Addressing Anti-Semitism Requires Co-ordinated And Inclusive Approach

At a high-level OSCE Chairmanship conference, participants called for a co-ordinated effort, incorporating the experiences of targeted communities, to curb the tide of anti-Semitism in the OSCE region. This year’s annual event, organized by Albania’s 2020 OSCE Chair, brought together OSCE officials, representatives of participating States, Partners for Co-operation, international organizations and civil society to assess current challenges and share good practices in responding to anti-Semitism.

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Prime Minister and Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, Edi Rama, called on OSCE participating States to take firm action and to co-operate closely with international and civil society partners (or stakeholders) to counter anti-Semitism. “Fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of racism is not just a matter of will. It requires resolute action from governments to address the immediate concerns of physical security and to provide effective measures against hate-speech” he said. “It also requires solidarity from each and every one of us, who needs to take a stand against all manifestations of anti-Semitism wherever and whenever they appear: in our schools, in our families, on our streets and, increasingly, on the Internet”  

The importance of a co-ordinated and victim-centred approach was reiterated by numerous high-level speakers at the event, including the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Ingibörg Sólrún Gísladóttir; Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Kristian Vigenin; the Chair’s Personal Representative on Combating Anti-Semitism, Rabbi Andrew Baker; and the Director of the Office of the OSCE Secretary General, OSCE Ambassador Paul Bekkers.  

ODIHR Director Gísladóttir highlighted the value of joining efforts to counter anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance, especially for targeted communities. “When those most affected by prejudice stand together to reject all manifestations of intolerance, their voices become irrepressible,” she said.

Participants discussed the importance of leadership in forging more tolerant and inclusive societies, as well as the role of civil society organizations in building coalitions and acting as a bridge between state institutions and marginalized communities. The importance of education was also stressed, underlining the benefits that effective programmes can have in engaging youth in the promotion of a tolerant, inclusive and cohesive society.

Speaking about modern manifestations of anti-Semitism, Rabbi Baker emphasized the harmful impact that anti-Semitic attacks have on the Jewish community and on society at large. “When anti-Semitism goes unchecked, the Jewish community feels under siege and social cohesion is shattered,” he said. “Repairing the harm and restoring trust involves immense efforts on behalf of victim groups and society.”

During the conference, participants will explore measures to counter anti-Semitism through education and to strengthen the security of Jewish communities, including through the use of tools developed by ODIHR.

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