Wiesenthal Center Official Addresses OSCE Meeting on Combating Antisemitism: Calls on Governments and Educators to Increase Educational Activities Against Anti-Semitism

November 8, 2010

Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, gave the closing address to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) meeting for education ministry officials and experts held today in Vienna.

The conference entitled Education to Combat Anti-Semitism: Meeting for Representatives of Ministries of Education featured representatives of 21 countries, who gathered just in advance of the anniversary of the November 9-10 Nazi Kristallnacht pogrom, to discuss ways of combating anti-Semitism through education.

In his address Weitzman commended the international efforts made so far, especially in the commitments and sharing of educational practices in fighting anti-Semitism, while he challenged those same governments to be consistent and to reject the anti-Semitism that sometimes appears at the highest governmental levels.

Weitzman pointed to the attempts by some to equate the crimes of Nazism and Communism as an effort to whitewash various European anti-Semitic nationalists, and added that “the attempt to deny anti-Semitism by claiming to be only a critic of Israel must be rejected wherever appropriate”. He encouraged the educators to utilize all existing frameworks to educate about the dangers of anti-Semitism and concluded by urging the educators “to keep governments honest” in the fight against antisemitism.

Photo: Claudia Schmied, Austria's Minister for Education, Arts and Culture with Mark Weitzman.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe, and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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