On Capitol Hill on April 14, 2015, The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) held its sixth annual commemoration of the establishment of the Tom Lantos Archives on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, and presented the sixth report of its findings.
The Tom Lantos Archives are the world's largest resource on this subject, featuring materials from Arabic, Farsi, Urdu/Pashtu, and Dari media (click here to visit the Archives).
Speakers At The Event
The event, held in the Speaker's Dining Room of the U.S. Capitol, included the following speakers: Sheikh Hassen Chalghoumi, the Imam of Drancy, Paris; Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, and daughter of the late Congressman Lantos; Caroline Fourest, French author, journalist, activist, former contributor to Charlie Hebdo and Le Monde; Brad Sherman, member of House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs; Sen. John McCain, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee; and MEMRI President and Founder Yigal Carmon.
Others Attending The Event
Attending the event were Members of Congress, including Sheila Jackson-Lee, Randy Weber, and Debbie Dingell. Former Speaker of the House and current Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi appeared at the conclusion of the event to offer her praise for it. Also in attendance were ambassadors to the United States and members of the international diplomatic community, including from the European Parliament, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Hungary, Georgia, Romania, Slovenia, and Armenia, as well as representatives from the embassies of Italy, Spain, and Cyprus. In addition, officials from the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum were present.
Video Compilation Screened At Event Available For Viewing
During the event, MEMRI's annual report on antisemitism in the Arab and Muslim world was released, and MEMRI's annual video compilation of translated clips of antisemitic content from Arab and Iranian television channels from the past year from the Archives was screened. The video compilation can be viewed here.
MEMRI's Impact In Europe - Legal Measures Taken Against Incitement To Hatred, Violence, And Jihad Targeting Jews Translated By MEMRI - Video Compilation
MEMRI TV's translation and publication of statements by numerous Islamic religious figures in the West inciting to hatred, violence, and jihad against the Jews have led to legal measures against them. The following are several examples:
· Italy: An imam from Morocco was expelled from Italy following the release of a MEMRI TV clip of excerpts of his sermon calling to "count [the Jews] one by one and kill them to the very last one." The clip, and the imam's expulsion, received considerable media attention, including in the Arab world.
· Spain: Spanish prosecutors investigated an imam in Spain following the release of a MEMRI TV clip in which he called for Allah to "destroy the plundering Jews." The investigation was reported on by Spanish- and English-language media.
· Germany: An imam from Denmark who called for the killing of Jews, "the slayers of the Prophet," in a Berlin mosque, saying "count them and kill them to the very last one," faces criminal charges in Germany, following the release of a MEMRI TV clip.
· Denmark: Authorities are looking into legal charges against an imam at a Danish mosque who in a sermon referred to the Jews as "apes and pigs" and said "Oh Muslim, oh Servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him," following the release of a MEMRI TV clip.
· Jerusalem: The Jerusalem District Attorney indicted a sheikh for his sermon at Al-Aqsa Mosque following the release of a MEMRI TV clip showing him exhorting his audience to kill Jews and adding, "We shall slaughter you without mercy."
· Australia: Videos of statements inciting to jihad against the Jews by an Australian leader of the Islamist extremist group Hizbut-Tahrir in Sydney were sent to Australia's Director of Public Prosecutions for possible charges against the leader; the move follows the release of a MEMRI TV clip of the leader's statements.
A video compilation of the MEMRI TV videos leading to these legal actions can be viewed here.
· Visit the Tom Lantos Archives on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial here.
· Visit the Tom Lantos Archives on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial Blog here.
Transcripts Of Addresses
Statement From Speaker Of The House John Boehner
In his statement marking the occasion, Speaker of the House Boehner said:
"Dear friends, welcome to the United States Capitol for the sixth annual Lantos Antis-Semitism and Holocaust Denial Archives Commemoration. It is fitting to host this event in a building that owes its status as the world's greatest symbol of freedom and democracy to the service of unshakable leaders like Tom Lantos.
"I am proud to lend my support to this event that advances Tom's work of ensuring that the past will never be forgotten and that the brutal injustices of a Holocaust will never be questioned or repeated. This is how one gathering of people of goodwill at a time we summon the courage to face the injustices of our own time and to chart a course towards truth and peace.
"Congratulations to the Middle East Media Research Institute and best wishes to all those participating in today's commemoration. Sincerely, Speaker John A. Boehner."
Katrina Lantos Swett, Vice Chair Of The U.S. Commission On International Religious Freedom, President Of The Lantos Foundation For Human Rights And Justice, And Daughter Of The Late Congressman Lantos
To view the clip of Katrina Lantos Swett's address, click here
"I have the privilege of being the first speaker today, and I'm going to keep my remarks very brief. We are going to be hearing a lot of powerful and very sobering accounts of the state of antisemitism, global antisemitism in the world today. It is not a pretty picture and there will be videos and words that will cause us to understand that we are in a time of great danger.
"And so I thought I might use my brief words to share also a message about the importance of perspective. In many ways it feels like the Jewish community is under a level of assault and threat unseen since the dark days of the Holocaust. One need only utter the words ISIS, Paris, Hypercacher, Copenhagen, and other Rorschach-like phrases to summon up deeply disturbing images of a world that once again seems to have given birth to this irrational ancient hatred that has been with us through the millennia.
"As I say, we will be seeing and hearing today about the magnitude and the spread of these threats to the Jewish community worldwide and to our own honor as people of goodwill and of conscience. But I want to say to each of you that whenever I find myself daunted, as I often do, by the challenges of our day and in particular by the present, clear and present danger of resurgent antisemitism, I am reminded of the remarkable words of my remarkable late father, Tom Lantos.
"He and my mother, as most of you know, were Holocaust survivors. And my father went on to become the only Holocaust survivor ever to serve in the United States Congress and one of its most forceful advocates for human rights. I can tell you that their incredible lives read like a script out of Hollywood, and my mother can confirm that. But that is sort of a story for another day. Maybe next year's archives I will tell you some of the incredible drama and beauty and romance of their lives. But it is the fact that because my father and mother have lived through the very worst that man could inflict on his fellow human beings, he in particular had a strong sense of perspective about the events that surrounded him in the present moment.
"And remarkably, he was one of the most optimistic people I've ever known about our world. And so whenever I would feel overwhelmed by what I was dealing with in my life or what was going on in the world around me, in his marvelous Hungarian accent he would reassure me and he would say with apologies, 'Don't worry, darling. We are just bending a windy corner in history and around that corner are bright blue skies and wonderful opportunities ahead.'
"I was reminded of my dad's very important gift of perspective recently when I attended the 10-year anniversary of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's conference on antisemitism in Berlin. It was a very sobering conference because in point of fact events have taken a very disturbing turn in Europe.
"But as discouraging as the conference was, I was also reassured by the knowledge that history is not kind to, nor does it ultimately reward those who trample on the dignity and the rights of other people. While on a quick bus tour of Berlin, I was struck by a comment from the tour guide who said that when the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685, thousands of persecuted Huguenots fled from France to the city of Berlin where they ended up starting many of the industries and trades that became the backbone of that region's economy.
"So, it was very interesting to me because while I was at a conference focusing on the threats and dangers of antisemitism, it was a reminder to me that the hatred that impels a tax against the Jews is of a cloth with a hatred directed towards any minority community at different times in our history.
"Now, you will recall, or even if you don't, I'll share with you, that the Edict of Nantes had been signed in 1598 by Henry IV of France. And at that time it had granted to the Calvinist Huguenots substantial rights in a nation that was overwhelmingly Catholic. This was a break from the longstanding doctrine in Europe at that time that required subjects to follow the religion of their rulers. It was well-expressed in the old Latin phrase cuiusregio, eiusreligio; whose realm, his religion. We might, I think, reasonably view the Edict of Nantes as an early advancement of sort of the broad notion of fundamental human rights and especially religious freedom and freedom of conscience and belief. And so clearly its revocation was a huge step backwards. But the critical point, and I think the point that should give us some sense of hope as we face the terrifying realities of today is that by driving out the Huguenots, it was the French who ultimately paid a heavy price. The city that at that time welcomed them and gave them refuge reaped enormous benefits from their joining that community.
"This is a bit of perspective for us. The times are dark. The circumstances are frightening. And storm clouds have not only gathered, but they have broken and broken in places where we thought that this old dark hatred of antisemitism had been defeated.
"But we know if we look at history, that as I said, history is not kind to, nor will it ultimately reward those who seek to trample on the rights of others. And so despite the serious subject matter that brings us here today and despite the very, very sobering, sobering things that we are going to see and hear, I retain that same optimism and that same sense of perspective and hope that my father shared with me so often through the years.
"We now are going to in our program turn to the first of several videos. These are the work of the extraordinary organization that really is at the heart of the work of the Lantos Archives, MEMRI, which as you know, does unprecedented work in bridging the language gap and in bringing to the attention of policymakers, of leaders, of the news media, and of ordinary men and women the truth about what is transpiring in a whole range of fora across the world.
"And so I'd like you now to join me in turning your attention to the screen up here as we see the first of several examples of the materials that MEMRI has been responsible for gathering as part of the Lantos Archives. Thank you."
[Video compilation screened; to view this video, click here]
Caroline Fourest, French Author, Journalist, And Activist; Former Contributor To Charlie Hebdo, Le Monde
To view the clip of Caroline Fourest's address, click here
"Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you about this huge challenge of which you have seen just a few extracts.
"I belong to a generation who grew up with this question about the Nazi era, how a continent like Europe could let something like this happen. It was the question during all my time as a teenager, how we can let that happen. But at this time I was absolutely sure that I will never find the answer, that it will be a lifetime question.
"I must say I'm a little bit sad to say a few years after I think I know. I don't know it from my education, I do not belong to a Jewish family. I'm just obsessed with finding these answers. And I have worked for over 15 years now on extremism, all types of extremism: the religious right in America, the National Front in France, and for 10 years I have been working a lot on the Muslim Brotherhood movement.
"I did work six years at Charlie Hebdo. And this amazing, amazing satirical newspaper, [in which] we can have the most genius and funny drawings about religion, all religions, and at the same time have very serious [articles] trying to denounce antisemitism, trying to denounce fanaticism [that is] growing in Europe. I've lost some of my dear friends. We knew in 2005 that we were in danger. We knew that it was dangerous to laugh about fanatics and still we thought that if a newspaper like Charlie Hebdo cannot laugh about the most scary threats to all of us, then what are we going to do? Only war? If we cannot laugh, the only option is to do only war. But I think it is definitely a war that you can win, not only by weapons but by drawings and by words.
"So it is very important to use the correct words. And after what happened with the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo, against the Hypercacher [kosher market], and before that we had the murder of Jewish children by Mohammed Merah [in Toulouse]. And before that we had Mehdi Nemmouche in Belgium. So, it's been now a few years that it is dangerous to be a Jew in Europe, as it is dangerous to be a journalist, as it is dangerous to be a cartoonist. [The toll is too great] for the 21st century - really - for this fantastic democratic area of the world [i.e. Europe].
"Why is it becoming so dangerous to be journalist, a Jew, or military [personnel] of Muslim background, or an Arab policeman, who were also killed during the attack on the seventh of January? The easy answer is to say that there are people who are so oppressed in Europe, so poor, so desperate that they have no other choice than to kill Jews, cartoonists, and journalists. I'm sorry to say this is a what I heard when I received some journalists from America or England after the attack against the Hypercacher and Charlie Hebdo, and the first things they're explaining to me is that it is because France is Islamophobic. It is also the painful impression we got when Barack Obama did not find time to come after the attack, but did find time to say that apparently Muslims of France have a problem identifying themselves with the French model, and that maybe that can explain what happened.
"I don't know how people would have felt if someone after 9/11 had gone to America - or not gone to America - and had explained: 'I can understand why Muslims hate you.' I think everything is wrong in that approach. Really, this approach is all wrong. First, if we have to speak about Islamophobia, we should be able to speak about Islamophobia. Rebiya Kadeeris is in this room.
"I am shocked to see that people just ignore the actual oppression of Muslims in the China regime - where some people are suffering real discrimination and are really humiliated because of their faith. Compare that to a democratic secularist country like France where you are completely free to live and to practice your religion, where you're not discriminated against account of your religion. What is going on today?...
"When you have radicals claiming that they are acting in the name of a religion and killing people in the name of that same religion, guess what, then people begin fearing that religion.
"And we are dealing with that. And when we come from the left like Charlie Hebdo, when we are both anti-racist and secularist, we're trapped in between these two horrible approaches. We're trying to fight the racism targeting Muslims and Arabs. And I have to say that before 9/11, this racism was really decreasing in France and Europe, because my generation is an anti-racist generation. We have nothing to do with the old colonial past. Actually, we are the children of the people who fought colonization. So, this kind of racism was really decreasing, when propagandist preachers of hate [began talking].You've seen some of them, but there are many more. They are using the crisis of identity of the third generation of migrants, a generation that was not oppressed like their parents were. They're using this identity crisis [that they are going through] to brainwash them.
"But we are not talking of children of immigrants only. We have to be clear about that. Those who go to Syria today, after just a few days of propaganda they saw on the website - those who are brainwashed to the point of going to Syria - those are at times blond-haired and blue-eyed and have no Muslim background. The live in Normandy. And suddenly, they aspire to some very strong experience, and they decide to fight for a humanitarian cause in Syria.
"It once took more or less a month to radicalize someone. Today, we know - and the specialists know - that it takes only a few days to brainwash someone completely, and to send him to Syria. And sometimes [the victim] is a girl who believes that she is going to help people who are suffering in Syria, but she will become a sexual slave there. Of course, it's not paradise that they're going to find. It's hell. And very quickly, after a few weeks, they want to come back to France.
"But in addition to those radicals who go to Syria and come back [home] and kill because they hear that the Jews are the problem, there is a movement, a grassroots movement, a very smart movement - the smartest totalitarian movement I have ever studied.
"Sometimes the first step is to brainwash very smart people. Not poor people, not lost people, not the people who can easily go to Syria - but students, lawyers. Very smart Europeans can be brainwashed too. [These brainwashers] are the Muslim Brotherhood. They may smile to you. They can be very professional. They can convince governments here and in Europe that they are the right partner. But their fieldwork in Europe is a mess. They are brainwashing a whole generation of brilliant and smart Muslim Europeans.
"And they do it with the help of the European Council of Fatwa. It's the council that gives religious direction for the Muslims in Europe. And we know that the head of this European Muslim Council is [Sheikh] Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, who once said in London: 'The only dialogue with the Jews is with the sword, to kill them.' He didn't even say 'Zionists. 'He said 'Jews.' And it was in London. And he was received by the politicians and the mayor of London at that time in a most friendly way. And each time we help a movement of that kind, we betray the secular Muslims, like my friend Hassen Chalghoumi, who is here - [these secular Muslims] who are fighting against antisemitism, who are fighting against those fanatics, who are fighting against radicalization, and who have been accused of betraying Islam.
"Such is the situation today in France: When you are denouncing antisemitism, racism of those fanatics, you are termed Islamophobic. You're called a racist. Just because you are against racism. And people are so fed up with this game that they're starting to vote for the National Front, a real racist movement, a real xenophobic movement. [True], the now elderly father Jean-Marie Le Pen will be a little bit more in the shadow because he's saying too clearly what he's thinking about the Jews, about [Vichy leader] Marshal Petain and the collaboration - and [French Front national leader] Marine Le Pen does not want this speech in front of the party because it's not well viewed in France. Apart from radical circles, antisemitism is what we all want to fight today in France. Even the National Front cannot claim to be antisemitic. It would lose the votes it can rely on today. So, it is trying to hide this aspect [antisemitism] of the party.
"But the other side, the side fighting radicalism in the name of Islam is very popular. It is really, really popular. But there is only one way to fight against this [radicalism in the name of Islam]. And it is not by calling the French secularists Islamophobic. It's not by explaining that the French model is responsible for the terrorist attacks which occurred in London, which occurred in Arab countr[ies], which occurred in Muslim countries for decades.
"Jihadi John grew up in England, in a well-off suburb. The English model is very different from the French one. Why did some accuse the French model of being responsible for a terrorist attack, whereas in other cases [Jihadi John no national model] was held responsible for terrorist attacks? It makes no sense [to blame the French secular model for the terrorist attacks].
"In order to reduce Islamophobia, we need to fight against terrorism, and Islamophobia will be reduced. We want to fight against antisemitism? We also have to fight fanaticism and terrorism. It's as simple as that. We have to fight against speech inciting to hatred and we need to stop confusing between [hate speech] and freedom of expression. In the same way we need to stop confusing between freedom of expression - including the right to blasphemy - and racism. [Blasphemy] is the most joyful way to resist fanaticism.
"Because this is a war we can only win with clear minds, with clear words... It is a war to fight with our minds by being clever. When we start confusing blasphemy with racism and when we start tolerating incitement to hatred - like antisemitism - in the name of freedom of expression, we become weak, we become targets, and we become stupid, cowardly allies of terrorism. And this is what we have to stop. Thank you very much."
Congressman Brad Sherman
To view the clip of Congressman Brad Sherman's address, click here
"Hello. I'm Brad Sherman from California's best-named city, Sherman Oaks. And it was an honor to sit with your father, Tom Lantos, in the Foreign Affairs Committee for so many years since 1997.I came to focus just a little bit on antisemitism in the United States.
"For example, I'm an alumnus of UCLA, where a student was up for a position, not even a particularly high position in student government, and was asked the question, 'Given that you're a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?'
"The pressure on Jewish students on campuses around this country is a problem. It obviously pales compared to the threats to safety that exist in so many places around the world, but it's an issue that we in the United States need to focus on.
"After tremendous pressure, the U.S. Department of Education issued a ruling to say that Title VI of our Civil Rights Law, which applies to color and creed - correction, you know, race and national origin, also applies to antisemitism. Anyone looking at bigotry in this country and around the world would certainly list antisemitism.
"And as to the technical matter as to whether Jews are an ethnicity or a religion, I would simply say obviously both, but technically Jews are those who practice the religion of the country of Judea. That country was expunged by the Romans, but that many ethnicities have had their homelands temporarily or even permanently expunged and continue to be a national origin.
"I am a proud descendant of the Kingdom of Judea. What we need to do as our next step is to get the Department of Education to adopt a definition of antisemitism because saying you're against antisemitism without saying what antisemitism is is saying you're not going to do much.
"And I believe that it's the working definition adopted by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia that was adopted in the State Department Report on Global Antisemitism written because of language put in the law by Tom Lantos and which my wife had a very substantial role in writing.
"But it is this definition that points out that it is antisemitism to deny the Jewish people their right of self-determination by claiming the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavor, applying a double standard to Israel and demanding standards not demanded of other democratic nations, and drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
"And it is a balanced definition, because it goes on to say, 'However, criticism of Israel, similar to that levied against any other country, cannot be regarded as antisemitic.' And I can say I can't go to any Jewish group where there isn't some criticism of some Israeli policy or politician. Certainly you can't go anywhere in Israel without hearing criticism of Israeli politicians or policies.
"We need this working definition adopted and applied and enforced so that those who try to cloak their antisemitism as saying they just hate Israel, they don't hate Jews need to deal with these technical standards. So, I look forward to working with you on human rights around the world, and they start right here in the United States. Thank you."
MEMRI President Yigal Carmon
To view the clip of MEMRI President Yigal Carmon's address, click here
"Any review of antisemitism and Holocaust denial in the last year in the Arab and Muslim world involves relating to a new phenomenon: The Arab and Muslim world includes the West; it includes the Western Muslim communities. What would then be the characteristics of the antisemitism and Holocaust denial in this extended Muslim world? We must first of all establish that most of the expressions of antisemitism are in the West.
"In the Arab and Muslim world - the old one -it is less, because they are [currently] involved in the historic phase in which they have no time like they had in the past. And when they are immersed in their own tragedy, and there is antisemitism there - it is addressed to non-Jews.
"We have seen here this strange phenomenon - antisemitism that is addressed to adversaries. The Jew remains the ultimate evil, but they will say: [Egyptian President] Sisi, his mother is a Moroccan Jew. Baghdadi of ISIS, he is a Jew, his name is Shimon Ilut.Al-Qaradhawi is depicted with payot [sidecurls] and with a cap like a Jew. Everyone approaches his adversary, his enemy, as the ultimate evil - the Jew. But not much is left in this horrific battle that goes on in the Arab and Muslim world for approaching the Jews, the original Jews themselves. What you have seen, which looks to you like a lot, is less than what you would have seen a year ago, a few years ago.
"Now, when we talk about the fact that it has switched or moved to the West, we must establish that Western European antisemitism is predominantly Islamic. In European countries, the identity of the offenders is not mentioned, nor is their ethnicity - sometimes not exactly the name. But when it comes out somehow, you see that it is predominantly Islamic. There was a report in Norway about an attack on a Jew, and you can read the whole thing and you would figure out that [it was by] some Norwegian whose ancestors were born there - but then at the end you see pictures and you immediately see where it comes from.
"It is mostly Islamic, sometimes affiliated with Islam [like]... a...'gentleman' is not the right word... Dieudonne [in France], who is not Muslim, but is affiliated to Iran and involved with Iran in many ways; his affiliation was primarily with the previous Iranian president Ahmadinejad. So, the star of antisemitism in the Muslim world is still Iran. As we sit here now, they are holding their yearly contest on cartoons about the Holocaust, and as you have seen here, the foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who has starred in the last month as a very soft-spoken speaker in English, explaining the positions of Iran in many very nice ways, you see him speaking in his own Majlis [parliament] against those who try to present the Holocaust as something that actually happened. It was a long speech which was basically denial of the Holocaust. So, whether it is Ahmadinejad or it is the soft-spoken Western [-style] Javad Zarif who goes wild in his own Majlis - it is the same old rant about Holocaust denial.
"The speakers are usually, as you have seen, not [ordinary] people from the street. Each and every one has a title, a status. These are people who have a status in their society. And of course, as you have seen, there are very few courageous people - but they do exist.
"Today we have with us a guest who is one of those courageous people who speak against those notions and preach for fraternity, understanding, and affiliation between the religions. The motifs remain the same: Islamic, the descendants of pigs and apes, which is in the Koran three times; the promise of the tree and the stone, which is a tradition that at the end of days all the Jews will be killed and that even nature itself will rise against them to tell the Muslims to come and kill them. There were the Western motifs - the Protocols, the blood libel, demonization, conspiracies, that new we have today, 'Who burned the Jordanian pilot? The Jews.'
"But the encouraging phenomenon is that in the Arab and Muslim world they are not just attributing those crimes to Jews, but also condemning each other as Nazis. And that is something we should be happy about - finally there is an admission that there were Nazis and that they committed crimes. Maybe later on they will realize that these crimes were primarily against Jews.
"I would finish with a very important note for MEMRI. You saw in the previous set of videos the preachers in the West. Against most of them, measures have been taken in the countries in which they spoke - in Spain, in Italy, in Germany, I think in all of them. There was such a preacher in Chicago, nothing was done against him. In Australia, action was taken against him. The understanding that words have consequences is beginning to get into the legal system - it does not ignore words as nothing.
"Usually each year we distribute on the chairs our annual report. This year, unfortunately, I apologize, we are not ready with it. Whoever would like to receive it, there are forms outside, fill in the forms, you will receive it in the mail to your office. Thank you so much."
Senator John McCain, Chairman Of The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee
To view the clip of Senator John McCain's address, click here
"It's a privilege to be with you today to speak at the annual commemoration of the Commemoration of the Tom Lantos Archives on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial. This vividly important institution stands as a fitting memorial to a great patriot who knew the dangers and cruelty of despotism and dedicated his life to fighting tyranny and promoting the enduring values that we hold dear.
"I had the honor of serving in Congress with Congressman Lantos, and his tireless efforts in defending human rights across the world I think had an incredible and indelible impact on me. I will always be thankful for Tom Lantos' leadership and example.
"My friends, this is a momentous time to be speaking on antisemitism. As we look around the world, we encounter upheaval and conflict like never before. I have often said that the United States and our allies in the international community are facing a more diverse and complex array of crises than we have experienced or faced since the end of World War II.
"Many of the threats emerging from these crises are new and unprecedented. Some we know all too well. From Paris to Brussels and back to the very heartland of Germany, we see the specter of antisemitism re-emerging throughout Europe. The kosher grocery store massacre in Paris; the murder of a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse; attackers throwing Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in Wuppertal, Germany; and the terrorist attack that killed four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels are just a few of the most prominent attacks in a long list of growing violence directed towards the Jewish community.
"While the horror of these attacks have rightly shocked the world's conscience and drawn the condemnation of many world leaders, there have also been smaller, less-noticed incidents that suggest that perhaps antisemitism never really left us: small protests in Germany where marchers yelled 'Gas the Jews'; a shop owner in Belgium who posted a sign saying he would serve dogs but not Jews; and a conductor on a Brussels commuter train who announced a stop at Auschwitz and jokingly ordered all Jews to disembark.
"In France, for example, Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the National Front party and a popular politician, has frequently used antisemitic language and puns in his speeches. In Germany, Lutz Bachmann of the anti-immigration Pegida party was photographed posing as Hitler. In Hungary the rise of the Jobbik party under the charismatic leadership of G├íbor Vona, who has called on the government to draw up a list of Jews in the country who pose a national security risk, has made antisemitic rhetoric in vogue. And in Greece, a recent survey found that nearly 70 percent of adults hold antisemitic views which are openly expressed by the country's Golden Dawn party. Such rhetoric and behavior from many of Europe's far right parties reveal just how deeply ingrained antisemitism remains.
"While it would be wrong to compare 1933 to today, there is indeed a sense of familiarity there. After so many years of expressing regrets and pledging never again, could it be that we are witnessing a resurgence of antisemitism in our political and economic discourse and that such remarks and actions are becoming increasingly acceptable?
"For a millennium, a poisonous hatred of Jews, including persecution, expulsions, and massacres, were common practice in Europe and elsewhere around the world. Only after the shame of the Holocaust did antisemitism become intolerable. But I fear that perhaps our historical memory is fading, that 'never again' has become another empty phrase.
"This is all too evident in Syria, where the world has watched the brutal massacre of over 300,000 people, but increasingly we see it elsewhere too. And the fact that many within the Jewish community are openly questioning whether it is time for them to leave Europe suggests how deeply we've forgotten our sense of 'never again.'
"Expressions of outrage and promises to fight against antisemitism with all means at our disposal, while necessary, bring little comfort. We all know that we cannot be silent, but we cannot allow words to replace action either. Moral outrage means nothing without the force of action to back it up. This means that all governments, including our own, must be bold in our outrage when we see antisemitism and categorically condemn its expression even when doing so is inconvenient or unpleasant.
"We must, moreover, fully investigate and prosecute incidents of antisemitic violence, publish accurate data on attacks, and work with Jewish communities to assess their security needs and provide protection against violence, including training police and prosecutors and forging productive relationships between law enforcement and affected communities.
"Such measures will help address antisemitism, racist, and violent ideologies, but it's only a start. The need for a broad engagement strategy is urgent and we must do more to challenge those purveyors of hate.
"Make no mistake, there are powerful reasons for America and Europe to prevent the spread of virulent antisemitism in the name of our collective national security interest and the preservation of our democratic values.
"We are deluding ourselves if we believe we can be complacent about rising antisemitism and its propagators without witnessing a weakening of democracy and security around the world. Put simply, these attacks should not just be a source of heartbreak and sympathy to us. They should be a source of moral outrage and a call to action.
"History has taught us that antisemitism is not just a threat to the Jewish community; it is a threat to who we are and who we aspire to be as a people and as nations. Failure to meet the threat posed by rising antisemitism risks unraveling the incredible progress we have made in the wake of World War II toward building a just and peaceful world order based on respect for inalienable rights and dignity.
"Education is the first step. This is where the Tom Lantos Archives on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial play such an invaluable role in disseminating vital and accurate information to create an informed public. But as we recall the horrors of the past, we must recognize that remembrance and awareness are only the start, not the end of our responsibility to confront evil, defend truth, and unite in the face of threats to our peace and security.
"There is a real and present danger posed by the growing strength of antisemitic forces in Europe and other parts of the world. When we saw the horrors of the Holocaust, we said never again and promised that it would finally be the end to the saddest chapter in world history. Shame on all of us if we let facile pledges of 'never again' replace moral outrage and real action.
"With the assistance of this institution and the continuing memory of Tom Lantos, I remain hopeful that we will not let history repeat itself. Thank you very much."
Hassen Chalghoumi, French-Tunisian Imam Of The Drancy Mosque, Paris
To view the clip of Hassen Chalghoumi's address, click here
"In the name of Allah, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful. I would like first to thank both MEMRI and the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice for extending their gracious invitation to me to speak at this important annual event. I am honored to participate in the commemoration of Tom Lantos, who throughout his life fought against antisemitism and Holocaust denial and championed the cause of human rights and justice worldwide.
"Before I begin my address, I would like to call attention to the plight of Christians in the Middle East, who are nowadays facing genocidal murder. I am sure you have all seen images such as those of the 21 people beheaded on the coast of Libya for the sole crime of being Christian. We cannot commemorate the Holocaust of the 20th century without addressing the crimes that are currently taking place against Christians as a result of that same hatred that led to the near-extermination of European Jewry.
"You have just seen a variety of documentary videos, some of which incite hatred, racism and violence, while others advocate reform and universal human values. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the first type of videos represents only one of the faces of Islam - the hateful and violent face. Such was the case with other religions in their respective histories. For centuries, Christianity and Judaism experienced phases in which their highest human values were marginalized and replaced by hate and violence. However, later on, each one broke free of these violent trends and became almost entirely human, peaceful, and compassionate religions - as we have known them to be for some centuries now. Indeed, this is not one-way guaranteed progress, and sometimes phenomena of the past rear their ugly heads. It is a constant battle to repress them.
"Islam will also follow the same historical pattern as Christianity and Judaism. However, this battle for reform will not be concluded if the rest of the world treats it as a solely internal battle and sits as an idle observer, watching the catastrophe as it unfolds. We all live in one world, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and the fate of Islam will be determined by and will impact all of us together.
"What are the fronts on which this great battle within Islam is being fought? Above all, it is being fought on the Internet. While a great blessing to humanity, the Internet is also a carrier of the worst of ideas, beliefs, and incitement to violence, and is greatly utilized by extremists to radicalize and recruit followers. Indeed, the global jihadi movement would not have reached its present influence world-wide without the Internet.
"We all, ladies and gentlemen, stand for the freedom of speech, but this freedom is being abused by enemies of humanity to brainwash the minds of our children and youth. There must be laws enacted in America that protect us from this abuse and forbid it, similar to those that were passed in Europe after the Europeans endured the bitter consequences resulting from ideologies such as Nazism and Fascism. In Europe, incitement to racism, antisemitism, and Holocaust denial are criminal offenses, even when no explicit action is taken to realize it.
"The second battlefront is the schools, in which proper guidance for young people is lacking. The absence of these critical characteristics causes the educational system to be void of moral values, and ultimately, the students of today are converted into the extremists and terrorists of tomorrow. We have seen this happen time and again in France.
"The third battlefront is the mosques, in many of which there is incitement to antisemitism, hate, and ultimately, violence. This is the most critical battlefront regarding the future of Islam and its relationship with other religions. But even this one is not solely internal. The government should have a role in prohibiting money from terrorist organizations from reaching mosques and guiding their activities. It should prevent extremist leaders from preaching in pulpits from which they can abuse their power and spew hate and violence. It should make sure that the people who preach religion to others are qualified and endorse human values.
"The fourth battlefront is the jails, in which the governments mix ordinary inmates with terrorists and ideological offenders who take advantage of the opportunity to radicalize those with whom they come in contact. This was the case with all the terrorists who committed acts of terror in France throughout the past year: Muhammad Merrah and Muhammad Nemoush, who were brainwashed in jail and killed 11 innocent people; and, most recently, Amedy Coulibaly and the brothers Kouachi, who killed total of 17 people at Charlie Hebdo and in a kosher market near the Porte de Vincennes neighborhood in Paris.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I am speaking with you as one who is fighting on all the aforementioned fronts despite the death threats I receive on a regular basis. The last of these threats came from an Islamic State sleeper cell in France. I see it as my duty to fight on all these battlefronts: on the Internet, in schools, by preaching in mosques, and by talking to inmates. I am doing everything in my power to confront the forces of evil in my religion.
"But I want you to know that I am not alone. I want you to know that I am getting huge support from Muslims not only in France but from all over Europe; from Muslims in Tunisia, my country of origin; and from the greater, global Muslim community. Just two weeks ago, I spoke to E.U. Parliament members and told them not to be disheartened because the vast majority of Muslims stand for what I represent. In 2012, I took a group of 30 imams to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, and what they took away with them from this visit became known to many communities that had previously been almost ignorant about the Holocaust. I take part in all Holocaust memorials in France. In fact, my own mosque is in Drancy, which is the location from which French Jews were transported to Auschwitz. This is an ongoing lesson: Hatred will lead to extreme catastrophe. A few years ago, I also gathered Muslims for a commemoration of 9/11, pledging to fight terrorism and hate.
"Ladies and gentlemen, let me repeat that such efforts require your help. Those who believe that they can leave us alone in this battle and wait for its conclusion would be committing a grave mistake. For those who I often hear asking, "Where are the Muslim reformers?" I would like to direct their attention to MEMRI. This research institute, which I value so highly, makes the world aware of both faces of Islam today - the one that incites violence and hatred toward others, and the other that advocates reform, peace, and fraternity among all religions.
"I would like to end my comments with a word of wisdom I heard from a rabbi who spoke at one of the Holocaust Memorials in Drancy. He said, 'Hitler did not win because he had the support of the majority of Germans, but because the majority did not care.' Ladies and gentlemen, the battle will be long, but together we will triumph. Merci. Thank you."