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Swedish PM Löfven responds to WJC CEO Singer’s concern over rising anti-Semitism, says government has taken ‘raft of measures to safeguard’ Jewish community

NEW YORK – The Swedish government has taken “a raft of measures to safeguard the Swedish Jewish communities” and will “continue to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, hatred and discrimination with full force,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told World Jewish Congress CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer in a letter dated 12 July 2018.

Löfven was responding to Singer’s own letter of 18 June 2018, in which he expressed great concern over the “escalating pattern of violence and increased signs of anti-Semitism” in Sweden and urged the government to take firm action to protect the Jewish community.

Singer’s letter cited with specific concern the closure of the Jewish community center in Umeå amid repeated neo-Nazi threats and vandalism spanning recent years, and outlined a number of necessary measures including the allocation of funds and police resources, effective legislation to bar far-right activities, and an increase in police presence around Jewish buildings to protect the communities and their institutions.

In response, the Swedish prime minister listed steps being taken by the government to that effect including increased resources to the Swedish Security Service to prevent “domestic and international terrorism” and the recent establishment of the Swedish Center for Preventing Violent Extremism with an “extensive mandate to lead the work throughout the country."

The Swedish police has also established democracy and hate crime groups in Stockholm, Gothenberg, Malmo, and other regions, and has received increased funds to fight online hate crimes, Löfven wrote.

The government is also doubling state support to strengthen security around buildings and premises used by religious organizations, and broadening support to non-confessional Jewish associations, making more tools available and facilitating surveillance cameras use, the Swedish PM wrote.

WJC CEO Singer said following receipt of Löfven's letter that “the World Jewish Congress is pleased to learn that the Swedish government is treating the security of its Jewish communities with the necessary concern. We truly hope that under the leadership of Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, it will do everything in its power to enforce the measures being taken and follow through with its declared intentions to ‘protect the rights of all individuals and its open and democratic society.’ The only way to quell anti-Semitism and terror is standing up with a policy of zero tolerance and firm action. The World Jewish Congress continues to stand ready to assist as necessary on behalf of the Jewish community.”
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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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UK lawmaker blames Israel, Jews for growth of anti-Semitism

WJC, A British lawmaker known for her strong anti-Israel views suggested that record levels of anti-Semitic incidents in the UK were mainly due to the behavior of the Israeli government.

Baroness Jenny Tonge, who quit the Liberal Democrats she represented in the House of Lords, the upper house of the British legislature, last October, wrote an email to the Community Security Trust (CST), which had published its latest report into anti-Semitism on Thursday

In the email, obtained by the 'Jewish News', Tonge wrote: "Do you NEVER consider that the actions of the Israeli government are contributing towards this rise?

"Sadly, many people do not distinguish between Jewish people and Mr Netanyahu and his colleagues. If the Board of Deputies and the CST spoke up against the abuse if [sic] human rights, flagrant disregard of international law and the Geneva Conventions they would do much to improve the situation here.

“The perpetual victim mentality of your organization is counter productive and does not help real decent Jewish people.”

Of the 1,309 incidents recorded by the CST in 2016, discourse relating to the Middle East was used in 105 cases, of which 62 showed evidence of anti-Israel motivation or beliefs, the watchdog said. Unlike in years that saw conflagrations between Israel and its enemies, the increase in 2016 was not directly attributable to any single factor, the CST said.

Last July, Tonge accused Israel of causing a rise in jihadist violence worldwide. In October 2016, she hosted an event that featured anti-Semitic speakers, after which he party suspended her and she left the Liberal Democrats.

Also last year, she wrote to the ‘Guardian’ newspaper, saying: “It is difficult to believe that a 75 per cent increase in antisemitism it reports have been committed by people who simply hate Jewish people for no reason. It is surely the case these incidents are reflecting the disgust amongst the general public of the way the government of Israel treats Palestinians and manipulates the USA and ourselves to take no action.”
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Amid Terror and Anti-Semitism, Jews of France Arrive in Israel

The Fellowship has been flooded with 5,000-plus inquires in recent months from French Jews about moving to Israel, and expects the demand to climb


TEL AVIV, Israel Propelled by worsening anti-Semitism and increasing radical Islamic terror, some 150 French Jews arrived at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport today on a special International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) to start new lives in Israel.

“The Fellowship and millions of Christian supporters of Israel stand shoulder to shoulder with the Jews of France, and we will do whatever we can to help any French Jew who seeks to build a new life in the Jewish homeland,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship’s president and founder.

The July 20 flight, with 147 passengers, is one of a series of missions The Fellowship has launched in France, where it has been actively working to help French Jews. Over the past three months, The Fellowship has been flooded by more than 5,100 inquiries from French Jews about immigrating to Israel (making aliyah), and following the horrific truck massacre in Nice last week, demand is only expected to rise. Several families from Nice were aboard today’s flight, while others came from Lyon, Paris, and Toulouse. In June The Fellowship brought 82 Jews from across France to Israel, and is working on a third flight scheduled to leave in August.

The French-Jewish aliyah is part of The Fellowship’s global efforts to bring Jews experiencing economic and security threats to Israel. The Fellowship has helped more than 2,000 Jews worldwide immigrate to Israel this year, from Bolivia, Brazil, France, Uruguay, Venezuela, Turkey and Ukraine.

Many of the Jews leaving France with The Fellowship say they are escaping what has become an intolerable situation for the Jewish community in general and for their families specifically, and, in fact, more than half the passengers are children. Many of the French Jews describe being afraid to wear yarmulkes outdoors or to display any other visible signs of their Jewish identity, while others say they are growing increasingly concerned about radical Islamic anti-Semitism and terrorism. The Fellowship has also been funding security upgrades in French-Jewish communal institutions, including schools and synagogues in the wake of terror attacks over the past year.

For those French Jews who wish to move to Israel, The Fellowship provides information fairs and preparatory seminars in France, guidance for six months once the immigrants arrive in Israel, employment counseling, one-time financial aid or six months of rental support, tuition assistance for job training, financial assistance to help immigrants learn Hebrew, material aid such as furniture, appliances and medical treatment, and private tutors and informal education for children.

“The Jews of France know we are united with them and will do whatever is necessary to support their community at this critical time,” Eckstein said.



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New York-area college students invited to submit ideas for Israel advocacy, fighting anti-Semitism

The World Jewish Congress Jewish Diplomatic Corps (JDCorps) and the Consulate General of Israel in New York announced Campus Pitch, a program inviting college students to pitch creative new approaches to advocating for Israel, fighting anti-Semitism, and building stronger interfaith relations on New York and tri-state campuses.

“We are excited to announce an opportunity for students to pitch innovative ideas about broadening the conversation on Israel and forming new partnerships on campus,” said Ido Aharoni, consul-general of Israel in New York. “The initiative is a platform to inspire out-of-the-box thinking across the tri-state area this academic year.”

Campus Pitch seeks to bring fresh perspectives to conversations about Israel at colleges in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and to get students more involved in Jewish affairs. ‘Campus Pitch’ is open to undergraduate and graduate students of all backgrounds. Proposals may be submitted until 12 November 2015 at: http://studentproposals.wix.com/campuspitch.

Ten projects will be selected for presentation to a preliminary panel and the five students or groups with the most promising concepts will have the opportunity to pitch their proposals to a panel of entrepreneurs, CEOs and global Jewish leaders at a special event in February, 2016. The winning student or group will receive a grant from the WJC of up to $5,000 to put their idea into action on campus during the 2016 spring semester.

“While overt anti-Semitism is no longer socially acceptable at most colleges, a deep strain of anti-Israel invective that often hides anti-Jewish attitudes is spreading across campuses nationwide,” said CEO of the World Jewish Congress Robert Singer. “The Campus Pitch initiative will work with students themselves to cultivate their ideas on how to best fight this scourge.”

The winners will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to attend a 2016 WJC International Conference in Europe, where they will present their project to hundreds of Jewish leaders from around the world.

The Jewish Diplomatic Corps (JDCorps) is a flagship WJC program that supports a worldwide network of some 130 outstanding young Jewish professionals from more than 30 countries. WJC provides JDCorps members with opportunities to engage in diplomatic activities, meet with government officials and NGO representatives from around the globe, and participate in WJC events and activities.
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WJC President Hails PM Cameron For Combatting Anti-Semitism and Islamic Extremism

NEW YORK, World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder today hailed British Prime Minister David Cameron for his proposal to combat the spread of Islamic extremism in England, which includes steps to counter the growth of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and rhetoric. Cameron unveiled the British government’s five-year plan to defeat homegrown extremism in a speech today in Birmingham.

“We congratulate Prime Minister Cameron for his strong stand against anti-Semitism and Muslim fanaticism. The resurgence of anti-Semitism and the spread of Islamic extremism across Europe is particularly troubling and Mr. Cameron’s plan takes a vital step toward combating these destructive forces.”

Lauder also urged other European leaders to follow the Prime Minister’s lead. “We urge other European leaders to show the same kind of bold leadership and address these critical issues in their own countries,” Lauder said. “Once again, we are seeing the rebirth of classic anti-Semitic conspiracy mongering targeting Jews across Europe – and it is vital that Europe act now before the situation deteriorates.”

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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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World Jewish Congress to meet in Berlin in wake of growing anti-Semitism


WJC, A sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks and the growing hostility towards Israel will be among the subjects to be discussed at a meeting of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in Berlin, which will take place from 14 to 16 September 2014. The WJC Governing Board will be chaired by David de Rothschild and attended by 150 heads of Jewish communities, delegates and young Jewish diplomats from around the world. Among the guest speakers will be Germany's Economics Minister, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

In tribute to his lifetime efforts for reconciliation between Germans and Jews, and between Germany and Israel, the WJC’s Theodor Herzl Award will be bestowed posthumously on the late publisher Axel Springer, whose widow Friede Springer will receive it at a dinner at Berlin’s Jewish Museum on Monday, 15 September 2014.

The participants will also take part in the rally against anti-Semitism organized by the Central Council of Jews in Germany in front of Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate on Sunday, 14 September 2014, at 3 p.m., where German President Joachim Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel, and many other German leaders are expected.

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder, who will be one of the speakers at the rally, said the WJC meeting in Berlin came at an important moment: “After the terrible hostilities against Jews we witnessed in the last eight weeks in Europe, following Israel’s legitimate action in the Gaza Strip, we are faced with a fundamental question: What needs to be done to ensure that the next generation of Jews has a future in Europe? This eruption of anti-Semitism has been an eye-opener for many people, and it would be wrong to go back to doing business as usual. Instead, we expect politicians and societies to address the root causes of this hatred, and to take appropriate action against it.”

Reports will be given about Hamas and about the threats posed by jihadist fighters returning to their Western countries of origin. Another focus of the WJC meeting will be visits of the delegates to important Holocaust-related sites in Berlin, including the Wannsee Conference Memorial Exhibit, the ‘Gleis 17’ train platform at Berlin’s Grunewald Station from which many German Jews were deported to the Nazi death camps, and to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe near the Brandenburg Gate. This will take place in the morning of Tuesday, 16 September 2014. At ‘Gleis 17’, there will be a short ceremony and Kaddish will be recited.
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Anti-Semitism: Why do they hate us?

By Arkady Mamaysky

When a Jewish person reads the ADL’s survey on antisemitism or simply watches everyday news he or she faces some questions:

● How it is possible in 21 century?
● How it is possible after the Holocaust?
● Or simply why do they hate me? I never did anything wrong to anybody, on contrary I always try to be good to people, to help people?
● Why does Anti-Semitism exist and what brought it into existence?
● How to get rid of it?

What follows is an attempt to find at least some answers to these questions - not a complete answer of course. This is just an article, not an essay. (A complete answer should come from experts and from opinions of concerned friendly readers.)

We, Jewish people, are one of the most ancient people on this planet. So let us glance back in our history.

● When we were attacked by Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans this was not out of Anti-Semitism or Anti-Jewishness. These attackers acted out of the darkest sides of human nature, the of nature of their rulers, to conquer, to dominate, to grab someone else’s land and goods. They did not particularly hate Jews - they attacked many others. But they created a condition which led to Anti-Semitism: they expelled us from our land, from our home.
● So Jews became guests in somebody else’s home, uninvited guests. Who is to blame for all the troubles in a not very hospitable home if not an uninvited guest?
● With all wars and troubles of our ancient past we still managed to create Christianity and influence the creation of Islam which theologians call daughter religions of Judaism.
● The Church’s competition with Judaism and its desire to convert pagans came into play. Illiterate or half literate priests and monks under the Church’s direction gladly brainwashed illiterate masses into the hatred of Jews.

Life in the dark ages was difficult. Starvation and diseases – in the minds of ignorant masses and their ignorant rulers – required a scapegoat to blame. Jews were conveniently around.

Over thousands of years, different rulers redirected the anger of oppressed masses towards Jews, and away from themselves. The masses were brainwashed to hate the Jews. And little by little religious hatred was transferred into racial hatred of somebody who is different. (These paved the way for inquisition, expulsions, crusades, pogroms, the Holocaust and today’s Anti-Semitism).

And different we were. While they were taught to hate us, we at the same time, following our tradition, dedicated these thousands of years to study and to train our brains, our intellect (Jewish intellectual achievement is an indisputable fact) which became “part of our DNA.” Unfortunately the years of persecutions also developed in our characters, in the characters of descendants of fierce Hebrew warriors, a sense of being a defenseless minority often hopelessness of fighting back – a shtetl mentality.

In Arab/Muslim countries in the past Jews often experienced tolerance. Together with Arabs, Jews promoted knowledge and science (we experienced our “golden age” in Arab Spain). Today’s Arab Anti-Semitism is a product of religious extremists who are puling Arab masses away from progress into their religious philosophy, one dogma of which is that all lands which were once Muslim must belong only to Muslims. And so their propaganda requires no recognition of Israel and teaches hatred of Jews. By the way, this propaganda does not prevent them from fighting one another.

What also contributes to Anti-Semitism is the fact that, despite hatred and persecution, Jews were able to use their talent and tradition of learning to become successful and often prosperous. So not only are we uninvited guests, but we are often better off than the average representative of the local population. Envy, as are some other evils in human nature, is a strong incentive towards hatred.

Nazis who caused so much suffering to the world for the sake of establishing the Third Reich of a “superior race” planed to make those who they considered in their evil minds “lover races,” Slavs for example, into their slaves, but they tried to exterminate the Jewish nation. Was not it only out of hatred but also out of fear of our intellectual abilities?

Anti-Semites, in which ever place they are can only harm us if we are small and weak. If we are strong, united and have Israel as our protector we can one way or another fight back. We owe manly to Israel that the image of the weak and defenseless Jew is being replaced by the image of a strong, courageous and victorious Jewish fighter, who fights back and prevails. Is not it logical then that many anti-Semites masquerade their hatred of Jews as a hatred of Israel?

Despite decent people and governments in today’s world rejecting Anti-Semitism, there is big percentage of anti-Semites all over the world (see the ADL global report on Anti-Semitism). Some of them would gladly kill us, but some others hate us but being “progressive”, don’t go so far as killing, we are “greatly obliged.”

Leading World Jewish organizations for years engaged in a widespread attempt to fight Anti-Semitism. But despite that, and despite efforts of decent people all over the world, the evil of Anti-Semitism is on the rise. It is impossible to change the evil mind of an anti-Semite. The only answer is to convince and help Jewish people to leave the countries where they experience Antis-Semitism.

And of course the best and most logical place to go is to Israel – our homeland, the place where we can fight our enemies and not beg for tolerance. Anti-Semitism was one of a major reasons and incentives for Zionism. It triggered Hertzl’s actions towards creating a Jewish State. So “thank you” anti-Semites.

Israel gave us back our pride, self-respect and gained for us respect from other nations.

Now what about the six million of us who live in United States and love this country dearly?
What is different about the United States is that everybody here is a guest or a descendant of one (except the Native Americans of course). This country of ours is a mixture of different races and religions. It is a beacon of democracy and human rights, struggling to improve them as it moves forward.

Yes there is some Anti-Semitism here too, some who came here brought this germ with them. But the great majority of Americans fight it and support our struggle. America is a great friend of Israel and the voice of American Jewry is respected in our country.

Unfortunately a big percentage of American Jews never visited Israel; furthermore, a large percentage of our college students show no concern for Israel. This is a problem that all of us must confront. And to deal with it, a comprehensive program must be developed by Jewish organizations in cooperation with Israel (please refer to my article “Narrowing the gap between American and Israeli Jews” printed in Jerusalem)

Making Aliyah and strengthening our connection to and support for Israel are our answers to anti-Semites, and serve as the guarantors of the future of the Jewish nation.

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Merkel, Lauder to address Berlin rally against anti-Semitism


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder will be among the speakers at a rally in Berlin on 14 September against growing anti-Semitism. The demonstration will be organized by the Central Council of Jews in Germany and also feature the leaders of the two main church denominations in Germany.

Dieter Graumann and Angela MerkelDieter Graumann and Angela Merkel"It means a lot to the Jewish community" that Merkel had agree to address the rally, which will be held in front of the landmark Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin, Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council and a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, declared in a press release. The motto of the rally is 'Stand up! No more Jew-hatred!'.

Graumann said that in the past weeks "naked hatred against Jews" had repeatedly been witnessed in Germany and caused great concern among the country's 120,000-strong Jewish community. However, the Jewish leader added that the community would continue to strive for a "confident Jewish life" in Germany. "For this reason, we want to show on 14 September: We are here! We will stay! And we will fight all attacks vigorously, together with our friends in German society," declared Graumann.
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