WASHINGTON – The International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP), an initiative of the World Jewish Congress, convened in Washington, D.C., for the first time since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. The session, led by ICJP Chair Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), brought together elected representatives from nearly a dozen countries, including members of the Israeli Knesset, alongside U.S. senators and representatives.
In a series of meetings and briefings around Washington, including with senior White House and State Department officials, the delegation discussed international solidarity with Israel, the imperative of freeing hostages, the alarming rise in antisemitism since the outbreak of the conflict, and how to combat antisemitism on university campuses in the United States and abroad.
WJC President Ronald S. Lauder addressed these themes in his remarks Tuesday night at a dinner at the Renwick Gallery and expressed support for bipartisanship and President Biden’s response to the crisis in Israel: “I have never seen a president of the United States be as strong for the Jewish people as President Biden. Support for Israel and the Jewish people has been bipartisan. The majority of both parties support aid for Israel. Frankly, it’s the first bipartisan agreement we’ve seen in a long time.”
Speaking on the rise of antisemitism globally, as well as its precipitous increase on university campuses in many Western countries, Amb. Lauder characterized campus antisemitism as a defining battlefield and a generational challenge for the global Jewish community.
Sen. Rosen cited a massive increase in antisemitism since last year, and called for shared approaches: “Following October 7th, incidents of antisemitic harassment, vandalism and violence have spiked worldwide. Those who commit these vile, egregious acts want to scare and intimidate Jewish people. I was proud to convene Jewish legislators from around the world to discuss ways we can address the rise in antisemitism in our nations. The international community must stand together and continue building a brighter future where no family is afraid to send their kid to school or attend Shabbat services.”
A central focus of the gathering and its calls to action was the plight of the hostages taken by Hamas. The ICJP was joined by many of the families whose loved ones had been seized, calling for their release on humanitarian grounds. Family members spoke in harrowing terms about their experience, including Rachel Goldberg, whose son is among the hostages. “Like all of the people standing with me right now, we all live in a world of indescribable … pain doesn’t quite name it,” she said, “And that’s our world.”
The ICJP gathering underscored international solidarity with Israel at a time of historic crisis, with lawmakers sharing best practices and legislative solutions, and committing to ongoing support in their home countries and internationally for the State of Israel.
The call for solidarity was echoed by Nir Barkat, the Israeli Minister of Economy, who joined the Washington event. “With antisemitism rising all over, a secure Israel is the best backup for all Jews around the world,” he said, adding, “That bond is represented here in this room.”
Photos of the event are available here.
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