More than 400 Jewish community leaders from around the world gathered in Buenos Aires from 15-17 March, as the WJC held a special session of its Plenary Assembly, the organization’s highest decision-making body. Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri delivered a keynote speech at the opening event of the assembly, and Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartés was awarded the Latin American Jewish Congress’ Shalom Prize for his support for Israel.
A portion of the meeting focused on the terrorist attacks of 1992, against the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, and 1994, against the main Jewish center in the city. Both have been blamed on Iran and Hezbollah. World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said: "These were not just attacks on Jews, but attacks on Argentina […].The killing of Alberto Nisman was not just an attack on a Jewish lawyer. This was an attack on Argentina’s entire system of justice […] President Macri, you have promised that after all this time, Argentina will bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice. We believe you. We trust you. And the World Jewish Congress stands with you to help in any way that we can.”
Macri, in his speech, said his government was "fully committed to contribute in any way we can to make headway with this investigation."
In policy issues, the plenary voted unanimously to allow Lauder to stand for a third consecutive term as WJC president, as stipulated by the WJC’s constitution.
In its resolutions, the WJC condemned Israel boycott movement as 'manifestation of anti-Semitism'. The WJC considers “efforts to discriminate against and delegitimize the State of Israel on university campuses, including the boycott of Israeli scholars and academicians, to be especially pernicious,” and condemns “those who deliberately seek to prevent economic, academic, and cultural cooperation, and obstructing global and Israeli and Palestinian economic opportunities.
It also urged “the international community to respond to Iran’s continued support for organizations engaged in terrorist activities, to address this on the agenda of the relevant international bodies and to require the Iranian government to surrender Iranian nationals suspected in connection with the attacks.”
The delegates, representing Jewish communities in 67 countries, also called on “governments to regulate international business and trade with nations that sponsor terror, including Iran.”
World leaders, as well as religious leaders and international organizations, should “jointly formulate an effective strategy to root out the campaign of incitement and recruitment by extremists, including through mosques and social media,” the assembly resolved.
The World Jewish Congress also calls on the international community, particularly the Gulf states, “to intercede with religious leadership, to ensure that mosques, and other cultural or religious institutions they fund, do not promote radical or extremist preaching or recruitment, and nor to allow their facilities to be used for any such purpose.”
The Plenary Assembly also highlighted the need “to recognize the parallels and links between the recent terror attacks around the world and the terrorism that Israelis and others have been subjected to for years by Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, and their predecessors and allies.”
The Jewish leaders call on governments “to treat attacks on religious institutions, including schools and community centers as hate crimes”. The resolution reaffirms the desire of the WJC “to working to safeguard all minority communities, including Yazidi, Christian, Muslim, and any communities threatened by sectarian violence.”