Statements

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 11:58am

NEW YORK -- For more than a decade, the American Jewish Congress has strived to provide a platform for Muslims and Jews to have an open dialogue about promoting tolerance and curbing extremism. American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen, who has a track record of personally engaging moderate Muslim leaders in the struggle against global anti-Semitism, issued the following statement today congratulating London's new mayor, Sadiq Khan, on his election and in the hopes of continuing to build that platform:

"Congratulations to Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is making history in becoming the first Muslim mayor in one of the most globally significant cities. The American Jewish Congress works closely with leaders around the world, and we welcome the opportunity to work with Mayor Khan from today forward. We hope that he will follow in the footsteps of such influential leaders as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri as a participant in our next International Conference of Mayors in Israel, an annual opportunity for the world's local leaders to come together to change and improve people's lives around the globe.

"Mayor Khan comes to the helm of London's government at a critical moment. It is now his responsibility to defend his city against bigotry, including troubling recent anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment. We applaud his participation in London's recent Yom HaShoah memorial ceremony. Mayor Khan is off to a strong start, and we look forward to seeing him stand alongside British Jews as a friend and ally in the future."

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 10:22am

NEW YORK -- In response to a string of anti-Semitic statements made by prominent members of the United Kingdom's Labor Party, and the news that two Labor councillors were suspended yesterday for making such remarks, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

"We at the American Jewish Congress are dumbfounded by this situation, in which four members of the Labor Party, including a former mayor of London, issued remarkably anti-Semitic comments over the span of only a couple of weeks.

"For such highly-visible public officials to issue such inflammatory remarks targeting the Jewish community, and for them to hail from a nation that is considered such a close ally to both Israel and the United States, comes as quite a shock. We hope that politicians in the United Kingdom -- and anywhere, for that matter -- will hold themselves to a higher standard and invoke a degree of political correctness when exercising their right to free expression.

"Clearly, as Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Rebev said on Sunday, anti-Semitism is not just a problem of the far-Right in Europe."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 9:54am

NEW YORK -- In response to the pro-BDS resolutions recently passed by the City University of New York (CUNY) Doctoral Students’ Council and the graduate student union at New York University (NYU), American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

“We at the American Jewish Congress are disheartened by the decision of two university bodies -- both with large populations of Jewish students and deep-seated roots in the Jewish culture of New York City -- to mistakenly enter the wrong side of history.

“For CUNY -- where numerous instances of anti-Semitism have taken place in recent months -- this move is especially troubling, as is the admitted coordination between the CUNY branch of Students for Justice in Palestine and the Doctoral Students’ Council.

“For both schools to hold votes on their respective BDS resolutions on Friday night -- the Sabbath -- seems like an intentional deterrent to Jewish students who would have liked to have been included in the decision-making process. Discriminating against Jews and the Jewish State with pro-BDS resolutions is bad enough, but to intentionally bar Jewish students from having a stake in their university’s own policy towards Israel is both cruel and an obvious affront directed towards supporters of Israel who could have provided the deciding votes, especially at NYU, where the BDS resolution passed by only 3 votes.

“We fully expect both educational institutions’ administrations to reject the tenets of these resolutions, and hope that the United Auto Workers International union (UAW) -- the parent union of the NYU graduate student union -- will strike down their subsidiary’s BDS resolution, as they did with UAW Local 2865 -- the University of California academic union -- in January.”

Monday, April 18, 2016 - 3:17pm

NEW YORK—Last week, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution which ignores the Jewish people’s connection to historic areas in Jerusalem’s Old City. In response, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

“The United Nations already suffers from a major credibility gap when it comes to impartiality toward Israelis and Palestinians. This resolution only serves to harm the UN and its affiliated bodies’ reputation and their effectiveness in making positive contributions to the already tense climate in Jerusalem. If UNESCO truly seeks to improve the situation on the ground, as opposed to fanning the fires of hatred, then it is critical for them not only to strike a vastly fairer and more balanced approach, but a historically accurate one.”

Monday, April 11, 2016 - 1:17pm

NEW YORK—Last week in a New York Daily News interview, Senator Sanders erroneously stated the number of Palestinian civilians killed during the 2014 Gaza conflict, for which he has since apologized. Today, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, the Democratic presidential candidate characterized Israel’s actions in the 2014 Gaza War as “disproportionate.” In response, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen expressed concern over Sanders’ statements:

“Senator Sanders’ failure to demonstrate a grasp of the Palestinian terrorism that fueled Israel’s actions to protect its citizens in the summer of 2014 is extremely concerning. Any attempt by a presidential candidate to qualify Israel’s self-defense against indiscriminate attacks without mentioning the nature of the attacks is a worrisome signal.

“The fact is that Hamas and other groups acquired, aimed and fired rockets into Israeli civilian centers, often at the expense of their own people. They built terror tunnels with the sole intent of murdering Israeli citizens. Failing to account for the threats Hamas poses to the lives of innocent Israelis, as well as the shared responsibility of the Palestinian Authority to help alleviate the conditions in Gaza, is a troubling reflection of Senator Sanders’ understanding of the region.

“On behalf of the American Jewish Congress, I hope that moving forward Senator Sanders will adopt a more balanced perspective on the 2014 conflict as well as the current political reality in Gaza.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 11:55am

NEW YORK--In response to Georgia’s passage of an anti-BDS bill in both of the state’s legislatures, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

“The American Jewish Congress applauds Georgia for becoming the latest state to pass critical legislation that pushes back against the anti-Semitic BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) movement.

“The recent surge of anti-BDS legislation passed by state legislatures represents a much-needed boost in support of Israel in the face of degradation from international political bodies and countries across the world. From Virginia to Indiana, and now Georgia, an ever-growing number of states have committed themselves to defending Israel. We are exuberant at the recent progress of the anti-BDS movement in the United States, and we hope that the governor of Georgia signs this bill into law soon.”

Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 6:10pm

NEW YORK – Following speeches by presidential candidates at this week’s AIPAC conference, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

“I was gratified by the comments made by four of the five candidates running for President who spoke yesterday concerning the U.S./Israel relationship.  While they may have differed at the margins on some policy issues, each one spoke about our shared democratic values, and the need to assure Israel’s safety and security in the face of ongoing terrorism and instability. “The outlier was Senator Sanders, who claimed to be a strong supporter of the Jewish state while falling into the trap of demanding “proportional” responses to the constant attacks inflicted on innocent civilians. Very few nations would show the restraint demonstrated by Israeli leaders when Palestinian terrorists launch indiscriminate rocket attacks, and incite and glorify knife-wielding murderers.

“For a country that has not known a day of peace in its nearly 68 year history, it is unlikely that a distant critic, attempting to micromanage how to respond to terrorists who profess their desire to kill Jews and destroy Israel, could be considered a leader in the search for peace and security.”
 

Monday, March 14, 2016 - 2:27pm

NEW YORK—Following Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel last week, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

“Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel demonstrated that the most fundamental aspects of the U.S.-Israel relationship remain strong. On behalf of the American Jewish Congress, I would like to thank Vice President Biden for his steadfast support of the Jewish State. Not just for his statements recognizing that Israel exists in a ‘very, very tough neighborhood,’ but also for his commitment to ‘making sure that Israel can defend itself against all serious threats’ and ‘maintain its qualitative edge with a quantity sufficient to maintain that.’ 

“Additionally, we were pleased to see the Vice President clearly condemn those who fail to condemn the senseless terror attacks taking place. This includes a string of senseless stabbings that coincided with his arrival, one of which took the life of an American citizen. As he said, ‘This cannot be viewed by civilized people as an appropriate way to behave. It is just not tolerable in the 21st century.’

“Vice President Biden’s words served as a timely reminder that nature of the bond between our countries goes beyond individual officials, and that the United States will always stand with Israel.”

Monday, March 14, 2016 - 10:04am

NEW YORK—In response to yesterday’s announcement that Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, who is known for her outright criticism of Israel, has agreed to condemn BDS and defend Israel’s right to protect itself, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

“Foreign Minister Wallström’s change of heart, in her decision to now defend Israel, is a positive signal for both Europe and the global Jewish community. The timing of the announcement -- amid a growing wave of anti-Semitism across Europe -- comes at a critical juncture.

“Additionally, the recent string of anti-BDS legislation and resolutions introduced and passed by state legislatures show an uptick in momentum against the anti-Israel movement. From California to Indiana to Virginia, an ever-growing number of states have committed themselves to defending Israel. We welcome this progress as well as the groundswell of support behind rejecting BDS once and for all.”

Sunday, February 28, 2016 - 7:06pm

NEW YORK—In response to the announcement that Iran will contribute monetary funds to support the killing of Israelis, American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

“This week’s announcement by Iran that it will use some of its new financial assets to support killing Jews should come as no surprise. Tehran’s new program promises to pay $7000 to knife and hammer wielding murderers, and $30,000 to the families of those whose homes are destroyed as Israel attempts to deter future killers.

“Sometimes terrorists and their supporters mean what they say. Iran is putting its money where its mouth is when the regime of the Ayatollahs regularly organizes massive crowds to chant, “Death to Israel, Death to America.”  Now the question is how the U.S. will respond to this latest provocation. Supporters and opponents of the nuclear weapons deal must come together to act decisively by demonstrating the U.S. speaks with one voice in opposition to support of terror.

“Former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s quick condemnation of Iran’s intention to fund Palestinian murder is a good first step. We call on other American and world leaders to speak out against Iran’s terror stipend.”

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