FCO to host antisemitism conference

By Leon Symons, June 13, 2008

The first conference bringing together parliamentarians from all over the world who lead the fight against antisemitism will be held in London next February, co-hosted by the Foreign Office.

The other co-host will be the newly formed Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA). Sessions of the conference will be held at the Houses of Parliament and the Foreign Office.

Labour MP John Mann, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism and co-founder of ICCA, said: “I am confident that this event will mark a new era of parliamentarians taking the lead in the fight against antisemitism.”

Fellow co-founder Irwin Cotler, a Canadian MP and former Canadian justice minister and attorney-general, commented: “The holding of such a conference is as timely as it is necessary as we face a new, escalating, global and virulent antisemitism.

“Parliamentarians have a unique role and responsibility in combating this hatred and the UK is to be congratulated on this historic initiative.”

German parliament member Gert Weisskirchen, who is also personal representative of the Chairman-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe on Combatting Antisemitism, said: “We parliamentarians have a unique possibility to join the forces of civil society and government. The evil of antisemitism still exists therefore we should take the opportunity of this conference to redouble our efforts in this fight.”

Other leading members of the ICCA include US Congressman Chris Smith and Israeli MK Isaac Herzog.

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks said: “This is an important indication of how seriously the government, and parliament generally, takes antisemitism. It is a global phenomenon and must be confronted globally. I commend all concerned on this initiative.”

Last updated: 2:44pm, September 2 2009