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World Jewish Congress urges UN Security Council to take collective action against Hamas

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World Jewish Congress urges UN Security Council to take collective action against Hamas

NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress is calling on the United Nations Security Council to take collective action against Hamas over its rocket fire against Israel, and to issue a clear and decisive statement demanding it cease its attacks and its use of civilian areas to carry out its acts of terror.

In a letter addressed to the members of the UNSC on Tuesday, following the announcement of a cease-fire, WJC CEO Robert Singer wrote:

“The World Jewish Congress, the international umbrella organization representing Jewish communities in more than 100 countries, calls on the United Nations Security Council, as the international body responsible for maintaining peace and security, to take collective action against Hamas over its indiscriminate attacks against Israeli civilians.

“We urge the members of this Council to issue a clear and decisive statement demanding that Hamas ceases its attacks on Israel and halts its use of civilian areas in Gaza to attack civilians in Israel. We call on the Council to recognize Hamas as the terrorist organization that it is, whose charter includes the destruction of the State of Israel, and whose mission it is to terrify Israeli citizens and inflict maximum damages on both people and property. We also call on the Council to recognize the responsibility of Hamas, as controllers of the Gaza Strip, for the escalation of violence along the border.

“Over the last 48 hours, Hamas terrorists have fired more than 400 rockets at southern Israel, intentionally and unscrupulously targeting civilians. Historically, even following agreements for a cease-fire, Hamas has continued to terrorize Israelis, leaving more than a million civilians hiding in shelters in fear.

“It should be underscored here that the IDF was operating against key strategic Hamas targets, including military compounds, rocket-launching positions, and a vast network of tunnels used for mobilizing militants and weapons to attack Israel.

“Hamas, in turn, is deliberately using civilian areas in Gaza to launch its attacks against Israel, thereby also intentionally endangering its own population.

“It is incumbent upon the international community, particularly the members of the UN Security Council, to speak out against these atrocities and violations of human rights and do everything in their power to bring a justified solution to this conflict. Hamas and Israel have engaged in far too many wars over the last decade – we know the price such a conflict can incur.”
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World Jewish Congress expresses concern at explosion targeting Jewish community leader in Kazan, Tatarstan

NEW YORK - The World Jewish Congress expressed its concern at an explosion targeting the Head of the Jewish community of Tatarstan and of Kazan, Russia, Mr. Mikhail Skoblionok.

It is understood that Mr. Skoblionok has sustained injuries after opening a package delivered to his business, which subsequently exploded. Mr. Skoblionok is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital in the area. It is not yet clear whether the attack was criminally motivated, or a hate crime.

WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said: “I was very worried to hear about today’s explosion targeting the head of the Jewish community in Kazan, Tatarstan. I wish to extend my best wishes to Mr. Skoblionk and his family and hope for a speedy recovery. I have known Mr. Skoblionok for more than 25 years, and have seen that the rebirth and well-being of his community was, and is, to a large extent due to his personal involvement. We fully trust that the local authorities are doing all in their power to investigate and ensure that the perpetrators behind this evil and sickening act are brought to justice as soon as possible.”
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World Jewish Congress mourns death of Kofi Annan, a ‘tour de force’ within the United Nations

The World Jewish Congress mourns the death of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 80. “Former Secretary General Annan was a dedicated diplomat who throughout his life embodied the mandate of the United Nations to foster relations and cooperation among members of the international community,” said WJC President Ronald S. Lauder.

“Mr. Annan’s tenure as secretary general spanned some of the most difficult years of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the bus bombings of the 1990s, Israel’s 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon, the entirety of the second Intifada which wreaked deadly terror across Israel, and the Second Lebanon War in 2006, in which he helped secure a truce between Israel and Hezbollah,” Lauder said.

“While his politics were often radically different from those of the Israeli government and the Jewish Diaspora, he made clear his position that the right of the State of Israel to exist was not up for negotiation, nor was the Jewish people’s historic connection to the land,” Lauder added.

“Under Mr. Annan’s watch as secretary general in 2005, the United Nations established International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a critical mechanism of commemoration for the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and the millions of others who perished at the hands of the Nazis,” Lauder said. “Every year on January 27, thanks to Mr. Annan, the world remembers the greatest genocide in history and reflects on the tragic consequences that can arise from complacency to hatred."

“The WJC will always remember Mr. Annan as a tour de force within the halls of the United Nations,” Lauder said.

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Former Canadian Justice Min. Irwin Cotler honored by World Jewish Congress, ICJP in Jerusalem


WJC, Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold, Congressman and ICJP Chairman Eliot Engel, Outgoing ICJP Deputy Chairman Irwin Cotler, Honorary Vice President of WJC Isi Leibler, and WJC CEO Robert Singer at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, December 21, 2015. (c) Shahar AzranForeign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold, Congressman and ICJP Chairman Eliot Engel, Outgoing ICJP Deputy Chairman Irwin Cotler, Honorary Vice President of WJC Isi Leibler, and WJC CEO Robert Singer at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, December 21, 2015. (c) Shahar Azran

ICJP Chairman U.S. Congressman Eliot Engel and Honorary Vice President of the World Jewish Congress Isi Leibler presented a gift of appreciation to Cotler during a former dinner at the King David Hotel. “If one looks to this generation and seeks a role model, that would be Irwin Cotler,” Leibler said.

The ICJP brought 12 Jewish parliamentarians from around the world to the Israeli capital for three days of meetings and briefings with senior Israeli officials and members of Knesset, including opposition leader Isaac Herzog, Minister of Education and Diaspora affairs Naftali Bennett, MK Yair Lapid, MK Michael Oren, and top officials in the Prime Minister’s Office. Delegates to the conference also included MP Anthony Housefather of Canada, Marc Loewenstein of Belgium and Daniel Farcas of Chile.

The ICJP has operated under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress since 2006

Cotler is the chairman of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, an Emeritus professor of Law at McGill University, former Member of Parliament, former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, and an international human rights lawyer.

As minister of justice and attorney general, Irwin Cotler initiated the first-ever comprehensive reform of the Supreme Court appointment process and helped make it the most gender-representative Supreme Court in the world. He appointed the first-ever aboriginal and visible minority justices to the Ontario Court of Appeal; initiated the first-ever law on human trafficking; crafted the Civil Marriage Act, the first-ever legislation to grant marriage equality to gays and lesbians; and issued Canada’s first National Justice Initiative Against Racism and Hate.

A leading parliamentarian on the global stage, he has been chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran, chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Group of Justice for Sergei Magnitsky, Chair of the All-Party Save Darfur Parliamentary Coalition; Chair of the Canadian Section of the Parliamentarians for Global Action and member of its international council.

An international human rights lawyer, Professor Cotler has served as counsel to prisoners of conscience including Andrei Sakharov and Nathan Sharanksy (former Soviet Union), Nelson Mandela (South Africa) and he was Chair of the International Commission of Inquiry into the fate of Raoul Wallenberg.

He was elected 2014 Canadian Parliamentarian of the Year by his colleagues and recently received the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Inaugural Human Rights Award.
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European Jewish Congress head says EU is harming Middle East peace process

WJC, The European Jewish Congress (EJC) has urged the European Union to withdraw new guidelines limiting the funding of EU-sponsored projects in the West Bank. In an advertisement published by the 'Financial Times' EJC President Moshe Kantor said the EU was trying to preempt the results of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and said the guidelines were harmful to the talks.
Responding to a letter sent yesterday by former European leaders to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton calling on the EU not to delay or soften the guidelines, Kantor said that the letter "is a danger to peace as it hands one side a political victory without having to compromise and deepens the Palestinian feeling that they can gain more outside of negotiations than in them.”
Kantor wrote that the guidelines, which block EU funding of Israeli institutions operating in the West Bank beyond the 1949 Armistice Line were discriminatory, and would ultimately hurt Europeans, Israelis, Palestinians, and the prospects for peace. “From the well over one hundred territorial disputes in the world, the European Union has mandated the creation of a clause in every agreement denying European funding to, and cooperation with, institutions from only one nation involved in a territorial dispute: Israel,” Kantor pointed out, adding: “It has not placed similar criteria on Turkey, Morocco, China, or any other nation involved in a territorial dispute.”
"What makes the situation far worse is that the European Union is abrogating agreements that it signed and witnessed,” Kantor continued "The Oslo Accords, the basis for the peace negotiations, specifically stipulate that the current status of the territories, and its residents, will not be changed or harmed ahead of final status negotiations, to which the parties have recently returned." The territories, captured during a defensive war, from Jordan, itself an occupier, were never an independent sovereign entity, the EJC president pointed out. “The significance and the timing of these new guidelines, on the eve of the return to negotiations, harms the trust between the parties and a potentially successful outcome,” Kantor added.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in daily contact with the parties in order to oversee the talks to a positive conclusion has himself expressed severe reservations about the guidelines to EU leaders and attended the recent summit of EU foreign ministers in Vilnius to make these comments personally.
Kantor said that the desire for the EU to score political points seemed to outweigh the direct economic considerations of European citizens as well as undermining the financial building blocks so necessary for sustainable peace.
The EJC also pointed out the potentially catastrophic economic effects of the guidelines on the daily lives of Palestinian families where 22,500 breadwinners are employed in Israeli institutions and businesses over the Green Line. These Palestinians receive almost double the pay working in these enterprises and institutions that they receive working in the Palestinian Authority.
Furthermore, Europeans themselves stood to lose if the guidelines remained in place. “Israel has been recognized by the European Union as being at the forefront of global innovation and research and development. Israel’s medical technology has saved countless European lives, assisted our technological growth, increased our crop production and ensured alternative energy sources. It is time to place the good of Europe and Europeans, Israelis and Palestinians, and the potential for peace in the Middle East above politics,” Kantor wrote in the 'Financial Times'. “As citizens of Europe, we call on European leaders to stand by their written commitments, demonstrate responsibility and work in the interests of European, regional and global interest,” he ended his letter.

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