SWC Lauds US Ambassador Samantha Power's rebuke of European Inaction on Anti-Semitism at Berlin 57 Member-State OSCE International Conference

November 14, 2014

SWC senior officials Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs and Dr. Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations, who were in Berlin to participate in the just concluded OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) conference that marked the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Berlin Conference and Declaration on anti-Semitism, stated: "US Ambassador Samantha Power was right on target in stating to Europe, "Make no mistake - we have a problem”.

Photo: Mark Weitzman and Susan Power, Head of US Delegation

In her vigorous denunciation of European disregard and inaction in the face of the very real threats posed by violent anti-Semitism, the increased legitimacy given to anti-Semitism in public discourse, especially related to Israel, the distortion of the Holocaust for political and other purposes and the assaults on Jewish religious practices, Ambassador Power rightly pointed out how, “Disconcerting it is ... (that) a third fewer countries participated in this conference than did a decade ago."

Weitzman, who spoke at the conference on the issue of Holocaust denial and distortion said, "Distortion of the Holocaust for political or propaganda purposes is flourishing and history is twisted to justify anti-Semitism." He concluded his remarks by saying, "If leaders don't respect the stories of people that make up history, why should they respect the people themselves?”

Dr. Samuels added, "The official program notes, ‘Fighting anti-Semitism includes issues of victim competition and confronting memories regarding national narratives'. Our Center calls that ‘Identity Theft’. To deny a people's heritage is to delete it from geography and history. The validation of Palestine is now a concerted international campaign to replace the Jewish narrative. Our response is the Wiesenthal Center's exhibition, which opened at UNESCO in Paris in June. "People, Book, Land: The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Land of Israel" is an arm in the arsenal to defend the Jewish heritage.”

For further information call Mark Weitzman, 917.864.5133 or Shimon Samuels +33609770158, 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 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).