This week at the Knesset, Israeli lawmakers, representatives of various government ministries, as well leading pro-Israel and Jewish organizations, gathered under the auspices of the Diaspora Affairs Committee, for a special discussion on Antisemitism in the United States.
The meeting was called in the wake of the deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, on 27 October, where 11 Jews were murdered.
The Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC), an organization which I am proud to serve as Chairman of, and which was founded, in part, to help fight Antisemitism globally, was privileged to participate at this important gathering at the Knesset.
The following is an extract of the remarks delivered on our behalf to the assembled lawmakers and distinguished guests, including from the American Jewish community and the United States Embassy to Israel.
MK Avraham Neguise
Chairman Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Aliyah Committee
Thank you Chairman Neguise for the opportunity to address this Committee.
Today, in the wake of the horrific events in Pittsburgh, the Jewish people grieve as one.
Just as our brothers and sisters in America stand in solidarity with Israel during our times of need, so do we, today, stand in complete and united solidarity with them during their time of need.
Mr. Chairman, when reflecting upon what to say for his hearing, we thought deeply as to what should be said, what has not been expressed yet or what advice we can offer.
But truth be told, we don’t have any magic answers, and moreover, if we did, do not think is appropriate for us, as Israelis, at this time, to dictate or offer solutions, including not at this important forum.
We need to be here first and foremost to show our absolute unity and solidarity with the American Jewish community.
At The Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC), an Israel-based organization, our focus has predominantly been on the situation of Antisemitism in Europe, so you might be forgiven for asking why are we here today, given the focus of this hearing is on the situation in the United States.
But the reason is simple, we hold sacrosanct the Talmudic principle ‘Kol Yisrael Arevim Ze L’zeh’ – that ALL Jews are responsible for one another. That an attack against a Jew anywhere, is an attack against Jews everywhere!
The reality is, the Jewish people and the Jewish state are intertwined by an inextricable bond, grounded in a shared history, faith and united by a common destiny.
But, as the Nation State of the Jewish people – ALL the Jewish people – we also have certain obligations.
First and foremost, what we are seeing now is a clarion call for unity, for dialogue, for compassion & solidarity.
We cannot allow neither Israel, nor Antisemitism, to become a partisan issue. And that is a responsibility that falls upon all of us, both here and in the U.S., and from all sides of the political spectrum.
When we spoke with our colleagues, partners & other Jewish leaders across America, as we so often do, we asked what message can we convey to you, the distinguished Members of Knesset here today, who we know just like us, deeply care about the Jewish community in America and want to show our support.
Their response was a resounding, almost universal ‘LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN. Please listen to us.’
Mr Chairman, as Israelis, both elected Members of Knesset & Civil Society, we need to, we must, listen to our brothers & sisters in the American Jewish community, to hear their concerns, to engage in dialogue and to ask ‘How can WE help YOU?’ That is our duty here today!
You have undertaking that The Israeli-Jewish Congress stands here, before the elected representatives of the Knesset and reiterates that we are here to listen to our brothers and sisters in the American Jewish community, to what their needs are and to always act as a bridge between the Jewish people and the Jewish state.