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World Jewish Congress expresses concern at explosion targeting Jewish community leader in Kazan, Tatarstan

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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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ADL Welcomes Announcement That Israeli Judokas Can Participate in UAE Tournament Under Their Own Flag

ADL today welcomed the International Judo Federation’s announcement that the UAE Judo Federation has confirmed to the IJF in an official letter that all nations participating in Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament next month will be permitted to do so under equal conditions.

The IJF indicated that “the historic decision will thus allow all nations to display their national insignia and national anthem, including Israel”.
At the 2017 tournament, the UAE organizer did not permit Israeli judokas to participate under the Israeli flag and barred the playing of the Israeli national anthem at medal ceremonies.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director, issued the following statement in response to the decision:

Confirmation that Israeli athletes will be permitted to participate openly, under their own flag, in the upcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament is welcome news.

ADL has long urged that international sporting federations ensure that Israeli participants are treated in the same manner as all other competitors. Last year, I conveyed ADL’s strong concerns to IJF President Marius Vizer that the Federation take action against any discrimination against Israeli participants by the local organizers, insisting “the IJF (must) intervene in this matter and ensure, under the risk of penalty, that the Israeli delegation is treated fairly and equally to other countries, and its athletes be allowed to compete under their flag and country name.’

After Israeli judoka Tal Flicker won a gold medal at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, it was deeply painful watching him have to mouth the words to the Israeli anthem Hatikva while his hosts insisted on playing the IJF’s anthem instead. If another Israeli athlete wins the gold again in Abu Dhabi next month, I am optimistic that the organizers will play the right anthem this time.

The Anti-Defamation League looks forward to monitoring the implementation of these important commitments next month and calls on organizers of the Tunis Grand Prix judo tournament, which was also cancelled by the IJF, to take similar remedial steps.
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World Jewish Congress condemns 'disgraceful' neo-Nazi march in Washington: 'Hatred and extremism cannot be allowed to tear the fabric of our society apart'

NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress condemns in the strongest possible terms the reprehensible neo-Nazi march that took place in Washington on the one-year anniversary of the violent events in Charlottseville, WJC North America Chair Evelyn Sommer.

“A gathering of racists and hatemongers on the anniversary of the deadly Charlottesville march can only be described as a disgrace and embarrassment for the United States, undermining our country’s principles of freedom and justice for all, and spitting in the face of the very values democracy represents.

“This vulgar display of hate does nothing to ennoble America, rather serves as a regression to the old hatreds espoused in days past by the likes of notorious racists such as Father Coughlin and the Ku Klux Klan, that we had hoped would be moribund by this point. Shouting racist and anti-Semitic epithets, with the primary intent to intimate others, incites to violence and inevitably results in tragedy.

“People of good will the world over must unite to stand against hatred and extremism. These cannot be allowed lest the fabric of our society be torn apart. We must resolve to stand unified and fight for mutual respect and tolerance,” Sommer said.
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Pitch for Hope competition calls on youth in UK, US, and Israel to propose creative ideas for curbing racism and anti-Semitism in sports

NEW YORK – Chelsea Football Club and The World Jewish Congress today launched the international Pitch for Hope competition
the first stage of a three-pronged joint initiative on combating the widespread phenomenon of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and anti-Semitism in sports, under the banner Red Card for Hate.

Pitch for Hope is a hothouse of ideas, calling on young people ages 18-30 in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Israel to submit proposals for a unique and creative project to harness the spirit of comradery in sports to build bridges between people of all backgrounds, faiths, and walks of life.

In the UK and the US, Chelsea FC and the WJC have been reaching out to potential participants representing institutions working toward coexistence, including Jewish and Muslim organizations, as well as leading educational institutes. The competition in Israel will draw participants from minority groups in the peripheral north and south of the country, and people of all religions – including Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druze – as well as members of the lower socio-economic strata, and will take a focus on the visual arts.

Finalists will be invited to present their proposals at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge stadium in London to a panel of judges representing the WJC and Chelsea FC in September. The winners from each country will receive a $10,000 grant from Chelsea FC and the World Jewish Congress to develop and implement their pilot project.

The competition will expand to Germany and France for a following round next year, following high-demand from football clubs across Europe.

This initiative was made possible due to a generous contribution from Chelsea FC Club owner Roman Abramovich and World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder.

WJC CEO Robert Singer said: “Anti-Semitism is as dangerous in the sporting world as it is in civil society, and both are growing at alarming rates. It is our duty, as fans and as teams alike, to work together to put an immediate stop to this phenomenon. The World Jewish Congress and Chelsea Football Club are committed to sending a clear message that the spirit of sport must be tolerance and respect, not hatred and xenophobia. We look forward to seeing the creative proposals submitted by our participants, and are confident that working together, we will make a difference."

Chelsea FC Chairman Bruce Buck said: “We hope that our joint initiative will start a process that we believe is vital and long overdue. Change does not happen overnight, it takes time, education and understanding, and therefore we have devised the initiative as a long-term project that will grow and build, and hopefully inspire other clubs to follow our lead and create their own anti-Semitism initiatives, as well as working together with us on joint campaigns and activities.”
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WJC US renews calls to extradite accused Nazi criminal to Germany: ‘Justice must be served’

NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress, United States has renewed its calls on the US government to deport a 94-year-old accused Nazi war criminal living in New York City, and is urging the German Interior Ministry to accept the extradition.
Jakiw Palij is alleged to have guarded the Trawinki death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943 and is the last accused Nazi concentration camp guard still known to be living in the United States.

“It is beyond disparaging that a convicted Nazi war criminal, who stood guard as more than 6,000 Jews were brutally murdered, should be allowed to live his final years in peace and freedom in the United States,” said Rabbi Joel Meyers, Chairman of World Jewish Congress, United States. “We urge both the US government and Germany to treat this issue with the priority deserved, and take all necessary steps to extradite this criminal and allow justice to be served."

US federal courts have concluded that Palij entered the United States illegally in 1949 after failing to disclose that he had worked at the Trawniki training camps for secret service troops who would carry out the extermination of Polish Jews. His deportation was ordered in 2004 but none of the three European countries to which he could be sent - Germany, Poland, and Ukraine - agreed to take him.
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President Reuven Rivlin welcomed a delegation of 140 Israel Bonds representatives from around the world

"I have witnessed the miracle of seeing the ‘desert bloom’, and the ‘hi-tech boom' - we could not have achieved all this without your support"

President Reuven Rivlin welcomed a delegation of 140 Israel Bonds representatives from around the world, led by the organization's president Izzy Tapuchi. President Rivlin congratulated the delegation on the 65th anniversary of Israel Bonds, and said, "I have witnessed the miracle of seeing the ‘desert bloom’, and the ‘hi-tech boom' - we could not have achieved all this without your support. Israel Bonds is not just a way to show support for Israel, it is a way to show faith in Israel; faith in our growth, faith in our development, and faith in our future."

Speaking of the socio-economic challenges Israel faced against a background of changes is Israeli society and gaps between the different communities, the President said, "The President's Office is proud to be involved in a number of projects, bridging the gaps; in schools and on the sports field, in the classroom and in the workplace."
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At Georgetown, WJC President Ronald Lauder Addresses Anti-Semitism, Attacks on Christians

WASHINGTON,  World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder addressed the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and around the world, and the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, as part of the 2014-2015 Hal Israel Endowed Lectureship in Jewish-Catholic Relations at Georgetown University today.

The Hal Israel Lecture series seeks to facilitate dialogue and strengthen ties between Jews and Catholics, exploring the many ways in which members of these two faiths continue to replace ancient prejudices with cooperation and understanding in today's world.

This evening’s address took place after Lauder testified yesterday on the rise of European anti-Semitism in the wake of recent terror attacks in France and Denmark, before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, chaired by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ).

The lecture series honors Hal Israel, who graduated from Georgetown University in 1992 and continued his studies at Yale University Law School, where he obtained his J.D. Upon graduation, he practiced law in Phoenix. Hal Israel was an active and involved lawyer and was devoted to helping others. Hal is survived by his wife Donna, two children, parents Lesley and Fred Israel, and his brother Sandy.
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WJC President Ronald S Lauder to Congress: Where is US?

“U.S. must condemn this evil for what it is -- the radical Islamic hatred of Jews”

WASHINGTON, In testimony before a key Congressional committee today, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder warned that radical Islam is fueling the flames of a new anti-Semitism engulfing Europe, and blasted the United States for failing to lead a fight to extinguish the threat.

Appearing on behalf of WJC – representing more than 100 Jewish communities worldwide – before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, Lauder said: “In order to defeat this new flame of radical Islamic terror and survive, the United States must lead. The United States can and must speak loudly and clearly to condemn this evil for what it is – the radical Islamic hatred of Jews.”

Lauder’s remarks came in testimony today before the House subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), on the topic, “After Paris and Copenhagen, Responding to the Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism.” Also testifying on this issue were Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF), and Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, president of the Danish Jewish community.

Lauder said the recent deadly wave of terror attacks against Jewish targets in Copenhagen and Paris were only the latest signs of a rising wave of anti-Semitism sweeping across Europe. This new form of anti-Semitism is being driven by radical Islam, but pushed along by extreme nationalists on the right and anti-Israel intellectual elites in universities, he said.

“European leaders have stepped up and strongly condemned these attacks on Jews and the rise of anti-Semitism,” he said. “The United States must do the same. The United States must lead.”

Further, Lauder criticized the absence of any U.S. representation at the anti-terror march in Paris in the wake of the attacks on the satiric weekly Charlie Hebdo and on a kosher supermarket, which drew world leaders and over 1 million participants.

“Many of the leaders in Europe linked arms in solidarity in the very front row, but there was not one U.S. representative with them in the front row,” he said. “I believe that sent a very negative message around the world.”

Lauder cited a string of statistics behind the rising anti-Semitism. Jews represent less than one percent of the French population, but were targeted by more than 50 percent of all racist attacks last year. Anti-Semitic attacks in France, the U.S. and Austria all doubled from 2013, he added. In fact, an EU report from nine nations showed that 16 months ago – long before the latest wave of terror – Jews in these countries were already concerned about growing anti-Semitism.

Lauder concluded by urging the U.S. to take the lead in countering this trend. “Why isn’t the United States leading the world in this crisis?” he said.

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World Jewish Congress President Robert S. Lauder urges Danish governmet to secure Jewish community, Counter rising Anti-Semitic violance

Following the attacks at a synagogue and café in Copenhagen, Denmark on Saturday, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder strongly condemned the incidents and urged the Danish government to find those responsible while stepping up efforts to protect the local Jewish community against rising anti-Semitic violence.

“The World Jewish Congress deplores these despicable attacks, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community and the people of Denmark,” said Lauder of the shooting at a synagogue in central Copenhagen, in which a civilian was killed and two police officers were injured, and an earlier attack. The synagogue shooting took place shortly after an earlier attack at a Copenhagen café where a Swedish artist who had produce caricatures of the prophet Mohammed was speaking at an event on freedom of speech. One person was killed and three police officers were injured in that attack. It is not yet clear if the two incidents were connected.

“We are confident the Danish government will take all necessary measures to bring those responsible for these attacks to justice, and we urge them to help secure the local Jewish community against anti-Semitic violence,” Lauder said.

“These attacks in Copenhagen follow the similar, brutal targeting of Jews and others in Paris and across Europe,” Lauder added. “European governments should recognize that we are facing a vicious new wave of anti-Semitism and violence. It is crucial that Europe contends with this growing threat.”

World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer visited Copenhagen late last year and discussed with Danish authorities the importance of heightening security measures for the local Jewish community.

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Terror attack on kosher supermarket in Paris, Victims to be buried in Israel

PM Netanyahu: The international community must take united action against the terrorists from extremist Islam and against the terrorist infrastructures that support them.
PM Netanyahu has acceded to the request of the families of the victims of the terrorist attack at the Jewish supermarket in Paris and instructed all relevant government officials to assist in bringing them for burial in Israel.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with French President Francois Hollande, who informed him that four hostages had been killed in the terrorist attack on a supermarket in Paris and that 15 hostages had been rescued.

Prime Minister Netanyahu began the conversation in French and told President Hollande, "The entire people of Israel are with you." He added, "Our hearts are with the families of the victims. Israel offers any assistance that France needs."

Prime Minister Netanyahu asked President Hollande to maintain heightened security at Jewish institutions even after the return to routine. The Prime Minister added that the international community must take united action against the terrorists from extremist Islam and against the terrorist infrastructures that support them, action that would strike at the sources of financing for terrorism and the network of incitement that encourages such acts.

Earlier, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and offered the State of Israel’s assistance in any sphere that the French authorities might require.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also spoke with his French counterpart about security at Jewish institutions in France and noted that it was essential to strike at the sources of financing for extremist Islamic terrorist organizations and to take action against the incitement in Europe that encourages such actions.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also spoke with CRIF President Roger Cukierman and French National Assembly member Meyer Habib and asked them to convey to the French Jewish community that the Israeli people are with them in this difficult hour. The Prime Minister also asked them to adhere to security directives at Jewish institutions.

Shortly after being updated on the terrorist attack at the kosher market, Prime Minister Netanyahu held a conference call with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Foreign Ministry Director General Nissim Ben-Shetrit, Mossad Director Tamir Pardo and National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen. The Prime Minister instructed that all possible assistance be granted to the French authorities and that security directives be underscored at Israeli missions and Jewish institutions.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement:

"On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I would like to send our condolences to the French Jewish community and the French people who have suffered a murderous terrorist assault in the last few days. These attacks in Paris are the continuation of extremist Islam’s war against our free civilization, in the West, in the entire modern world and also in the moderate Arab states and among entire publics in the Islamic world. This is a wave of terrorism that is spreading a global net of hatred, fanaticism and murder. After establishing its bases in the Middle East, terrorism is now sending its arms throughout the world. If the world does not take action quickly, we will find this terrorism gaining momentum and increasingly striking at other centers of the free world and in other places.

The terrorist organizations of extremist Islam have many and varied names - Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Nusra, Islamic Jihad and Boko Haram. They are all motivated by the same bloody hatred and the same fanaticism that knows no borders.

They want to take humanity 1,000 years backward to a dark tyranny that we freed ourselves from after many generations. They simply want to take humanity backward.

Further proof that these organizations are branches of the same poisonous tree may be seen in the fact that one of Hamas’s official organs praised the reprehensible murderers in Paris. It must be understood that this is a war against us all.

I am convinced that if we are united this terrorism will be unable to defeat us. But if we ignore the true root of the problem, if we ignore the fact that extremist Islamic terrorism seeks to exterminate Western civilization as a whole, including the Jewish People, if we ignore this - what we are now seeing in Paris will be only the beginning. These are not frightening words or prophecies of rage, this is the simple reality and the time has come to recognize it.

Last night I spoke with French Prime minister Manuel Valls and with French President Francois Hollande. I commended the determination with which the French authorities eliminated the terrorists, these murderers, and I also commended the courage of the French security services. But this is not enough. In order to fight terrorism, it is essential to strike at its sources of financing and at the centers of incitement that encourage these murderous acts throughout Europe. It is also essential to take action against countries that give support, shelter and passage to terrorism.

The first law is that it is forbidden to give in to the fear that it seeks to instil in us. In order to fight terrorism it is simply necessary to fight it. We express our deepest sorrow over the French citizens who were murdered, the journalists, the police officers and the innocent citizens who were murdered simply because they were citizens of the free world. We express our deepest sorrow over our Jewish brothers who were murdered simply because they were Jews. Our brothers and sisters in the French Jewish community, we grieve with you over the terrible loss. I would like to send condolences to the families of Yoav Hattab, Philippe Barham, Johan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada. We also send our best wishes for a quick recovery to all the wounded.

This evening, I spoke by telephone with Celine Shreki, who was a hostage in the kosher market in the heart of Paris; she is recovering. She told me about the terrorist’s inconceivable cruelty and of the heroism of the young Jewish man who attempted to seize his weapon and shoot him; he was shot by the terrorist and died about 45 minutes later.

To Celine and all French Jews, and to all European Jews, I would like to say: The State of Israel is not just the place to which you turn in prayer. The State of Israel is also your home. This week, a special team of ministers will convene to advance steps to increase immigration from France and other countries in Europe that are suffering from terrible anti-Semitism. All Jews who want to immigrate to Israel will be welcomed here warmly and with open arms. We will help you in your absorption here in our state that is also your state."



President Rivlin speaks with French Jewish community heads in emergency meeting following terror attacks

President Reuven Rivlin spoke by telephone with the heads of CRIF, the French Jewish community organization, during their emergency meeting of over sixty community leaders, following the murderous attacks of the past week.

The President told them, "I speak to you tonight, not only as President of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people as a whole."

He continued, “We are all, here in Israel, grieving and hurting with you, we share in the sorrow of the families, the Jewish community, and of the French people. We are one family and our pain is severe. In moments such as these, we are ever aware of the responsibility we have to one another, and the deep bond that connects us as one.

“These most recent events make plain that terrorism is terrorism. It does not distinguish between blood, and it threatens indiscriminately across the world. These attacks weigh heavily on the understanding of the extent of the spread of fundamentalism. Attacks on newspapers, just as attacks on supermarkets full of innocent civilians preparing for the Sabbath, are not events that humanity can tolerate. We must not give in to terrorism in any way, shape or form, and we will overcome this threat."

The President concluded, “Tonight, the State of Israel is by your side, just as you stand by us in difficult times. As one family, we feel pain together, as we well know - but moreover we know, that we rejoice together too - and together, tonight we will pray, for happier times, and for comfort.

The community leaders joined in the President's prayer, and thanked him for his warm words.
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