Below is the intervention read by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, representing Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Session 15 “Freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief: Ensuring the collective dimension of freedom of religion or belief”, Warsaw, September 30, 2015.
Intervention by Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa
OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
Working Session 15
Specifically Selected Topic: Freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief: Ensuring the collective dimension of freedom of religion or belief
Anti-Semitism: The need to focus on perpetrators
Distinguished delegates, OSCE representatives.
The Annotated Agenda is very explicit in addressing the rising problem of anti-Semitism in the participating States. Anyone with even the least understanding of history should be surprised that this problem can emerge again, even though it should have been buried deep in the ruins of Berlin in May 1945.
However, the scourge of anti-Semitism has returned, and we need to deal with it quite urgently. Europe has over the last century suffered significant loss of its Jewish population, either to emigration or to outright genocide, and that loss of valuable cultural heritage must not be repeated.
From the field of criminal justice, it should be clear that focusing on victims of crime does not suffice. We need to identify perpetrators, as Sherlock Holmes did, identify them, and bring them to justice.
This effectively means that we need to put an end to the evil of tolerating intolerance.
This also means that when British schools drop the Jewish Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, they are doing exactly the opposite of what we urgently need. Teaching the truth about the Holocaust should be categorically more important than Islamic ‘religious sensitivities’.
What we need to do is to identify and confront the sources of anti-Semitism, and to take appropriate action to delegitimize and marginalize such ideas. If that means we need the courage to identify and counter such ideas in books and scriptures considered ‘holy’ in some circles, so be it.
BPE thus recommends:
- That OSCE pS refrain from any form of contact with Hamas, Hezbollah and other anti-Semitic organizations.
- That ‘religion’ must not be a cover for promoting anti-Semitic sentiment and action.
- That teachers are supported in teaching about the Holocaust, even in the face of Islamist pressure.
- That any public grants or privileges are revoked from organizations promoting anti-Semitic dogma.
For links to previous articles about the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, see the OSCE Archives.