87 Countries Join to Fight Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial

07/23/2010 22:45

From Israel National News:

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon presided over the signing of an international Memorandum of Understanding uniting 87 nations in the fight against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

The cooperation agreement was signed Wednesday between the ITF (Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research) and the ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. The ODIHR is an operative branch of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe).

This year marks the first time that Israel has been chosen to head the ITF and global education on the Holocaust. ITF chairman Dan Tichon, a former Knesset Speaker, and ODIHR Director Janez Lenarcic of Slovenia signed the memorandum of understanding. 

The agreement "multiplies the strength" of the global forces fighting anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, Ayalon said. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has acted, and will continue to act, against these manifestations of hate," he said, "and will promote any initiative whose purpose is to eliminate them."

In a reference to nuclear power-pursuing Iran, Ayalon noted that there are "elements that deny the Holocaust and are preparing the next one. We must preserve the memory of the Holocaust so that similar horrors and hatred will never be repeated and the world will become a safer place."

The ITF was founded a decade ago at the initiative of the Swedish government. Its purpose is the preservation of Holocaust remembrance through education, research and memorial sites. Currently with 27 members, mostly European, it sees the cooperation agreement as very important.

The ODIHR, which has 57 members, deals with educational programs and follows up on instances of xenophobic - primarily anti-Semitic - hatred. For this reason, the cooperation agreement is likely to help promote Holocaust remembrance, including the uniqueness of the Holocaust, and the fight against Antisemitism.

Ambassador Janez Lenarcic is a senior diplomat who served in the past as advisor to the prime minister of Slovenia. The ODIHR joins six other organizations belonging to the Task Force whose representatives serve as observers: the UN, DPI, UNESCO, the EU, FRA, and the European Council.

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