Rep. Smith Statement on Discovery of Bodies of Three Abducted Israeli Teens

eyal gilad naftaliIn response to reports that Israeli officials have found the bodies of three Israeli teenagers who were abducted earlier this month in the West Bank, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House panel that oversees international human rights, today said:

“My heart goes out to everyone who knew these young men, especially their families. The death of a young man is always a terrible loss, but this is made worse by the hateful crime that ended their lives. Let’s remember them in our prayers – and support the Israeli government as it seeks justice for the victims and their families and holds accountable those who committed this horrific crime.”

Smith, a Senior Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights & International Organizations, has been a congressional leader in the fight against anti-Semitism for three decades. Smith authored the provisions of the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 that created the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism within the U.S. State Department. More recently, on January 30, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed Smith’s amendment to the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014 (H.R. 938) – the Smith amendment added a section to the bill providing that “the Department of State should continue and, to the furthest extent practicable, increase its coordination on monitoring and combating anti-Semitism with the Government of Israel.”

Smith has chaired six hearings on anti-Semitism, including Congress’s first-ever hearings on anti-Semitism. Following Smith’s landmark 2002 hearing, “Escalating Anti-Semitic Violence in Europe,” he led a congressional drive to place the issue of combating anti-Semitism at the top of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) agenda. As a result, in 2004 the OSCE adopted new norms for its 56 member states on fighting anti-Semitism, and from 2004 to the present has held a series of high-level conferences on combating anti-Semitism. Rep. Smith is the author of numerous laws, resolutions, and member letters on combating anti-Semitism. In the 1990s Smith chaired Congress’s first hearings on anti-Semitism and in the early 1980s his first trips abroad as a member of Congress were to the former Soviet Union, where he fought for the release of Jewish “refuseniks.” He is co-chairman of the Bi-Partisan Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism (an organization of Members of Congress) and a member of the steering committee of the Interparliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism.

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