“When governments work together with Jewish communities and organizations like the World Jewish Congress, we can do a great deal to alleviate antisemitism.”
As a featured speaker at the Kyiv Jewish Forum, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder addressed the rise in global antisemitism and the role of governments to fight it, the potential for peace brought by normalized relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and the significance of the preservation of Holocaust memory and artifacts in advancing Holocaust education.
The conference was organized by the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine in partnership with the Jerusalem Post and broadcast online on September 8-9, 2020. Ambassador Lauder was interviewed by Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz as part of the forum’s convening of leaders and luminaries from around the world to discuss topics affecting the Jewish community.
During his remarks, Lauder noted that “hate speech on the internet has increased dramatically.” He highlighted WJC’s ongoing constructive cooperation with Facebook and TikTok to combat online hate speech, as well as WJC’s collaboration with leading governments including Germany and Austria.
In celebrating the forthcoming agreement to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE, he noted that other countries in the Middle East are watching, anticipating peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Lauder reflected on his work supporting the preservation of the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and its artifacts as well as his pride in participating alongside Holocaust Survivors in the official commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Lauder said that in addition to learning what happened, students must be taught how it happened, adding that, “it happened because of indifference, because people all of a sudden didn’t care what was happening.”
“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference,” Lauder said, quoting Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel.
Closing the interview, Lauder called for Jewish unity on the occasion of the upcoming Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. “We’re one people – from the most religious to the most secular, the most conservative to the most liberal. The diaspora and Israel also have to be closer together, standing up for what we believe in. Let us make this new year a year to come together.”
Additional conference speakers included:
- Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine and a member of the WJC Executive
- Aaron Frenkel, Chairman of EuroAsian Jewish Congress and a WJC Vice President
- Benny Gantz, Alternate Prime Minister of Israel and Minister of Defense
- Yuri Kanner, President of WJC-Russian Federation and also the Russian Jewish Congress as well as a WJC Vice President
- Boris Lozhkin, President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and a WJC Vice President
- Mikhail Mirilashvili, President of EuroAsian Jewish Congress
- Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sachs, former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
- Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine