MALMÖ, Sweden – The World Jewish Congress will build upon the work of a global antisemitism conference by advocating on college campuses, on social media and at the United Nations, Amb. Ronald Lauder, WJC president, said Wednesday at a press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. The briefing immediately followed the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism.
“We at the World Jewish Congress, with the help of countries like Sweden and many of the EU countries, will fight back and fight back very strongly,” Amb. Lauder said Wednesday after the close of the international forum. “We’re not going to be silent. Silence is what makes antisemitism grow.”
Holocaust survivor Dina Rajs, who was born in the former Yugoslavia and resides in Sweden, also spoke at the press conference. She and her husband, Jovan Rajs, were previously awarded the Raoul Wallenberg Prize for sharing their personal histories to educate others about the Holocaust.
Amb. Lauder described how antisemitism has shifted during the past two decades, emanating from both ends of the political spectrum. He also attributed the latest surge in global antisemitism to the rise of social media, which is “used as a way to foment hate.”
“We want the governments to start making laws against putting hate on the internet,” Amb. Lauder said.
He delivered a similar message at the opening plenary session of the forum earlier in the day.
Amb. Lauder met Wednesday with heads of states and governments including Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia; President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of Finland Sauli Väinämö Niinistö; Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares; European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas; and Kathrin Meyer, executive secretary of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The global conference focused on identifying and implementing concrete steps to counter antisemitism and other forms of hatred and to advance Holocaust education and remembrance.
Ahead of the landmark forum, top Jewish and Swedish leaders joined at Malmö Synagogue on Tuesday to celebrate the history and life of the local Jewish community, especially its resilience during a period of heightened antisemitism in the region.
WJC hosted the synagogue event, along with the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities and the Jewish Community of Malmö.
Amb. Lauder, Prime Minister Löfven and Jewish communal leaders spoke at the synagogue of the rich history of the Jews of Sweden and next steps in fighting current-day expressions of hatred against Jews at the local and national levels.
In recent years, antisemitism has occurred regularly in Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city, especially in its schools, and has gained international attention. Sweden’s top leaders have pledged to devote resources to democracy-strengthening initiatives in schools and other educational venues. At the end of March 2022, the country will assume the IHRA presidency and has pledged to open the Swedish Museum of the Holocaust by July 2022.
On Thursday, WJC’s international meeting of Special Envoys & Coordinators Combating Antisemitism (SECCA) will convene to exchange views, share best practices and policies and evaluate progress in the shared fight against antisemitism. The SECCA forum comprises officials tasked with combating antisemitism, with participants from dozens of countries and from such organizations as the European Commission, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the United Nations.
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