Wiesenthal Center at PARLATINO Assembly in Panama Presents Draft Resolution to Combat Antisemitism in the Americas

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“Conspiracy Theories, Holocaust Denial and Delegitimization of Jewish Sovereignty are Contributing Factors to Antisemitism”

Panama, December 5, 2010

“The exponential growth in verbal and physical assaults on Jews in Latin America requires a legal instrument to enable countermeasures”, stated Wiesenthal Center officials at the 26th Assembly of the Latin American Parliament -PARLATINO- convening in Panama.

The Center is the only Jewish NGO in consultative status to this umbrella body representing the legislatures of 22 Latin American and Caribbean member states.

“Our draft resolution is based upon the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency 2004 Working Definition of Antisemitism, the OSCE 2004 Berlin Declaration, the 2009 London Inter-Parliamentary Declaration and its 2010 Ottawa Protocol. The text highlights conspiracy theories evoking Jewish control of media, finance, governments, etc., denial of the Holocaust and delegitimization of the State of Israel as contributing factors to ‘the new antisemitism’”, noted Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Center’s Director for International Relations.

“This builds on the 2008 Argentine-led ‘Costa do Sauipe Declaration against Racism and Discrimination’, co-signed by Brazil and Venezuela. Our document will be the first instrument in the Americas which focuses directly on the specific character of antisemitism in all its forms”, added Sergio Widder, Director for Latin America.

The draft resolution pays tribute to the work of Simon Wiesenthal, in noting that “intolerance which begins against Jews, spreads and affects the entire society, the members of the Latin American Parliament thus:

• view antisemitism as a social manifestation that damages human dignity;
• denounce antisemitism as unacceptable in any society and incompatible with democracy;
• condemn the use of antisemitism as a political instrument;
• urge Internet Service Providers to establish guidelines and terms of service against incitement to hate and violence, in harmony with the legislation protecting freedom of expression;
• call for strengthening education to contain antisemitism, the oldest prejudice, and to encourage respect, tolerance and coexistence;
• proclaim that acting in this spirit serves to defend the common good and society as a whole”.

The Center welcomed the support of Argentina at the Governing Board of the PARLATINO, for eventual adoption by its Human Rights Commission.

The resolution was presented by Senator Sonia Escudero (Argentina, PARLATINO’s Secertary General) and supported by Senators Ruben Giustiniani, Norma Morandini, and Luis Rubeo (Secretary of the PARLATINO Executive Council) and M.P.s Christian Gribaudo, Fernando Iglesias, and Virginia Linares. Panamanian Congressmen Manuel Cohen Salerno and Luis Eduardo Quirós also lent their full support.

This instrument will be the first acknowledgement of the dangers of antisemitism in Latin America and act as a point of reference for Parlamentarians throughout the continent. It will also provide a model for all other victims of discrimination. The Center is proud to have instigated this contribution to the evolving legislation on human rights and against incitement to hatred and violence.


L-R: Sergio Widder, Congressman Manuel Cohen Salerno (Vice-president of Panama National Assembly), Congressman Luis Eduardo Quirós (Panama) and Shimon Samuels L-R: Shimon Samuels, Congressman Elías Castillo (Panama, Incoming President of PARLATINO), Sergio Widder
çPhoto left:

L-R: Senator María de los Angeles Moreno Uriegas (Mexico, new Secretary General of PARLATINO), Senator Jorge Pizarro (Chile, Outgoing President of PARLATINO), Shimon Samuels, Humberto Peláez (Perú, Executive Secretary of PARLATINO), Senator Sonia Escudero (Argentina, Outgoing Secretary General of PARLATINO), Sergio Widder
(Click on photos for larger resolution)

For further information, contact Dr. Shimon Samuels at +336 09770158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.