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Reform Jewish Leader Applauds Secretary of State Powell's Decision to Attend Upcoming Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (Osce) Conference on Anti-Semitism

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2004 - Jane Wishner, Chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism applauded Secretary of State Colin Powell's announcement that he will be attending the upcoming Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference in Berlin on anti-Semitism. In a letter sent to the Secretary on Friday, April 16, Ms. Wishner stated that Secretary Powell's presence at the April 28-29 meeting would significantly contribute to developing an effective response to the growing problem of anti-Jewish violence in Europe that this conference seeks to address. The complete text of the letter follows:

    Dear Secretary Powell:

    On behalf of the Reform Jewish Movement, encompassing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1,800 Reform rabbis in 900 congregations throughout North America, I urge you to attend the upcoming Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference in Berlin on anti-Semitism, or to send another senior State Department official. The presence of a high ranking State Department official such as you, Deputy Secretary Armitage or Under Secretary Grossman at the April 28-29 meeting, would significantly contribute to developing an effective response to the growing problem of anti-Jewish violence in Europe that this conference seeks to address.

    As you well know, many members of the OSCE have increased their efforts to monitor and combat anti-Semitism within their borders, yet much more remains to be done. The United States should signal its strong stance that the persistence of anti-Semitism abroad must be confronted immediately and forcefully. Your leadership of the U.S. delegation in Berlin would send a clear message to European governments and others that the implementation of adequate measures to address anti-Semitism is an important part of U.S.-European relations and a critical element of worldwide commitments to human rights and religious freedom. Your previous interactions with OSCE have already been indispensable in the progress made to address anti-Semitism abroad. Keeping in mind that the conference is only days away, we ask that you make every effort possible to lead or have another senior Administration official lead the U.S. delegation.

    Sincerely,
    /s/
    Jane B. Wishner
    Chair, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism

     

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The Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism is a joint body of the Union for Reform Judaism, representing more than 900 congregations across North America encompassing 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. The CSA oversees the work of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.



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