ROME – World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder on Monday urged European leaders to be vigilant in opposing hatred against Jews, warning that anti-Semitism was increasing at an alarming rate.
Addressing participants at the Rome International Conference on Anti-Semitism, convened by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Lauder said: “In country after country, we are watching a growing wave of far-right, ultra-national, and in some cases neo-Nazi parties gaining strength. New Europe is suddenly looking an awful lot like the Europe of the 1930s. As a Jew, I can think of nothing more dangerous.”
Noting that governments may face difficulties in cracking down on elements of society, Lauder said: “Yes, democracies have implicit constraints, but its leaders must stand up and say – strongly – the hatred of Jews ends here and now.”
Leaders must also be strong in standing up for other persecuted minorities, including in Africa and the Middle East, Lauder said, adding: “Jews understand the high price of silence. The silence, the indifference of almost every world leader in the 1930s allowed Hitler to move closer and closer to Auschwitz. I hear that same silence today about what is happening to Christians in the Middle East and Africa and that silence is deafening…. It’s time to remember the echoes of history.”
“I can promise you this,” Lauder said. “Any political leader that stands up against anti-Semitism or any form of bigotry will have the full support of the Jewish people…. We must do this together. We must never ever be silent.”
About the World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.
New York: Aliyana Traison
Cell: +1 917-244-9660
Photo: World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder addressing the International Conference on Anti-Semitism in Rome. (Credit: Shahar Azran)