House establishes bipartisan task force to combat anti-Semitism


WASHINGTON (JTA) – A bipartisan task force to combat anti-Semitism around the world was established by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The task force launched Tuesday is designed to educate Congress about anti-Semitism, which its members referred to as “the 21st century face of this age-old bigotry.”

Congress members will share ideas with the executive branch, foreign leaders and other organizations on combating anti-Semitism. It also will promote Holocaust remembrance through teaching tolerance and confronting hate.

“Jewish populations are facing increased levels of hatred, frequently under the guise of political differences or other alibis, but in reality it is solely because of their faith,” task force co-chairs Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Kay Granger (R-Tex.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said in a statement.

“It is the responsibility of everyone who believes in basic universal liberties and freedoms to condemn this trend and work together to root out the hatred which underlies anti-Semitism,” the statement said.

Smith, the chairman of the House’s human rights subcommittee, chaired a subcommittee session on anti-Semitism on Tuesday.

Among the witnesses were Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress; Roger Cukierman, the president of CRIF, the French Jewish umbrella organization; and Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, president of the Danish Jewish Community.

Lauder called on the United States to show greater leadership in combating the phenomenon.

“In my travels to all of these communities, I am asked the same question around Europe and the world: Where is the United States?” he said. “Why isn’t the United States leading the world in this crisis?”

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