A delegation from the National Conference on Soviet Jewry met with leaders in Moldova and Belarus.
Thesix-person delegation met with Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin on May 20 and confirmed his support for the United States’ position on a 2009 follow-up to the World Conference Against Racism. The United States has said it would not participate if the conference becomes a platform for anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric like the 2001 meeting in Durban.
NCSJ executive director Mark Levin told JTA the Moldovan president also stressed strong support for strengthening and rebuilding the Jewish community, which the U.S. State Department estimates at 25,000 members.
In Minsk, a roundtable of Belarusian Jewish community leaders voiced their concerns to the visiting delegation.
Twenty-four Belarusian Jewish leaders said that to maintain continuity in their community, they needed to find a way to build a Jewish school that could enliven a younger generation.
The NCSJ delegation also met with the charges d’affaires of the American Embassy in Minsk, which has been forcibly reduced from a staff of more than 30 to four American diplomats in recent months in a diplomatic tit-for-tat with the Belarusian government.
At the meeting, the delegation discussed the state of the Belarusian Jewish community and recent incidents involving Jewish cemeteries that have drawn international attention.
Jonathan Moore, now the highest ranking U.S. diplomat in Belarus, said that local officials had made an effort to do the right thing with a cemetery in Gomel that was unearthed during the expansion of a soccer stadium.