Last week, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal spoke to B’nai B’rith’s international policy conference in Uruguay entitled “Defending Israel and the Jewish World.” She outlined trends in anti-Semitism found around the world, and the efforts by her office and President Barack Obama’s Administration to combat these hateful and misguided sentiments. Rosenthal’s responsibility in combating anti-Semitism “is not just to preach to the choir, so to speak, but to join in partnership with non-Jews in condemning it - government, civil society, international institutions, business leaders, labor unions, and the media.”
Rosenthal spoke about the increasing tendency of criticisms of Israel’s policies to develop into anti-Semitism:
Our State Department uses Natan Sharansky’s ‘Three Ds’ test for identifying when someone or a government crosses the line from criticizing Israeli policies into anti-Semitism: when Israel is demonized, when Israel is held to different standards than the rest of the countries, and when Israel is delegitimized. The U.S. is often one of the few ‘no’ votes in international bodies where countries seem to have an obsession with singling out Israel for disproportionate condemnation. As leaders of Jewish communities you know that a single ‘no’ vote is insufficient and outreach to other countries is essential.
Rosenthal described Secretary Clinton’s work to thread these policies throughout the State Department, showing how seriously the Administration considers the issue:
Not long ago, Secretary Clinton launched an initiative to strengthen civil society across the globe and she instructed all of us in the State Department and all our overseas posts to treat civil society as strategic partners. Partnering with opinion leaders from civil society as well as government—as well as building bridges among ethnic and religious groups, is the way to change a culture - from fear and negative stereotyping to acceptance and understanding, from narrow mindedness to an embrace of diversity, from hate to tolerance.
Educating our young is a priority - they are our future; their values and opinions form at a very early age.
No government should produce materials that are intolerant of members of any religious, racial, or ethnic group, or teach such intolerance as part of its educational curriculum. A child is not born with hate. A child is taught to hate. The Department of State continues to focus on this important issue and express our concern to the governments using such hateful lessons and textbooks, calling Jews the children of apes and pigs or promoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
The United States through the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement provides training to foreign law enforcement officials, which covers crimes against vulnerable groups, including Jews, because these issues are of prominent concern to the U.S. We use old and new technologies to communicate with the public about human rights, tolerance and democracy. We strongly support the freedoms for all people to express their views, even distasteful ones, both offline and online - but we also work to promote tolerance and to eradicate ignorance. We are enhancing our cultural and educational exchanges to showcase our civil society organizations, and to learn from the successes of other countries in confronting and combating hate in all of its forms.
Click here to read more of Rosenthal’s speech covering global anti-Semitic trends and her efforts to fight them.
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