World Jewish Congress (WJC) president Ronald Lauder compared anti-Israel protests during the summer to an era when Adolf Hitler ruled Germany and the anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws were enforced in the country.
“This past summer looked more like 1936 than 2014,” Lauder said before a crowd of 500 at the WJC annual gala on Tuesday evening in New York. “You all saw the pictures, the huge anti-Israel demonstrations throughout the Middle East and Europe that quickly turned into the lowest form of anti-Jewish riots.”
The most notorious of the riots took place in France, Germany and Turkey where calls for the murder of Jews were heard in the streets while Israel conducted a military operation in Gaza aimed at stemming incessant rocket fire from the coastal enclave.
About the work of the WJC, Lauder explained, “We travel the world, meeting presidents, prime ministers and kings, on behalf of the Jewish people. We make it very clear that any anti-Semitic behavior within their borders is unacceptable, is intolerable and will not go unchallenged. If you think 1936, was a long time ago, think again.”
Lauder added: “If you want to know why we need a World Jewish Congress today, just read the headlines. The irrational hatred of Jews has returned along with the growing ignorance and intolerance that fuels it.”
The gala dinner was attended by former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who received the group’s Theodor Herzl Award and strongly endorsed the U.S.-Israel relationship. Other attendees at the black-tie event included Barbara Walters, who presented the honor, Ralph Lauren and Google’s Eric Schmidt.