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Archive for February 16th, 2009

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Finding out the details of the London Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism was not as easy as it should have been, but then I suppose it is more for bigwigs and policy makers, the BBC reports:

“Nearly 100 legislators from 35 countries have gathered in London to develop strategies to combat the “growing threat of anti-Semitism”.

The inaugural conference of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) is being co-hosted by the Foreign Office.

The politicians will work with experts to devise ways to fight anti-Semitism.

It comes after the number of attacks on UK Jews rose sharply following the Israeli offensive in Gaza in December.

The two-day summit is being held in the Houses of Parliament and at Lancaster House

Last week the Community Security Trust, a charity working to protect Jews in the UK, said more than 250 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in four weeks following Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

They include property vandalism, verbal threats and some physical attacks, most of which centred on north London.

The same period last year saw just 27 incidents, according to the trust. “

From the ICCA web sites:

“Programme Summary, 15 – 17 February 2009

* On 15-17th Feb 2009, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA) will launch an international summit conference designed to formulate new strategies for countering global antisemitism.
* The conference, co-sponsored by the Department of Communities and Local Government, will bring to Westminster more than 100 lawmakers from 35 countries who will work intensively with leading academics, legal experts and specialists in the field to devise ways by which parliamentary systems can work with governments to combat antisemitism as a global threat.
* The London Conference on Combating Antisemitism marks the first time that ranking elected officials will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face, and break out into working groups with international experts from academia, law enforcement, information technology and security.
* For two days, lawmakers will share knowledge, experiences, best practice and the latest information in the areas of internet hate, policing and prosecution, antisemitism in the international arena, antisemitic discourse and the ‘new antisemitism.’

Their task will be devise effective strategies to combat antisemitism on the parliamentary level and to return to their home countries with the tools needed to spur their governments to action.

“Plenary Sessions with keynote speeches from:

1. Congressman Chris Smith, House of Representatives, USA (ICCA Steering Committee)
2. Dr. Barbara Prammer, President of the Austrian National Council
3. Lord Malloch-Brown, Cabinet Minister, United Kingdom
4. Dr. Solomon Passy, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Former Foreign Minister, Bulgaria
5. Petra Pau MP, Vice-President of the Bundestag, Germany
6. Dr Pavel Svoboda MP, Minister and Chairman of the Legislative Council of the Government, Czech Republic
7. Dr. Fiamma Nirenstein, Vice-President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Chamber of Deputies, Italy (ICCA Steering Committee)
8. Jason Kenney MP, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Canada
9. André Azoulay, Counsellor to His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, Morocco
10. Prof. Iulian Fota, National Security Advisor to the President, Romania
11. Natan Sharansky, former Minister and Member of Parliament, Israel
12. Prof. Irwin Cotler, Member of Parliament, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Canada (ICCA Steering Committee)
13. Dr. Alberto Nisman, State Prosecutor, Argentina
14. Senator Sergio Abreu, International Affairs Committee and Former Foreign Minister, Uruguay
15. Peter Caruana QC, Chief Minister, Gibraltar
16. The Bishop of Manchester
17. Rabbi Andrew Baker, Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE on Combating Antisemitism”

I would have preferred if they had invited those with an intimate knowledge of the subject, such as Engage or other anti-fascist organisations, as some Foreign Office officials don’t have a particularly good record in this area.

Update: It seems that Engage was invited, good.

Update 2: A previous BBC article on this issue:

“Michael Bookatz needs no statistics to understand that his community is facing, according to Jewish groups, a level of anti-Semitism unprecedented in recent years.

Last month, the 32-year-old was attacked by two men while walking home at night in Golders Green, north London – home to a prominent Jewish community.

“I saw a guy walking towards me out of the corner of my eye, but I wasn’t paying attention,” he remembers.

“Suddenly, he ran towards me and punched me in the face. I fell to the ground and he started stamping and kicking me, then a friend of his ran over and did the same.

“They said they were doing it because of what had happened to the Palestinians in Gaza. They were cowards, but I just accept it. It’s part of life.” “

Written by modernityblog

16/02/2009 at 19:55

Posted in Uncategorized