ZAGREB, Croatia – Leaders of Jewish communities from more than 40 countries considered the next steps to respond to the terrorist group Hamas’ attack on Israel and expressed solidarity with the people of the Jewish state, during an emergency session this week of the executive of the World Jewish Congress. Committee in Zagreb.
These leaders met today with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
“Let it be known that the Jewish diaspora unequivocally supports the citizens of Israel and the IDF during these difficult times,” WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said Monday. “In unity lies our indomitable strength. »
His comments preceded a unanimous vote of approval of a WJC resolution affirming the unified position of the organized Jewish world during this difficult time. WJC officials also presented the gathered communities with an action plan aimed at strengthening support for Israel and hindering Hamas’ ability to commit further atrocities.
Actions of the CJM and the affiliated community:
- Immediate recognition of the threat: All governments, civil society organizations and international organizations must quickly and unequivocally classify Hamas as an internationally recognized terrorist organization, if they have not already done so. Any delay in such recognition not only undermines global security, but also emboldens the perpetrators.
- Advocating for the safe return of hostages: It is a priority for Jewish communities around the world to call on their respective governments, multilateral organizations and humanitarian agencies to engage in targeted diplomatic efforts to ensure the safe return of hostages taken by Hamas. These innocent individuals, detained in dire circumstances in Gaza, should be at the center of our advocacy. Every life is precious and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that the hostages are returned to their families and loved ones without delay.
- Protection of Jewish communities: Governments around the world must not only allocate, but also ensure the proactive deployment of resources to safeguard the well-being of Jewish communities and institutions. International organizations must also advocate for the protection of Jewish communities. A proactive attitude is the key to deterrence.
- Strategic financial embargo: Any financial aid flowing to Gaza must be rigorously examined. Governments and humanitarian organizations must deny foreign aid to entities in Gaza that have even the remote potential to channel these funds into activities supporting terrorism. Our global responsibility is to ensure that aid does not inadvertently become an instrument of terror.
- Media integrity and accountability: Media organizations bear a profound responsibility. They must vigorously resist any tendency to relativize or sympathize with Hamas. Instead, they should focus on providing factual and unvarnished information, refraining from presenting Hamas’ terrorist activities as any form of legitimate resistance. The global public deserves the truth, without prejudice.
- Digital vigilance: Social media companies play a vital role in shaping opinions and disseminating information. They must be held accountable for combating the spread of false information and content glorifying terrorism. With great power comes great responsibility, and these platforms must be at the forefront of ensuring safety and truth online.
- Unwavering global support: We urge governments and international organizations to resolutely support Jewish communities and Israel, despite rising protests around the world that appear to glorify Hamas, its actions and its campaign of terror. The events of October 7 are a reminder of the disastrous consequences of terrorism. Governments and multilateral organizations should anchor their positions on truth, justice, fairness and a commitment to the safety and security of innocent lives.
- Prioritizing safety and respect in academia: Universities and colleges are bastions of learning, growth and open discourse. They must also be and remain safe spaces for Jewish students and teachers. The increase in attacks on Jewish students and universities – following the Hamas attack and Israel’s response – demands that university administrators offer unwavering support to these individuals and adopt a zero-tolerance policy for the glorification or acceptance of terrorism. Educational institutions must foster an environment of inclusion, respect and safety, ensuring that no student is targeted or feels threatened because of their religious or ethnic background.
The resolution and corresponding actions will serve as a basis for coordinated action and advocacy by local Jewish communities to their national governments, media organizations and relevant agencies. The WJC will work to support these communities and advance the discussion in international forums, including the United Nations and the European Union.
“During this unprecedented crisis, it has been essential for Jewish representatives around the world to share experiences and learn from each other,” the ambassador said. » said Lauder. “We have therefore developed a concrete and unified action plan which will guide us in the weeks to come. Together, our voices and actions are more powerful.
On Tuesday, the Croatian Prime Minister met privately with WJC leaders and observed a minute of silence to honor the victims in Israel as well as civilians currently threatened by Hamas rockets.
“The Croatian government stands united and in solidarity with Israel. We strongly condemned the terrorist crimes of Hamas and the killing of civilians, including women and children,” Plenković said in his speech to Jewish community leaders.
“As we continue to express our support for Israel, we must also do so for Jewish communities around the world. Jewish citizens must feel comfortable practicing their faith, and the Croatian government will do everything possible to protect our Jewish community,” the Prime Minister added.
Speaking before the Prime Minister’s speech, Amb. Lauder said: “As history has shown us time and time again, Jews may be the first victims of totalitarian genocide, but they are certainly never the last. »
“Thank you, Croatia, for having the courage to stand with the Jewish people,” he added.
The meeting, being held in Croatia, which currently chairs the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), was initially expected to focus on Holocaust revisionism, but instead focused on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The CJM officials were also joined by Amb. Michelle Taylor, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council, for a series of discussions ahead of the formal Executive Committee meeting.
Additionally, leaders of WJC-affiliated communities, from the Baltics to the Balkans region (former communist states), gathered on the sidelines of the Executive Committee meeting to coordinate efforts to prevent manipulation of the history of the Holocaust for political or nationalist purposes.
The WJC has recently been active in the Balkans and successfully advocated for nations to respond more fully to their actions during World War II.
In July, a delegation of Jewish academics and young diplomats from the WJC participated in a conference co-organized by the WJC and the Srebrenica Memorial Center on preserving the collective memory of the victims of the genocide and the fight against the Holocaust and negationism. The conference was part of this year’s commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide.
The previous month, the presidents of the Jewish communities of Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Serbia and Greece took the first step by signing a memorandum of understanding to ensure respect for the same set of historical facts and launch models of cooperation on future memory initiatives.
The World Jewish Congress also worked to promote an accurate history of Bulgaria’s role in the Holocaust. While King Boris III may be hailed by some as the savior of 48,000 Bulgarian Jews, he also delivered more than 11,000 other Jews to Nazi camps from the Bulgarian-occupied area in what is now North Macedonia.
About the World Jewish Congress
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization that represents Jewish communities in 100 countries before governments, parliaments and international organizations.