The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish synagogue organization, applauded the passage of two resolutions by the House of Representatives yesterday. H.Con.Res. 49 expresses the profound concern of the House at the escalation of anti-Semitic violence in Europe, including in many participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which recently held a conference on anti-Semitism in Vienna. The second resolution, H.Res. 294, condemns the violence and terrorism inflicted on Israel since the Aqaba summit, characterized by increased bus bombings and shootings. H.Res. 294 expresses U.S. solidarity with the people of Israel and calls upon the Palestinian Authority to take immediate and effective steps to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza as recently promised by the leadership of the Palestinian Authority in Aqaba. The Institute for Public Affairs of the Orthodox Union strongly supported these resolutions and actively advocated for their passage and praises Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) for introducing H.Con.Res. 49 and Representatives Tom Lantos (D-CA), Tom DeLay (R-TX), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Henry Hyde (R-IL) for introducing H.Con.Res. 294.
Since the rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric, vandalism, and violence that has affected European Jewry since September 2000, the IPA/OU has been consistently monitoring attacks on European Jews and calling the attention of elected officials to their plight. Since many synagogues and Jewish schools in Europe have been firebombed and destroyed, Jews have been physically assaulted, and Jewish children taunted at school, we remember events of nearly 60 years ago and cannot stand by and ignore this alarming trend. We are pleased that H.Con.Res. 49 calls upon U.S. Administration officials and Members of Congress to place the issue of anti-Semitism high on the agenda in bilateral and multilateral meetings with foreign officials. It also calls upon OSCE member states to bring those who perpetrate anti-Semitic acts to justice and to strengthen all their efforts to educate against anti-Semitic stereotypes and bigotry and urges European governments to provide safety and security for European Jewish communities. H.Con.Res. 49 sends a clear message that the United States government will continue to be actively engaged in monitoring and fighting anti-Semitism in Europe.
The Orthodox Union also hailed the passage of H.Res. 294, which supports Israel in its justified use of force as a response to Palestinian terrorist attacks. The resolution also makes clear that peace cannot be made while terrorism is being perpetrated, and that no productive negotiations or dialogue can be conducted with terrorists. It also debunks the notion of “moral equivalence”, expressed as the “cycle of violence”, that is used to imply moral equivalence between terrorists and their victims, and calls for its rejection as a description of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Terrorism can never be justified, and Israel is justified in its use of counter-terrorist operations as the response of a legitimate government that is defending the safety and security of all her citizens.
The Orthodox Union again applauds Congress for its efforts to cultivate a climate in which all forms of anti-Semitism are rejected and defeated and for its support of Israel in the war against terrorism.