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World Anti-semitism Report Submitted to U.N. Human Rights Conference

An in-depth report on world anti-Semitism, including details on how anti-Semitism is being used by some Eastern European politicians to whip up support, has been submitted to the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights meeting this week in Vienna.

The 200-page report, submitted to the conference Tuesday by the World Jewish Congress, also noted that anti-Semitic publications are increasingly being disseminated throughout the world, according to the report, prepared by the WJC’s London-based research office, the Institute of Jewish Affairs.

WJC officials were expected to present the report in a speech to conference delegates Thursday.

“Anti-Semitism World Report 1993,” a country-by-country survey, found a “marked worsening of the anti-Semitic climate” which has been recorded since the beginning of the 1990s, when “anti-Semitism reached a post-Second World War high point.”

The U.N. conference, which formally opened Monday and is being attended by over 160 state delegations from around the world, has brought attention to a number of issues.

Western countries in particular have sought to make clear that human rights standards are universal and not subject to cultural contexts, as some countries, notably from Asia and the Middle East, have argued.

CHRISTOPHER CITES ANTI-SEMITISM IN SPEECH

Jewish leaders said they welcomed an address at the conference by U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher in which he specifically mentioned anti-Semitism among those human rights abuses not to be tolerated in any setting.

“Torture, rape, racism, anti-Semitism, arbitrary detention, ethnic cleansing and politically motivated disappearances — none of these is tolerated by any faith, creed or culture that respects humanity,” Christopher said in his speech Monday.

Christopher also named Natan Sharansky, the famed ex-Soviet Jewish dissident, as a human rights “hero.”

In New York, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, representing 50 national groups, called on participants in the human rights conference to “address the real and pressing human rights issues confronting the world, including increasingly deadly ethnic conflicts, growing racism and anti-Semitism.”

In a statement issued Tuesday, Lester Pollack, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the conference, warned against “allowing the Vienna meeting to be hijacked for partisan political purposes.

“Too often in the past, gatherings convened on the subject of human rights violations have turned into Israel-bashing sessions,” they said.

The anti-Semitism report submitted in Vienna spoke of the continued political use of anti-Semitism, particularly in Eastern Europe.

“Anti-Semitism is the common currency of politics in a number of Eastern European countries.

“In Hungary, Romania, Russia and Poland members of mainstream parties and some of those parties themselves are anti-Semitic,” the report said.

It also showed that residents of many Eastern European countries had a tendency to vastly overestimate the numbers of their Jewish population, which in most cases are tiny, having been decimated by the Nazis in the Holocaust.

In the United States, the survey presented something of a paradox: although anti-Semitic attitudes have decreased as measured by opinion polls, there has been an increase in anti-Semitic incidents.

The report gave as an explanation: “Among those relatively few who profess anti-Semitic attitudes, there has been in recent years a greater propensity to ‘act out’ their beliefs in various forms of expression.

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