12 US Congress reps, European envoys to join ‘Solidarity Sabbath’
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12 US Congress reps, European envoys to join ‘Solidarity Sabbath’

Group will attend US synagogue services, participate in activities to underline concern over anti-Semitism

Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Tom Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.  (screen capture: YouTube/USOSCE)
Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Tom Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. (screen capture: YouTube/USOSCE)

WASHINGTON — Twelve members of the US Congress and a number of European ambassadors will attend synagogues this month and participate in other activities to show their concern about anti-Semitism.

Among the 11 Democrats and one Republican pledged to observe the May 22 “Solidarity Sabbath” is Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate minority leader and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), one of two Muslims in Congress. The sole Republican so far pledged is Rep. Peter King (R-NY).

Also pledged to participate, according to the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, which is organizing the event, are ambassadors to Washington from Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Georgia and Cyprus. Noted human rights activists Chen Guangcheng, formerly of China, and Paul Rusesabagina, formerly of Rwanda, also are signed on.

In addition to visiting synagogues, options for participation include hosting a Shabbat dinner and organizing a meeting on religious intolerance.

A release from the Lantos Foundation says high-level political leaders from Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Spain and Sweden will participate, although these have not been named.

The foundation set up a website for others to take the pledge.

“The Solidarity Sabbath provides a unique opportunity for leaders in Europe and North America to stand shoulder to shoulder against anti-Semitism and send a powerful message that this kind of hate will not be tolerated,” Katrina Lantos Swett, the foundation’s president, said in a statement.

The Lantos Foundation is named for Swett’s father, the late Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor elected to Congress. Lantos (D-CA) was noted for his focus on human rights and chaired the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee from 2007-2008.

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