Rabbi Andrew Baker and Congressman Chris Smith
WASHINGTON, DC, November 15, 2023 – Rabbi Andrew Baker, Director of International Jewish Affairs at the American Jewish Committee, was honored with the 2023 Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award on October 23 at the 13th Annual Oxi Courage Awards held at the US Institute of Peace. Save Ukraine and Hong Kong Democracy Activists were honored alongside Rabbi Baker with the 2023 Oxi Courage Awards.
To see the video of this presentation, click here.
To see pictures from this evening, click here.
Congressman Chris Smith, Chairman of the House Global Human Rights Subcommittee, presented the 2023 Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award to Rabbi Baker for his remarkable, lifetime of work combating antisemitism.
In his remarks, Congressman Chris Smith noted:
“Over the course of a lifetime of noble and distinguished service no one has done more to combat antisemitism than Rabbi Baker. Rabbi Baker has not only been a powerful voice, but an extraordinarily wise leader and strategist. In a word he is brilliant. Rabbi Baker has fought tirelessly to put combating antisemitism onto the agenda of the 57 member nations in the OSCE despite push back. I witnessed as he created an actionable plan which ensured every country’s legal system fosters a safe environment free of antisemitic harassment, violence, or discrimination. It ensured the promotion of Holocaust education and the collection of reliable, actionable information and data on antisemitism, which without you cannot combat human rights abuses.
He is tremendously tenacious and bold, but always diplomatic, always kind. Behind his disarming affability and goodness is a man iron will. I want to thank him for his leadership.”
Mike Manatos, Rabbi Baker, and Congressman Smith
In his acceptance, Rabbi Baker remarked the following:
“…[T]he previous day, Adina and I visited Auschwitz. The Auschwitz state museum now receives 2.3 million visitors annually. It is one of the very few sites that shows how the Nazi’s genocidal plans were implemented. Rarely, had the world encountered and certainly not in the 20th century, such evil. In the face of such evil, it should have been easy to say ‘no’. But this was not the case. Far too many individuals and governments chose to collaborate with their German occupiers or simply look the other way. That is why the Greek example we celebrate this evening stands apart. That is also why the moral clarity, the simple humanity of Metropolitan Chrysostomos were a beacon of light in the darkest of times. 20 years ago, when that OSCE conference took place, we had to convince our European friends that this ancient hatred had not totally receded from history. This virus is still with us, and it could still do serious harm. Jewish communities faced verbal and physical harassment and attacks and governments were not responding. We saw a new form of antisemitism: Jews were targeted with those angry with the State of Israel and Israel itself was demonized.
Nothing prepared us for those horrific attacks on October 7th for the mass torture and murder of 1,400 Jews in a single day. Holocaust educators tell us that the Nazi crimes did not start with gas chambers. Instead, they began with words, incremental steps and therefore we must be vigilant. Although no one paid them much attention, the charter of Hamas, and for that matter the textbooks used in Gaza classrooms in UN schools funded by the European Union, call for the murder of Jews. Our careful drafted definition is not needed to recognize this genocidal antisemitism. Today it should not be difficult to say ‘no’ and condemn these terrorist acts with space still left, if you want, to criticize an Israeli government and voice support for Palestinian rights. It requires no special courage. Many did so and for this we are grateful, but there also many people including here in America who celebrated these killings or who insisted that it was Israel to blame. That moral clarity, that simple humanity that we celebrate tonight is again in short supply. “
Rabbi Andrew Baker
The Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award is presented each year to recognize lifelong commitment to combatting antisemitism, discrimination, and intolerance. Previous recipients have included: