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Powell With The Giuliani, Foxman and Rep. Smith


Remarks With The Honorable Rudolph Giuliani, Mr. Abe Foxman, and Representative Christopher Smith

Secretary Colin L. Powell
C Street Entrance
Washington, DC
July 3, 2003


(11:20 a.m. EDT)

SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, everyone. I was pleased to welcome Mayor Giuliani and Abe Foxman of the ADL, as well Congressman Chris Smith, who just returned from an important conference on anti-Semitism hosted by OSCE. Mayor Giuliani led our delegation and it was a very successful meeting, where the conference focused on the problem of anti-Semitism in Europe and, frankly, throughout the world. And the Mayor gave me a very positive report and I'll let him talk to that report in a moment.

And I was also pleased to learn that there is such interest in this subject and the conference was so successful that there is every desire to hold another conference on anti-Semitism next year in Berlin. And I hope that the OSCE will formally approve that proposal and we can have a similar event next year in Berlin. And we'll do everything to make sure that we have a strong and powerful delegation representing us at that meeting as well.

And so, gentlemen, I thank you for representing the United States in such an effective way, and, Rudy, I invite you to say a few words.

MR. GIULIANI: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. The first thing we should really note is that this conference would not have taken place without the direct intervention and very, very strong support of Secretary Powell, and as well as very, very hard and effective work done by the State Department.

This was not exactly a topic that there was an overwhelming desire to discuss, but because of the hard work of the United States, the Secretary, the President and the State Department, for the first time, the OSCE held a conference on anti-Semitism. And you couldn't miss the significance of the fact that it was being held right essentially inside the square in which Hitler announced the annexation of Austria. And you kept saying to yourself, "Well, why are we still discussing this?" But we still have to discuss it because, in certain areas of Europe, anti-Semitism has gotten worse.

The good news is that the efforts of the United States and the hard work that's been done over the last four, five, six months, led to a great deal of support to institutionalizing an analysis of anti-Semitism within the OSCE. And to that end, Germany offered to hold a follow-up conference next year to discuss in Berlin the progress that's been made in setting up statistics, passing hate crimes legislation, and looking at where there have been successes and where there have been failures in reducing and eliminating anti-Semitism in Europe.

And that was supported by Russia, was supported by France and other countries. And now, of course, it has to be done officially, but that would be, in and of itself, really a great step. A first conference in Vienna and a second conference a year later in Berlin -- you can't miss the significance of discussing the progress being made in eliminating anti-Semitism in Berlin.

And I want to thank Congressman Smith and Congressman Hastings, who accompanied us and worked very, very hard. And Congressman Smith is now going to the parliamentary assembly in Rotterdam. And I want to thank Abe Foxman and all of the NGOs that were there that participated and really represented the United States in a very effective way.

And again, Mr. Secretary, without you and all of the terrific work done by the State Department in preparing us, we never would have gotten to this stage of their agreeing with us.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you. Abe, would you like to say a word?

MR. FOXMAN: Yes. The bad news is that there is a need in our lifetime, in our time today, to deal with anti-Semitism as a clear and present issue, and not a historical fact. The good news is that, unlike 50 years ago or 60 years ago, there is enough leadership in the international community, starting with the United States, to urge and to inspire the good people to come together to deal with it as a present problem.

I am a Holocaust survivor, so for me to stand in Vienna and to listen to voice after voice of countries who, only 50, 60 years ago were part of the problem, to begin to address the issue of anti-Semitism today is very encouraging, for, to me, it says that for my children and grandchildren they will not have to ask the question, "Why, why was the world silent again?" Nor will they have to ask the question, "What if? What if the good people, what if the responsible leadership, stood up to say no?"

And for those of us there, Mr. Secretary, to know that it was your leadership and American leadership that challenged the European countries to stand up, to stand up, unfortunately again, but to stand up, and as the Mayor said, ironically, the first coming together to face anti-Semitism today in Vienna, the second coming together in Berlin. But it is a very pointed message of history for the future.

So thank you again for your leadership and thank you for your standing up.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thanks, Abe. Chris.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I want to thank you, Secretary Powell, President Bush, Rudy Giuliani and our delegation. The United States is leading the world in trying to stop this, unfortunately, this rising tide of hate called anti-Semitism. We've seen it often under the pretext of disagreeing with policies in the Middle East. There has been this unfortunate rise in hatred towards Jews in Europe, in Canada and in the United States.

This unprecedented conference, which was an unmitigated success, put all of the countries of the OSCE -- that's 55 countries -- on record in not only opposing, but taking concrete steps to mitigate and hopefully end this cancer.

I want to thank again the Secretary for his leadership. Vienna, Berlin -- I'm leaving for Rotterdam, as was mentioned just a moment ago. The parliamentary assembly, which is the part of the OSCE where all of the parliamentarians get together, we will be raising the issue of anti-Semitism over this weekend to keep this issue alive so that we can stop this hate in the world.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you. A question or two?

QUESTION: A question for Mayor Giuliani.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary -- do you want to ask about this subject?

QUESTION: Yes. Mayor Giuliani, you said moments ago that anti-Semitism is rising in some European countries. Can you explain why you think this is?

And secondly, there is a new artwork at the Whitney Museum, on a different note -- wanted to get your comments on that -- lampooning you, apparently.

MR. GIULIANI: Well, I'm really not an art critic. If it was an opera, if it was an opera, I'd be able to comment on it. But works of art I'm not -- I'm not an expert on. And I haven't seen it so I don't know what it is.

The conference was, I think, enormously important because it focused on a subject that there was a resistance to discussing, and we got a tremendous amount of support. I think we were very, very strengthened by that, but we also realized that a tremendous amount of work is going to have to be done between now and next year. And the Secretary and the State Department are critical to that.

So I believe this can have a very, very big impact, but it's going to have to be sustained over a long period of time. And there's no question -- and the conference was clear about this -- that, in essence -- this may be oversimplifying it, but you're dealing with two different types of anti-Semitism: the traditional 2,000-year-long or more anti-Semitism that has plagued Europe and still exists, and then the rising anti-Semitism is the anti-Semitism that disguises itself as anti-Zionism and then, you know, expresses itself in burning down synagogues and attacking people. And that has to be dealt with. And it's perfectly fine to have a political debate, but it's not perfectly fine to want to see the destruction of a people or to begin physically attacking them. And different European countries are at different stages of dealing with it, some more effectively than others.

SECRETARY POWELL: Barry.

QUESTION: Can we catch up, please, on Liberia -- the diplomacy going on? I wouldn't imagine the U.S. is trying to find asylum for Taylor because you want him tried as a war criminal, but can you bring us up to date? Will troops go there? What about the Taylor situation?

SECRETARY POWELL: The President, as you have heard, is exploring all of the options -- political options, diplomatic options and military options as well. We have provided the President no recommendation yet, and therefore he has not made a decision.

We believe strongly that President Taylor should leave, and I have been in touch with leaders in the region and I've also been in touch with Secretary General Kofi Annan, and I'm expecting to talk to him again today.

We also realize that there is a severe humanitarian crisis emerging in Monrovia and in other parts of Liberia that has to be dealt with, and we are concerned also about the security of our embassy officials. So all of these factors are being taken into consideration. We'll be discussing it among the national security team members today. But we have made no recommendation to the President yet, and therefore the President has not yet made a decision.

All of the what ifs and wherefores in your question will be dealt with as we move forward, and we'll make announcements when it is appropriate and we're ready to make announcements.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, apparently in Baghdad today, and officials here confirmed that there will be a reward announced for the capture of Saddam Hussein or proof that he is dead. Can you say why you had to go to this, and how long has that debate going on as to why you're going to this route?

SECRETARY POWELL: It hasn't been a debate. We have always been considering this option, and after studying it and making sure that we had a proper basis for such an announcement, I signed off on the declaration this morning and Ambassador Bremer announced it in Baghdad. And I will confirm it. It's authority that we have and we are using that authority. We believe it's important to do everything we can to determine his whereabouts, whether he is alive or dead, in order to assist in stabilizing the situation and letting the people of Baghdad be absolutely sure that he's not coming back. And this is just another tool to be used for that purpose.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, as you determine -- to go back to Liberia. As you determine what it is the U.S. should do, how critical is Charles Taylor's departure from the country in order for any mission to be successful in bringing stability to the country?

SECRETARY POWELL: We believe stability will only come to the country with the departure of President Taylor. In some of the earlier negotiations that led to the ceasefire he agreed that that would be an appropriate step to take, and we hope it's a step that he will take at the appropriate time. I think it is important for him to depart.

Thank you. [End]

Released on July 3, 2003

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