Combating all forms of racism, including antisemitism, remains an important part of the UK Government’s human rights policy. We continue to develop policies, strategies and legislation to address these issues, both in the UK and globally. The UK’s cross-government working group on antisemitism brings together departments from across government and leaders from major Jewish community organisations, including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust, to take forward the recommendations of the 2006 All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism. One of the main outstanding areas of concern is hate material on the Internet and antisemitism in the media.
In response to these trends, the UK has taken a lead in focusing international attention on online hate and antisemitism. Our activities have ranged from organising three inter-ministerial seminars in Parliament in recent years to working with Internet service providers such as Facebook and Google on managing hate content online. The FCO and the Ministry of Justice sponsored successive events on antisemitism with others in the margins of the annual OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw. The Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism Task Force on Internet Hate has broadened its remit to cover all forms of hate.
We have also supported the efforts of NGOs to combat antisemitism. We worked with the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC) on a series of seminars to bring together journalists from Central and Eastern Europe and the UK to raise awareness of the rise of antisemitism and racism and discuss strategies for countering it.
The June plenary session of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF) discussed recent signs of antisemitism and Holocaust denial in a number of its member countries. The UK led the international response to these concerns by proposing a toolbox of escalating measures to enable the ITF Chairman to respond more effectively to incidents of this nature.
Throughout 2012 we spoke out against antisemitism wherever we encountered it. In March, the Foreign Secretary condemned the murder of three children and a teacher by a gunman at a Jewish school in Toulouse. In June, Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt responded robustly to comments about the Talmud and the Jewish faith made at a UN drugs control event in Tehran by Iran’s Vice-President Rahimi, saying that racism and antisemitism were unacceptable in any circumstances and calling on Iran to “correct this scandalous statement and to ensure that its officials respect the proper international norms and standards in the future”. In July, the Foreign Secretary spoke out against the terrorist attack on a bus carrying Israeli tourists at Bourgas airport in Bulgaria.
In 2013, we will continue to speak out against instances of antisemitism. We will also roll out new training for FCO staff in more detail in the section dealing with post-Holocaust issues.