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Friday, June 28, 2019 - 12:10pm

The American Jewish Congress applauds Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for his decision to back Senate Resolution 120, which opposes the efforts to de-legitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Senator Schumer’s support for this bill reflects the Democratic party’s long tradition of fighting against anti-Semitism and hate speech, and support for the state of Israel.

Opposing economic and cultural boycott of Israel upholds a fundamentally American value by not only standing by a close ally, but also by protecting U.S. businesses and interests abroad.

We also commend Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH) for introducing the resolution and for enlisting such wide bipartisan backing with 63 co-sponsors to date. This underlines America’s unwavering commitment to fighting this modern-day manifestation of anti-Semitism and its support for the State of Israel.  

 

American Jewish Congress

Monday, June 24, 2019 - 5:15pm

This week’s economic workshop in Bahrain, where the U.S. Administration will present its “Peace to Prosperity” plan for development of the Palestinian economy, is an opportunity to re-enter a process which has the potential to propel the Middle East towards a better future.  

Despite the natural, and understandable, skepticism surrounding the workshop, we firmly believe that engagement on economic issues can be a springboard for further dialogue and engagement. We are proud to have been involved in similar economic development initiatives since the 1990’s, with belief that providing a sound economic foundation for the Palestinians makes peace more viable in the future.

We believe that if the Palestinians are given a sense that they stand to lose by not engaging, there is a greater chance they will embrace the process – both economically and politically. In addition, the plan must create an incentive for the Palestinian people to pressure their leadership to abandon its boycott of the U.S. administration, and return to full engagement.

The participation of key Arab states in the conference – Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the UAE and even regional adversaries Saudi Arabia and Qatar – proves that there is growing concern in the region, as well as a desire to give this process a chance. Enlisting the Arab states to invest in the future can be a game-changer, and we hope their participation will be help move the region closer towards peace. Much like the regional efforts to counter Iran’s malign activities, we hope the region’s leading powers will coalesce around the objective of assisting the Palestinians move towards a better future.  

But we also believe that the economic discussions cannot replace a genuine political process – one which must aim to resolve the core issues that at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A solid economic foundation can only be sustained if it is followed up by a good-faith effort to address the Palestinian aspiration for self-determination, and to ensure Israel continues to exist as a peaceful, secure democratic Jewish state. History has shown that disillusionment can lead to violence, and we caution all parties that unless steps are taken on the political track, the results may be highly destructive.   

Greater economic opportunity can help the next generation of Palestinians to choose partnership over extremism and peace over terrorism. We are hopeful that the “Peace to Prosperity” workshop in Bahrain will indeed provide the foundation for prosperity and will ultimately be combined with an honest political process. This is a first - but necessary - step toward a true Israeli-Palestinian peace and help present a better future for the region.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - 1:40pm

As someone whose parents survived the horrors of the Holocaust, I have been repeatedly uneased by the willingness of our politicians to invoke comparisons to this stain on humanity in an attempt to jar the public. Just recently, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did so while discussing migrant detention centers in our country’s south. She explicitly stated that our government is “running concentration camps” and that such practices have been institutionalized. She summoned people to say “never again,” invoking the post-World War II cry to never allow the systematic slaughter of millions of Jews to reoccur. To say that what is occurring within our immigration system—as awful as it may be--is remotely comparable to mass murder on the scale of the Holocaust is a cheapening of the atrocities and their place in history, as well as of the power of the words we use to capture its unique inhumanity and violence.

I frequently recount the tragedy that my family endured during the Holocaust. My grandfather and uncle were burnt alive and after surviving Auschwitz my parents fled to a displaced persons camp, where I was born not too long after. We got off easy compared to those destined for the concentration camps. As heartbreaking as the images of children in detention centers on our southern border are, comparing them to Birkenau or Treblinka or Auschwitz concentration camps demean the memories of those exterminated thereby attempting to create a moral equivalence in the popular understanding. Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s comments are uneducated and insensitive. A Congresswoman from New York City, with the Nation’s largest Jewish Population, should do her homework before making such outlandish comparisons and learn that to a Jew, being sent to a concentration camp meant a death sentence.

Apologizing is not enough. By making these comments she is displaying ineptitude in representing her city.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Friday, June 14, 2019 - 1:00pm

Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said in a speech this week: “If Prime Minister Netanyahu makes good on his threat to annex West Bank settlements, he should know that a President Buttigieg would take steps to ensure that American taxpayers won’t help foot the bill.” 

By invoking assistance to Israel, Mayor Buttigieg used one of the most long-standing bipartisan issues as a political instrument in his fight for the 2020 Democratic nomination. In doing so, Buttigieg is feeding the growing and alarming debate within the Democratic party which legitimizes the idea that assistance to Israel – one of the U.S.’s closest allies – should somehow be on the table. Those who have engaged in this debate include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and a senior advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders who tweeted that it was “good” that “conditioning U.S. aid to Israel to stop settlements and end occupation (is) quickly becoming the mainstream Democratic position.” It is not, and should not, be the case.   

Democratic presidential candidates shouldn’t use this issue to help them gain momentum in the media ahead of the debates and endear them to the progressive anti-Israel flank of the Democratic party. They may soon find that using Israel’s security in such a political way will ultimately turn them off to American voters who care deeply about Israel. Taking long-standing alliances and politicizing them for short-term electoral gains is wrong and will ultimately backfire.

 

Jack Rosen

President

American Jewish Congress

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 1:45pm

 

The American Jewish Congress Launches

The first “Jewish Guide to U.S. Politics”

 

First-of-its-kind platform highlights voting record and public positions on issues important to the Jewish community

NEW YORK, May 29, 2019 –The American Jewish Congress is launching a one-of-a-kind Jewish Guide to U.S. Politics (www.jewishpoliticalguide.com) - a platform which summarizes the positions and voting records of the 2020 Presidential candidates and all U.S. Senators, on relevant facts that American Jews and pro-Israel voters should know about. The guide will continuously update as events unfold in the runup to the 2020 elections.

American Jewish Congress President, Jack Rosen said: “The Jewish Guide to U.S. Politics is all about civic engagement and education. We are at a point in our history where maximum information can make maximum impact on the way we vote - as individuals, and as members of the Jewish community. We are also letting our politicians know we are paying attention to what they do, what they say, and how they vote on the issues that are most pressing to us today.”

The Jewish Guide to U.S. Politics allows voters to examine voting records, executive actions, and public statements made by Senators, House Members, and presidential candidates – Republican and Democrat – on issues important to members of the American Jewish community and its allies.

Founded in 1918, the American Jewish Congress has actively worked to advance the rights of not only Jewish Americans, but of all minority groups in the United States through civic engagement and discourse.

The American Jewish Congress is one of the most active and influential Jewish advocacy organizations in the country. With that said, the Jewish Guide to U.S. Politics does not offer endorsements for any candidate.

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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.