Statements

Saturday, November 14, 2015 - 6:23pm

NEW YORK -- American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen: “We at the American Jewish Congress stand in solidarity with all those affected by the horrendous terror attacks in Paris -- the victims, their families and friends, the French government and everyone in the world who cherishes the tenets of democracy, freedom and tolerance.

Those who oppose our rights to safety must be brought to justice. Those who seek to impose their radical beliefs upon the world -- through destruction, violence and cruelty -- must be brought to justice. We respect and cherish the freedom for all global citizens to formulate their own belief systems, but those ideologies that seek to undermine the security of others must not be allowed to proliferate.

While this heinous act will certainly not go unheeded, we must be sure to educate ourselves on the facts, and those that will come to follow, to rid our minds of malice and steer clear from harsh stereotypes and generalizations -- Islamophobia, xenophobia and racism.

If we let hatred fill our hearts, rather than sympathy and compassion, we will only grant victory to the barbaric actors who have cast such a dark shadow upon the world. So instead, our thoughts and prayers remain with all those affected by violence and hatred across the world and we wish for safe refuge for all those who believe in peace and love.

Je suis Paris; Je suis France."

Thursday, November 12, 2015 - 11:28am

NEW YORK -- In response to the European Commission’s decision to label products produced in east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank, and exclude them from the Israeli Free Trade agreement with the European Union (EU), American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

“We are gravely disappointed that the European Commission has decided to legitimize the BDS movement in the eyes of Europeans and discount historical precedent with this motion.

Anti-Semitism is at a dangerous tipping point in Europe, as radical right-wing parties have taken a larger stake in EU member states given the public’s disillusionment with government following the fiscal crisis. It is scary enough that there are elected officials in Europe who speak openly against Jews, but now it appears that the EU has gone one step further in its failure to recognize this crisis of anti-Semitism amid the continent where the Jew’s darkest days unfolded.

With the recent surge in attacks on Jews across Europe -- from France to Norway -- it is evident that the EU should be moving to educate the public against anti-Semitism, not encouraging it by vilifying Israel.

Jews from Europe, and across the world, must stand up against this ignorant decision by coming together and telling their respective governments that they must support Israel and defend what is right. If this motion goes unheeded, it will be another dangerous step down the slippery slope of European anti-Jewish sentiment. We cannot allow this to continue.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 11:12am

NEW YORK -- In response to the Washington Post column by Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl, published on October 23, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

“We at the American Jewish Congress were greatly dismayed by the construct set forth by the article, entitled: ‘We are lifelong Zionists. Here’s why we’ve chosen to boycott Israel.’

In this piece, Mr. Levitsky and Mr. Weyl argue that the only way that Israel can secure permanent statehood and universal respect is to remove their presence from Palestinian territory. They do not, however, recognize wrongdoing by Palestinians or mention the historical context of the situation. They do not mention multiple instances in which Palestinian leaders refused to sign peace agreements with Israel, nor do they mention the most recent incitement of violence by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mr Levitsky and Mr. Weyl go on to assert that the best thing that supporters of Israel, and American Jews in particular, can do to help Israel in the long-run, is to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. They posit that only by cutting off American aid and foreign investment in Israel will the Israeli government withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza, which, they argue, is the in the best interest of everyone. They fail to recognize the real aim of the leaders of the BDS movement, which is to delegitimize the State of Israel.

It seems counterintuitive that supporting this movement will help Israel in any feasible way, or that it could secure peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The BDS movement directly undermines our ability to achieve tolerance and understanding among Israelis and Palestinians.

For self-proclaimed Zionists to encourage other Jews to turn their backs on Israel is a departure from the tenets of Zionism altogether. It is a travesty that such a dangerous conclusion could be built on such false premises.”

Friday, October 23, 2015 - 12:56pm
NEW YORK -- In response to the resolution passed by the Executive Board of UNESCO, claiming the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb as Muslim holy sites, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:

“We are appalled by the passage of the UNESCO resolution claiming the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb are strictly Muslim holy sites with no connection to the Jewish people. I fear this outrage -- historically false, morally disreputable and politically cynical -- will only incite more violence against innocent Israelis. We applaud the countries that voted against it and thank UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova for her opposition to the resolution and outspoken defense of Jewish holy sites.

It is a travesty that Muslim countries, backed by a majority of the UNESCO Executive Board, would distort and deny history. Politicizing sacred historical religious sites, especially amid a time of escalating violence against Israel citizens, is not what most people around the world have a right to expect.

Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs always have been acknowledged to be Jewish holy sites. It was not until the 1990’s that any opposition to that truth arose as an anti-Israel tactic. The Palestinian Authority gains nothing by attempting to alter history for political purposes. Indeed, it reveals the depths to which it will go to engage in denial of the history and culture of the Jewish people in their historic homeland.

It is deplorable that 26 countries could support a resolution rooted in hatred and so lacking in basic historic facts. The abstention of 25 nations, including Western democracies and supposed supporters of Israel that profess to hold dear truth and tolerance, only adds to the instability endangering Israelis. This resolution emboldens Palestinians committing acts of terror against Israelis.

We call upon global leaders to stand up, do the right thing morally and intellectually, and condemn in the strongest possible terms this blasphemous denial of history that seeks to turn the truth on its head.”
Monday, October 5, 2015 - 10:19am

NEW YORK—In response to the wave of terror attacks, including a deadly stabbing in the Old City of Jerusalem over the weekend, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement: “First and foremost, we pray for the innocent victims of the attacks and to all those affected by these acts of terror. It is unacceptable that families cannot walk safely with their children to the Western Wall, or drive them safely home. It is equally unconscionable that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has not yet condemned these acts of terror. “On the heels of the international community convening in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, we cannot afford to let a violent minority deter the good faith dialogue that is so urgently needed. The Palestinian leadership must recognize and prioritize the shared interest in de-escalating the cycle of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Together, we can prevent a third intifada, but not without the Palestinian people signaling they are prepared to choose life and dialogue over terror and destruction. Abbas condemning the recent attacks is a critical first step.”

Friday, October 2, 2015 - 3:25pm

NEW YORK—In response to West Bank terror attack and murder of Eitam and Na’ama Hankin, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement: “Our prayers go out to the four Hankin children who were forced to witness this unspeakable act of terror, and to all those affected by this senseless violence. We are in shock that a human being could be so filled with hatred to murder innocent parents before their children’s eyes, and saddened that four young children will have to grow up as orphans. It is well past time to put a stop to the incitement contributing to these vicious acts of terror, and move forward toward a more peaceful future.”

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 11:28am

NEW YORK—In response to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ address to the UN General Assembly, in which he stated that the Palestinian Authority was no longer bound by its agreements with Israel, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement:


“Mr. Abbas must be taking suggestions from Hamas, because his new position is precisely what his erstwhile terrorist partners have been advocating for years. By continuing to incite violence, support terrorism and spew anti-Semitism, the Palestinian leadership consistently has shown it is neither interested in preserving the Oslo Accords nor achieving lasting regional stability.

“Given the current turmoil in the Middle East, leaders on both sides must firmly reject isolation, intolerance and destructiveness, and recommit themselves to promoting coexistence and mutual understanding.”

Thursday, August 6, 2015 - 2:45pm

“The burden of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon must not be passed on to our children and grandchildren.” — AJCongress President Jack Rosen

NEW YORK—After careful and deliberate consideration, American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) President Jack Rosen issued the following statement regarding the Iran deal:

“The Executive Board of the American Jewish Congress has come to the decision that the agreement reached by the P5+1 nations with Iran is fundamentally flawed and should be rejected by the United States Congress.

“We have read the agreement, and listened closely to the arguments made by President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretaries Kerry and Muniz and others in the Administration. We are persuaded that the negotiating team worked tirelessly to try to achieve a deal that would serve the best interests of the United States and its allies. We recognize that no deal is perfect, and the Administration has taken great pains to try to narrow Iran's ability to acquire nuclear weapons.

“However, success depends, in part, on the ability of the International Atomic Energy Agency to perform robust and intrusive inspections on all Iranian facilities in a timely and comprehensive manner. We do not believe the agreement lives up to that requirement.

“President Obama's stated aim—at the beginning of his presidency, during the negotiations, and after the agreement was signed—was to prevent every conceivable pathway for Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Yet, the President conceded in an interview that even in the unlikely event that Iran faithfully lives up to every obligation in the Agreement, the deal has a life expectancy of somewhere between 10-15 years, after which it would be in a position to make a dash toward nuclear capability.

“In other words, the U.S. is willing to say to children in elementary school today that by the time they reach college, they may be living in a world where the regime of the Ayatollahs, which continues to denounce the United States as its mortal enemy even after concluding the Agreement, may well be a nuclear country.

“Unfortunately, it no longer can be said that the U.S. has erected a roadblock to every avenue Iran might use to become a nuclear power.

“The American Jewish Congress is deeply concerned that the national security interests of the United States will be compromised by this agreement, and that the safety and security of Israel may be jeopardized by those who loudly proclaim to the world their desire to destroy and eliminate the Jewish state.”

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