Resolution Calls for Increased Education, Unity, Vigilance, As World Marks 70th Anniversary of Auschwitz’s Liberation
TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr. and Senate President Steve Sweeney that condemns anti-Semitism and rejects attempts to justify anti-Jewish hatred or violent attacks as acceptable expressions of disapproval over political events in the Middle East or elsewhere, was approved today by a Senate committee.
The resolution (SCR-154) calls for education, unity and vigilance, and is being heard by the committee as the world marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed between 1940 and 1945. In April 2014, the United States Department of State released the International Religious Freedom Report and noted, “Throughout Europe, the historical stain of anti-Semitism continued to be a fact of life, leading many individuals who are Jewish to conceal their religious identity.” Anti-Semitic acts committed and recorded in 2014 around the world include incidents of murder at Jewish sites, violent attacks and death threats against Jews, as well as gun violence, arson, graffiti, anti-Semitic cartoons, and other property desecration at Jewish cemeteries, places of worship, and communal activity.
“Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we continue to see increasing incidents and expressions of anti-Semitism throughout the world. From the massacre of 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, to the killing of four people at a kosher market, we have seen numerous tragedies marked by hate and violence. With this resolution, we are coming together to urge government leaders around the world to stand up and condemn the hateful acts that continue to take place,” said Senator Weinberg. “We are also emphasizing the need for expanded education to counter prejudice and intolerance, and increased vigilance by our citizens to prevent acts of violence fueled by hate, bigotry and ignorance.”
“With the rise of anti-Semitism, it is imperative we solidify a united front across political party lines and geographic borders that any acts of hatred and threats against Judaism will not be tolerated,” said Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris). “The sponsors of this legislation and I are proud to set a strong tone for New Jersey and look forward to working with leaders in other states and nations to make sure we are helping to protect and empower victims of this religious persecution.”
“Anti-Semitism is a stain on humanity. It is a deplorable expression of hatred and bigotry that can not be ignored and should not be tolerated,” said Senator Sweeney. “It was 70 years ago on Tuesday that the horrors of the Holocaust were exposed to the world with the liberation of Auschwitz but it was only earlier this month that Jews were targeted for death by terrorists in Paris. We have to be vigilant and united in condemning anti-Semitism in all its forms and do all we can to stamp out its acts of violence and prejudice.”
The measure applauds the United States and foreign leaders who have condemned anti-Semitic acts and calls on those who have yet to take firm action against anti-Semitism in their countries to do so. It calls for expanded Holocaust education programs that increase awareness, counter prejudice, and enhance efforts to teach the universal lessons of the Holocaust, genocide, intolerance and discrimination. Finally, it calls upon the citizens of New Jersey and the State’s government entities to continue to be vigilant about efforts to prevent and report acts of anti-Semitism, hate crimes and other violations of human rights and religious freedom.
The Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee approved the resolution by a vote of 5-0. It next heads to the full Senate.