Rep. Smith Chairs Hearing on Terrorist Threats to European Jewish Communities
Ambassador Lauder Testifies: ‘Why Isn’t the U.S. Leading the World?'; Smith: U.S., Others Must 'Review, Re-Commit, and Re-Energize' Efforts to End Anti-Semitic Terrorism
At a hearing convened today by a congressional panel that oversees global human rights issues, Chairman Chris Smith (NJ-04) and other lawmakers examined the mounting risks to European Jewish communities and the actions that countries – including the United States – should take to address the threats faced by their Jewish citizens.
“Once again, like the 1930s, European Jews live in fear,” testified Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress. “In my travels to all of these communities, I am asked the same question around Europe and the world: Where is the United States? Why isn’t the United States leading the world in this crisis?” Click here to read Chairman Smith’s opening statement. To watch a video of Chairman Smith’s remarks, click here.
“For the first time since the Holocaust, the physical security of Jewish communities in Europe has become a top-level concern,” said Smith, who chairs the panel which held the hearing, the Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations subcommittee, which called the hearing. “This is the horrifying state of affairs,” he said.
“For too long, far too many government officials, many of them mired in what Natan Sharansky summarized as the application of double standards and demonization of Israel, have reacted weakly to this danger,” Smith said. “In some countries, progress has indeed been made...but it has not been enough to reverse the new anti-Semitism in Europe, and failed miserably to anticipate and prevent the arrival of jihadist anti-Semitism.
“We are here today … to review, re-commit, and re-energize efforts to stop the evil anti-Semitic violence that is threatening the Jewish communities of Europe,” concluded Smith, who also chairs the Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission.
“The number of anti-Jewish attacks in France in 2014 doubled from the year before. In Great Britain, the number of anti-Semitic attacks doubled from the year before. In Austria, anti-Semitic attacks doubled from the year before,” said Lauder, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Austria during the Reagan Administration. Click here to read Lauder’s remarks.
Rep. Smith was joined on the panel at the hearing by subcommittee member Rep. Mark Meadows (NC-11), who said, “The recent rise in violent anti-Semitic attacks is gravely concerning and must be addressed by the international community. Ensuring that Jewish communities throughout Europe and the rest of the world are safe is critically important. We haven’t seen this degree of anti-Semitism since World War II, and it demands a robust response. I’m grateful to Chairman Chris Smith for his leadership on this issue.”
Additional testifimony at the hearing, “After Paris and Copenhagen: Responding to the Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism,” includedtestimony from Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, and testimony from Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, president of the Danish Jewish Community. The testimony of all three witnesses focused on the crucial role of the U.S. and other participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in battling anti-Semitism and called for strong American leadership.