Addressing the World Jewish Congress Executive Committee on Wednesday, October 20, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder focused on the antisemitic threats confronting the Jewish people and the ever-increasing loss of support for Israel.
Noting that a recent poll he commissioned found that substantial percentages of the population in Europe and the United States do not consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization, Amb. Lauder observed that “a lie told often enough - it starts on social media and then goes to different formats and finally comes out the newspapers mainstream newspapers - becomes the truth.”
"We’re tired of being the victim, we’re tired of going to Congress or the British government and saying, ‘Please protect the Jewish people,’” he added. “We’re going to fight. And we’re going to do so in all languages.”
“We have major fight ahead of us, we have to fight, we have to protect Israel at all cost,” Amb. Lauder concluded.
The WJC Executive Committee, which includes senior leaders of the major Jewish communities around the world, met via Zoom one week after Amb. Lauder’s participation in the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism. In his address at the Forum’s opening plenary session, he highlighted the crisis of resurgent antisemitism across the globe, as well as “the new form of antisemitism,” often cloaked in anti-Israel rhetoric.
Addressing the Executive Committee, WJC Treasurer Chella Safra expressed deep appreciation for Amb. Lauder’s leadership and spoke of the importance of engaging with students and young Jewish leaders.
Amb. Dani Dayan, the newly appointed chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, addressed the Executive Committee, warning against Holocaust distortion which he called the “greatest threat to the memory of the Shoah.”
The WJC’s initiatives to empower Jewish students to become the future leaders of the Jewish people were highlighted in a discussion led by WJC Senior Manager Yoni Hammerman, along with Jewish on Campus Co-Founder and CEO Julia Jassey and European Union of Jewish Students Policy Officer Caterina Cognini.
Jassey, whose organization attempts to revive pride in Judaism by emboldening a new generation of Jews through education, social media campaigning and grassroots organizing, shared that what originated as a social media campaign has since blossomed into an authoritative nonprofit organization.
With its close ties to Jewish students across the United States, Jewish on Campus published comprehensive reports outlining the state of antisemitism on individual college campuses so that when students engage with administrations, they are able to concretely “show them how it’s a problem,” Jassey said.
Cognini, a former Ronald S. Lauder Fellow, highlighted the steps the European Union of Jewish Students is taking to combat antisemitism, especially in European universities. The group’s most consequential actions of the past year were consulting with the European Commission ahead of its publication of The EU Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life; organizing seminars on the rise of antisemitism; and reaching out to non-Jewish European youth organizations to ensure that they understand antisemitism and other challenges facing European Jewish communities.
About the World Jewish Congress Executive Committee:
The Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress conducts the affairs of the WJC in accordance with the decisions of the Plenary Assembly and Governing Board. The body consists of the WJC President, Chairman of the WJC Governing Board, Treasurer, the Chair and Co-Chair of the Policy Council, the Chairmen of the WJC’s Regional Affiliates, and vice presidents (including, ex officio, the presidents of the 12 largest WJC-affiliated Jewish communities, as well as representatives of other Jewish communities, international Jewish organizations, and young adults. The Executive regularly meets twice a year.