(photo credit: SAM SOKOL)
World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder strongly criticized the US for failing to lead a fight to extinguish the threat of “a new anti-Semitism in Europe,” which he said is being fueled by radical Islam.
Lauder made his comments during testimony he gave on behalf of WJC before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations.
“In order to defeat this new flame of radical Islamic terror and survive, the United States must lead. The United States can and must speak loudly and clearly to condemn this evil for what it is – the radical Islamic hatred of Jews,” said Lauder.
The subcommittee was holding a hearing called “After Paris and Copenhagen, Responding to the Rising Tide of anti-Semitism.”
Also testifying on this issue were Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, and Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, president of the Danish Jewish community.
Lauder said the recent deadly wave of terrorist attacks against Jewish targets in Copenhagen and Paris were only the latest signs of a rising wave of anti-Semitism sweeping across Europe. He said the phenomenon is being driven by radical Islam, but pushed along by extreme nationalists on the Right and anti-Israel intellectual elites in universities.
“European leaders have stepped up and strongly condemned these attacks on Jews and the rise of anti-Semitism,” he said. “The United States must do the same. The United States must lead.”
Further, Lauder criticized the absence of any US representation at the anti-terrorism march in Paris in the wake of the attacks on the satiric weekly Charlie Hebdo and on a kosher supermarket, which drew world leaders and over 1 million participants.
“Many of the leaders in Europe linked arms in solidarity in the very front row, but there was not one US representative with them in the front row,” he said. “I believe that sent a very negative message around the world.”
Lauder noted that Jews represent less than 1 percent of the French population, but were targeted by more than 50 percent of all racist attacks last year.
Anti-Semitic attacks in France, the US and Austria all doubled from 2013, he added.
He concluded by urging the US to take the lead in countering this trend.
“Why isn’t the United States leading the world in this crisis?” he asked.
Separately, the leadership of the WJC met on Monday in Washington for its annual Executive Committee meeting to discuss the growing threats to Jewish communities and the surge in anti-Semitism.
At a special reception, US Vice President Joe Biden commended the WJC and praised Lauder for his and the WJC’s work to combat anti-Semitism around the world.
“If you don’t constantly speak out every time it raises its ugly head – if you let it sit for a minute – it’s like a boil that festers. I want to thank you all for your constant, unrelenting oversight and for making sure that wherever it rears its head, you speak.”