World lawmakers to meet in London to fight anti-Semitism

UK's minister for Europe hails "chance to discuss our work in fighting anti-Semitism with an international audience."

jim murphy 88 (photo credit:)
jim murphy 88
(photo credit: )
A landmark conference bringing together the world's leading parliamentarians in the fight against anti-Semitism will convene at the British Parliament and Foreign Office in February 2009. Announcing the conference on Thursday, the UK's minister for Europe, Jim Murphy, said: "I am delighted the government will co-host the first ever Inter-Parliamentary Commission for Combating Anti-Semitism. It is a chance to discuss our work in fighting anti-Semitism with an international audience. The conference will involve parliamentarians from around the world. They have a unique role to play in persuading their governments to address anti-Semitism. "The British government remains committed to combating anti-Semitism wherever it occurs," Murphy added. "Anti-Semitism disgraces whichever communities are prepared to tolerate it. Ending the scourge of anti-Semitism wherever it is found will always be important for this government. The conference will be an opportunity not only to share our experience with international partners and learn from others, but also to add political impetus to the ongoing fight against anti-Semitism." The conference will be jointly hosted by the newly established Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism and the British Foreign Office. The coalition assembles parliamentarians from around the world who are actively involved in confronting anti-Semitism, to share experiences, best practices and recommendations. Key figures in the Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism include Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog and New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith. "The holding of such a conference is as timely as it is necessary, as we face a new, escalating, global and virulent anti-Semitism," said Irwin Cotler, former Canadian justice minister and attorney-general and co-founder of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism. "Parliamentarians have a unique role and responsibility in combating this hatred and the UK is to be congratulated on this historic initiative." "We parliamentarians have a unique possibility to join the forces of civil society and government," said German parliamentarian Gert Weisskirchen, the personal representative of the chairman-in-office on combating anti-Semitism of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and co-founder of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism. "The evil of anti-Semitism still exists. Therefore we should take the opportunity of this conference to redouble our efforts in this fight."