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RABBI ARTHUR SCHNEIER DELIVERS KEYNOTE ADDRESS IN SREBRENICA
July 20, 2012 - Washington, D.C. - The Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) would like to extend its sincere thanks to Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Founder and President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and Senior Rabbi at the Park East Synagogue in New York for delivering the commemoration address at the Srebrenica remembrance ceremony on July 11, 2012.
Seventeen years ago, Serbian forces under the command of General Ratko Mladic systematically murdered over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys in the largest European massacre since World War II. To mark this anniversary, Rabbi Schneier, a Holocaust survivor and the first non-Muslim to ever take part in the memorial delivered a personal message from President Obama which stated that "The name Srebrenica will forever be associated with some of the darkest acts of the 20th century. We know that Srebrenica's future, and that of Bosnia and Herzegovina, will not be held back by its painful recent history. The United States rejects efforts to distort the scope of this atrocity, rationalize the motivations behind it, blame the victims, and deny the indisputable fact that it was genocide. The United States stands with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and grieves again for the loss of so many loved ones. Our hearts and deepest sympathies are with them, and we pledge our enduring commitment to support their aspirations for a better tomorrow."
When the war in the Balkans began, Rabbi Schneier worked to bring together religious leaders with a goal to end the atrocities that were happening on the ground. While in Srebrenica, Rabbi Schenier addressed more than 50,000 people who attended the commemoration ceremony and stressed that the enormity of the crime that happened in Srebrenica must be remembered, not denied, and that the historical facts cannot be altered.
"The Bosniak community in New York is grateful to President Obama and Rabbi Schneier for their compassion and support. We are pleased that earlier this year, the United States created the very first Atrocities Prevention Board aimed at increasing U.S. efforts in protecting innocent men, women and children from genocide around the world. We call on the United States to engage more actively in the reconciliation process in BiH and help provide justice and closure for the victims of genocide" said ACBH Board of Trustees member, Mr. Senad Ahmetovic.
The United States is home to many Bosnian Americans that hail from Srebrenica and "We must remain committed in honoring the innocent victims that lost their lives during this horrible time in history so that a tragedy such as this one never occurs again. We as a community remain profoundly thankful to Congressional Caucus on Bosnia co-chair, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) for introducing the International Commission on Missing Persons Assistance Act of 2012 (H.R. 4344) which aims to allow the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to continue to provide assistance on a global scale in identifying and locating those persons that are missing as a result of conflict and disaster" stated ACBH Chairman, Mr. Haris Hromic.
ACBH stands with the victims of Srebrenica and their families and remains committed to a united, democratic, and multi-ethnic future of BiH.