World Jewish Congress

The Representative Body of over 100 Jewish Communities Worldwide

At AIPAC, WJC’s Jewish communal leaders address challenges facing Jewish communities around the world

At AIPAC, WJC’s Jewish communal leaders address challenges facing Jewish communities around the world

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WJC President Ronald S. Lauder thanks US President Donald Trump for affirming Israeli sovereignty over Golan

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder thanks US President Donald Trump for affirming Israeli sovereignty over Golan

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  WJC condemns missile attack from Gaza that wounded 7 Israelis

WJC condemns missile attack from Gaza that wounded 7 Israelis

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World Jewish Congress mourns the death of former Israeli cabinet member and intelligence officer Rafi Eitan

World Jewish Congress mourns the death of former Israeli cabinet member and intelligence officer Rafi Eitan

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World Jewish Congress praises members of UN Commission on Status of Women for blocking contentious anti-Israel resolution

World Jewish Congress praises members of UN Commission on Status of Women for blocking contentious anti-Israel resolution

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About WJC

About WJC

The World Jewish Congress is the international organization that represents Jewish communities and organizations in 100 countries around the world. It advocates on their behalf towards governments, parliaments, international organizations and other faiths. The WJC represents the plurality of the Jewish people, and is politically non-partisan.

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Ronald S. Lauder

Ronald S. Lauder

President

International philanthropist, investor, art collector, and former public servant, Ronald S. Lauder has served as president of the World Jewish Congress since June 2007. President Lauder also demonstrates his deep commitment to his Judaism through a wide range of other philanthropic endeavors that reach around the world. As president of the WJC, Amb. Lauder has met with countless heads of state, prime ministers and government representatives in advancing those causes that are of most concern to Jews and Jewish communities internationally. He firmly believes in the importance of supporting Israel, especially in times when the State, and its citizens are under attack, whilst also encouraging and aiding the development of vibrant Jewish communities around the world.

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Robert Singer

ROBERT SINGER

CEO & Executive Vice President

Robert Singer has served as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), the leading umbrella organization of Jewish communities around the world, since May 2013. As WC CEO, Mr. Singer has traveled extensively, visiting Jewish communities while enhancing the WJC’s global diplomatic presence. He regularly meets with presidents and prime ministers, as well as prominent government, business, faith and civil society leaders, often together with WJC President Ronald S. Lauder. Mr. Singer also maintains direct relations with Israeli government officials and other institutions in the Jewish state, on behalf of Diaspora Jewry.These high-level meetings are critical to the WJC’s efforts in advocating for the civil and communal rights, institutional security, and overall well-being of Jews in more than 100 countries.

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WJC staff

Leadership

The Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress conducts the affairs of the WJC in accordance with the decisions of the Plenary Assembly and Governing Board. The body, led by WJC President Ronald S. Lauder, consists of the WJC senior lay leadership, as well as the presidents of the largest Jewish communities around the world, and representatives of other WJC-affiliated communities and organizations, and meets at least bi-annually.

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WJC mission

Our mission

The mission of the World Jewish Congress is to foster the unity and represent the interests of the Jewish people, and to ensure the continuity and development of its religious, spiritual, cultural, and social heritage.

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WJC Issues

  • Antisemitism

    Antisemitism

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  • Holocaust Legacy

    Holocaust Legacy

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  • Supporting Israel

    Supporting Israel

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  • Community Affairs

    Community Affairs

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  • Jews From Arab Lands

    Jews From Arab Lands

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  • Inter-Faith Dialogue

    Inter-Faith Dialogue

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Antisemitism

There has been an alarming rise in antisemitism across the globe in recent years, on both the far-right and the far-left. The growth of extreme far-right parties in Europe and a proliferation of anti-Zionist sentiment has contributed to an atmosphere in which many Jews are afraid to openly identify as such.

Recent studies, including the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)’s December 2019 second comprehensive report on discrimination and hate crimes against Jews in the EU, found that an overwhelming majority of the 16,500 self-identified Jewish respondents – 89 percent - feel that antisemitism is getting worse. This was the largest survey of Jewish people ever conducted worldwide, covering 12 EU member states, which are home to over 96 percent of Europe’s Jewish population; it follows the first survey of its kind in 2012, which covered 7 states. The 2018 report also found that 79% of those who experienced antisemitic harassment in the five years prior to the survey did not report the most serious incident to police, indicating an even darker reality than the official national crime numbers. More than one-third of all respondents said they had considered emigrating in the five years preceding the survey because they did not feel safe as Jews in the country where they live.

In the United States too, we have seen a shift in antisemitic sentiment. In October 2018, American Jewry changed forever when 11 people were killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the deadliest antisemitic attack on US soil.

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Holocaust Legacy


Protecting Holocaust Memory

Advocating on behalf of Holocaust survivors, promoting Holocaust awareness and education, and fighting against not only Holocaust denial but against any distortion, trivialization or other falsification of that history has long been a priority for the WJC. In the months following the end of World War II, Jacob Robinson, the director of the WJC’s Institute of Jewish Affairs, served as advisor to Justice Robert H. Jackson in preparing the prosecution’s case regarding the mass murder of European Jewry at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. The WJC has also been at the forefront of initiatives to preserve the memory of the Jewish experience during the Holocaust.

For most of the seven decades following the end of World War II, the WJC has worked closely with Holocaust survivors in commemorating the Holocaust and in safeguarding the sites where the Holocaust was perpetrated. WJC President Ronald S. Lauder has long been the principal proponent for the preservation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

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Supporting Israel

Right to exist

In 2018, the State of Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary. Although it is still the only fully democratic country in the Middle East, Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is not only still questioned, but this sentiment has proliferated, with the rise of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. This is due to incitement among the large Islamic Diaspora where Muslims greatly outnumber Jewish populations in most Western countries, and also due to a rising movement on college and university campuses around the world, particularly in the United States and in Europe.

Israel’s operations along the Gaza Strip to protect its border towns from waves of terror and incitement has created a new surge of anti-Israel hatred providing new excuses for its de-legitimization.

Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state in peace, security, stability and prosperity is not a sine-qua non among many of the world’s population especially, but not only, among developing nations.

For Jews around the world, the State of Israel is a special place. Israel’s well-being is central to Jewish life.

Jews around the world are proud of Israel’s achievements over the last 70 years and support those who continue to build and defend Israel.

Like every other legitimate state, Israel has a right to defend itself against any acts of aggression that threaten its citizens.

The global Jewish community must work together to activate the prodigious wealth of Jewish talent in the field of public relations to counter adverse images of Israel and its people, in the media, on the internet, and by articulate spokespersons who attack it. We also see to engage youth, particularly students, to collaborate in a positive way to try to change the discourse about Israel on campus, and show case not only its achievement as a democratic nation, and a leader in innovation, but also underscore its indisputable right to exist as a Jewish state.

The World Jewish Congress is committed to supporting Israel and defending it against delegitmization in every sphere.

Israel’s international relations

Israel is not treated like any other state. It does not have diplomatic relations with a number of states and is often singled out for criticism by international organisations such as the UN, which imposes double standards across its bodies and agencies.

Governments must apply the same standards to Israel when judging its actions compared with those of other countries.

Israel should not be singled out for criticism by countries which do not themselves adhere to the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Israel needs to be treated fairly in international organizations, especially in United Nations bodies such as the Human Rights Council. 

All countries should recognize Israel's right to exist, and be open to developing diplomatic ties with Israel.


Peace Process

A negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians based on a two-state solution is the only legitimate, just and viable way to provide for a lasting peace.

The nascent Palestinian state should respect the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. A Palestinian state can only be founded if it respects Israel’s right to exist in security.

Initiatives that help to enable the Palestinians to advance economically and socially should also be supported as a means of stabilising the peace process.
 

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Community Affairs

The World Jewish Congress would not be what it is without the communities in more than 100 countries across six continents it represents. Our communities, affiliated with WJC through their official national representative bodies, are as diverse as the Jewish people itself – ranging from the largest communities in Israel, the United States, France, Canada and the UK, to some of the most tiny, remote communities in countries such as Tajikistan, North Macedonia and Kenya. The communities themselves also straddle religious, ethnic and cultural differences which make up the rich tapestry of the Jewish people.

The WJC works tirelessly together with our communities and on their behalf to ensure that they are able to maintain and celebrate their Jewish religion, culture and heritage. Whether it is defending religious practices such as kosher slaughter (shechita) and circumcision (milah), preserving the memory of the Holocaust, educating new generations about the contribution of Jews to society or enabling communities to reach out to their young adults to promote their involvement in community leadership, WJC stands ready to assist. We do this in a number of ways, from diplomatic engagement to supportive campaigning.

The WJC is not blind to the challenges that our communities face, whether it is ensuring that all Jews, no matter what their background, have a voice, or in navigating the relationship between Israel and diaspora Jewry, the WJC provides a space for Jews to come together and work towards the future in the spirit of mutual respect and according to the Talmudic maxim:’ Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh b’Zeh’ -- all Jews are responsible for one another.

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Jews From Arab Lands

The story of the Jews in Arab lands still forms a major gap in most of the world's knowledge of the history of the Middle East. Jewish presence in what are now Arab lands long predates Islam and the Arab conquest of the Middle East and goes back to Biblical times. In 1945, there were approximately 866,000 Jews living in communities throughout the Arab world. Today, there are fewer than 7,000. In many Arab states, once thriving Jewish communities have all but disappeared. According to official statistics, 856,000 Jews , persecuted and under duress, were exiled from  their homes in Arab countries between 1948 and the early 1970s leaving behind substantial property and other assets.

In April 2008, the US House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the recognition of Jewish, Christian, and other refugees from Arab lands. The resolution states that any agreement between Israelis and Palestinians must include recognition of Jewish refugees as well. The resolution makes it clear that the subject should be brought before the UN General Assembly again, to have it recognize the plight of the Arabic Jews. In March of 2014, Canada accepted the recommendation of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development that “Canada officially recognizes the experience of Jewish refugees who were displaced from states in the Middle East and North Africa after 1948.”

Much work has been done by the World Jewish Congress over the years in order to raise awareness of this issue among Jewish communities, elected officials and governmental dignitaries in North America, Europe, and in the United Nations. We have held conferences, special events, lectures, panels, and parliamentary hearings, and so that more people would know about it. We have come a long way and while the issue is better known, there is still too much ignorance.  The plight of Jews who fled from, or still live in, Arab lands and their specific concerns are not yet well-known and still needs to be raised with governments and international organizations. To that end, the WJC, in cooperation with organized Jewish community, has urged the United States House of Representatives to propose and pass legislation to mandate that the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands be raised in all relevant talks concerning the Middle East peace process, and reported on to the Congress.

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Inter-Faith Dialogue

Christian Faiths

The WJC has well established relations with the Catholic Church, and has played a leading role, both directly and within the framework of ICJIC, in an ongoing dialogue over many decades. This has produced positive results in many cases. The recently adapted Latin text of the Good Friday prayer is a contentious issue. Ongoing discussions to resolve the issue should not impede this important liaison.

Progress, however, is slow with regard to the Orthodox and Protestant Churches. The decentralised nature of these churches and certain political issues related to the Middle East conflict are obstacles to advancement.

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Programs

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