WJC and ICFR thank UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for being ‘determined ally’ in fight against anti-Semitism

August 29, 2017 Agencies
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United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has met privately in Jerusalem with representatives of the World Jewish Congress and the Israel Council on Foreign Relations (ICFR), which operates under its auspices.

WJC Chief Programs Officer Sonia Gomes de Mesquita, ICFR Director Dr. Laurence Weinbaum, WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer; UN Sec. Gen. Antonio Guterres; Israel Council on Foreign Relations President Dan Meridor; ICFR Board Member Dr. Chuck Freilich; ICFR Board Member Prof. Shlomo Avineri. (c) Jose Andras Lacko

In welcoming Guterres, WJC CEO Robert Singer told the secretary general, “On behalf of WJC President Ronald S. Lauder, I would like to stress that your principled public stance against anti-Semitism is admired by Jews around the world,” adding, “We are grateful to have you as our determined ally in this fight.”

Guterres met with the delegation headed by ICFR President Dan Meridor and WJC CEO Singer, together with Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem for discussions on matters including the Middle East peace process and Israel’s role at the UN and within the wider Arab world.

This is the only official meeting Guterres held with a Jewish organization during his visit to Israel.  Guterres and WJC President Ronald Lauder have established excellent channels of communication in the months since the secretary general took office.

WJC CEO Robert Singer told Guterres in opening remarks: “We could never have imagined that swastikas would be openly displayed in the streets of Europe and even one of America’s most historic university towns. Only 75 years after the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto,  could anyone have believed that Jews in many European capitals would again fear for their lives? The struggle against anti-Semitism has always been at the core of the work of World Jewish Congress and we are grateful to have you as our determined ally in this fight,” Singer added.

Ambassador Danon said: “Anti-Semitism is not extinct; it has returned, and it raises its ugly head in the heart of progressive and liberal societies. It is precisely today that the entire world must establish a united front against anti-Semitism and denounce it. We appreciate the Secretary General’s clear commitment in this important struggle.”

Following the meeting, ICFR President Meridor described the talks between Guterres and the WJC-ICFR delegation as “positive and constructive dialogue.”

“We have found the UN secretary general to be fair-minded,” he said.

Secretary General Guterres was the guest of honor at the WJC’s plenary assembly in New York in April, where he declared in an address to delegates: “As secretary general of the United Nations, I will be on the front lines in the fight against anti-Semitism.”

He stressed that “Israel needs to be treated like any other UN member state” and that it had an “undeniable right to exist and to live in peace and security with its neighbors… The modern form of anti-Semitism is the denial of the existence of the State of Israel,” the secretary general added.

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