Congressman Nadler Joins Anti-Semitism Task Force Letter Praising European Parliament for Adopting Definition of Anti-Semitism

Jun 27, 2017 Issues: Civil Liberties, Foreign Affairs/Israel

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) joined with colleagues on the Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism in sending a letter praising the European Parliament's endorsement of a working definition of anti-Semitism on June 1, 2017. The definition was adopted from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

As the letter reads, "The frequency and scale of anti-Semitic incidents in both the United States and Europe over the past few years has been deeply alarming. From large-scale attacks, such as the 2012 assault on a Jewish school in Toulouse, to smaller but all too common incidents of harassment and vandalism, European Jewish communities often fear for their safety and deserve a strong message of support from their governments."

"I have long fought against anti-Semitism in all forms, both at home and abroad, and am pleased to join over thirty of my Task Force colleagues in commending the European Parliament for endorsing this working definition of anti-Semitism,” said Congressman Nadler. " While many are quick to dismiss anti-Semitism as a relic of the past, increased violence against Jewish communities serve as a cruel reminder that Jews remain among the most persecuted and vulnerable people in the world. In adopting this definition, the European Parliament has delivered a strong message condemning anti-Semitism and asserting that such bigotry has no place in any society. Yet there are still significant strides to be made, and I encourage more European states to adopt the definition and stand resolutely in resistance to anti-Semitism. I remain deeply committed to protecting the safety and rights of Jews throughout the world, and I look forward to working alongside both the European Parliament and my colleagues in Congress to lead this effort."

The resolution also encourages European Union member states to pass a working definition for their respective countries. Currently, only Austria, Romania, and the United Kingdom have passed national working definitions.

The letter is addressed to Mr. Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, a Member of the European Parliament and Chair of the European Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism. In addition to Congressman Nadler, the letter was signed by Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Kay Granger (R-TX), Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Peter Roskam (R-IL), as well as Task Force members Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Gene Green (D-TX), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Bradley Schneider (D-IL), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Peter King (R-NY), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), and Janice Schakowsky (D-IL).

The text of the letter is included below:

Dear Mr. Chairman,

As members of the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism in the U.S. House of Representatives, we applaud the European Parliament’s passage of a working definition of anti-Semitism. We wish to congratulate you and your colleagues of the European Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism for your hard work in building support for this important resolution.

The frequency and scale of anti-Semitic incidents in both the United States and Europe over the past few years has been deeply alarming. From large-scale attacks, such as the 2012 assault on a Jewish school in Toulouse, to smaller but all too common incidents of harassment and vandalism, European Jewish communities often fear for their safety and deserve a strong message of support from their governments. This resolution, which includes a working definition of anti-Semitism adopted from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, encourages European Union (EU) Member States to monitor and prevent anti-Semitic violence and prosecute the perpetrators. It also sends a bold statement to those who foment hatred against Jews: European leaders are aware of the growing trends of anti-Semitism and refuse to tolerate it.

The resolution represents an important step in combating anti-Semitism, but more work remains to be done. Of all the states participating in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, only Austria, Romania, and the United Kingdom have formally adopted the definition. Following the recent passage of the working definition of anti-Semitism, we strongly encourage all EU-member national parliaments to formally adopt the definition and commit to greater action against anti-Semitism. Anti-Semites must understand that there is no place for anti-Jewish bigotry, and European Jewish communities must be reassured that their governments will do all they can to keep them safe.

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Combating European Anti-Semitism Act (H.R. 672), which would encourage greater coordination and partnerships between the United States and European countries to address anti-Semitism. This and other important initiatives for combating anti-Semitism, including efforts to integrate a working definition of anti-Semitism into various aspects of U.S. policy and practice, are top priorities for many members of Congress. We must continue to build on the momentum created by this bill’s passage and the passage of the working definition. We look forward to working closely with the EU and individual member states in achieving the shared goal of protecting Jewish communities and combating anti-Semitism.

Sincerely,

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