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Friday, December 7, 2018 - 2:00pm

Yesterday, the United Nations came closer than ever before to finally condemning the terrorist group Hamas. In other words, it failed. For the first time, a majority in the UN voted to condemn Hamas - yet it was not the necessary two-thirds.

This failure to condemn Hamas is so illogical, so backward, it is nearly farcical. Hamas is an organization that proudly advocates genocide and wears its bigotry as a badge. Children and families in southern Israel live in fear of Hamas rockets striking their homes and their schools. Palestinian and Israeli civilians alike suffer at the hands of Hamas, and the residents of Gaza most of all. This is not a perspective; it is the objective truth.

The United Nations passes more condemnations of Israel than for all other nations combined. Yet over the decades, it has never once condemned a group that flaunts its cruelty. Yesterday the international community decided it could not unite against the killing of innocents if some of those innocents are Israelis. The UN has become an arena for political posturing, where morals and values are set aside in favor of pride and self-righteousness.

I will remain cautiously optimistic. That the condemnation received majority support is significant, and I hope it is a sign that members of the international community are coming to their senses, one by one. Some of that credit is certainly owed to Ambassador Nikki Haley, who has fought valiantly for the UN to return to reason. I hope the day comes soon when all of us can come together to say that the slaughter of innocents is wrong. But until then, we have little to celebrate.

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 5:30pm

American Jewish Congress celebrates 100 years of supporting the Jewish Community in the United States and honors Congressman Joe Kennedy III with Stephen S. Wise Award for Advancing Human Freedom.

The evening was attended by top political and diplomatic players, including New York’s Attorney General Elect, Letitia James, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Congressman Jerry Nadler, former Congressman Charles Rangel, Permanent Representatives from the Missions of Mexico, Argentina, Slovakia, Mali, Kosovo, and Italy to the UN, and several Consuls General.

 

New York, NY (November 28, 2018) – On Monday evening, the American Jewish Congress honored Congressman Joe Kennedy at its centennial celebration at a venue in midtown New York. The event was attended by remarkable New York guests, including New York City’s Attorney General Elect Letitia James; Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Congressman Jerry Nadler Permanent Representatives of the Missions of Mexico, Argentina, Slovakia, Mali, Kosovo, Italy, and other nations to the United Nations; U.S. Members of Congress; Consuls General of China and Israel; businesspeople; Jewish community leaders; and many others. The event’s Honorary Chair was Len Blavatnik, along with Co-Chair Marvin Rosen.

Looking back on 100 years of activism and community leadership is no small task. Eliyahu Stern, Professor of Modern Jewish Intellectual and Cultural History at Yale University, guided the attendees through the remarkable history of this organization, and the achievements of its past leaders which set the standard for their present and future work. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer then addressed the attendees by video, congratulating the AJCongress for this historic milestone.

American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen delivered meaningful remarks on the crises facing the Jewish community and others today, and the urgency of continuing the work AJCongress’ founders began a century ago. Rosen said during his speech: “It is from a deep sense of personal responsibility that I am part of the American Jewish Congress, because sadly this organization is needed today more than ever. After the Holocaust, Jews everywhere committed to the mantra ‘Never Again.’ Yet today, here in the United States of America, we hear again hate on the march. In Charlottesville. In Pittsburgh. We will not remain silent as this threat festers and grows.”

As the evening progressed, young Alex Rosen, Mr. Rosen’s grandson, recognized his grandfather for his own contributions to the organization’s enduring legacy – and reminded the audience that the future of our work rests with our children. “The real question for the American Jewish Congress today is how to help the Jewish people and all people of peace win the future,” Alex said during his speech. “The answers come in the two life lessons that my grandfather always teaches us: work hard and be curious.”

At the conclusion of the night, Mr. Rosen presented Congressman Kennedy with the Stephen S. Wise Award. Named for visionary founder Rabbi Wise, this award has recognized a number of remarkable American and Israeli leaders in the last century – including the Congressman’s grandfather, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, and others.

Upon accepting the award, Rep. Kennedy gave an impassioned speech about the impact made by the American Jewish Congress on U.S. history., and the roles played by the Kennedy family as well as the Congress in protecting American values over the years.

In his speech, Rep. Kennedy spoke about the important role of the Jewish people in American history and the contributions they have made. He spoke out against the resurgence of anti-Semitism, and emphasized the importance of unity and community across religious, ethnic, and racial lines. He also stated his support for the State of Israel and described his admiration the qualities that have allowed Israel to succeed and thrive. “The American Jewish Congress is greatly blessed to have him as a friend and partner as they enter our second century,” Jack Rosen remarked at the end of the evening.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 2:31pm

The American Jewish Congress congratulates the Democratic Party on earning a majority of seats in the US House of Representatives, as well as all candidates who won their respective elections last night, regardless of party affiliation. The American democratic process is a marvel of human progress, and remains an unshakable bedrock for our values even when our politics feel divided.

There were numerous factors that played into the results of the elections. One of these factors of special concern for the Jewish Community was the rise in white nationalism and hate we have witnessed across the country. It played a role in the outcome of this election. To an extent, it was this climate that created the sense of urgency which drove such high voter turnout yesterday - an encouraging result arising from adverse circumstances. In some states, voters resisted problematic candidates with fervor; in others, hateful candidates made it farther than we ever thought possible.

Hate is not a partisan issue; I encourage both parties to recognize that intolerance exists on both sides of the aisle, and not only in the far fringes. Democrats: Be mindful not only to cast blame across the aisle, but also to reflect on the anti-Semitism and prejudice exhibited by a few within your own party. Republicans: I hope this election will encourage you to reaffirm the egalitarian principles at your core, and remember the openness and sense of social justice upon which your party was built.

Part of America’s healing after Pittsburgh and the other terrible hate crimes we have seen must be to stand tall for all minorities across America. Not only is it key to electoral victory, it is also consistent with our national values.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Monday, November 5, 2018 - 4:46pm

The American Jewish Congress supports President Trump's decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran. This is a strong next step toward resetting our Iran policy and holding Iran's regime accountable for its actions.

Iran's leaders are extreme, aggressive, and bent on regional hegemony. Time and time again, they have antagonized the United States, threatened Israel with annihilation, and sponsored terrorism and violence throughout the Middle East. The Nuclear Deal was based on the premise that Iran would behave better when given concessions; that premise is demonstrably wrong. With sanctions lifted, Iran continued its hateful rhetoric, established advanced weapons factories for Hezbollah in Lebanon, and flagrantly violated the restrictions placed upon it for missile testing. Additionally, the documents uncovered last spring by Israel's Mossad prove that Iran did pursue an extensive nuclear program in the past and lied about it repeatedly when negotiating the Deal. The mullahs cannot be trusted.

We call upon the international community to join the United States in sanctioning the volatile rogue state of Iran.

 

American Jewish Congress

Sunday, October 28, 2018 - 12:54pm

In the shadow of the still-unfolding tragedy in Pittsburgh, I write today with grave concern for American Jews and indeed for the soul of America.
 
As President of the one of the oldest and most prominent organizations dedicated to the issues and interests of American Jews, I have written too many messages of condolence and solidarity to ethnic and religious groups that have been the targets of the increasing hatred and violence gripping our nation. I have issued too many unheeded warnings about creeping anti-Semitism in our politics and discourse. 
 
Our nation is in danger. 
 
The survival and success of the Jewish people to whom the American Jewish Congress is devoted is not an end it itself, it is but an example of the American idea of tolerance and diversity at work. It is this very idea that was threatened in Pittsburgh. It is this very idea that was threatened in Charlottesville, in Charleston, and everywhere unchecked racial and religious intolerance has spilled into its inescapable outcome: violence.
 
I call today for greater leadership in countering the dark forces coursing through America. This is not merely the task of Donald Trump, who as President bears great responsibility for the tone of our nation’s politics and who can yet have enormous positive influence over it.  It also includes elements of the political right, which must reconcile their divisive rhetoric and policies with the pluralistic ideal we have inherited from our nation’s founders. It must also include figures on the so-called progressive left who are exacerbating divisions and turning against our American traditions and values, including taking avowedly anti-Israel positions. Between them all, Jews and the American ideal we represent are being threatened. The result is a dangerously intolerant tone that goes way beyond incivility, but into the potential to manifest into violence and for grievous harm to come to America herself. Armed security guards are not the answer. The violence we bear witness to is a symptom of a bigger, more insidious problem.
 

It is time for a national reckoning that can restore our commitment to one nation that is home to people of many beliefs and backgrounds. This is at once deeply personal and an intimate national process. We must all look within ourselves on how to live the American creed, and we must look to our leaders to help us fulfill our destiny as a shining example of tolerance, diversity, and human progress. The Jewish community in particular needs to recognize the seriousness of the threat before us, which can no longer be viewed as isolated spasms of ignorance and violence. We must come together and join with all people of peace and goodwill to fight this ugly, pervasive and growing stain on America’s character.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 4:22pm

Today, Nikki Haley announced her resignation as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. To say we are sad to see her go would be a great understatement. In addition to being a diplomat and orator of the highest caliber, Nikki Haley is a true friend of Israel.

For decades, the United Nations has had a serious problem with anti-Israel bias, to the point that it substantially lowered the credibility of the institution. The Security Council repeatedly passes dramatic condemnations of Israel while neglecting to speak on the greatest humanitarian crises of the day; UNESCO routinely denies Jewish history despite archaeological evidence; and UNCHR continuously targets Israel, while failing to condemn regimes with some of the worst track records on human rights. Those are just a few examples of a systemic problem. From day one, Ambassador Haley vowed to stop tolerating this absurd and discriminatory behavior, and she lived up to her promise. Over and over, she called out UN member states and bodies on their hypocrisy and bias. She insisted that Israel be treated just like any other country, and the Jewish people like any other people. And she advocated for and defended the U.S. government's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Yet as significant as Ambassador Haley's defense of Israel was, no less was her understanding of why. She understood that the UN's anti-Israel bias obstructs the UN's noble goals of international peace, cooperation, and understanding; that treating Israel like any other country is necessary for the equal treatment of all countries going forward; that discrimination against the Jewish people is intertwined with other forms of discrimination as well, and to fight one form of hatred is to fight them all. In that sense, Ambassador Haley represented the core values of the American Jewish Congress, which we believe, by extension, are fundamental values of the United States: that our rights and freedoms are only truly safeguarded if they are for everyone.

Thank you, Nikki Haley, for your exemplary service to the United States of America, and for your bold defense of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. We wish you the best in all your future endeavors, and warmly remind you that you are among friends.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - 12:49pm

"On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres spoke before UNESCO to condemn and call for an end to antisemitism. His speech had many strong and correct assertions about the nature of hatred and the long history of antisemitism. But perhaps his most noteworthy point was this: that to deny Israel's right to exist is a form of anti-Semitism. While this has long been recognized as fact among Jewish communities and supporters of Israel, many around the world, including here in America, refuse to accept this essential truth. 

"The manner in which Israel is routinely slandered, delegitimized, and openly threatened on the world stage is unlike how any other UN member state is treated. The ancient historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, including the city of Jerusalem, is proven time and time again by archaeological evidence, yet other countries frequently deny these facts. Meanwhile, UN bodies continue to single out Israel for blame and condemn it for defending itself - echoing the language of antisemitic conspiracy theories. It's time we call these actions what they are: discrimination, bigotry, and hate. 

"That's why this statement by Mr. Guterres sets such a powerful example. As Secretary-General, he is uniquely positioned to lead by example and change the tide in the UN. And especially in front of UNESCO, which has a long track record of antisemitic and anti-Israel bias, this needed to be said. I thank Secretary-General Guterres for standing up for the truth, and I look forward to a new day at the United Nations."

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Monday, October 1, 2018 - 12:43pm
In response to the Iranian government blaming Israel and the US for a gunman attack:

Last week, a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz turned into a scene of bloodshed when gunmen opened fire, killing almost 30 people - most of them civilians - and wounding many more. Shamefully, instead of facing the tragedy directly, Iran's leaders quickly put the blame on the US and Israel, without evidence or justification.

For the mullahs to turn a tragic loss of life into yet another piece of baseless propaganda is deceitful and sad. The authoritarian Iranian regime routinely oppresses and silences its people. Instead of providing for its citizens and investing in its economy, Iran pours its resources into campaigns of terror and aggression throughout the Middle East. And when civilians are slaughtered, instead of working to find the perpetrators and prevent future slaughter, the regime points fingers at Israel and the US, like it does time and time again, so it won't have to take responsibility for itself. It is clear to us that the true enemy of the Iranian people is their government; what the mullahs fear most is their people seeing the truth.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 11:32am

The American Jewish Congress is concerned by the latest round of hostilities which has seen multiple rockets and mortar attacks launched at southern Israel from Gaza, targeting civilian populations. There is no justification for militant provocation and civilians must never be targeted in this way. The American Jewish Congress remains committed to Israel’s security and the safety of the Israelis living under constant missile attacks from the Gaza strip.

Monday, May 14, 2018 - 1:47pm

The American Jewish Congress applauds the US administration for courageously enacting its historic commitment to relocating the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s rightful capital of Jerusalem. In the space of one week, America has twice reiterated its faith in Israel’s legitimacy, in words and deeds, and in doing so, it has set an important precedent for other states to follow. American Jewry is proud to have a government that is committed to standing with Israel and in defense of its rights like all sovereign nations.