The cooperation agreement between the ITF and the ODIHR gives an enormous boost to Holocaust remembrance and the fight against antisemitism.

 87 states join forces to fight antisemitism and Holocaust denial

 

DFM Ayalon and ODIHR Director Lenarcic sign agreement (Photo: MFA) 

(Communicated by the Deputy Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

This morning (21 July 2010), a cooperation agreement between the ITF (Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research) and the ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) was signed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, in the presence of Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon. The ODIHR is an operative branch of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe)

This year, Israel was chosen for the first time to head the ITF. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an agreement was signed today that boosts the strength of the forces in the global arena fighting against antisemitism and Holocaust denial. The agreement will bring about cooperation among 87 countries.

ITF Chairman Dan Tichon and ODIHR Director Janez Lenarcic signed the memorandum of understanding. DFM Ayalon welcomed the signing of the agreement and said that it gives an enormous boost to the fight against the delegitimization of Israel and antisemitism in the world, bringing 87 states for the first time into cooperation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has acted, and will continue to act, against these manifestations of hate and will promote any initiative whose purpose is to eliminate them. Ayalon added that there are elements that deny the Holocaust and are preparing the next one. We must preserve the memory of the Holocaust so that similar horrors and hatred will never be repeated and the world will become a safer place.

The ITF was founded about ten years ago at the initiative of the Swedish government. Israel is heading the task force this year, with Mr. Dan Tichon, past Speaker of the Knesset, serving as the chairman and Ambassador Yakov Rozen as the political coordinator. The ITF, which has as its purpose the preservation of Holocaust remembrance through education, research and memorial sites, currently has 27 members, mostly European, and sees the cooperation agreement as very important.

The ODIHR, which has 57 members, deals with educational programs and follows up on instances of xenophobic, primarily antisemitic, hatred. For this reason, the cooperation agreement is likely to help promote Holocaust remembrance, including the uniqueness of the Holocaust, and the fight against antisemitism.

Ambassador Janez Lenarcic is a senior diplomat who in the past was advisor to the prime minister of Slovenia. The ODIHR joins six other organizations belonging to the Task Force whose representatives serve as observers: the UN, DPI, UNESCO, the EU, FRA, and the European Council.