By Judith Latham
24 August 2007

Confronting AntiSemitism
Last few years have witnessed a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the world
The Secretary of State’s “Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism” is a position that grew out of the 2004 Global Anti-Semitism Review Act passed by the U.S. Congress. The Congress had noted a rise in anti-Semitic incidents around the world. They include violence against Jews, desecration of Jewish property, publication of books by government-owned publishing houses that encourage “hatred toward Jews,” and conferences sponsoring denial of the Holocaust.

Last year Gregg Rickman was appointed to the position of Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. A former director of congressional affairs at the Republican Jewish Coalition, Mr. Rickman is the author of two books – Swiss Banks and Jewish Souls and Conquest and Redemption: A History of Jewish Assets from the Holocaust. Speaking with host Carol Castiel of VOA News Now’s Press Conference USA, Gregg Rickman says that from 2002 to 2004 there were numerous attacks against Jews and attacks on synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in Europe. The U.S. State Department, he says, has been working with foreign governments and with multilateral agencies to combat such incidents and to develop educational programs promoting tolerance. Mr. Rickman notes that, although previous conferences in Berlin and Cordoba have dealt solely with anti-Semitism, this June’s conference in Bucharest dealt with intolerance and discrimination against Christians and Muslims as well.