Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 34 n° 316

Posts Tagged ‘jews’

“Jews never give up”, says WJC President Ronald Lauder at event in Venice marking 500th anniversary of creation of Jewish ghett

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 30 marzo 2016

sinagoga romaVENICE – World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder on Tuesday praised what he called “Jewish resilience” in the face of adversity and anti-Semitism. In an address commemorating the 500th anniversary of the establishment of the Venetian Jewish Ghetto, Lauder declared: “The creation of this ghetto was a terrible act; it was the first time that an entire community was separated because of their religion. […] And yet, in spite of this decree, the Jewish community still flourished within the walls.”
The WJC president told the congregation gathered at Venice’s La Fenice opera house, which included US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a number of Italian dignitaries: “I always find it fascinating: When Jews are singled out and placed in intolerable situations, what are the first things they do? They build synagogues. They study. They write books. They compose music and plays, and create art.” Lauder went on to say: “Then, as now, the prime motivation of Jews was education and charity, not bitterness. Because of who they were, Jews were not defeated by the Venice ghetto, in spite of the effort to isolate them. And even though this was done to separate the two faiths, Jews and Christians continued to work together. “Because Jews were not allowed to publish books within the ghetto, they worked with Christian printers on the outside. Jewish physicians, musicians and artists found ways to collaborate with the world outside. Jews and Christians developed commercial and architectural projects together. Life continued in spite of the ghetto.” “Just like in the Venice Ghetto, Jews show the same resilience today. For 5,000 years, we haven’t disappeared, and that’s a very good thing, not just for us, but for the entire world. “We must be honest. Yes, there was anti-Semitism here in Italy, and at times, it was very brutal. Jews were isolated by severe decrees. The darkest hours occurred within my lifetime, when Italy was allied with Nazi Germany. But today, in Italy, where there was once anti-Semitism, the Italian government, the heads of parties, and the institutions, all actively fight anti-Semitism. And we appreciate this very much,” Lauder said. The WJC president ended his speech by thanking Italy for organizing the commemorative event and for fighting against anti-Semitism. He said: “On behalf of the World Jewish Congress, I want to thank you, the Italian people, for remembering this part of your past and looking squarely at your past. Because when you face the past with complete honesty, you actually create a much better future – for your children, for your country, and for all people.

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More than just remembrance is needed to tackle persistent antisemitism

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 27 gennaio 2015

olocaustoInternational Holocaust Remembrance Day, on 27 January, is a chance to honour the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and to remind us of the persistent problem of antisemitism. This year FRA will join senior politicians, diplomats, global figures and experts from around the world to discuss how to deal more effectively with antisemitism, racism and xenophobia in Europe as they mark 70 years to the day on which the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated.“Recent tragic events across Europe are poignant reminders of the pressing need to counter antisemitism that continues to haunt Europe today. We need to more than just remember the Holocaust to honour the countless victims that were brutally slain under the Nazi regime,” said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. “We must stamp out all forms of antisemitism; from the blatant acts of vandalism of Jewish sites to the quiet acceptance of stereotypes and subtle forms of hate speech online and off. We must address anti-Jewish prejudice at every level of society and we should condemn antisemitism wherever we meet it, if we are to counter the fear that Jews continue to feel in Europe today.”FRA’s 2013 report on the first-ever comparable figures on Jewish people’s experiences of antisemitic harassment, discrimination and hate crime in the EU revealed how 66% of respondents consider antisemitism to be a major problem in their countries. 76% said the situation had become more acute over the last five years, underlining the need for urgent action by EU and its Member States to find effective ways of combating this pervasive and persistent problem.
On 27 January, FRA will launch its online training toolkit ‘Fundamental Rights and Holocaust Remembrance’ accompanied by a training workshop for European Commission officials in Brussels. The workshop objective is to reflect on remembrance and how EU officials should address contemporary fundamental rights challenges in their daily work. Participants will be led through a series of interactive working groups where they can discuss with trainers the responsibilities of civil servants. The seminar was co-developed between FRA and the Wannsee-Memorial and is the latest in a series of Holocaust and human rights education activities that have been developed by FRA.

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World Jewish Congress welcomes Sejm opinion to keep kosher slaughter legal in Poland

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 4 aprile 2014

World Jewish CongressNEW YORK/BRUSSELS – The World Jewish Congress welcomed a statement by the Polish Parliament, the Sejm, saying that kosher slaughter of animals is permitted in Poland if performed for the needs of Jewish communities. Last July, the Sejm had voted against a government proposal that would have granted a general exemption for kosher and halal slaughter from the requirement to stun animals prior to killing them.“The Sejm did the right thing by clarifying the murky legal situation of kosher slaughter in Poland and by backing shechita for local communities’ consumption,” said WJC CEO Robert Singer. “We hope this statement will help to put to rest the controversy over shechita – which  hold to be a crucial religious freedom.”The Sejm said it still forbids kosher slaughter of animals for commercial and export purposes, according to media reports. For-export kosher meat was a worth US$ 500 million a year in Poland before the ban came into effect last year.  Last year, the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland appealed to the Constitutional Tribunal to keep shechita legal in Poland, and the Sejm’s statement is one of three opinions to be considered by the high court soon.

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Ronald Lauder urges Hungary to end divisions over Holocaust commemoration, expresses support for Jewish community

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 15 febbraio 2014

ungheria-budapest-2BRUSSELS / NEW YORK – Ronald S. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), is urging the Hungarian government to put an end to the row with the country’s Jewish community over the commemoration of the Holocaust. In an opinion article to be published by Hungary’s leading newspaper Népszabadság on Saturday, Lauder reaffirms that the WJC backs the decision taken last Sunday by the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) not to take part in official events marking the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Hungarian Jews to the Nazi death camps unless its concerns regarding controversial projects are addressed.“The decision taken by Mazsihisz has the full support of the World Jewish Congress. Let there be no doubt: The Jewish community both in Hungary and internationally stands united on this issue. Reconciliation and forgiveness are difficult to achieve when the views of the Jewish community, of those who lived through these dark days, or of their descendants, are not are not taken into account, or are publicly discredited,” Lauder states.In his article, the WJC president expresses concern that the issue of Hungary’s role in the Holocaust has become the subject of debate in the midst of the general election campaign. “Extreme-right forces must not be allowed to exploit this issue for electioneering purposes. The remembrance of the Holocaust and of the atrocities committed during World War II ought to unite Hungarians, not divide them. It is of critical importance that younger generations are educated about what happened during World War II,” he argues.“For Jews, the Holocaust is not an issue of left or right. It is not, and should not be, the subject of an election campaign,” Lauder writes, adding: “Portraying Hungary solely as a victim of Nazi Germany obfuscates the role the administration of Miklós Horthy played, first in depriving Hungarian Jews of their civil rights and later in sending thousands of them to the death camps.”Lauder also calls on the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to postpone the installation of a controversial monument on Budapest’s Liberty Square. “If Viktor Orbán and the Hungarian government seriously believe that the statue should also be a memorial for the Jewish victims, at the very least they should listen to the Jewish community’s concerns, take them into account, and reconsider their plans.”Last May, the World Jewish Congress held its Plenary Assembly in Budapest in solidarity with Hungary’s Jewish community, which is the largest in Central Europe.

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Racism, discrimination, intolerance and extremism: Learning from experiences in Greece and Hungary

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 20 dicembre 2013

Anti-Racist Action banner from Art Against Racism

Anti-Racist Action banner from Art Against Racism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Racism, discrimination, extremism and intolerance currently pose a great challenge for the European Union. In a new report, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights examines the responses of two Member States, taking these countries as case studies to demonstrate the need for more targeted and effective measures to combat these phenomena throughout the EU. The report ends by proposing a number of steps to improve the situation.Today’s publication, a thematic situation report, also addresses a phenomenon currently unique to Greece and Hungary. This is the significant parliamentary presence of political parties standing for and promoting an extremist ideology that particularly targets irregular migrants (in Greece) and the Roma and Jews (in Hungary), and which are either themselves or have links to paramilitary organisations committing racially motivated acts of violence. The EU and its Member States already have strong legislation in place to fight racism, intolerance and extremism. However, greater efforts are needed to ensure effective implementation. In addition, more needs to be done, particularly at local level, to foster social cohesion and increase trust in the police and other law enforcement authorities.The overall aim of this report is to provide a better understanding of the barriers to combating racism and intolerance, and fulfilling fundamental rights throughout the EU. The proposals contained in the final section of the report are therefore relevant for all Member States when developing their own strategies for combating racist discrimination and violence, as well as the emergence of extremist ideologies on the political scene.

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Pope Francis pledges to oppose restrictions on religious freedoms; wishes world Jewry a ‘sweet’ New Year

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 3 settembre 2013

ROME – Pope Francis on Monday wished Jews around the world a sweet and peaceful year 5774, called for increased dialogue among the world’s religious communities and opposed fundamentalism in any faith. During his first private audience with an international Jewish leader since being elected Catholic pontiff in March, Francis asked World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder to convey his New Year message to Jewish communities world-wide and said he also needed a sweet year because of the important decisions lying ahead. Using the Hebrew words for ‘Happy New Year’, Pope Francis wished a “Shana Tova” and asked the WJC to share that message with the Jewish people worldwide. Lauder presented the pope with a Kiddush cup and a honey cake.At their meeting, which was held in an informal atmosphere at the Vatican, Lauder and the Catholic pontiff spoke about the situation in Syria and agreed to speak out against attacks on religious minorities, such as Coptic Christians in Egypt and against trends to restrict well-established religious practices such as circumcision. The pope specifically expressed concern about the bans on kosher slaughter in Poland and directed Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Vatican’s Commission for Relations with the Jews, to investigate and host a follow-up meeting as early as next week.Francis reiterated a statement made last June that “a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite” and said that “to be good a Christian it is necessary to understand Jewish history and traditions.” He added that Jews and Christians shared the same roots and that dialogue was the key to building a common future. Referring to the conflict in Syria, the pope called the killing of human beings unacceptable and said “world leaders must do everything to avoid war.”After the meeting, Ronald S. Lauder praised the pope for his unwavering commitment to dialogue and said that “Pope Francis’ leadership has not only reinvigorated the Catholic Church but also given a new momentum to relations with Judaism. Never in the past 2,000 years have relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people been so good. The leadership of successive popes over the past five decades has helped to overcome a lot of prejudice. This allows us now to work together in defending religious freedom wherever it is under threat and whichever community is affected.”Lauder was accompanied to the meeting at the Vatican by Latin American Jewish Congress President Jack Terpins, WJC CEO and EVP Robert Singer, WJC Associate EVP Maram Stern, and LAJC Executive Director Claudio Epelman.
About the World Jewish Congress The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations. Since its foundation in 1936, the WJC has been at the forefront of inter-religious dialogue, notably with the Catholic Church.

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World Jewish Congress head: ‘Berthold Beitz earned the everlasting love and gratitude of the Jewish people’

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 2 agosto 2013

NEW YORK – World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder today praised German industrialist Berthold Beitz, who died Tuesday at the age of 99, as “one of the great Germans of the past century” who had “earned the everlasting love and gratitude of the Jewish people” for saving hundreds of Jews in the Boryslav region, nowadays part of Ukraine, between 1941 and 1944. “For many Jews he was a beacon of hope in a sea of despair. He not only risked his own life by providing false papers to several hundred Jewish workers in the oil refinery he ran in Boryslav. Like Raoul Wallenberg, Chiune Sugihara, Oskar Schindler, Nicholas Winton, Irena Sendler and others, Berthold Beitz was a true mensch. He was a hero of the Holocaust at a time when it was a crime to be a humane person. He will never be forgotten for his tremendous acts of kindness,” Lauder declared.In July 1941, then 27-year-old Berthold Beitz, along his wife Else, came to the city of Boryslav, in what is today Ukraine, to work as the manager of an oil refinery. There, Beitz witnessed at close hand the ongoing destruction of the Jews. Unhesitatingly, he opposed the Nazis’ plan of extermination and succeeded in rescuing several hundred Jews from the death trains bound for the Bełżec extermination camp. He did this by requesting from the SS that the Jews be handed over to him as indispensable skilled workers and issued false work certificates. At a great personal risk, Berthold and Else Beitz secretly provided the Jews with food and hid others in their own home.One of Beitz’ staff members was Hilde Berger who later served as secretary to industrialist Oskar Schindler, who also saved Jews from the Holocaust.In 1973, in recognition of his courageous stance, the couple was honored as Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem. One of Beitz’ staff members then was Hilde Berger, who later served as secretary to industrialist Oskar Schindler, also a savior of Jews.Berthold Beitz was one of post-war Germany’s outstanding industrialists who until his death served as an influential member of the Supervisory Board of the Thyssen-Krupp Group.
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.

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World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly in Budapest

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 10 Maggio 2013

BUDAPEST – The 14th Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress ended on Tuesday with a commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust in Hungary and the presentation of the Nahum Goldmann Award to former Hungarian Prime Minister Miklós Németh. In 1989, Németh was instrumental in opening the Iron Curtain and in helping to secure the emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union. WJC President Ronald S. Lauder told the 500 delegates and guests representing Jewish communities and organizations in more than 70 countries world-wide that “in the 77 years of the World Jewish Congress there have been few gatherings as important as this one.” Lauder was re-elected as WJC head for another four-year term. He has held the position since 2007.“I see this as the top assignment for the Jewish people and I am excited to serve as President of the World Jewish Congress for another four years,” said Lauder.Delegates also elected David de Rothschild from France as the new chairman of the WJC Governing Board and Chella Safra from Brazil as new WJC treasurer. Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, was elected as chairman of the WJC Policy Council and Mervyn Smith from South Africa as his co-chairman. The assembly also elected 10 WJC vice-presidents ad personam and decided that the heads of the 12 largest Jewish communities in the world (United States, France, Britain, Russia, Canada, Argentina, Germany, Hungary, Ukraine, Australia, Brazil and South Africa) will automatically have a seat on the new WJC Executive. In addition, three young adult representatives, three delegates from international Jewish organizations (ICJW, WIZO and World ORT) and three representatives of small Jewish communities (Czech Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Venezuela) will have a vice-president on the WJC Executive. In addition, the chairs of the five regional WJC affiliates (Euro-Asia, Europe, North America, Israel, Latin America) are ex-officio members of the WJC leadership.The gathering was notably addressed by Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán, who said that “Anti-Semitism today in Hungary is unacceptable and we will show zero tolerance in regards to it.” Introducing Orbán, Ronald Lauder called on Hungary and the government to do more against growing anti-Semitism, notably coming from the extreme-right Jobbik partyMazsihisz President Péter Feldmájer said in his speech at the opening dinner: “I believe that the Jews of the world must unite their forces. This day also shows us that we are not alone, we are all listening to each other no matter where we may be living across the globe. The task we have is no little one to handle.”Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in his keynote address on Monday, which was received with a standing ovation by the delegates: “Anti-Semitism has no place neither in Berlin, nor in Budapest, nor anywhere else in Europe or in the world… We are firmly committed to protecting and nourishing Jewish life in our societies and to countering anti-Semitism across the globe. We have to tackle the root causes of anti-Semitism.”Discussions about effective ways to combat the rise of neo-Nazi parties in Europe took center-stage in Budapest, and the Plenary Assembly adopted a resolution which called on Hungary “to recognize that Jobbik and its subsidiaries “pose a fundamental threat to Hungary’s democracy” and that “decisive action … must now be taken to take effective measures including by enacting and enforcing legislation, for the protection of all citizens and residents of this country, in particular vulnerable minorities such as the Roma and the Jews, against threats of violence, racist hate and insults and the denial of the Holocaust.”The WJC also urged national leaders and legislators in Europe to join the 125 legislators from more than 40 countries in signing the London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism.In another resolution, the delegates urged the international community to recognize the legitimate rights of Jewish refugees in the Middle East who were forced to flee their countries after 1948.
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations. The Plenary Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the organization. It meets every four years and elects the WJC officers. All affiliated Jewish communities are entitled to send a certain number of delegates, depending on the size of their Jewish population.

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Two Faces of Persecution in Fascist Italy

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 13 giugno 2011

New York, NY June 27 – 1:00 pm 92Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, Free admission The vicissitudes of Italian and foreign Jews under Fascist rule have been the object of in depth studies but are still often presented as contradictory aspects of the same history. Today, thanks to a broad range of interdisciplinary research we are able to present a more cohesive picture of those years. Davide Rodogno and Donato Grosser will map the movements and fate of Jews residing in Italy and in Italian occupied territories between 1933-1945, examining the diverse levels of solidarity and persecution encountered. The conversation will have as points of departure the perspective of Italian civil and military authorities (Rodogno) and the work of Jewish relief organizations (Grosser).
Davide Rodogno, is a research professor at the International History and Politics Department & School of History, St. Andrews. He is the author of Fascism’s European Empire, Cambridge University Press, 2006. His studies focus on transnational history of International Associations and International Non-Governmental Organizations since 1770. History of human rights and humanitarian law. Displacement and Replacement of populations in inter-war Europe. Comparative history of empires. The myth of the new man in Europe, Israel and the United States. Further details.
Donato Grosser, (b. 1946) is the son of Bernardo (Berl) Grosser and Vittoria (Rina) Grosser. His father fled to Italy from Poland and became the secretary of the Jewish relief agency Delasem. Mr. Grosset has a B.A. in Economics from Hebrew University Jerusalem (1968), and an MBA in Management from NYU (1972). He and his wife Chana Stern have two children and five grandchildren. Mr. Grosser is the publisher of Segulat Israel, the Italian Journal of Halacha and Jewish Thought. Alessandro Cassin, Deputy director of Centro Primo Levi

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