WJC 85th Anniversary - World Jewish Congress
A Message from WJC President Ronald S. Lauder

Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder


Menachem Z. Rosensaft

The Jewish Right to Equality

Judge Julian W. Mack

The World Jewish Congress during World War II

Gregory J. Wallance

The Re-enfranchisement of the Jew

Rabbi Stephen S.Wise

Nuremberg and Beyond: Jacob Robinson, a Champion for Justice

Jonathan A. Bush

The State of World Jewry, 1948

Nahum Goldmann

Gerhart M. Riegner: Pioneer for Jewish–Catholic Relations in the Contemporary World

Monsignor Pier Francesco Fumagalli

The World Jewish Congress and the State of Israel: A Personal Reminiscence

Natan Lerner

The World Jewish Congress, the League of Nations, and the United Nations

Zohar Segev

From Pariah to Partner: The Jews of Postwar Germany and the World Jewish Congress

Michael Brenner

Diplomatic Interventions: The World Jewish Congress and North African Jewry

Isabella Nespoli, Menachem Z. Rosensaft

Bourguiba’s Jewish Friend

S. J. Goldsmith

Soviet Jewry: Debates and Controversies

Suzanne D. Rutland

Advancing the Best in Jewish Culture

Philip M. Klutznick

The Struggle for Historical Integrity at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Laurence Weinbaum

New Directions and Priorities, 1985

Edgar M. Bronfman

Fighting Delegitimization: The United Nation’s “Zionism Is Racism” Resolution, a Case Study

Evelyn Sommer

Navigating the Communist Years: A Jewish Perspective

Maram Stern

The Kurt Waldheim Affair

Eli M. Rosenbaum

In Search of Justice: The World Jewish Congress and the Swiss Banks

Gregg J. Rickman

Confronting Terror: The Buenos Aires Bombings

Adela Cojab-Moadeb

The World Jewish Congress Today

Robert R. Singer

My Vision of the Jewish Future

Ambassador Ronald S. Lauder


Robert R. Singer

WJC 1936 - 2021

The Jewish Right to Equality

I am proud to have been privileged in the course of the years to do what little I have done in aid of the struggle of my people. The guiding principle in endeavoring to secure the recognition of the human rights of the Jew and of the Jewish people, the guiding principle that animated us nearly twenty years ago when we were gathered together from all lands in Paris with the aims of securing the recognition of Palestine as the Jewish National Homeland and of securing for the Jews in the countries of oppression those fundamental rights that are accorded to all men in this glorious land of ours, that we ask for the Jew as an individual and for the Jewish people as a people no more, but on the other hand, no less than is accorded in any and each of these countries to the other individuals, be they of a minority or majority group.

We ask no more for the Jew than we do for anybody else and if it was the Jewish gatherings that were most insistent upon the recognition in Paris during the Peace Conference of minority rights, it was simply because the Jewish people felt the need of this international recognition more than did the other people, who even there were asking only that our Sabbath be recognized for us as the day of rest in most countries in Eastern and Central Europe. Not a line was asked to be written into those treaties with reference to the Jew or the Jewish people that was not asked for all peoples and for all individuals. And my friends, we shall always succeed, in the measure that it may be possible to succeed, if we recognize that fundamental principle—ask nothing exceptional for ourselves but demand that whatever be given to others be given in equal measure to us.

To put it another way, my friends, and it is the only way in which we can succeed, it is the way that every Jew at least ought to recognize—we must both in the interest of the world as Americans and in the interest of the Jewish people as Jews, be and remain thoroughly democratic. We can tolerate no Fascist movement; we must be no part of it. The totalitarian state, dictatorship of every kind, is absolutely foreign to the Jewish, as it is to the American, spirit. This is not mere theory. The American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress, in contrast with some other organizations, are founded upon the principle of democracy. We American Jews, when we go to a World Jewish Congress, when we want a World Jewish Congress established, go there not in the spirit of superiority because we happen to be the richest in some respects or highly intelligent part of the Jewish people, there to lay down the law to the representatives of the Jews of other lands, there to attempt to tell them that in our judgment we, coming from a free land because of the opportunities that we have enjoyed through the centuries, know better than they do what is best for them— no! In a World Jewish Congress, the representatives of the American Jewish Congress enter into complete fellowship with their brethren of other lands. We go there not to dictate, not to control but to counsel together with them, to ascertain from their experience what they feel they need. Of course we present to them our point of view and urge upon them from time to time—and we did this twenty years ago in Paris, as we did last year in Geneva—we urge upon them what we believe to be best for them. But in truly democratic fashion we take counsel with them and having heard what they say, listening open mindedly, we are persuaded or they are persuaded, or neither is fully persuaded. Then it goes to a vote, and we unhesitatingly accept the decision of the majority and continue in fullest measure cooperating with them. That, my friends, is the true democracy of the American and World Jewish Congress.

The question that each one of you must feel at this time is this: Is this the wise, the sane, the safe method of procedure in our attempt to obtain freedom and equality for the Jew and the Jewish people throughout the world? And if it be that, is it or is it not up to you, in your own interest, in the interest of your children, in the interest of the Jewish people and of posterity—is it not in the interest of the Jewish people, that long suffering but eternal people, to contribute all your time, all your thought and all your money in support of an undertaking such as this?