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April 16, 2015

U.S. Should Lead in Worldwide Fight Against Antisemitism, Extremism

Washington, D.C.—To commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins tonight at sundown, Human Rights First’s Tad Stahnke has released the following statement:

“As the world pauses to remember the millions of lives lost during the Holocaust, we urge the U.S. government to recommit itself to fighting the scourge of antisemitism. Though the Holocaust inspired the world to ‘never again’ allow such heinous acts of genocide and violence to take place, a resurgence of antisemitic violence has recently taken hold in Europe, fed by extremists among some immigrant and Muslim populations, ultranationalists, as well as extreme political parties whose rhetoric and actions undermine the democratic norms within the European Union.

“Antisemitism is a human rights problem, and no community should stand alone in the face of hatred and violence. We also know that antisemitism, left unchecked, leads to the persecution of other minorities, and an overall increase in repression. The converse is also true: human rights problems left to fester exacerbate antisemitism. Throughout history, antisemitism has surged and retracted depending on social conditions and political factors. Jews—often the default scapegoats—fare better when there is less demand for scapegoats. We call on the U.S. government to continue to lead the charge in the fight against antisemitism in Europe.”

Human Rights First experts recently visited Hungary and Greece, where they researched the rise and political success of ultranationalist, antisemitic, and racist parties including Jobbik in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece. This informed the recommendations in Human Rights First’s report “We’re Not Nazis, but…  The Rise of Hate Parties in Hungary and Greece and Why America Should Care.”

For more information or to speak with Stahnke, contact Corinne Duffy at DuffyC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.