About the Author: Hannah Rosenthal serves as the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism
On July 13, Secretary Clinton and I attended a ceremony in honor of the Jewish community. More than 200 people attended the reception, including Members of Congress and representatives of prominent American Jewish organizations. I am so proud that my incredible daughters, Shira and Francie, and other members of my family were able to attend. I am also grateful to Secretary Clinton, who has been my close friend for over twenty years. When I was diagnosed with cancer, the last phone call I received before surgery was from Secretary Clinton, wishing me speedy recovery. She is truly a mensch.
In my speech, I spoke about how lucky I am to have the opportunity to travel the world and make an effort to improve people's lives. This job has me building relationships with foreign leaders, cooperating with non-profits, and working with dedicated individuals at the State Department who are attempting to advance human rights, democracy, and world peace. Unfortunately, I have also witnessed some disturbing trends. Traditional forms of anti-Semitism, such as accusations that Jews control the media and the belief in blood libels, still persist. Newer forms of anti-Semitism are also on the rise. Some heads of state and religious leaders engage in Holocaust denial, relativism, or glorification. Expressions of anti-Israel sentiments on political issues often cross over into outright anti-Semitism.
Defining success in combating anti-Semitism can be a difficult task. For me, success will be measured in how many other people condemn anti-Semitism. It will be building coalitions and engaging interfaith and inter-ethnic groups to recognize and condemn anti-Semitism, and demanding that NGO's, media, and national leaders do the same. It will be finding groups around the world who advance acceptance and tolerance. People everywhere must realize that anti-Semitism is not only a Jewish problem, but a problem for all of humanity.
In her speech, Secretary Clinton spoke about her and President Obama's determination to curb anti-Semitism around the world and prevent the isolation of Israel internationally. She called on active members of Jewish and other civic organizations to help support this mission. With their leadership, and with the help of all Americans, we will make a difference.
We also must remember that Jews are not alone in facing hatred. Christians, Muslims, Baha'is, Roma, and other groups have all experienced discrimination and abuse, borne out of fear and ignorance.
Hate is hate, and it is up to everyone to work together to confront it, combat it, and eradicate it. Toward that end next month I will accompany a group of American Muslim imams to Auschwitz. I look forward to continue working to advance understanding and tolerance between faiths.
Read Secretary Clinton's remarks here.
Read Special Envoy Rosenthal's remarks here.