October 5, 2021 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC), the leading global Jewish advocacy organization, congratulates Fernando Lottenberg on his appointment as the first Organization of American States (OAS) Commissioner for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism. Creation of the position was initially announced by OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro at the AJC 2021 Global Forum in June.
“Secretary General Luis Almagro has long shown groundbreaking leadership in the global fight against antisemitism,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “We are delighted he chose Fernando Lottenberg, one of Latin America’s foremost Jewish leaders and a dear friend, to fill this critical post, and look forward to working with the commissioner in fighting antisemitism throughout the region.”
Lottenberg served as president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Brazil (CONIB) from 2014 to 2020, and currently serves on AJC’s Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA) Board of Trustees. CONIB became an AJC international partner during his presidency. One of Brazil's leading constitutional lawyers, he is an outspoken advocate for promoting democracy and opposing hate speech.
“We are confident that our hemisphere needs to be adequately prepared to face the growing threats of antisemitism in the same way that many other nations and democratic international bodies have done so,” Almagro told the worldwide audience participating in AJC’s signature annual event. Similar posts have been created in recent years in Europe, Canada, and the United States.
“The Commissioner’s main responsibilities will be to promote adoption and implementation by all countries in the region of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, and to vigorously engage states and civil society organizations to raise awareness of the need to remain alert to all forms of antisemitism,” Almagro said.
Lottenberg’ s appointment is the latest action by Secretary General Almagro to mobilize countries across the region to fight antisemitism. At the 2019 AJC Global Forum Almagro announced that the OAS was adopting the IHRA working definition on antisemitism and would urge its 35 member states to do the same. He announced at the 2021 AJC Global Forum that the OAS had applied for IHRA membership as an institutional partner.
In addition, the OAS and AJC are working on a Latin American version of the Handbook for the Practical Use of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism published by the European Commission in January.
The OAS is the oldest and most prominent multilateral organization in the Western Hemisphere. It comprises 35 member countries. AJC was granted NGO status at the OAS in 2005.