I know you are as disturbed as I am about the explosion of open anti-Semitism in Europe over the past several weeks. Whether it is the chilling footage of Germans marching with posters calling for Jews to be gassed, the report of a Belgian doctor refusing to treat a Jewish patient, or the bombing of synagogues and looting of Jewish stores in France, we must not deceive ourselves - the mask is off and the dark under-current of anti-Semitism in Europe has surged to the surface again. This ancient hatred must be confronted at every turn and this will be a key focus of the Lantos Foundation in the coming months; and for as long as it takes.
At our recent Lantos Prize ceremony honoring President Shimon Peres of Israel, we discussed the upcoming Solidarity Sabbath Initiative that we will be spearheading in 2015. We want to recognize and commend those who are likewise taking pro-active steps to expose anti-Semitism wherever it rears its evil head.
Our friends at MEMRI, with whom we partner on the Lantos Archives on Anti-Semitism, recently uncovered a video of an Imam in Italy calling for Jews to die “one by one”. As a result of MEMRI’s research, the Italian government announced yesterday that they are expelling this individual from the country. Last week Congressman Nadler, Congressman Roskam, and Congresswoman Lowey introduced H.RES. 707, a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Semitism. As Congressman Nadler said, "We must unequivocally condemn all forms of anti-Semitism and reject attempts to justify anti-Semitic hatred or violent attacks as an acceptable expression of frustration with political events in the Middle East or anywhere else". Of course the Lantos Foundation is one of the early strong supporters of this congressional action.
We urge you to reach out with your support and thanks to those who are standing up against the growing threats to Jewish communities around the world. Just as these beleaguered communities need to know that they are not alone, their defenders need your support as well.
I hope you will take a moment to express your thanks to the Italian Minister of the Interior Angelino Alfano for his decision to expel the despicable Imam who was inciting violence against the Jews as well as to the members of Congress who have sponsored this important resolution. I also hope you will extend your generous support to the Lantos Foundation and our partners, like MEMRI, who are daily heeding my late father’s call for eternal vigilance against the forces of brutality and hatred. As Tom said, “The veneer of civilization is paper thin, we are its guardians and we can never rest”.
Katrina Lantos Swett