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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

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