Parties like Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary and Svoboda in the Ukraine have made great strides in entering the mainstream political discourse in their respective countries over the past several years.