Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 321

Posts Tagged ‘World Jewish Congress’

World Jewish Congress urges Greek party to withdraw candidate after anti-Semitic outburst

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 7 febbraio 2014

new yorkNEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress today called on the Greek party Syriza to withdraw a candidate for a regional governorship who made anti-Semitic statements about Greece’s Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, and the country’s new public broadcasting channel NERIT.“Syriza should withdraw the candidacy of Theodoros Karypidis for governor of Western Macedonia because his hateful anti-Semitic conspiracy theories can have no place in public discourse in the world’s oldest democracy,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder. “We join Greece’s Jewish communities in calling for Karypidis’s removal from the Syriza list and from the party. Unfortunately, anti-Semitic outbursts such as this are not the reserve of extreme-right parties.”Syriza, a radical left-wing party, is the main opposition party in Greece. On his Facebook page, Karypidis alleged that NERIT, an acronym, is derived from the Hebrew word for candle, “ner,” which he linked to the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which commemorates the struggle of the Maccabees against the Greeks. “Samaras is lighting the candles in the seven branched candelabra of the Jews and lighting Greece on fire after his visit to the Thessaloniki Synagogue,” Karypidis wrote, according to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency report. “He is organizing a new Hanukkah against the Greeks.”The synagogue visit to which Karypidis referred was an appearance Samaras made with WJC and Greek Jewish leaders at Thessaloniki’s historic Monastiriotes Synagogue in March 2013, at a ceremony commemorating the 1943 deportation of 50,000 of the city’s Jews to the Nazi death camps. It was the first such visit a Greek prime minister had made in the last 100 years.The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), a WJC affiliate, issued a statement that said: “We hope that the leadership of Syriza, which is a significant democratic party, will take all the necessary measures so that those who express views that incite racial hatred, intolerance, and anti-Semitism, remain on the margins of Greek society. It is our common duty to safeguard the principles of democracy, freedom and religious tolerance in the 2014 Greece, against those who serve the forces of darkness and anti-Semitic stereotypes. We hope that the party of Syriza will continue to strictly follow the policy against racism and anti-Semitism which is adopted by all democratic parties in Greece and in Europe.”

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World Jewish Congress denounces UNESCO cancellation of Israel exhibit

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 21 gennaio 2014

3466fda168dcb9167a6a8ec65d789ac9b1a4a1dfNEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress (WJC) today denounced the cancellation by the UN cultural body UNESCO of an exhibit on Jewish ties to the Land of Israel that was scheduled to open next week in Paris. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova cancelled the exhibit, ‘The People, The Book, the Land: The 3,500-year relationship between the Jewish people and the land of Israel’ after Arab states protested. “This cancellation of a long-planned exhibit is an outrageous political manipulation of a cultural event,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder. “It is sad that Arabs deny the 3,500 connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, especially when that connection is part of their own tradition. With this decision, UNESCO has done a disservice to the peace process and implicitly endorsed Arab rejectionism.” The exhibit, which was scheduled to run from 21 January through 30 January at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, was created by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and co-sponsored by Israel, Canada, and Montenegro. The exhibition was assembled by renowned historian Robert Wistrich and was previously approved by UNESCO, according to the Jerusalem Post.
World Jewish Congress Vice-President Roger Cukierman, the head of the French Jewish umbrella body CRIF, wrote a letter to Bokova strongly protesting the cancellation. “I deduct from that decision that UNESCO is no longer the common house of all nations on matters of education, culture and science, but has come under the influence of clans whose aim it is to propagate hatred towards the other,” Cukierman stated, challenging Bokova to name the real reasons behind the cancelation.According to the Times of Israel, Abdulla al Neaimi, president of UNESCO’s Arab group, wrote in a letter to Bokova that the ”subject of this exhibition is highly political though the appearance of the title seems to be trivial. Most serious is the defense of this theme which is one of the reasons used by the opponents of peace within Israel. The publicity that will accompany… the exhibit can only cause damage to the peace negotiations presently occurring, and the constant effort of Secretary of State John Kerry, and the neutrality and objectivity of UNESCO.”
UNESCO accepted the unilateral declaration of Palestine as a member state of the UN in 2011, in contravention of UN resolutions. It was the first UN body to do so.

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Training Students to Counter Israel Boycott

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 28 dicembre 2013

English: Speaker of the Knesset Yosef Sprinzak...

English: Speaker of the Knesset Yosef Sprinzak speaking at the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly, at The Jewish Agency building in Jerusalem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jerusalem. Two weeks after an American academic group voted to boycott Israel, 100 Jewish university students from around the globe will gather in Jerusalem on Monday, December 30, in order to learn the best methods to combat attempts to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) Israel. The training is part of the Global Campus Initiative (GCI), a joint project of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) and the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS).“The Global Campus Initiative was founded to give the engaged, activist students of WUJS and EUJS the tools they need to help put a stop to BDS movements on campus, which are a growing concern worldwide even, as we now see, in the United States,” said World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer. “Through their networking and student activism, we hope to spread the best practices of how to combat the political, economic, cultural and ideological campaign against Israel.”
The students’ training takes on new urgency in the wake of the December 16 vote to boycott Israel by the American Studies Association (ASA), a 5,000 member group of academics who teach American studies at US colleges and universities. Starting their day at the Knesset, the students will hear greetings from several Knesset members before participating in a session on “What is Delegitimization and BDS?” with Asher Fredman, a Senior Coordinator for Diaspora Affairs in Israel’s Ministry of International Relations and Strategic Affairs, and Avi Mayer, who oversees new media operations at The Jewish Agency for Israel. After gaining “A View Inside Israeli Democracy,” the students will participate in workshops on “Advocating for Israel at Your University” and “Communicating to Influence.”In the evening, the students will attend a gala dinner with a keynote speech by Robert Singer and greetings by Shai Hermesh, Chairman of WJC Israel, and Benzi Bar Lavi, a representative of the Jewish National Fund.

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World Jewish Congress mourns passing of David Peleg

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 2 dicembre 2013

Terra Sancta Building (Jerusalem, Israel)

Terra Sancta Building (Jerusalem, Israel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress (WJC) mourns the passing of David Peleg, who served as director-general of the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) until his death last week. Ronald S. Lauder, president of the WJC and also of the WJRO, praised the late Israeli diplomat as a “thoughtful and skilled professional who did not seek the limelight but instead fought tirelessly to secure a small measure of justice for the dispossessed victims of the Holocaust and their heirs.” Lauder extended his heartfelt condolences to Peleg’s children and grandchildren.David Peleg was born in Jerusalem in 1942 into a family of Polish origin. He completed elementary and secondary education in Jerusalem. Following his military service in the Israeli Defense Forces (1960–62), he studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During his long diplomatic career, which began in 1965, Peleg was posted at the Israeli diplomatic missions in Lusaka, Atlanta, London, Washington, New York and Geneva. From 2004 to 2009, he served in Warsaw as Israel’s ambassador to Poland.After leaving the Israeli Foreign Ministry in 2009, David Peleg was appointed director-general of the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), the body tasked with leading negotiating with national and local governments to conclude agreements and ensure legislation concerning the restitution of looted property.David Peleg, or “Pomi”, as his friends called him, was not only a warm and caring individual and an experienced diplomat but also a great enthusiast of jazz music and a connoisseur of art.

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Ronald S. Lauder: ‘Iran must be judged by its actions’

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 25 novembre 2013

Iran Elections

Iran Elections (Photo credit: bi0xid)

Seconding the reaction of Israel and most of Iran’s Middle East neighbors, the World Jewish Congress expressed its deep misgivings after the announcement that the Western powers had secured an interim agreement in Geneva on limiting the Iranian nuclear program.“Iran must be judged by its actions, not its words and promises, because they are not worth the paper they are written on,” said World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder. “Nothing in the deceptive behavior of Iran and its leaders in recent years should make the world believe that they will honor this agreement.”Lauder added that WJC welcomes the preparedness of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other leaders of the U.S. Congress to support a strengthening of Iran sanctions.In remarks before his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “What was achieved last night in Geneva is not an historic agreement, but an historic mistake.“Today the world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world has taken a significant step toward attaining the most dangerous weapon in the world,” the prime minister addedUnited Against a Nuclear Iran, a U.S. lobbying group formed by former diplomats, criticized the Geneva deal as providing “disproportionate sanctions relief to Iran.””By not agreeing to dismantle a single centrifuge, Iran has not rolled back its nuclear infrastructure and with the many centrifuges that it is currently operating, Iran retains the ability to breakout and produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon in as little as 2 months,” the group said in a statement. “At the same time, the carefully constructed sanctions architecture developed over decades has been significantly rolled back.”

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World Jewish Congress mourns passing of Tadeusz Mazowiecki, ‘architect of Polish democracy’ and ‘friend of Israel and the Jewish people’

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 29 ottobre 2013

NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress (WJC) has praised Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Poland’s first prime minister after the fall of Communism, as one of the architects of the modern, democratic Poland and as a friend of Israel and the Jewish people. Mazowiecki died on Monday at the age of 86. “Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s silent but effective diplomacy ensured that his country’s transition was successful. Together with Lech Walesa, he laid the foundations for what is today the strongest country both economically and politically in Central and Eastern Europe,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.Lauder highlighted that the Mazowiecki government re-established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1990 and helped to open Polish airports for Jews leaving the then Soviet Union. He was also part of the group that successfully fought for the repeal of the 1975 United Nations General Assembly Resolution that “determined that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination”.“The Jews are grateful to Tadeusz Mazowiecki for his staunch defense of their rights as Poland emerged from Communism, and for his help in resolving the crisis of the Carmelite convent on the grounds of Auschwitz in the early 1990s. He will also be remembered for speaking out against anti-Semitism clearly and unequivocally and exposing war crimes as special rapporteur for human rights in the former Yugoslavia. May his memory be for a blessing,” Lauder declared.

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WJC President: Restore Israeli Flag at Qatari Sporting Event

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 23 ottobre 2013

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder today expressed his dismay at Qatar’s removal of the Israeli flag from the premises of the FINA Swimming World Cup in Doha. The flag was removed from the Aspire Zone, a 2.5 square kilometer (1 square mile) sporting zone in the Qatari capital where Israeli swimmers were competing. The flag was also expunged from television reports about the Israeli swimmers. The removal violates the FINA Code of Ethics, which requires that its tournament shall have “no discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion, or political opinion.” “Qatar must immediately restore the Israeli flag to its venue at this sporting event and stop pandering to the worst sort of Arab rejectionism,” Lauder stated. “If Doha won’t guarantee the participation of athletes from all countries and respect the neutrality of international sportsmanship, it has forfeited its right to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup in soccer. That event should be moved from Qatar.”
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.

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World Jewish Congress mourns passing of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 12 ottobre 2013

The World Jewish Congress mourns the loss of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel and a sage of his generation, and expressed its condolences to Israeli and world Jewry. World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder stated the following: “Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a scholar of great renown and a thoughtful and tolerant religious judge, left a lasting mark on Israel and world Jewry. As the founder of the Shas Party, he energized Israel’s Sephardic community, securing for it rights and respect and leading it to political prominence. His rabbinical ruling enabled the rescue of Ethiopian Jewry.”A man of strong opinions who was not afraid of clashing with others, Rabbi Yosef engaged in many ideological battles. But few shaped the modern state of Israel as much as he did, which is why more than half a million attended his funeral.

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World Jewish Congress welcomes support of Polish bishops for overturning of religious slaughter ban

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 1 ottobre 2013

NEW YORK – The support of the Polish Catholic Bishops’ Conference (KEP) for the campaign to overturn the ban on religious slaughter in Poland was “highly significant and warmly welcome,” World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder said on Monday in New York. “We appreciate this statement, and we will hope that it will lead Polish legislators to revert the wrong decision they took in July,” Lauder declared. He thanked the Catholic Church leaders for speaking out on the issue.
In a declaration on 25 September 2013, the Presidium of the Conference of the Polish Episcopate pointed out “that throughout our long history Polish legislation never questioned the right to religious freedom, including the right to maintain one’s own traditions and customs.” The bishops criticized a “lack of consistency of legislators with respect to two conflicting laws, the law on the protection of animals on the one hand and the law governing the relationship between the Polish state and Jewish communities on the other hand. The same problem was highlighted by the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland, which has applied to the Constitutional Court over the ban on kosher and halal slaughter.The KEP Presidium said that it shared “the view that Jewish religious communities and believers of Islam are entitled to preserve and implement their fundamental rights to freedom of religion and worship. It is their right to preserve their customs, including the ritual slaughter of animals.”At a meeting with Pope Francis in Rome earlier this month, the WJC leaders had raised the religious slaughter ban in Poland and asked the Catholic leader to speak out against it. The pope expressed concern about the ban and promised the Vatican would look into the matter.

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World Jewish Congress praises international Christian lawmakers for supporting Israel

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 19 settembre 2013

English: Jerusalem, Dome of the rock, in the b...

English: Jerusalem, Dome of the rock, in the background the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Deutsch: Jerusalem, Felsendom, im Hintergrund die Grabeskirche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JERUSALEM – Christian lawmakers from 20 countries will be in Israel later this week to express their support for the Jewish state. At an event hosted by the Israel Allies Foundation, the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and the World Jewish Congress (WJC) 25 Christian parliamentarians and Congressmen will notably discuss measures to fight a campaign against Israel spearheaded in recent months by the European Union. On Sunday, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder will address an event in Jerusalem at which 3,000 Evangelical Christians from around the world will be present.The lawmakers are also expected to endorse Israel’s efforts to defend itself against existential threats such as those posed by Iran regime and by the current unrest and chemical weapons in Syria. The Chairman’s Conference of the Israel Allies Foundation, presided by former Minister Benny Elon, will be held as part of the annual Feast of Tabernacles, the largest tourist event in Israel which every year draws more than 5,000 Christian pilgrims from over 100 countries. Lawmakers from Argentina, Bolivia, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, South Africa, Uruguay, Guatemala, the United Kingdom and the United States will participate in the gathering.
In a draft declaration expected to be adopted, the legislators call the boycott of Israeli persons and goods from the disputed territories in the West Bank and Jerusalem an act of discrimination that is harming the peace efforts. In addition, the signatories are expected to lend their support “to the government of Israel as acting within its rights and obligations to its citizens when it stands resolutely in defence of its sovereign territory and acts pre-emptively, if necessary, to ensure the protection of its citizens and the survival of its national existence.” They are also to endorse Israel’s position that the Jerusalem should remain undivided.
WJC President Ronald Lauder hailed the upcoming event in the Israeli capital as an important sign that Israel does not stand alone in the world: “This conference is ample proof that Israel has strong Christian allies in parliaments and governments around the world on which it can rely. The World Jewish Congress will continue to work on widening this important coalition and increase cooperation with our Christian friends,” he said.

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Lauder asks Italy to urge EU to take more balanced stance toward Israel, Middle East

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 4 settembre 2013

Rome – The conflicts currently engulfing the Middle East and in particular Syria and the tense relationship between the European Union and Israel were the main points of the discussion between Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder in Rome on Tuesday. Letta said Italy was prepared to help in finding a solution to the Syrian conflict and added that the issue would be discussed by world leaders at the upcoming G20 summit.Ronald S. Lauder thanked the Italian head of government for the steadfast support successive administrations have given to the Italian Jewish community, and for the constructive relations with the State of Israel. The WJC president criticized recent one-sided measures taken by the European Union against Israel, in particular the issuing of guidelines for the labeling of produce from Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and said they were harmful to the peace process.He also asked PM Letta to urge Brussels not to force Israel out of the Horizon 2020 program, the EU’s multi-billion-euro research and innovation scheme. “Europe has put itself into a corner. It is worrying to see how the EU has sidelined itself as an effective player at a time when there are several highly explosive conflicts in the region, when thousands are killed every month in Syria, Egypt and elsewhere. We hope Italy and other key EU member states will act to correct this and to get the EU’s foreign policy back on a track,” the WJC president said.The Italian prime minister said he looked forward to meeting soon with Israel’s President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Ronald S. Lauder was accompanied to the meeting by Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Italy, WJC CEO and EVP Robert Singer and WJC Associate EVP Maram Stern. On Monday, the WJC leaders met with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
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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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 welcomes European Union’s ‘long overdue’ decision to blacklist Hezbollah

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 23 luglio 2013

English: Word Jewish Congress President Ronald...

English: Word Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder (left) and Eduardo Elsztain, chairman of the WJC Governing Board. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW YORK /BRUSSELS – Monday’s unanimous decision by the foreign ministers of the 28 European Union member states to include the military wing of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah in the EU’s list of terrorist organization was hailed by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) as a “major breakthrough”. WJC President Ronald S. Lauder called it “a long overdue step that is very significant because it could help to dry up sources of funding for this organization in Europe.” Lauder said that although the distinction between a military and a political wing was an artificial one because Hezbollah had a single command structure, “it will nonetheless have a positive impact if strongly enforced by all EU member nations.”
The WJC president rejected the argument that blacklisting Hezbollah could lead to political destabilization in Lebanon. “The facts speak for themselves: It is Hezbollah that is destabilizing Lebanon by illegally maintaining a heavily armed paramilitary organization that threatens its neighbors. It is Hezbollah that is wreaking havoc in Syria by deploying thousands of fighters to support the Assad regime. It is Hezbollah that continues to plant bombs in many places around the world, including in Bulgaria last year. And it is high time that the world starts fighting these fanatics instead of placating them. The world did so with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and it has to do the same with Hezbollah in Lebanon. It is important that we stand united on this,” Lauder said.He also thanked the British, German and French governments for having overcome initial hesitations and for taking a lead in the EU on this matter: “It was critical that the three biggest nations in Europe said ‘enough is enough’. We commend them for that.”
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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Lauder: ‘A bitter blow for Jewish life in Poland’

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 14 luglio 2013

NEW YORK / BRUSSELS The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) has reacted with “immense disappointment” at the decision by the Sejm, Poland’s legislature, to ban on religious slaughter of animals in the country. “This decision a slap in the face of Jews and Muslims alike. It is a bitter blow for all those who undertook great strides to bring about a renaissance of Jewish life in Poland. I am wondering what sort of message those who voted in favor of the ban wanted to send to their non-Christian citizens,” Lauder said on Friday.The WJC president added: “Jews who observe the Kashrut [Jewish dietary laws] have reason ask themselves if they are still welcome in Poland. Today, the country that once had the largest Jewish community in the world has become the first European country since World War II to ban religious slaughter.“In the Sejm debate, some speakers even claimed that Shechita was foreign to Poland’s culture, a notion that is both upsetting and wrong. I wonder if the lawmakers are aware of the far-reaching implications their decision is going to have, and I very much hope that they will reconsider and repeal this ban soon,” he pointed out.The prohibition of kosher slaughter in Poland meant that observant Jews would from now on have to rely on expensive imported meat in the future, Ronald S. Lauder noted. Given that Poland was a major exporter of kosher and halal meat, including to Israel, he predicted that the ban would also adversely affect Jewish and Muslim communities outside the country.
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 to convene in Budapest on 5-7 May 2013

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 17 aprile 2013

NEW YORK / BUDAPEST – The World Jewish Congress (WJC) will hold its 14th Plenary Assembly in Budapest, on 5-7 May 2013, to discuss matters of importance to the Jewish people globally, including the alarming rise of neo-Nazi political parties in several European, and other, countries, and the situation in the Middle East. 500 delegates and observers from the WJC’s affiliated Jewish communities and organizations in 100 countries are expected to convene in the Hungarian capital. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has confirmed that he will address the opening dinner on 5 May. Other keynote speakers at the Plenary Assembly will include Germany’s Foreign Minister Westerwelle, Cardinal Péter Erdő, the archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and current president of the Council of European Bishops Conferences, as well as various special envoys to the Middle East. Delegates will also elect a new WJC Executive for the next four years.WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said: “This will be a good opportunity to show that by standing united, world Jewry can make its voice heard and can improve things. We are looking forward to meet in Budapest, which has a great Jewish history and a vibrant community.”
The event is organized in cooperation with the Federation of Jewish Communities of Hungary (MAZSIHISZ), the official representative body of Jews in Hungary. MAZSIHISZ President Péter Feldmájer declared: “The fact that the WJC is holding its Plenary Assembly in Budapest is a symbol of solidarity with our Jewish community, which has been faced with growing anti-Semitism in recent years. We look forward to welcoming the WJC delegates here in Hungary, home to the largest Jewish community in Central Europe.”

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World Jewish Congress head Lauder: Greece must take strong action against ‘new Nazis’

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 18 marzo 2013

THESSALONIKI, GREECE – Leaders of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Sunday sent a strong message of solidarity to the Jewish community of Greece as they gathered in the northern Greek city for meetings of the WJC Executive and commemorations on the 70th anniversary of the first deportation of Salonican Jews to the death camps. In a speech in the presence of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder urged Greece to take decisive action against the growing neo-Nazi movement Golden Dawn, which he called “the new Nazis” and “a threat to democracy.” In a resolution the World Jewish Congress called on Greece to consider banning extremist parties such as Golden Dawn.Samaras on Sunday became the first sitting Greek prime minister of the last 100 years to visit a synagogue. He pledged that his government would do everything to rein in the extremists. The Greek government would enact legislation that will be “completely intolerant to violence and racism,” he said, noting that with neo-Nazi parties on the rise again in Europe, governments had to “be very careful not to let them gain ground as they did in the 1930s.”
Fifty Jewish community heads and representatives from around the world attended the series of events in Thessaloniki in commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust. They were co-organized by the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki. More than 48,000 Jews of Thessaloniki were deported between March and August 1943 and 96 percent of them were murdered in the German death camps. On Saturday, the WJC representatives took part in a commemorative march organized by Thessaloniki’s mayor Yiannis Boutaris which attracted nearly 3,000 participants. In his speech at the Monastiriotes Synagogue, Ronald Lauder thanked the survivors – some of whom were present and lit candles – for returning and rebuilding the Salonican community. He also praised Jewish community leader David Saltiel for his tremendous efforts in strengthening the community.

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70th anniversary of first train of Thessaloniki Jews to Nazi death camps

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 8 marzo 2013

New York – Brussels. On Monday, 18 March 2013, members of the WJC Executive led by Ronald S. Lauder will travel to Jerusalem where they will hold talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres, and with leaders of the political parties in Israel. The World Jewish Congress (WJC), headed by Ronald S. Lauder, will be holding a special meeting of its Executive Committee in the Greek city of Thessaloniki on Sunday, 17 March 2013, which will coincide with a series of events marking the 70th anniversary of the first deportation of Thessaloniki Jews to Auschwitz (15-17 March 2013). The gathering is a part of WJC efforts to show support to small and vulnerable Jewish communities. Greek Jews are currently adversely affected by the country’s deep economic problems and by the rise of the extremist Golden Dawn movement whose leaders openly deny the Holocaust. In a series of events organized by the Thessaloniki Jewish community, Jewish leaders from around the world and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will be present, and WJC President Ronald S. Lauder will give one of the keynote addresses. The WJC Executive will hear from Greek Jewish leaders and experts, and it will discuss measures to combat rising anti-Semitism and extremism in Europe.

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To define strategies to counter rise in anti-semitism in Europe

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 14 Mag 2012

The Palazzo Montecitorio which hosts the Itali...

The Palazzo Montecitorio which hosts the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Rome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rome May 14th at 15:00 at the Press Room of the Italian Chamber of Deputies via della Missione 4, The ICJP delegates present in Rome will meet the press to present the initiatives To define strategies to counter rise in anti-semitism in Europe. WJC President Ronald S. Lauder, and Secretary General, Dan Diker, together with the ICJP delegates from several European countries (Belgium, France, Hungary, Serbia, Sweden) and from Israel, will hold a working session at the Italian Parliament in Rome that will define common goals and strategies to face the alarm of the overall rise in anti-Semitism and extremism in Europe. Additionally, the delegation will meet with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, Speaker of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Gianfranco Fini and Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, to discuss the core issues on the agenda of Jewish parliamentarians in Europe and around the world.
Statement by Hon. Fiamma Nirenstein, Chairperson of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians and Vice-president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies “In these days of unrest, while Europe is overwrought with socio-economic woes and its Jewish population is falling victim to the rapid rise of anti-Semitism and brutal violence, the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP) and the World Jewish Congress (WJC) are gathering in Rome for a conference to discuss the influence of the Arab Spring and Iran on Europe and the West (see attached program).
On the evening of May 14th, WJC President Lauder and I, as ICJP Chairperson, will present the first “Friendship Award” to Pierluigi Battista, leading columnist of Il Corriere della Sera daily, for his commitment to the fight against anti-Semitism and the de-legitimization of the State of Israel. The ceremony will be hosted by Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata at historical Villa Madama, in the presence of Israel’s Ambassador to Italy Naor Gilon, Italian members of parliament and dignitaries.

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Latin American Jewish Congress praises Pope’s role in fostering mutual understanding and peace

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 11 Mag 2012

Judaism and Christianity by John Singer Sargent

Judaism and Christianity by John Singer Sargent (Photo credit: Context Travel)

Rome Led by Latin American Jewish Congress (LAJC) President Jack Terpins, Jewish community leaders from 13 Latin American countries were today received in private audience by Pope Benedict XVI. Terpins underlined that the relationship between Jews and Catholics in the region was “an example not only of positive coexistence, but of friendship and cooperation.” Also present at the meeting – the first of its kind – were World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder, who had previously met the Catholic pontiff in 2007 and 2010, WJC Secretary General Dan Diker, and leaders of the Jewish communities of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.In his address to the Pope, Jack Terpins highlighted the close and fruitful cooperation between Catholics and Jews in almost all Latin American countries, saying: “Resorting to dialogue as a tool has helped develop models to get to know ourselves better and for the communities of faith to gain greater understanding. Agreement among religions is not the only prerequisite but certainly means a major step forward. Together, we can send out a strong message to society at large: i.e. working to help the neediest and defending family, pluralism and democracy, always under the umbrella of the common values revered by our religious traditions.” The LAJC president also expressed his appreciation at the fact that the Vatican had full diplomatic relations with Israel, “that 64-year-old, young state, in a changing world in which the old anti-Semitism is often disguised as anti-Zionism.”
After the half-hour long meeting with Benedict XVI WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said: “Today, relations between Jews and Catholics are better than at any time over the past 2,000 years, despite the occasional disagreement here or there. This is especially true in Latin America which is overwhelmingly Catholic. The enormous efforts Pope Benedict and his predecessor have invested are now paying off, and they have reduced tensions noticeably. We appreciate the hand of friendship which the Pope has again extended to the Jewish people.”
The WJC is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations. The LAJC is the regional affiliate of the WJC in Latin America and federates the Jewish communities in Central and South America.

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“One of the great Jewish activists of the past decades left us”

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 7 aprile 2012

Holocaust memorial

Holocaust memorial (Photo credit: NH53)

New York – The Wold Jewish Congress mourns the passing of its former Executive Director Elan Steinberg, who died on Friday in New York at the age of 59 after a short struggle with cancer. Steinberg served as executive director of the World Jewish Congress and its American section and as advisor to WJC presidents Edgar Bronfman and Ronald S. Lauder. “One of the great Jewish activists of the past decades left us today. Elan’s premature death will leave a huge void in the Jewish world. He was deeply committed to advocating the rights of the Jews around the world, and of Holocaust survivors in particular. He was probably the most gifted communication professional in the Jewish organizational world. He will be sorely missed,” Lauder said in a first reaction.
The WJC president highlighted Elan Steinberg’s pivotal role in exposing former Austrian President Kurt Waldheim’s past as officer of the German Wehrmacht during World War II and his important efforts, together with other WJC leaders, to secure billions of dollars in restitution and compensation for Holocaust survivors, notably from the Swiss banks and the German government. “Without Elan’s skills, his tireless work and his absolute determination, all of this could probably not have been achieved. Not just the survivors, but the entire Jewish people owe him a debt of gratitude,” Lauder declared. He added: “Our hearts go out to Elan’s wife Sharon and his children, who have lost a husband and father at such a young age. May they be comforted among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”
WJC Secretary-General Dan Diker said: “On the eve of Pessach, the Jewish people has lost one of its great leaders. All his adult life, Elan Steinberg fought for human rights, and for Jewish rights. He leaves a huge legacy, and nobody in the World Jewish Congress and beyond will ever forget him.”
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.

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