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WJC President Lauder commends Comerica for closing anti-Israel group’s bank account

WJC, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder on Friday praised the Dallas-based Comerica Bank for its decision to close an account held by an anti-Israel organization, calling it a “bold and commendable” move and an encouraging demonstration of the State of Texas’ commitment to enforcing its anti-terror and anti-BDS laws.

“On behalf of the World Jewish Congress, I applaud Comerica for this bold and commendable decision to shut down the bank account of the virulent anti-Israel organization, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers,” Lauder said.

“The IADL consistently demonizes Israel and defends those who incite against it. In penalizing the IADL, Comerica has demonstrated that it is committed to helping the State of Texas enforce its strict anti-BDS laws, and that it will have zero tolerance for any person or organization that seeks to undermine democracy or promote terror.”

This is believed to be the first time a US-based bank has closed an account over the anti-Israel stance of an organization.
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Ronald S. Lauder praises countries for helping Israel to fight fire blazes

The head of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Thursday expressed concern about the wild fires currently raging in Israel. WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Israel, especially those in the areas most affected by the fires.”

Wild fire spreading near Modiin on ThursdayWild fire spreading near Modiin on ThursdayThe WJC president thanked the countries – among them Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Russia, Turkey, and the United States – providing emergency relief and support for Israel.

However, he expressed indignation about the fact that despite the danger a number of Arab communities, as well as their Jewish neighbours, were facing by the fires, some Arabs had now “gleefully taken to social media.” Hash tags such #TheZionistEntityIsBurning or #IsraelIsBurning were shared widely on Twitter.

On Thursday, firefighters struggled to contain blazes raging through the northern Israeli city of Haifa and dozens of small- to medium-scale conflagrations throughout the country.

Firefighters also battled flames in a forest near the capital Jerusalem.
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Canada's PM Trudeau holds talks with World Jewish Congress

WJC, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder met in Ottawa with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other Canadian officials for an exchange of views.

Lauder praised Trudeau for Canada's deep friendship with, and staunch support for Israel.

"The Canadian delegation that attended former President Shimon Peres ' funeral last week was led by Prime Minister Trudeau and included former Prime Ministers Harper and Chrétien.

"It was a most impressive demonstration of honor and respect for the State of Israel", said Lauder.

Also present at the meeting were WJC Vice-President Moshe Ronen from Canada, the WJC North America Executive Director Betty Ehrenberg, and Shimon Fogel, the CEO of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the umbrella body of the Canadian Jewish community.

The delegation also held meetings with Canada's Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion, members of parliament, among others.

Discussions also focused on Canada's role in the fight against anti-Semitism.
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'No minority should live under a state of fear': Lauder condemns ‘horrific act of terror’ in Orlando

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder on Sunday harshly condemned the vicious attack on an Orlando, Florida nightclub which left 50 people dead and dozens more wounded earlier in the evening, in the most severe hate crime in US history.

"On behalf of world Jewry, I condemn this horrific act of terror and wish to express the Jewish people's solidarity with the victims and with the LGBT community,” Lauder said. “No minority should live under a state of fear simply because of who they are, and we must work together to root out hate in all its forms. My prayers are with the families and friends of those who were lost. May their memories be a blessing."

The suspect in the shooting pledged allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston bombing in a call to 911 about 20 minutes into the attack, according to US reports. His name has not been confirmed by US authorities, but several news outlets have identified him as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old resident of Florida.
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WJC President Lauder addresses March of the Living in Budapest, denounces far-right Jobbik party

World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder strongly denounced anti-Semitism and criticized Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party in his keynote address in front of thousands at this year’s ‘March of the Living’ in Budapest in commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust.

“The March of the Living reminds us what happens when the world is silent,” said Lauder. “We will never be silent again. And when it comes to anti-Semitism, the Hungarian government must never be silent.”

“Today, when the world looks at Hungary, it does not see its great culture. It does not see its beautiful cities. It does not remember its great and glorious past,” continued Lauder, adding: “Today, the world sees Hungary, and it sees Jobbik. It sees an extremist party that promotes hate.”

On its website, Jobbik calls for fighting “Zionist Israel’s quest for world domination." In the past, some of its leaders questioned whether the Holocaust took place and called for drawing up a list of Jewish lawmakers who may pose a “national security risk.” In 2013, the party held a protest rally against the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly in Budapest.

Later on Sunday, Jobbik party scored a narrow victory in a by-election, marking a breakthrough in its challenge to the Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. With more than 99 per cent of ballots counted, Lajos Rig, Jobbik’s candidate, topped the poll in the district of Tapolca, with 35.3 per cent of the vote.

In his speech, Lauder also condemned acts of anti-Semitism. “There are statues of shoes along the Danube. They are there as a memorial to the Jewish people who were murdered there. No-one has the right to spit in those shoes. No-one. In this great city we send one clear message to the entire world: The Hungarian Jewish community is alive and well. And the Hungarian Jewish community is not going anywhere. We march today to say: We are here. We are alive. And here we will remain.”

About 560,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, most of them in 1944. Today, Hungary’s Jewish community numbers around 100,000 and it is still the largest in Central Europe.

Lauder highlighted the contribution of Hungarian Jews to their country. “Jews helped make this country great. When Jews are part of a society, any society, countries prosper. Jews win Nobel prizes. Jews create jobs and they cure diseases. Jews build -- they don’t tear down! Anti-Semites tear down, they destroy, they create nothing, they save no-one. And when Jews are forced to leave, they take their success with them,” he told the crowd in central Budapest.

The ‘March of the Living’ in Hungary is organized every year by the March of the Living Foundation, with the support of the MAZSIHISZ, the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary. Thousands participated in today’s event.



Transcript of the speech by Ronald S. Lauder at the March of the Living, Budapest, 12 April 2015


I stand here today as a proud Jew. Proud of my ancient heritage. Proud of my people. Proud of what we have created. I am also proud of my Hungarian heritage. But I know that if my grandparents had not left Hungary, if I had born here in 1944, I would have been one of the tens-of-thousands of Jewish children gassed at Auschwitz.

That is why we are here today. That is why we march together. Not just because of what happened 70 years ago, but because of what is happening here today.

70 years after Hitler and Auschwitz and the Arrow-Cross Jews are targeted once again. 70 years later, we see the same signs that we saw before. I stand here today to tell you that no one, no political party, no thugs in the night, No-one has the right to threaten our people. No-one has the right to deface our synagogues. No-one has the right to hurt our children.

There are statues of shoes along the Danube. They are there as a memorial to the Jewish people who were murdered there. No-one has the right to spit in those shoes. No-one.

In this great city we send one clear message to the entire world: The Hungarian Jewish community is alive and well. And the Hungarian Jewish community is not going anywhere. We march today to say: We are here. We are alive. And here we will remain. The March of the Living also reminds us of what happens when the world is silent.

Silence allows the lowest forces of mankind out in the open. We Jews learned this lesson the hard way. We know what happens when the world is silent. And the price we paid was too high. For that reason, we will never be silent again. I will never be silent. I will not be silent when Jews are the target. I will not be silent when Christians are the target. When any group is singled out by hate, I will not be silent. And when someone spits in those shoes along the Danube and the Hungarian government does not condemn that, it looks like the government agrees. When someone stands up in Parliament and wants to put Jews on lists, the government must not be silent. When it comes to anti-Semitism, the Hungarian government must never be silent.

Sometimes people forget the important role Jews played in Hungary. Jews helped make this country great. When Jews are part of a society, any society, countries prosper. Jews win Nobel prizes. Jews create jobs and they cure diseases. Jews build they don’t tear down! Anti-Semites tear down, they destroy, they create nothing, they save no one. And when Jews are forced to leave, they take their success with them.

Jobbik may think they are true Hungarians trying to save Hungary. But Jobbik hurts Hungary. In the eyes of the rest of the world, people see Jobbik, they see an extremist party that promotes hate. Jobbik does not even realize that they hurt Hungary’s future. Today, when the world looks at Hungary, it does not see its great culture. It does not see its beautiful cities. It does not remember its great and glorious past. Today, the world sees Hungary and they see Jobbik.

And when businessmen want to invest in Hungary, they also see Jobbik and they are afraid to come. Jobbik hurts Hungary. Do not allow a small percentage of the population to destroy Hungary. The people of Hungary are too good for that. This march is being covered by hundreds of news organizations.

In this world of instant pictures and the Internet, news is flashed around the globe in an instant. And when there is an act of hate against anyone that is the news that people see outside of Hungary. Everything good that Hungary did in 1956 and its push for capitalism, all of that is forgotten. In the end, you must decide the image you want to send to the world.

Look around you. Today, there are thousands of Hungarians, Jews and Christians, marching together against hate. You march together for a better future. That is the image you want people to see. You want people to know that Jobbik is not Hungary.

Hungary has a bright future. Hungary and the Jewish people are tied together. Thank you for standing with us. I believe strongly this is our only choice. We stand together and we say enough! Enough anti-Semitism. Enough hatred. Enough death and destruction. Today we turn an important corner and we start building together.

To everyone here I say: Thank you for standing against anti-Semitism and hate. Thank you for standing with the Jewish people. Thank you for remembering. And I say again: Jobbik is not Hungary. Hungary is the thousands of Christians who are here today to support the Jewish community.

Today we honor life, not death. This is the March of the LIVING! We will work together to make our world a better place. We look forward not backward. But we will not be silent.
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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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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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Lauder: March of the Living proves 'Hitler did not win'

 

Lauder told the gathering: "Seeing so many young people from around the world - both Jewish and of many other faiths and backgrounds - fills me with a feeling of hope for the future of the Jewish people and hope for all humanity"


World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder was among the leaders of this year's March of the Living at the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz. An estimated 11,000 people from dozens of countries, most of them under the age of 25, participated. The marchers walked the three-kilometer (1.9 mile) distance from the former Auschwitz concentration camp (StammlagerI) to Birkenau, where 1.1 million Jews were systematically murdered in gas chambers by the Nazis during World War II.
There, Lauder told the gathering: "Seeing so many young people from around the world - both Jewish and of many other faiths and backgrounds - fills me with a feeling of hope for the future of the Jewish people and hope for all humanity. Auschwitz symbolizes the depths humanity can reach - but every time young people like yourselves make their way to these tear soaked grounds, listen to the stories of survivors, and pledge to build a better world, I know with certainty, one thing: Hitler did not win."
Lauder condemned the growing tide of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment and ended his speech with 'Am Yisrael Chai'.
The march traditionally takes place annually on Yom HaShoah, Israel's Holocaust remembrance day. This year's edition marked the event's 25th anniversary. Israel's delegation was led by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.
More than 150,000 people have participated in the March of the Living over the past years. On Monday, participants from 42 countries came to the sites; most of them between the ages of 16 and 21. For many it was the first time that they wee directly confronted with places of the Nazi genocide.
Ahead of the March of the Living, Israel's President Shimon Peres had sent a message to the participants: "There are marches which are measured by the length of the journey, there are marches which are measured by time. You came on a march which cannot be compared, it is a march from the lowest point to the highest peak. The lowest point is the actions of the Nazis. There was no atrocity like it in history," Peres said.

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