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Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 5:00pm

This past weekend was marked by two tragic events: the attack at Chabad of Poway Synagogue in Poway, California on Saturday, in which one member of the congregation was murdered and three others were injured; and an attack on a Protestant church in Silgadji, Burkina Faso on Sunday, which left five dead – including a pastor and his sons – and at least two other people missing. Although these events took place half a world away from each other, they are both symptoms of our global struggle against extremism, bigotry, and hate.  

Yesterday, the United Nations Security Council held a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims of these two monstrous acts. UN Secretary-General António Guterres also spoke of the need to “step up to stamp out anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, persecution of Christians, and all other forms of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and incitement.”

The American Jewish Congress commends Secretary-General Guterres and the UN Security Council for dedicating the time and effort to speak out against the scourge of anti-Semitism and other forms of religious and ethnic hate, which have once again manifested themselves as acts of unspeakable violence.

Jack Rosen, President of the American Jewish Congress, said: “Hate-filled violence against Jews, Muslims, Christians, and other faiths is a global epidemic which cannot be curbed without the clear and unequivocal voice of the UN. I commend Secretary-General Guterres for speaking out forcefully against anti-Semitism and other forms of hate and thank the United Nations Security Council for their moment of silence in solidarity with the victims.”

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 9:33am

Earlier this month, the American Jewish Congress wrote to leadership at the University of North Carolina (UNC) to express concern over an event titled "Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics, and Possibilities," cosponsored by the UNC School of Medicine, the UNC Eshleman School of Pharmacy, and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. The event featured a display of flagrant anti-Semitism, in which Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar performed what he called his "anti-Semitic song" and requested that audience members join in because he "[could not] be anti-Semitic alone."

In response, we received the following letter from Barbara K. Rimer, the Dean of the UNC Gillings School of Public Health. We appreciate that Dean Rimer shares our concerns and condemned the unfortunate event. We are encouraged by the sentiments she expresses, and hope that UNC and all universities are more careful in the events that they sponsor and more active in efforts to fight anti-Semitism on campuses. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 7:21pm

On this holy day of Shabbat, at the conclusion of Passover, the peace of sacred worship has been shattered.

We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the tragic shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California. One member of the congregation was murdered; three others were injured, including a child. We hope and pray for the dead and injured, their families and community, and for the law enforcement officers who prevented further injury and loss of life.

In yet another attack on our brothers and sisters, we are reminded of the dark shadow of hate that lies in the hearts of many, and that there are those would would do the Jewish people harm as we attempt to worship in peace. This unspeakable act was cruelly committed on the six-month anniversary of the tragedy in Pittsburgh, when another attacker stormed into a synagogue and murdered eleven Jewish worshipers, changing a community forever.

This is also a painful and urgent reminder of the consequences of hate speech. Attacks like this do not occur in a vacuum; when hateful rhetoric and nonviolent hate crimes are allowed to become a "normal" occurrence, this is the inevitable result. We can no longer afford to treat hate speech against Jews or any other minority as anything less than a precursor to violence and bloodshed.

We sincerely hope that, in time, the Jewish community of Poway will find some measure of peace. All Americans must join together to halt the expansion of hate, to protect ourselves, our country, and our future.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Monday, April 15, 2019 - 6:00pm

The American Jewish Congress strongly opposes any cut to the U.S. security or financial assistance to Israel, as implied by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in an interview with Yahoo News' “Skullduggery” podcast today.  

U.S. support for Israel’s security is a long-standing bipartisan U.S. policy that has transcended both Republican and Democratic administrations, and is based not only on shared values of freedom and democracy, but is also greatly valuable to the U.S. 

American financial and security assistance to Israel is first and foremost a way to protect U.S. lives and interests in the Middle East. Israel serves as a stabilizer in a turbulent region and is on the front-lines of countering some of the U.S.’s most dangerous enemies such as Iran and its malign proxies Hezbollah and Hamas. The American Investment in Israel’s security means an investment in American lives and values.  

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Friday, April 12, 2019 - 10:00am

The American Jewish Congress applauds the decision of the US authorities to deny entry to Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate and bigotry should not be tolerated.

Omar Barghouti has publicly stated that he opposes Israel’s existence, openly calling for its destruction as a Jewish state, and has denied that the Jewish people have a right to self-determination. The BDS Movement is fueled by a discriminatory agenda that singularly targets Israel with the intent of doing economic harm and it aims to delegitimize the Jewish State in the international arena. Danger with BDS is not only the potential economic damage to Israel but rather its deep-rooted anti-Semitism, which directly affects the Jewish community and students on US campuses.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 - 10:51am

The American Jewish Congress welcomes the decision of Airbnb to reverse its stated policy of boycotting the Israeli listings in the West Bank. The announcement of Airbnb in November was indicative of a double standard. We are glad to see that the company decided to retract it once it became clear that the policy fed the narrative of the discriminatory and anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. We live at a time when criticism of Israel seems to come easy to people. It is good to see that when the Jewish community works to inform them about the facts and set the record straight, we can have a real impact.

 

Jack Rosen 

President 

American Jewish Congress

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 5:55pm

American Jewish Congress calls on next Israeli leadership: “Seize this opportunity to further solidify U.S. – Israel relations, strengthen the unbreakable alliance, and once more make Israel a bipartisan issue”

The American Jewish Congress congratulates the State of Israel on electing its 21st Knesset, Israel’s parliament. While the final votes are still being tallied, and the race seems too close to call, it is clear that the real winners are the millions of Israeli citizens who carried out their democratic duty today.

Today’s events prove once more that U.S. support for Israel is based on shared values of democracy and freedom, reinforcing the idea that America’s support for the only democracy in the Middle East should remain steadfast. 

As the process of counting votes continues across the country, exit polls indicate a close race between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz on who will be tasked with assembling Israel’s coalition government and become Israel's next Prime Minister. Both PM Netanyahu and General Gantz have dedicated their respective careers to exemplary service to the State of Israel, and we look forward to working with either of them. It will be exciting to see how the political process will play out and who President Reuven Rivlin will designate to assemble the next government.

Jack Rosen, President of the American Jewish Congress: “Regardless of the identity of Israel’s next Prime Minister, we call on Israel’s next leader and government to seize this opportunity to further solidify U.S.-Israel relations, strengthen their unbreakable alliance, and once more make Israel a bipartisan issue, which enjoys support from both Republicans and Democrats, as it has been for decades.”

For 71 years, the State of Israel has acted as a beacon of democratic values in a tumultuous part of the world dominated by autocracies. In spite of the significant obstacles Israel faces at home and on its borders, in spite of constant threats of violence and destruction from its neighbors, Israel has never wavered from its democratic principles. It is this unbreakable spirit that has sustained the Jewish people for millennia, even though periods of unthinkable darkness. This commitment to freedom and democracy is part of what makes Israel such a source of light to Jews and others around the world, and part of why Israel and the United States are indispensable allies and steadfast friends. Congratulations, Israel! Am Israel Chai!

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Join us this Thursday, April 11th for an Executive Briefing Call with renowned Israeli diplomat Asaf Shariv, who will give his expert insight into the results of the elections. Register here: ow.ly/KmCE30ollvT

Monday, April 8, 2019 - 2:30pm

The American Jewish Congress applauds the Trump Administration's decision to classify Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

This marks a dramatic step forward in properly identifying the Iranian threat. Until now, the U.S. has never named an entire entity of a foreign government as a Foreign Terrorist Organization; it is entirely fitting and necessary that Iran is the first. Iran's state sponsorship of terrorism goes far beyond that of any other country on Earth, in scale, ambition, and blatancy. Moreover, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps actively promotes, supports, and participates in terrorism in pursuit of Iran's goal of regional hegemony. It is imperative that when nations take part in global terrorism, we hold those nations accountable and recognize their actions for what they are.

President Trump has shown courage in recognizing the realities of the modern Middle East in a way that other world leaders do not. The Iranian government is a threat to the region and to global security at large, and an undeniable source of terrorist violence against civilians. We cannot afford to stay in denial about Iran.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Monday, April 1, 2019 - 5:05pm

The American Jewish Congress asks President Trump to reconsider his decision to cut aid to the Central American nations of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. 

These three countries are important allies and neighbors of the United States. While the existence of crisis and turmoil in Central America is undeniable, cutting aid from these countries will make the situation more difficult for their governments. All three of these countries are on the frontlines of a global battle against drug cartel violence and transnational crime. Without American support, these countries will have a harder time resisting these profound threats which affect us all; this is our fight too.

I recently had the honor of hosting the President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, at my home in New York. When we discussed the issues plaguing Central America, President Morales expressed a deep understanding of the region and a strong dedication to working toward solutions that will protect American's interests. I also got to know El Salvador's President-Elect, Nayib Bukele, when he participated in our International Mayors Conference last year. In our discussions, President-Elect Bukele expressed dedication and commitment to solving these crises; given that he will take office in only two months, he and his new leadership should have a proper chance to implement their new policies before the U.S. changes its policies toward El Salvador.

This decision risks sending the message to our allies that we only support them in fair weather. We hope that President Trump will reconsider this decision and see that by supporting America's allies to the south, we are investing in regional security and a stronger future for our regional neighborhood.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 5:39pm

The American Jewish Congress applauds the decision of the United States to finally recognize the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory. This is a necessary and long-overdue action, and we fully support President Trump in this important step.

For all intents and purposes, this territory has been part of Israel since 1967. During the Six-Day War, Israel took control of the Golan Heights from Syria as a necessary self-defense measure to ensure the country's survival. In the 52 years between then and now, the Golan has functioned as a fully-integrated part of Israel. And it is not only Israel that treats the Golan as Israeli, but also Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and every other geopolitical actor in the region. When Iranian forces in Syria flew a drone into the Golan last year, they were fully aware that this was Israel. Syrians wounded due to the Syrian Civil War flee to the Syrian border with the Golan Heights to receive lifesaving medical care from the IDF.

The security needs which mandated that Israel take the Golan Heights in 1967 are no less pertinent today. Syria used the Golan's strategic geography in two separate offensive wars against Israel in the past. Today, Iran and Hezbollah, both of which have vowed Israel's destruction, use Syrian territory as a front for violence against the State of Israel. Israel has never waged an offensive war and its actions in the Golan Heights have represented pure self-defense. By recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the U.S. is helping to secure the ability of its closest regional ally to defend itself. We hope that other members of the international community will follow President Trump's example.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress