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Anti-Semitism Report

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Anti-Semitism has plagued the world for centuries. During the Second World War, Nazi Germany killed six million European Jews during what is known as the Holocaust. Today, sixty years later, the U.S. State Department says in a new report that subtler forms of anti-Semitism remain a threat.

In Western Europe, many anti-Semitic acts can be traced to right-wing extremists. But Michael Kozak, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights, says they are not the only ones spreading hatred:

"You know, it's not just some rightwing ultra-nationalist skinhead types. Now you're getting some fairly otherwise respectable intellectuals that are left-of-center, who are anti-globalization, who are starting to let this stuff creep into their rhetoric, and that's disturbing."

Anti-Semitism is also being spread in the Middle East, and in Europe where disadvantaged and disaffected Muslim youth are particularly influenced. Mr. Kozak says that anti-Israel sentiment often "crosses the line between objective criticism of Israel and its policies, and demonization of Israel and Jews."

Edward O'Donnell is the State Department's special envoy for Holocaust issues. He says that the difference between legitimate political criticism and anti-Semitism is not difficult to determine:

"The denial of Israel's right to exist, or denial of the Holocaust, or a double standard for Israel, or demonizing Israel's leaders, for example with a cartoon with a swastika, and so on. Those are the types of clear examples where I think it is commonly agreed that it becomes anti-Semitic."

Anti-Semitism in the media was the most common form of anti-Semitism in the Middle East, while anti-Semitic violence is almost entirely associated with anti-Israel attitudes.

According to the report, anti-Semitism can even be found in places where Jews do not live. In Pakistan, a country without a Jewish community, newspapers publish anti-Semitic articles. In Russia, conditions for Jews have improved because there is no longer "state-sponsored" anti-Semitism, but Jews are often targets of abuse by nationalist-oriented hate groups.

All people deserve to be free to practice their religion without fear of discrimination or persecution. President George W. Bush says that the U.S. is working hard to "make sure that the ancient impulse of anti-Semitism never finds a home in the modern world."