Tag Archives: World Jewish Congress

World Jewish Congress President speaks out and makes his point… well

The Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University on Tuesday honored World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder with the prestigious Guardian of Zion Award for his efforts in the perpetuation and strengthening of Jerusalem.

Ronald S Lauder - speech strikes the right note
Ronald S Lauder – speech strikes the right note

In his acceptance speech, Lauder outlined the challenges facing the Jewish world today and spoke about his vision for contending with contemporary anti-Semitism. “Over the last 20 years, and for the first time since the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is acceptable again,” Lauder said. “Unlike the anti-Semitism of the past, today it comes not just from the Far-Right, but increasingly it comes from the Far-Left. And the new target for this age-old hatred is not the ‘International Jew,’ as Henry Ford called us. Today, it is the Jewish state of Israel, which is constantly vilified throughout the media, on the internet, at the United Nations, and on almost every college campus.”

Lauder went on to say: “Let’s make one thing crystal-clear right now. When someone says they are not anti-Jewish, they are only anti-Israel, that is a lie. When you hold the only Jewish nation to a different standard than any other country, when you make up lies about the only Jewish nation, its past and its present, and when you want the only Jewish nation on earth to disappear, that makes you an anti-Semite. Pure and simple.”

The WJC president expressed disappointment in the United Nations’ resolve at contending with these issues, saying international body was losing legitimacy as it allowed anti-Jewish sentiment to undermine it.

Lauder said that for Jews today, “our destiny is in our own hands.”

The World Jewish Congress had come a long way since its founding in 1936, Lauder said, from the days when it had to turn to the world for help. But now, he pointed out, “the era of the quiet Jew is over.”

Lauder said the WJC was working to engage young Jewish leaders, including the flagship WJC-Jewish Diplomatic Corps program, a group of more than 200 young professionals who assist the WJC in its diplomatic and outreach endeavors as emissaries in their respected countries around the world. “I intend to make our young people, proud of their heritage again. I want them to have the same pride that we had when we were younger.”

Lauder also discussed the WJC’s efforts in combating attacks on Israel in the legal realm and on campuses, and proposed to enhance Jewish public relations efforts, “so that we, not our enemies will define who we are.”

He ended his speech with a plea: “This is the job before us now. We have to help our children and our grandchildren dust off their hearts, we have to help them re-discover that Jewish flame inside them. This isn’t just important for Jews, it’s important for everyone, Jews and gentiles, because for over 5,000 years, that flame has been lighting the entire world.”

The Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies was established at Bar-Ilan University in 1995 by US Jewish community leaders Ingeborg Hanna and Ira Leon Rennert as an expression of their heartfelt commitment to the preservation and advancement of Jerusalem’s unique heritage. Integrating studies on the history, archaeology, geography, demography, economy and sociology of Jerusalem, the Rennert Center has become the foremost academic center in the international academic community studying aspects of Jerusalem’s past and present.

This is the 20th year the Rennert Center is conferring the Guardian of Zion Award. Last year’s award was bestowed upon former US Senator Joe Lieberman. Additional recipients have included Jonathan Sacks, James S. Snyder, Dore Gold, Malcolm Hoenlein, Caroline Glick, Norman Podhoretz, Daniel Pipes, William Safire, Arthur Cohn, Charles Krauthammer, Cynthia Ozick, A.M. Rosenthal, Herman Wouk and Elie Wiesel.

Follow this link to the original article here.

UK government shamefully slow in condemning Iran’s Holocaust denial contest

Despite much of the Western world condemning Iran for its state sponsored Holocaust denial cartoon competition weeks ago, the UK government has only just done so.

The UK Foreign Office statement said:

“The UK condemns any activities aimed at denying the reality of the Holocaust, wherever they occur in the world. British officials in Iran have raised our strong objections to the cartoon competition which is being held there.”

Note that the statement does not even have a UK government minister’s name assigned to it, merely labelled as coming from a spokesperson.

Anti-Semitic graffiti - is there any difference with Iran's state sponsored Holocaust denial cartoon contest?
Anti-Semitic graffiti – is there any difference with Iran’s state sponsored Holocaust denial cartoon contest?

Considering the UK has been at the forefront of education regarding the Holocaust, being one of the first countries to adopt Holocaust Memorial Day as a state sponsored commemoration, its inaction over Iran’s disgusting state sponsored event is even more shocking.

The Tehran government provides $50,000 for the winner of the vile event, hosted in June 2016. Hundreds of submissions are expected from the Islamic world. Last year, Iran received 839 anti-Semitic cartoons for consideration.

Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, said in January 2016, “This anti-Semitic act represents the pure evil of the Iranian regime. Denying the Holocaust is one of the most powerful expressions of anti-Semitism, which legitimizes the deaths of millions of Jews.”

Even UNESCO, which recently tried to redact world history  by changing its language for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, acquiescing by the Palestinian Authority that it refer to the site using the term “Al-Aqsa mosque” only, condemned the cartoon contest as far back as March.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova condemned the contest during a meeting with World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer in Paris. It led Singer to say, “On behalf of the World Jewish Congress, I would like to thank Director-General Bokova for….. her condemnation of Iran’s Holocaust cartoons contest.” 

Russian protesters call for ban on Chabad movement – anti-Semitism at play?

Demonstrators protesting the allocation of land to the Jewish community in the Russian city of Perm have demanded the outlawing of the Chabad movement. The rationale behind the protest is exceptionally questionable with distinct anti-Semitic elements.
On Saturday, the protesters showed up with signs reading “Chabad out” and “liberate us Russians from Chabad.” One protester held a placard that read “Chabad settlement is over the line: 1547,” an apparent reference to  the decision that year by Ivan the Terrible, a grand prince of Moscow, to ban Jews from entering or living in his kingdom because they “bring about great evil.”
More than 100 people attended the rally near the area that municipal authorities in Perm, which is located 870 miles east of Moscow, designated for transfer without charge to the local Jewish community that is headed by a Chabad rabbi.
They additionally sang a song titled “Holy War,” a patriotic nationalist tune widely identified with Russia’s fight against Nazi Germany.
Unrest around the Jewish community of Perm has been brewing for years amid accusations made in 2013 that the local Jewish community made unauthorized use of a local theatre. That same year anti-Semites tried to set fire to the local synagogue. No-one has ever been brought to justice for the crime.

Yet participants insisted they are protesting against Chabad specifically and not against Jews in general, the Russian news site Ura reported.

Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and Russian President Vladimir Putin
Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and Russian President Vladimir Putin

However, Boruch Gorin, a senior Chabad figure and aide to one of Russia’s two Chief Rabbis, Berel Lazar, said the 2013 campaign against Chabad in Perm was a thin disguise for anti-Semitism.

In Russia, Chabad is the largest Jewish movement with a presence in over 100 cities.

Separately, Putin on Tuesday said that “Russian Jewish organizations are making a substantial contribution in the cause of domestic political stability in Russia, for which we are very grateful” during a meeting in Moscow with Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress.

Argentine president ‘determined’ to discover truth of Nisman’s death

Reported via JTA: Argentine President Mauricio Macri said he is “determined” to discover the truth about the death of AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

“Everything that happened made us look weak in the world,” Macri told The Associated Press as part of a long-ranging interview published Thursday. “But now we are determined to bring what happened to light.”

The Argentine judiciary has not yet determined whether Nisman’s shooting death in January 2015 was a homicide or suicide.

Alberto Nisman
Alberto Nisman

Macri discussed the Nisman case and the 1994 Jewish center bombing, as well as the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy, during his address Tuesday night to the opening gala of the Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress in Buenos Aires. Both attacks in the Argentine capital remain unresolved.

“Here, we suffer the ravaging consequences of two bomb attacks. We are still in the dark of what happened,” Macri declared, adding: “We are fully committed to contribute in any way we can to make headway with this investigation.”

He also reminded his audience that his government, during its first week in power in December, voided an agreement with Iran to jointly investigate the AMIA bombing, calling it “unconstitutional.”

“A year ago the [AMIA bombing] prosecutor dies, a prosecutor that was trying to elucidate one of these attacks, and he prepared a very tough accusation about why we actually signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran that he believes was unconstitutional,” Macri said at the dinner.

Nisman was found dead hours before he was to present evidence to Argentine lawmakers that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner covered up Iran’s role in the AMIA Jewish center bombing, which left 85 dead and hundreds wounded.

The federal Criminal Appeals Court will hold a hearing Friday to decide which court should be given jurisdiction over the Nisman case. A political murder case must be handled by the federal courts.

On Wednesday, the WJC plenary assembly held a tribute to Nisman led by by Rabbi Marcelo Polakoff, who shared the stage with Nisman’s mother, Sara Garfunkel; his ex-wife, Sandra Arroyo Salgado, and his daughter, Iara.


UN Secretary General confirms AntiSemitismWatch correct

On 25th January AntiSemitismWatch published a Special Report entitled ‘The Absurdity that is the United Nations’. We explained that at this time of rising anxiety and concern amongst Jewish communities across the world, driven by violent and non-violent anti-Semitism, the UN through its actions and words has demonstrated that it is no longer the beacon of hope it was created to be.

Now the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has confirmed our report as correct. In a move that can only be described as seeking to justify terrorism, Ban equated its Jewish victims with those murderers killed while trying to stab, shoot and run them over.

In remarks last week to the Security Council, Ban suggested, “Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process… It is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”

Ban Ki-moon, does he understand the impact of his words?
Ban Ki-moon, does he understand the impact of his words?

“Stabbings, vehicle attacks and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians – all of which I condemn – and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, have continued to claim lives,” Ban also said.

Could this be a slip of the secretary-general’s tongue: He condemns “targeting Israeli civilians,” but not soldiers? Is he therefore suggesting that the many attacks on soldiers are justifiable, since they are agents of an occupying army? If this differentiation is not part of a new UN policy, Ban could simply have said “targeting Israelis” and condemned the violence against all.

Benjamin Netanyahu was blunt in his response: “They want to murder Jews for being Jews and they say this openly. They do not murder for peace and they do not murder for human rights.”

World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder highlighted the danger inherent in the secretary-general’s words. “Mr. Ban’s statement will only encourage Palestinians to carry out more of the barbaric attacks we have seen in recent weeks. Crimes that are understood to be unacceptable in Paris and in Brussels – the random murder of people in the street or in their homes – cannot be somehow explained away when it comes to Israel.”

AntiSemitismWatch suggests that Ban takes time to reflect upon his words and the impact it has on those Jews subject to or concerned about anti-Semitism in all its extremes and those enemies who will only take heart from them.

‘Mein Kampf’ Is A Bestseller — Why? Is it curiosity or anti-Semitism?

In a fascinating article penned by Chris Lake for the Inquisitor,  he gets to the heart of the question as to why the newly republished Mein Kampf has become a best seller in Germany?

Within a week of its re-release, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf has nearly doubled the sales of its first print run. The first run of 4,000 copies sold by the German Institute of Contemporary History sold out within a week. Mein Kampf is now on its third print run, with over 15,000 copies sold, compared to the less than 10,000 copies Hitler moved when he first published the book in 1925. This scholarly edition of Mein Kampf is over 2,000-pages long and has more than 3,500 annotations.

Mein Kampf, which means “my struggle,” has not been widely available for sale in Germany since 1945. At that time, the Bavarian state government acquired the copyright to the book and, in the wake of World War II, had simply refused to print it. Mein Kampf is readily available in other countries. First written by Adolf Hitler when he was in prison for treason after an abortive coup, Mein Kampf is a highly anti-semitic work, which blames most of Germany’s and the world’s problems on the Jewish people. After Hitler’s rise to power and throughout the war, Mein Kampf sold over 12 million copies.

Recently, the copyright expired, and the Institute of Contemporary History stepped up. The Institute, set up at the suggestion of the Allies at the end of WWII, has been studying the rise of Hitler’s Germany since 1949, charged with the mission of understanding it to ensure that there could be no repeat. The Institute decided to self-publish an annotated copy for the purposes of history scholarship, and also as a lens through which to view current events. The commentary and criticism included within the new edition of Mein Kampf is also necessary to avoid breaking German laws regarding the incitement of hatred.

While the argument for historical study is easy to understand, and widespread availability of the book elsewhere would seem to make a German edition a relatively innocuous development, the new edition of Mein Kampf has unsurprisingly inspired strong feelings amongst some sections of the community. Award winning German writer Iris Radisch is reported in the Tehran Times as saying that she would “never touch” the book, claiming that reprinting Mein Kampf would be pleasing to neo-nazis. The Guardian, on the other hand, has praised the move, calling it “a very good edition of a very bad old book.”

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, has slammed the release of Mein Kampf. He told Newsweek that releasing the book in the current climate would be like “taking a fire and throwing oil on it.” Many scholars, however, say that publishing the text with credible and scholarly annotations is the best possible inoculation against the “vile” and “illogical” ideas in Mein Kampf.

Mein Kampf, besides its hateful content, has never had a very high reputation in scholarly or literary circles. Variously described as “turgid” and “illiterate,” it is littered with errors in spelling and grammar and its argument has often been described as being tortuous and confused. The Institute and its supporters say that publishing Mein Kampf in an edition that points out its manifold flaws, inconsistencies, and untruths, is the best way to de-mystify and therefore de-glamorize fascism in all its forms.

The Syrian crisis, however, has resulted in over a million asylum applications for Germany, and in some sections of the community feelings are running high. There has been a recent resurgence for neo-nazi parties and groups as anxieties about being flooded with immigrants have overtaken some sections of the community. There is concern amongst some that the release of Mein Kampf at such a time might fan the flames of a new racist tide in Germany. While acknowledging the value to scholarship of the new edition, many commentators have pointed out that far right movements are not generally known for scholarly thinking, and that the criticisms included in the new edition are unlikely to have any effect on their enthusiasm for the text.