NJ congressman authors legislation on anti-Semitism

NJ congressman authors legislation on anti-Semitism

Rep. Chris Smith. Photo courtesy Belarus House of Representatives
Rep. Chris Smith. Photo courtesy Belarus House of Representatives

REP. CHRIS SMITH (R-Dist. 4) recently authored an amendment to enhance international efforts to combat anti-Semitism that was adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA). The amendment codified a working definition of anti-Semitism. 

“Attacks on Jewish communities have been rising in many OSCE countries, including the U.S…. A common definition of anti-Semitism will help identify, prevent, and defeat these threats. It is critical that the governments of the OSCE now act to adopt and operationalize the working definition,” said Smith.

The working definition of anti-Semitism states, “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” 

The amendment was overwhelmingly approved by North American and European lawmakers during the organization’s annual assembly held the first week in July in Minsk, Belarus. 

Smith, a Republican from the fourth district which covers parts of Mercer, Monmouth, and Ocean counties, is cochair of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, which organizes the U.S. delegation to the OSCE PA. The OSCE PA tackles a wide range of international issues, including security-related concerns, human rights, policing strategies, and other critical issues. 

Smith wrote the provisions of the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 that created the Special Envoy and Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism within the U.S. State Department. In May, he introduced the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act to elevate and strengthen the position of the envoy. As of July 2017, Smith has chaired nine anti-Semitism hearings.

Smith, along with Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), met with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to discuss human rights improvements for the people of Belarus. — NJJN

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