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Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 4:35pm

We would like to share with you a letter that was sent to Michigan Congressman Andy Levin. Despite being Jewish himself, Congressman Levin strongly opposed naming Congresswoman Ilhan Omar in the House anti-hate resolution and explicitly condemning her anti-Semitic comments.

The letter to Rep. Levin is only one of many we sent to elected officials to describe the profound impact that Rep. Omar's statements had on the Jewish community and to express our disappointment with the reluctance of her colleagues to directly condemn those remarks.

No one should give bigotry a pass, even when it comes from one's own party ranks.

Friday, March 15, 2019 - 3:48pm

Our hearts go out to the victims of the horrific events in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 49 Muslims were murdered in their place of worship. 

It is difficult to comprehend the degree of hatred that motivates someone to murder innocents as they pray. This is the end result of all hatred. We condemn the hateful ideology that motivated this attack in the strongest possible terms.

To our Muslim brothers and sisters, as you stood with us after Pittsburgh, so do we stand with you now. The hatred that drove these attacks stems from the same profound hatred for social inclusion and coexistence, hatred for a world in which Muslims and Jews and other minorities can live and prosper and feel at home. The strongest stance we can take against this is solidarity. To support each other, to dream of a future for us all. To the people of Christchurch, the families and friends of the victims, and to Muslim communities in New Zealand, in the United States, and everywhere in the world, we are with you.

 

Jack Rosen, President

Munr Kazmir, Vice-President 

Ben Chouake, Secretary 

Michael Melnicke, Treasurer

Friday, March 8, 2019 - 10:23am

We, the undersigned Mayors, participants in the 33rd International Mayors Conference,

Underscoring that Anti-Semitism is a form of oppression that has perpetuated the marginalization of Jewish communities around the world, declare solemnly to stand against it and racial and religious hatred in all forms, no matter from where or whom they come,

We hold firmly the belief that Anti-Semitism is a manifestation of hate and racism that has harmed the Jewish people for centuries, and that harmful narratives and stereotypes about the Jewish community have affected the way in which the world perceives it.       

For years, Anti-Semitism has hurt Jewish communities around the world, making them vulnerable to despicable acts of violence that threaten the very existence of the Jewish people. From the horrors of the Holocaust to traditional Anti-Semitic tropes to the delegitimization of the State of Israel, Anti-Semitism continues to pose a serious threat today. All forms of Anti-Semitism are unethical and cause harm not only to Jewish people but also to other minorities and to the fight for social justice around the world.

Understanding the current threats stemming from Anti-Semitism requires us to listen to Jewish voices; to fight for the rights and dignity of the Jewish people; to stand resolute against violence and terrorism around the world; to recognize the significance of the land of Israel and the holy city of Jerusalem to the Jewish people; to treat antisemitism with the same gravity as any other form of ethnic, racial, or religious discrimination; to speak out against attempts to deny Jewish history; and to condemn all who minimize, trivialize, or deny the Holocaust.

 

 

Signed,

 

Mayor Nasry Asfura Zablah, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Mayor Khalid Belisle, Belmopan, Belize

Mayor Astrid Cora Fodor, Sibiu, Romania

Mayor Isidore Gnonlonfoun, Cotonou, Benin

Mayor Julian Gold, Beverly Hills, California, USA

Mayor Daniel Guerrero, San Pedro, Belize

Mayor Timbi Pascal Kaboré, Soaw, Burkina Faso

Mayor Vitali Klitschko, Kiev, Ukraine

Mayor Ko Wen-Je, Taipei, Taiwan

Mayor Jorge Macri, Vicente López, Argentina

Mayor Luis Bernardo Nava Guerrero, Querétaro, Mexico

Mayor Wild Ndipo, Blantyre, Malawi

Mayor William Peduto, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Mayor Igor Radojičić, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mayor Zoran Radojičić, Belgrade, Serbia

Mayor Ramón Antonio Ramírez, Veron Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Mayor Claudio Scajola, Imperia, Italy

Mayor Bojan Šrot, Celje, Slovenia

Mayor Ethan Strimgling, Portland, Maine, USA

Mayor Contantin Toma, Buzău, Romania

Mayor René Polanco Vidal, Santo Domingo Norte, Dominican Republic

Mayor Kayanja Vincent de Paul, Entebbe, Uganda

Mayor Nebojša Zelenović, Šabac, Serbia

Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 6:02pm

The new Resolution on anti-Semitism passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives is a much-needed step, and we are pleased to see that it passed. The text of this Resolution is thorough in addressing the history, range, and insidious nature of anti-Semitism, as well as Islamophobia and other forms of hatred and racism. For these truths to be acknowledged publicly by Congress is necessary and timely.

We are concerned, however, that this action will not be enough to counter the repeated anti-Semitic comments by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and other members of the House of Representatives. When Rep. Omar alleged that AIPAC was buying support for Israel from Congress, a similar resolution was passed. Not only did Rep. Omar proceed to make further problematic statements, but she also went as far as to use that controversy for her own fundraising. Furthermore, the Resolution fails to mention Omar by name. Now that her anti-Semitic statements have become a pattern, Congress should have the courage to call her out clearly.

Moving forward, resolutions are not enough to resist the hatred and anti-Semitism bubbling up across American society and in the highest levels of our government.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Monday, February 25, 2019 - 5:30pm

Today, the United Kingdom finally made the critical decision to recognize Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, and to ban all its branches.

The Iran-backed Shi’ite militant group has a strong and growing presence in Lebanon’s government, while also maintaining military control in the Lebanese south. This year, the Israel Defense Forces located and destroyed a new series of terror tunnels constructed by Hezbollah that extend into Israeli territory – an affront to Israeli sovereignty. Hezbollah has also become a key military actor in the violence in Syria, and plays an integral role in projecting Iranian influence and interests across the Middle East.

Until now, the British government only outlawed Hezbollah’s external security unit and its military wing. As recently as June 2018, Hezbollah flags were carried in the streets of London with impunity in the anti-Israel Quds Day rally, with protestors chanting “Death to Israel.” We are glad to see the UK join the United States in identifying Hezbollah for what it really is, and we hope that other European Union countries will follow London’s example.

 

American Jewish Congress

Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 5:00pm

The American Jewish Congress is disappointed to hear about the serious misstatement by Andrea Mitchell of NBC. Ms. Mitchell falsely stated that the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 was directed against the "Polish regime" in addition to the Nazis. In actuality, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was a Jewish revolt solely against the Nazis, that occupied Poland during World War II and were responsible for the establishment of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Ms. Mitchell has since apologized. When speaking about the Holocaust, the importance of 100% factual accuracy cannot be overstated. 

 

American Jewish Congress

Monday, February 11, 2019 - 1:04pm

The American Jewish Congress condemns recently-elected Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for her anti-Semitic comments. Rep. Omar is often highlighted as one of the first Muslim women elected into Congress, which is worthy of celebration. Her history of anti-Semitic rhetoric and anti-Israel political stances, however, should concern the Jewish American community and indeed all Americans.

This Sunday, she reignited our concerns when she suggested on Twitter that the United States’ support for Israel is all about Jewish money. As a response to House Minority Leader Kevin McCathy’s statement that he will act against her and fellow Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for their anti-Israel vitriol, Omar suggested that Congressional support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins,” then clarified in a follow-up tweet that she believes AIPAC is responsible for buying Congressional support for Israel.

Suggesting that Jews manipulate our government, through monetary means or otherwise, is a classic anti-Semitic trope that has been used to harm Jews for hundreds of years. This is not the first time Omar has employed such a trope; in the past, she tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” for which she recently apologized and claimed she did not understand its implication. But when she uses these sorts of tropes consistently, it becomes progressively harder to give her the benefit of the doubt. In light of this, we urge her fellow Congressmen and women to reconsider her position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“This latest comment from Congresswoman Omar should disturb us all,” said American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen. “Not only is this deeply offensive, but it also shows that a U.S. Congresswoman fails to understand the American values, security interests, and many other factors that make the U.S.-Israel relationship so important. Such ignorance on our foreign policy would be troubling for any Member of Congress, let alone one who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

The American Jewish Congress is calling upon Americans, and especially those in Rep. Omar’s constituency, to contact Rep. Omar’s office and let her know that statements such as these do not belong in Congress. By calling 202-225-4755, we can encourage her to reflect on her problematic stances and hopefully become a better representative for the American people.

 

American Jewish Congress

Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 6:00pm

On Tuesday night, President Trump delivered his second State of the Union address. He spoke about many important issues, especially on topics of national security and our security interests in the Middle East. In the course of his speech, the President made some strong and encouraging statements for Jewish and pro-Israel Americans.

Last year, it was special to hear the President of the United States recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a State of the Union speech for the first time. Then this week, another first: To hear the President refer to the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, not only when the U.S. Embassy is actually there, but also when several other countries have followed his courageous example.

It was also the first State of the Union speech since our withdrawal from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. As a lifelong advocate of Israel, I find it significant and reassuring that our President condemns the Iranian government for the extremist, anti-Semitic, genocidal, authoritarian regime that it is.

As a Jewish American, I was moved by how the President spoke out against the horrific massacre in Pittsburgh this fall. When the President celebrated two remarkable individuals who survived the shooting - Judah Samet, a Holocaust survivor, and Timothy Matson, a heroic SWAT officer who took the killer down - the nation celebrated. And to see another Holocaust survivor, Joshua Kaufman, reunited with Herman Zeitchik, one of the American soldiers who rescued him from Dachau, was beautiful beyond words.

Yet, it is also as a Jewish American and an advocate for Israel that I must address what President Trump did not say. As strong as his speech was in some areas, the gaps are just as significant.

President Trump spoke about the tragedy in Pittsburgh and the heroism of the SWAT officer who ended it, but he spoke about the shooting like it was an isolated incident. In actuality, the Pittsburgh shooting was the worst of an expanding pattern of anti-Semitic hate crime and violence. Violence against Jews has continued since that attack. President Trump mentioned neither these other attacks nor anti-Semitism nor white supremacy. Out of respect for those who were murdered in Pittsburgh, we must not neglect the broader picture.

Moreover, President Trump addressed the threat posed by Iran and its desire to destroy Israel, yet he neglected to mention that Iran's greatest threat to Israel today is its presence in Syria. While the President has every right to be proud of his role in taking down ISIS, he cannot forget that ISIS is not the only dangerous faction that took advantage of the Syrian Civil War; Iranian forces, as well as Iran-backed proxies like Hezbollah, have laid roots in Syria. If President Trump withdraws the U.S. entirely from Syria, Israel and other U.S. allies will be faced with a stronger, more confident Iran.

Overall, I was encouraged by the message of unity that pervaded President Trump's speech. My hope is that between now and the next State of the Union address, President Trump and all our other elected representatives will always keep the full picture in mind.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 6:00pm

This afternoon, the U.S. Senate passed the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 (S.1). This critical includes several measures - among them, the much-needed Combating BDS Act of 2019, which protects state and local governments that wish to "adopt measures to divest its assets from entities using boycotts, divestments, or sanctions to influence Israel's policies." Though we are pleased with the overwhelming support shown in the vote to advance this important legislation, it is deeply concerning that 22 Democratic Senators - almost half of the Senate Democratic Caucus - voted against.

The list of Senators that voted against includes elected officials that have professed support for the Jewish state, but the concerns that they have raised about the provisions dealing with the efforts to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel do not reflect that support. It is also deeply disturbing to see that officials such as Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who have announced their ambitions for the U.S. Presidency, voted against these efforts to fight a movement that threatens the very existence of the State of Israel.

The passage of this legislation is an important victory against the BDS movement, which seeks to inflict economic harm on the State of Israel and its people. BDS not only hurts Israelis of all religions, ethnicities, and political beliefs, but also hurts countless Palestinians employed by Israeli businesses.

The American Jewish applauds all the Senators from both sides of the aisle who came together to make this possible. This vote should remind us all that no matter how divided our politics can feel, the protection of the United States and its allies is a bipartisan mission and should stay as such.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Monday, February 4, 2019 - 6:45pm

The American Jewish Congress congratulates Nayib Bukele for his victory in El Salvador's Presidential Election. In 2018, we had the pleasure of having then-Mayor Bukele in our annual International Mayors Conference in Israel. These are challenging times for El Salvador, and we wish President-Elect Bukele success in addressing the many pressing issues the country faces.

Like many world leaders, President-Elect Bukele began his distinguished political career in municipal politics, first as Mayor of Nuevo Cuscatlán and later as Mayor of San Salvador, El Salvador's capital and most populous city. We are glad to see Mr. Bukele has risen to Head of State, as did other Conference alumni that eventually became leaders in their respective countries, including Mauricio Macri, the current President of Argentina, Matteo Renzi, the former Prime Minister of Italy, and William Lai, the former Premier of Taiwan.

The American Jewish Congress looks forward to closer cooperation with President-Elect Bukele and the Republic of El Salvador, and we hope he will further the relationship between El Salvador and Israel.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress