The President of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) is joining a chorus of voices speaking out against the flare-up of anti-Semitism.
On the same day it was announced that there would be a new US Congressional taskforce to deal with the issue, WJC President Ronald Lauder spoke in front of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. From there, he spoke yesterday at Georgetown University on the simultaneous rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and Christian persecution in the Middle East.
“When it comes to safeguarding the rights of Christians, Israel has by far the best record of all countries in the Middle East,” emphasized Lauder responding to questions from Arutz Sheva.
“I think Israel can do more to foster these ties, and one thing is to speak loudly and clearly when Christians are being persecuted.”
Lauder makes an argument that Israel’s positive atmosphere for Christians is not enough, and that the country is in a position to be more assertive on some of these issues.
"Just as we Jews expect Christian leaders to speak out against anti-Semitism, we as Jewish leaders must not be silent when Christians are being persecuted by extremists and fanatics," he said.
In Lauder’s thinking, fighting one ill would be a perfect parallel to fighting the other. In his testimony before Congress, Lauder stated "To defeat this new flame of radical Islamic terror and survive... the United States must lead.”
The US is still in a much stronger position than Israel to anything about either group he said, while flanked by President Roger Cukierman of the Representative Council for Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) and President Dan Asmussen of the Danish Jewish community.
Cukierman was extraordinarily blunt in his testimony, saying "We Jews are the sentinels at the forefront of this war. But we are not the only victims. Military forces, policemen and women, journalists were also targeted and killed."
US not leading fight against anti-Semitism
“The United States must lead the world in the fight against anti-Semitism. So far, it hasn’t done that,” charges Lauder.
“Right after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket in Paris, over 3 million people marched in defiance of those murders. Many of the leaders in Europe linked arms in solidarity in the very front row - but there was not one US representative with them in the front row.”
When asked if his thoughts were that the US and Israel should take over where European governments might have responsibility themselves, Lauder asserted that the United States was still in a more appropriate position to “take the lead” on the new anti-Semitism.
“European leaders have stepped up and strongly condemned these attacks on Jews and the rise of anti-Semitism. Muslim leaders everywhere should follow. But ultimately, the United States should take the lead in opposing and fighting anti-Semitism driven by jihadists and other radical Muslims.”
Lauder is impressed by the European response so far in 2015, saying “already some, like Britain and France, are taking the important steps with broad plans.”
He adds though that “we must insist that European nations act on a number of fronts to fight anti-Semitism.”
“They can start by better sharing intelligence on anti-Semitic Islamic hate preachers; they must better monitor radical Islamic recruiting in prisons, on the Internet and in mosques and, without question, we must closely monitor European and U.S. nationals returning from the Middle East and Africa to Europe.”
“All European governments must protect and safeguard their Jewish communities – the people and their institutions. Next, they must take pro-active measures to combat rising Islamic fanaticism that’s fueling this growing anti-Semitism.”
Europe’s Jews do not have their own intelligence apparatus and depend on the countries that purport to foster religious and cultural freedoms. Lobbying before Congress or the various parliaments of Europe are the inevitable maneuvers of Jews who trust their leaders to help them in the fight. Lauder emphasizes that they cannot do it on their own.
“It’s not up to the Jews alone to defend themselves against this scourge, because anti-Semitism is not just a problem for Jews, but for any free and democratic society as a whole.”
“The United States can and must speak out to condemn this evil for what it is – the hatred of Jews by radical Islamists.”
Lauder seeks a broad network of cooperation facing an onslaught from radical Islam, which has spun itself like a twister through the minority communities of the Middle East and Europe. For Jews themselves seeking help, they also need to play a role in helping the communities that eventually do lend their support, he says. That goes for the Diaspora and Israel as a country.
“Among Israel’s best friends are the many Evangelical Christians from all over the world. We need to stand together, and stand up for one another when the other is in need of support.”