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May 22, 2013 2

State Department’s Religious Freedom Report Recognizes Severity Of Global Anti-Semitism

jewish-cemetery-desecration

Des­e­cra­tion of Jew­ish cemetery

On May 20, 2013, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry released the State Department’s annual Inter­na­tional Reli­gious Free­dom Report for 2012, describ­ing the U.S. assess­ment of the sta­tus of reli­gious free­dom in every coun­try. The report cov­ers gov­ern­ment poli­cies vio­lat­ing reli­gious belief and prac­tices of groups, reli­gious denom­i­na­tions and indi­vid­u­als, and U.S. poli­cies to pro­mote reli­gious free­dom around the world.

This annual report demon­strates the Amer­i­can com­mit­ment to the fun­da­men­tal demo­c­ra­tic right to prac­tice one’s reli­gion with­out inter­fer­ence from gov­ern­ment and sig­ni­fies and under­scores the role gov­ern­ments must play in pro­tect­ing that right.  It shines a light on a num­ber of impor­tant issues specif­i­cally related to the per­se­cu­tion of reli­gious minori­ties, includ­ing gov­ern­ment spon­sored dis­crim­i­na­tion, reli­gious big­otry and hatred prop­a­gated by the media, and vio­lence directed at spe­cific reli­gious denominations.

While address­ing all forms of reli­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion, the U.S. government’s role in mon­i­tor­ing and com­bat­ting anti-Jewish expres­sions around the world is an impor­tant fea­ture of the report. It high­lights inci­dents of anti-Semitism on the gov­ern­men­tal level, in pol­i­tics and within the media, and doc­u­ments acts of van­dal­ism and vio­lence directed at Jews. These include:

Iran — The government’s con­tin­ued Holo­caust denial and prop­a­ga­tion of anti-Semitic stereo­types, includ­ing pro­nounce­ments by Pres­i­dent Ahmadine­jad regard­ing “Zionists…ruling the major world affairs” for some 400 years.

Egypt — Senior Mus­lim Broth­er­hood offi­cials, includ­ing Supreme Guide Mohamed Badei, fre­quently issue anti-Semitic state­ments, while the media airs anti-Semitic pro­gram­ming, includ­ing the TV series “Horse­man with­out a Horse” based on the noto­ri­ous anti-Semitic forgery “The Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion.” The wide­spread hatred and vio­lence directed at Egypt’s Cop­tic Chris­t­ian com­mu­nity is also mentioned.

Venezuela — Anti-Semitism is quite preva­lent in the gov­ern­ment con­trolled media, par­tic­u­larly in opin­ion pieces and edi­to­r­ial car­toons. The recent pres­i­den­tial can­di­dacy of Hen­rique Capriles, a Catholic of Jew­ish descent, was a main focus of the media’s anti-Semitism. 

Chile - There has been an increase in the num­ber anti-Semitic pub­lic state­ments, par­tic­u­larly across social media plat­forms. Inci­dents of anti-Jewish van­dal­ism are on the rise, and a num­ber of phys­i­cal attacks against Jews were doc­u­mented, includ­ing an assault on a 14 year-old by a group of Neo-Nazis.

The State Department’s report also makes a num­ber of ref­er­ences to ADL’s work in high­light­ing and com­bat­ing global anti-Semitism, par­tic­u­larly in Europe. These include:

Aus­tria – ADL’s train­ing projects with the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion on Holo­caust education.

Greece – ADL’s state­ments call­ing on gov­ern­ment author­i­ties to do more to counter the anti-Semitic rhetoric and vio­lent actions of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn polit­i­cal party.

Hun­gary – ADL’s state­ments call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to enforce a new law that would hold mem­bers of par­lia­ment legally account­able for espous­ing hate­ful remarks. This law was in reac­tion to an anti-Semitic state­ment by a mem­ber of country’s neo-Nazi Job­bik party, who called on par­lia­ment to “assess how many MPs and gov­ern­ment mem­bers are of Jew­ish ori­gin and who present a national secu­rity risk to Hun­gary.” The report also cited ADL’s sur­vey on anti-Semitic atti­tudes in Hun­gary which showed a sig­nif­i­cant rise in the per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion har­bor­ing anti-Semitic attitudes.

Turkey – ADL’s state­ment crit­i­ciz­ing a cos­met­ics com­pany for fea­tur­ing Adolph Hitler in a sham­poo com­mer­cial that ran on state television.

The State Department’s Inter­na­tional Reli­gious Free­dom Report for 2012 can be found here.

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