At the organization’s headquarters on Dec. 8, B’nai B’rith engaged in dialogue and reflection with other organizations and member states on the workings of the Inter-American Human Rights System. B’nai B’rith also examined proposals from an ongoing report on the IAHRS and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The goal of the meeting and the overall review process is to strengthen the OAS’ promotion of democracy, human rights, security and development.
Eric Fusfield, director of legislative affairs, represented B’nai B’rith at the session with combating anti-Semitism at the top of his agenda. He urged the OAS to increase its focus on anti-Semitism in the Western Hemisphere, as the problem is on the rise throughout the region.
Fusfield had three specific suggestions to deal with anti-Semitism: First, he called for the adoption of the draft Convention Against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination, which has been under discussion since 2004 and includes a specific reference to anti-Semitism. He also recommended that the OAS widely circulate a comprehensive working definition of anti-Semitism among public officials, educators and journalists in order to promote awareness of contemporary manifestations of the problem.
Additionally, Fusfield conveyed the importance of monitoring and collecting data in documenting the phenomenon and the need for public figures to condemn and stigmatize hate speech in order to elevate the public discourse around Jews and other minorities.