WJC calls for more efforts against religious incitement, urges vigilance vis-à-vis Iran

March 18, 2016 Agencies
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The World Jewish Congress (WJC) has called for increased efforts to combat religious incitement at the conclusion of its plenary assembly in Buenos Aries.

he mother and a daughter of Alberto Nisman listen to WJC President Ronald S. Lauder as he pays tribute to the late AMIA bombing special prosecutor

he mother and a daughter of Alberto Nisman listen to WJC President Ronald S. Lauder as he pays tribute to the late AMIA bombing special prosecutor

Delegates heard a survivor recount the horrors of the devastating 18 July 1994 car bomb attack at the location of the conference, which killed 85 people and wounded hundreds. Survivors and family members of terrorist attacks in other countries also gave personal testimonies.

Later, the delegates to the WJC Plenary Assembly took part in the official ceremony at the site where on 17 March 1992 a bomb exploded outside the then Israeli Embassy building in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people. Nobody has been brought to trial for the attack to this day, although Argentina’s Supreme Court found that Iran and Hezbollah conspired to carry out the crime.

After the congregation observed a minute of silence in honor of the victims, WJC President Ronald Lauder said:  “The Jewish people are small in number, and we have suffered a lot. Perhaps because of this, we care about each other deeply. The World Jewish Congress, and Jews everywhere, stand with Israel, and with the Jewish community of Argentina.

To some, it may sound strange that there are people throughout the world who will never set foot in Argentina, but are deeply touched by these two tragedies. But not to Jews. That’s because Judaism is based on laws and justice. And we will not rest until there is justice!”

The WJC president reaffirmed his full trust in Argentine President Mauricio Macri saying he was convinced “that he will do the right thing.”

Israel’s Minister of Education Naftali Bennett also spoke at the ceremony organised by Israel’s Embassy to Argentina and attended by Argentine Vice President Gabriela Michetti.

In his address, Lauder praised the special prosecutor in the AMIA bombing case, Alberto Nisman, who was found dead in his apartment in January 2015 in suspicious circumstances. Calling Nisman “a brave man”, Lauder told the commemoration: “The killing of Alberto Nisman was an attack on the legal system of Argentina. And when the legal system of a country is destroyed, that country is in serious trouble.”

On Wednesday, the World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly had paid tribute to the late prosecutor in the presence of members of Nisman’s family.

The day of commemoration followed a day of discussion by the WJC Plenary Assembly. In policy resolutions, the WJC urges “the international community to respond to Iran’s continued support for organizations engaged in terrorist activities, to address this on the agenda of the relevant international bodies and to require the Iranian government to surrender Iranian nationals suspected in connection with the attacks.”

The delegates, representing Jewish communities in 67 countries, also called on “governments to regulate international business and trade with nations that sponsor terror, including Iran.”

World leaders, as well as religious leaders and international organisations, should “jointly formulate an effective strategy to root out the campaign of incitement and recruitment by extremists, including through mosques and social media,” the assembly resolved.

The World Jewish Congress also calls on the international community, particularly the Gulf states, “to intercede with religious leadership, to ensure that mosques, and other cultural or religious institutions they fund, do not promote radical or extremist preaching or recruitment, and nor to allow their facilities to be used for any such purpose.”

The Plenary Assembly also highlighted the need “to recognise the parallels and links between the recent terror attacks around the world and the terrorism that Israelis and others have been subjected to for years by Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, and their predecessors and allies.”

The Jewish leaders call on governments “to treat attacks on religious institutions, including schools and community centers as hate crimes”. The resolution reaffirms the desire of the WJC “to working to safeguard all minority communities, including Yazidi, Christian, Muslim, and any communities threatened by sectarian violence.”

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s president Robert Goot  and Public Affairs Director Alex Ryvchin attended the conference.

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