'Silence the Biggest Help' to Anti-Christian, Anti-Semitism

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- As Jews and Christians worldwide face a growing wave of persecution, one Jewish leader is saying the two groups must stand together to confront increasing violence.

"I will not be silent and we will not be silent," Ron Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress told Christians recently about Jewish support for persecuted Christians.

In September, Lauder spoke at the annual International Christian Embassy Jerusalem's Feast of Tabernacles celebration where thousands of Christians were in attendance.

"Silence is the biggest help to anti-Semitism, or anti-Christian. One of the things we are seeing over and over again is that when you talk out, you fight back, people react," Lauder told CBN News.

Historians blame public apathy for helping lead to the horrors of World War II. The World Jewish Congress, founded in 1936, became the diplomatic arm for Jewish people worldwide.

"We see the same recurrence we saw in the 1930s and it's very scary. But there's also anti-Christian feeling. We've seen that also coming out. We've seen it in the Middle East particularly when churches are burned; when people are killed," Lauder said.

Lauder noted that some 450,000 Christians have fled Syria. In Bethlehem the Christian population has dropped from a high of 70 percent to around 15 to 20 percent today.

He also told CBN News about two types of anti-Semitism growing in Europe today. The first masquerades as anti-Israel feeling, mainly stirred by Muslim populations in Western Europe.

The second is pushed by extremists in eastern Europe and elsewhere.

"And these extremists have to blame somebody for the problems and they blame the Jewish people once again," Lauder said..

Lauder is viewed as the leader of the Jewish community worldwide. His background as a former senior Pentagon official and U.S. ambassador to Austria puts him in a unique position to speak to world leaders.

In an unprecendented move, Lauder thanked thousands of Christians during September's Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem for their support for Israel.

"Thank you for standing on the right side of history. Thank you for standing with God," Lauder said.

"And thank you for standing with us the Jewish people. And lastly, that's most important, thank you for standing here in Jerusalem, the eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel," he said.

David Parsons, spokesman for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), called the speech a historic moment in Diaspora Jewish-Christian relations.

"There aren't many prominent diaspora leaders who have done this in the way that he did, coming and openly, profusely thanking us for our support and actually saying we want to partner with you," Parsons said.

"You've stood with us on Jerusalem. Guess what? We want to stand with you on the issue of persecution of Christians in Muslim countries," he said.

"Every time something's done, be it to Jews or to Christians, it hurts us all. We must work together," Lauder said.


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CBN News
Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Middle East Correspondent

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