OSCE announces action plan to combat anti-Semitism

Andrew Silow-Carroll

(JTA) — The 57 European and Eurasian countries that comprise the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are embarking on a three-year initiative to promote education and awareness about anti-Semitism and to address Jewish community security.

The initiative, titled “Words into Action to Address Anti-Semitism,” was announced Sept. 28. It was initiated by the parliament of Germany, which currently chairs the OSCE.

The initiative is being spearheaded by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Rabbi Andrew Baker, the American Jewish Committee’s director of International Jewish Affairs, serves as OSCE’s Personal Representative on Combating Anti-Semitism.

“OSCE participating states have recognized that anti-Semitism poses a threat to stability and security in the OSCE region,” Michael Georg Link, director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said in a statement. “They agreed to undertake a number of steps to address the problem in co-operation with civil society.”

Earlier this year the OSCE sought grant applications from universities, museums, schools, ministries of education and civil society organizations to develop programs for countering anti-Semitism through the arts, education, media and coalition building. The grants for the chosen projects will range from 5,000-40,000 euros.

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Earlier this week, the Anti-Defamation League presented recommendations to the OSCE’s annual human rights conference on advancing security for targets of anti-Semitism and hate crimes.

“The participating European and Eurasian states have recognized the serious threat posed by anti-Semitism and have made critical commitments to address this concerning issue,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement welcoming the OSCE initiative. “We commend the German government for challenging states to put their commitments into action and for funding and catalyzing this initiative.”