NEW YORK – Former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Israeli Minister Silvan Shalom and 250 guests attended a gala dinner at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Tuesday night at which the World Jewish Congress honored the writer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel and his wife, Marion, with the organization’s Theodor Herzl Award for their lifetime achievements.
Presenting the two honorees of the evening with the WJC award, Rodham Clinton said Elie and Marion Wiesel “played a pivotal part in bringing the Shoah into public consciousness.” She added: “Elie’s own story of survival and those of others he’s helped tell, and has steeled the world’s resolve that such an atrocity can never be repeated. The Wiesels have worked to overcome indifference toward the suffering of oppressed and marginalized populations around the world: Soviet Jews, Miskito Indians, refugees from Cambodia, prisoners from the former Yugoslavia, victims of the genocide in Darfur. Looking toward the future, Elie and Marion have filled us with hope and optimism for a freer, more just world.”
Rodham Clinton also praised the work of the World Jewish Congress: “For nearly 80 years, the World Jewish Congress has helped protect Jewish communities around the world, worked to stamp out anti-Semitism wherever it still exists and promoted understanding and friendship among people of all faiths.”
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder praised the Wiesels as having an “enormous” impact on the world and said that they “continue to shine as reminders of what Abraham Lincoln called ‘the angels of our better nature.’”
In his response, Elie Wiesel lauded the WJC’s vital work combating anti-Semitism and supporting, saying, “you have so much still to do, so many causes to espouse.”
The Wiesels established the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity after Elie was awarded the Nobel Peace Peace Prize in 1986. The foundation’s mission is to combat indifference, intolerance and injustice through international dialogue and youth-focused programs. Elie Wiesel, whose ground-breaking memoir ‘Night’ brought the experience of Holocaust survivors into world consciousness, is the author of more than 60 works of fiction and non-fiction.
Theodor Herzl was the father of modern political Zionism. Established in 2012, the WJC’s Theodor Herzl Award recognizes individuals who carry forward Herzl’s ideals for a safer, more tolerant world through international support for Israel and enhanced understanding of Jewish history, culture and peoplehood. Israeli President Shimon Peres was the first recipient of the award.