A nuclear Iran and rising anti-Semitism topped the agenda when Jewish leaders met the German chancellor.
Officials of the World Jewish Congress and the European Jewish Congress met Angela Merkel in Berlin Monday. It was the first for Ronald Lauder since he was elected president of the World Jewish Congress in June. Also in attendance were German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier; European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor; the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and WJC vice president, Charlotte Knobloch; and the new WJC secretary-general, Michael Schneider.
Among the issues discussed was protection of vulnerable Jewish communities in Germany and central and eastern European countries, and on Iran’s nuclear program, which the Jewish leaders said is a threat to Israel.
“We must not let fanatics such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad destabilize the entire region, “ Lauder told the German chancellor, adding, “Six decades after the Holocaust, Germany under Mrs. Merkel’s leadership commands sufficient respect among the family of nations to be a measured and moderate force in world affairs. It has become a symbol for democracy, the rule of law and the protection of minorities in the world.”
Lauder also supported tough measures against Islamist terrorism.
“Not only Jews but Western society as a whole needs the strong democratic state,” he said, condemning developments related to far-right, paramilitary groups in central and eastern Europe. “The specter of Nazism and fascism must not be allowed to get the upper hand again in Europe.”
Lauder supported calls by German non-governmental organizations to compile an annual report on anti-Semitism, following the example of other countries.