Resolution would condemn South American anti-Semitism


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A Florida congressman introduced a resolution condemning recent acts of anti-Semitism in three South American countries.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), calls upon the governments of Venezuela, Argentina and Bolivia to "take all necessary steps to ensure that anti-Semitism is not tolerated in South America and that the long-term safety of South America’s Jewish communities are secure."

It also notes reports of anti-Semitism in Argentine schools and recent incidents in Bolivia, where vandals at the Plaza Israel in the capital of La Paz removed a Star of David from a monument and spray-painted "plaza Palestina" over the plaza’s Judaic murals, and Venezuela, where a synagogue was desecrated by armed men spraying tear gas.

In a speech Tuesday at the London Conference on Anti-Semitism, Hastings said that based on recent incidents worldwide, "we have a lot of work to do" in the fight against anti-Semitism.

"It is very clear that despite the pledges of our governments, those we have made as policymakers, and the work of the civil society to aid us in our efforts, we are not yet winning," he told the conference, which is sponsored by the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonweatlh Office and the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism.

"The truth is that we have failed to ensure that the remedies that have been put in place, be they laws or conference recommendations, are being effectively used and enforced," Hastings said. “Despite what countries have agreed to, in the OSCE only 13 of the 56 participating states are fulfilling their basic commitments to monitor hate crimes. Close to half of the EU countries have not correctly implemented equality directives, and the majority of OSCE countries still fail to appropriately monitor and report on discrimination in their societies."

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