The World Jewish Congress is the leading international organization connecting and protecting Jewish communities globally, in more than 100 countries.
WJC has always been unique, different from other Jewish organizations because it is truly a democratic global body made up of more than one hundred communities around the world. The WJC was created on the eve of the Holocaust in 1936, just three years after the Nazi rise to power, out of the need to organize in the face of the dangerous antisemitism sweeping across Europe. Not only did no international Jewish organization exist in 1936, but the WJC’s founders faced tremendous opposition from other Jewish leaders and groups who did not want an organization advocating politically for Jewish rights. Our mission has not changed. It is the same today as it was then: to give the Jewish people a voice in the international arena, to protect Jews against antisemitism and violence, to defend Jewish values and interests anywhere and everywhere in the world, and—since 1948—to support and defend the Jewish state of Israel against its enemies and detractors.
The WJC’s overriding goal is to protect Jewish communities across the globe and to allow Jews everywhere to live freely as Jews, without discrimination or the threat of persecution. While there is no doubt that Jews currently are in a better and safer position than they were in 1936, much work remains to be done. It is true that today there is a prevalence of governments that are strongly supportive of Jewish concerns and with which the WJC regularly interacts. But antisemitism is on the rise again all over the world, and coupled with the frighteningly fast-growing threat of global terrorism, our Jewish communities face enormous danger and pressure. Over the last decade, we have witnessed unfathomable acts of violence against Jews in Israel, in Europe, and even in the United States. Jewish communities in many parts of this world have no choice but to instate heavy security measures to protect their institutions. In Europe, Jews are faced with the double threat of growing far-right movements and violent instances of Islamic jihadism. In the United Nations and many of its bodies and agencies, an anti-Israel bias has become a frightening phenomenon.
The WJC protects Jews everywhere and constantly defends the State of Israel against these threats through direct contact with the world’s leaders. Over the last decade, our leadership has visited scores of communities and met with presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, and local officials, conveying the concerns of our communities and representing their interests.
The WJC is the official representative of the Jewish world. We are exceedingly well-coordinated and have strong contacts with governmental and international institutions and officials on all levels. We are well positioned to carry out the critical work of protecting and defending Jewish rights and the State of Israel because we are the centralized body of the global Jewish community. In some ways, the WJC can be seen as the world government of the Jewish people—a democratically organized body convening communities from across the world to work together for our collective vision of a safer today and a better tomorrow. As in all other governments, our affiliated communities may not always agree with each other, but thanks to the WJC, they have a platform for global discussion and know that the WJC stands up for them in the international arena and, when necessary, to their own governments back home. Due in large part to the strength of the State of Israel and the existence of the WJC, as well as other Jewish organizations, the Jewish world no longer fears another Holocaust. Like the founders of the WJC who gathered in Geneva in August 1936, we are determined to defeat our enemies; and perhaps most important, thanks to the WJC, Jews around the world know that they are not alone.