WASHINGTON, 6 February 2018 – United States Senator Ben Cardin, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Intolerance, today praised the efforts of the OSCE Italian Chairmanship towards combating anti-Semitism in the OSCE area.

On 29 January, the Chairmanship convened a special conference in Rome, Italy entitled “The Responsibility of States, Institutions and individuals in the Fight against Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Area.” Over 300 government officials and civil society leaders gathered in commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“The growth in anti-Semitic and xenophobic political parties across Europe and North America that foster an environment of hate increase the urgency of this conference,” Cardin said. “Acknowledging our common history of the Holocaust is essential but more must be done. It’s incumbent upon all civilized people to ensure that tools are in place to counter a resurgence of the fear and hate mongering — whether directed at old targets or new — that led to those tragic events in the first place.”

The Special Representative noted that combating anti-Semitism requires constant vigilance and expressed disappointment over the passage of a law in Poland that places restrictions on how the subject of the Holocaust is discussed.

“I am deeply disappointed that on the eve of this conference the Polish parliament passed a law that may impede research, scholarship, journalism — even personal reflections — on the Holocaust subject to criminal penalties. While the stated purpose of this law is to improve more accurate statements about the Holocaust, this is the wrong way to achieve that goal,” said Sen. Cardin.