Elie Wiesel kicked off a meeting in Bucharest to discuss anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance.”Anti-Semitism is the oldest form of hatred in history and is the only one of the serious illnesses of the 20th century which has survived and is still around, with communism and Nazism mostly gone now,” said Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel peace laureate, in a videotaped speech to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.More than 600 participants from the OSCE’s 56 participating states and 11 partners are attending the Conference on Combating Discrimination and Promoting Mutual Respect and Understanding that began Thursday. The two-day event, which focused both on anti-Jewish and more general hate crimes, is a follow-up to a 2005 OSCE conference on anti-Semitism in Spain. Andrew Baker, director of international Jewish affairs for the American Jewish Committee, said a hot topic was the recent vote by Britain’s largest university teachers’ union to consider a boycott of Israeli academics institutions. Baker said he and other delegates were trying to make sure the conference declaration included language condemning new forms and manifestations of anti-Semitism that are being seen today, “which is a clear reference to specific anti-Israel activities.” So far, he said, the draft declaration is too broad and does not mention the specific and unique nature of anti-Semitism.On the positive side, the OSCE special representative against anti-Semitism, Gert Weisskirchen, wrote a letter to the governments of all OSCE countries urging them to follow Great Britain’s lead by holding a special parliamentary session investigating anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism conference opens in Bucharest