- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 29, 2004

BERLIN (AP) — Western nations pledged yesterday to fight “new forms” of anti-Semitism, rejecting any attempt to use the strife in the Middle East as a justification for hate crimes against Jews.

Meeting in the city from where the Nazis directed their campaign to annihilate Europe’s Jews, governments of 55 countries unanimously adopted a declaration that condemned “all attacks motivated by anti-Semitism or by any other forms of religious or racial hatred or intolerance, including attacks against synagogues and other religious places, sites and shrines.”

Delegates and Jewish organizations welcomed the “Berlin Declaration” by the two-day meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as a strong, timely denunciation of a surge in attacks on Jews in Europe and North America.

The declaration commits governments to collect and submit reliable information about anti-Semitic and other hate crimes. The OSCE — formed in the Cold War — includes the United States, Canada and countries across Europe.

Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee in Berlin, said the conference was more successful than two previous major meetings on anti-Semitism in the past year.

The Berlin declaration “is a clear commitment to combat anti-Semitism,” she told the Associated Press.

The declaration said anti-Semitism “has assumed new forms and expressions, which along with other forms of intolerance pose a threat to democracy” and civilization.

The conference declared “unambiguously that international developments or political issues, including those in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East, never justify anti-Semitism.”

The three-page declaration committed the countries to teach children about combating anti-Semitism and to promote remembrance of the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews perished at the hands of the Nazis.

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