Friday, July 29, 2005

Tom Lantos RULES

The good congressman, the only Holocaust survivor in Congress may I add, sent out an email with the following subject header:

Dear Colleague; Foreign Policy; Civil rights; Raise Anti-Semitism Issues!

With the following request:

RAISE ANTI-SEMITISM ISSUES WHEN YOU TRAVEL DURING THE AUGUST BREAK

Why, you may ask? Let me explain... or rather, let him.

Dear Colleague:

As you undoubtedly know, the scourge of anti-Semitism is on the rise in many countries around the globe, including in the United States. The Congressional Task Force Against Anti-Semitism, which I co-chair with Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, John Lewis, Mark Kirk, and Henry Waxman, was formed to call attention to this dangerous trend and to find ways to stop it.

Last year we introduced the Global Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2004, which directed the State Department to respond to the recent surge in anti-Semitism worldwide through mandated annual reports and a new position at the department dedicated to this issue. I am pleased to report that working with our colleagues, Senator George Voinovich and Representative Chris Smith, we were successful in passing our bill in both the House and the Senate.

As Members of Congress, we have an obligation to speak out against all forms of discrimination, racism, or intolerance. In the coming recess, you may have the opportunity to meet with both domestic and foreign officials, which may provide an opportunity to raise the issue of anti-Semitism. These leaders set the tone for national and international discourse and have an essential role in shaping attitudes, so it is important to use these meetings to speak out forcefully against anti-Semitism where appropriate and warranted.

Please urge parliamentarians to take action and do as our Congress has done - to use their bully pulpit and find opportunities to speak out against anti-Semitism, hold hearings, and pass resolutions and develop national plans to combat it. Nations should promote the adoption of comprehensive hate crime data collection laws and provide training in how to identify, report, and respond to hate crimes for appropriate law enforcement officials. It is impossible to properly assess the scope and nature of the problem without data collection and public reporting on anti-Semitic incidents.

Attached is a sample of some of the reported anti-Semitic incidents that recently have occurred in various countries, as well as a summary of findings from a poll taken by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). It will give you just a small idea of some of the horrendous acts of global anti-Semitism.
[ed.'s note: I'm not including it -- ADL Survey in 12 European Countries Finds Anti-Semitic Attitudes Still Strongly Held -- but you can click on the link; also, I'm omitting a paragraph that gave contact numbers for more info in his office and the ADL.]

The battle against anti-Semitism is one we must all wage. We look forward to having you join in this fight.

Most cordially,

TOM LANTOS
Co-Chair


I was encouraged by reading this. I thought you guys would want to see it too.

14 Comments:

At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Rory said...

Esther, thanks for giving Tom Lantos the attention and praise he deserves. He's someone who has always been in the forefront of the fight for human rights, but without the acrimonious and unbalanced democracy-bashing of some of the human rights organizations. And unlike so many of those ultra-left dilettantes, his credibility comes from the fact that he speaks in a way that only someone who has witnessed unmitigated evil can do. On the other hand, the reason he survived the Holocaust was because he was among those Hungarian Jews who were rescued by the heroic Raoul Wallenberg, and so it would seem he's experienced both the best and the worst of human nature.

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger Esther said...

Well said, Rory! I've heard Lantos speak in person. He's simply incredible.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger drummaster2001 said...

the congressman's message to fight discrimination is very inspirational.

i feel though, that no matter how hard one tries to combat this, there is always going to be resistance to the movement.

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger Esther said...

DM, oh I absolutely agree with you. Just nice to see our congressmen and women making the effort.

 
At 2:37 PM, Blogger LASunsett said...

Kudos to Tom Lantos.

 
At 2:57 PM, Blogger RomanWanderer said...

'I was encouraged by reading this.'
That's how I feel. Thanks for posting it.

 
At 8:09 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

So Esther, and to think when I knew you, (how many years back was it? Yikes) you once called yourself "a bad Jew." Not sure you remember that, but I do. . . I hardly think that applies now.

You remind me of a Greek Goddess I once knew. .. hmmmm. . . ;-)

Keep fighting your good fight,

 
At 8:16 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Right on, LAS.

Very welcome, RW.

Folks, that Jonathan (he's just started his own blog -- check it out) is not our dear Noble Savage but rather a former co-worker and pal of mine back from my days inside the Beltway. I can't say I recall calling myself a bad Jew, but I'm sure it was because of my guilt over only going to temple on the high holy days. ;) And frankly, wasn't even doing that back then -- rather I thought celebrating them could be done by watching Yentl and Neil Diamond's The Jazz Singer. Not sure where the Greek Goddess comes from, lol. But yes, I'm far more involved than I used to be, back in the day.

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

At least someone in congress is agressive with anti-semitism.

 
At 1:46 PM, Anonymous The Other "Jonathan" said...

When I first saw the comment by "Jonathan," I kind of freaked out a little. (Did I have one too many, the other night?) Thanks for clearing that up. One of these days I'm going to put up a post explaining how the name "Noble Savage" came to be. (No, I don't like it either.) Esther, great post about a great congressman.

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

That was a great piece, Esther! I`m glad you posted it, and I`m going to link it up!

When I look at the way the winds are blowing throughout the World, I am very afraid because it`s clear that Anti-Semitism (technically Anti-Judaism, since Arabic is a Semitic language) is on the rise, along with anti-Christian, and Anti-American sentiments. Things are starting to look like they did prior to the rise of Hitler, with rampant anti-Semitism and a desire to use Jews as a scapegoat. Hitler convinced Europe to blame Jews for the fall of Germany and the rise of Marxism, and today Europe is blaming Israel for the rise of Islamo-fascism. People of good will throughout the world need to be vigilant, and to act before it is too late.

Excellent point, Rory!

 
At 11:39 PM, Blogger beakerkin said...

It would be nice if leading Democrats not named Dean would say that talk of Israel instigating the Iraq war is anti semitic. We have allowed too much excess and excuses.

 
At 9:53 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

What a cool guy. I didn't know that there was only one Holocaust survivor in Congress. Thanks for the other info. on him Rory.

And Esther, I'm sure your boyfriend doens't mind you being a "bad Jew" from time to time. D'oh!

 
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