On September 8 - 9 Boris Lozhkin as the President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine hosted an online The Kyiv Jewish Forum 2020, organized by the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine in partnership with the Jerusalem Post. Among its participants were President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder, the Alternate Prime Minister of Israel Benny Gantz, the US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combatting Anti-Semitism Elan Carr, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the CEO of the American Jewish Committee David Harris, the President of the Commonwealth Jewish Council Lord Mendelsohn, the renowned Israeli human right activist and Chairman of the Memorial Center for Holocaust “Babyn Yar” Natan Sharansky and many Ministers, members of Parliaments and business leaders from around the world as well as many other political, religious, public and scientific figures. These prominent leaders from all over the world gathered to discuss and debate complex global and regional challenges facing the Jewish Community.
“Over the past decade, we have witnessed a dangerous growth of political and social polarization in the world. People listen and hear each other less with every day. We’ve grown accustomed more to screams than to words in a normal voice. As history shows, the first victims of intolerance and hatred are always Jews,” said the President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine (JCU) Boris Lozhkin, when closing KJF 2020.
Speaking at the opening of the Kyiv Jewish Forum 2020, President Volodymyr Zelensky noted “It is important for all of us to work together to prevent xenophobia, intolerance and anti-Semitism. Work together to develop tolerance and respect for all nationalities and faiths. I wish all speakers and participants of the forum fruitful discussions and debates, in which the truth will certainly be born. The truth that will make this world kinder and better
“I would like to take this opportunity to note the excellent initiative of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine called “The Righteous People of My City.” This project is dedicated to the memory of the Ukrainians who risked their own lives to save Jews during World War II. They are a role model for all subsequent generations,” the president said.
President of the State of Israel Reuven Rivlin sent his greetings to the Kyiv Jewish Forum, calling it an important forum for debates and discussions of the challenges facing the global Jewish community, and thanked the organizers for ensuring that the conference was held despite the limitations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In his address to the participants of the Kyiv Jewish Forum 2020 President of Israel Reuven Rivlin noted, that the world community must be unanimous in its opinion on zero tolerance to racism or xenophobia in any form and anywhere.
“Friends, it's good to know that we are not alone. The issues you are discussing are not only a problem for the Jewish people. These are battles that we must face and win together. “The conference speakers, including leading political, diplomatic, religious and communal leaders from Israel, Ukraine and around the world, indicate that you are ready for action, not just words,” Reuven Rivlin said in his message.
Speaking at the Kyiv Jewish Forum 2020, President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has provoked a new wave of anti-Semitism.
“There is no question that anti-Semites have used the pandemic as a way to make anti-Semitism grow. You know, we’ve seen this in the Middle Ages,” Lauder said.
But, according to him, about 300 representatives of the World Jewish Congress in more than 100 countries of the world are already working to ensure that people in various communities of the world do not mistakenly associate this pandemic with the Jewish people.
In this concern a wellknown human rights activist, Israeli politician and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Memorial Center for Holocaust “Babyn Yar” Natan Sharansky stated that the future of the Jewish people and the future of Ukraine can be guaranteed only if we fight against global anti-Semitism and restore the memory about every murdered person during the Holocaust.
“We must do everything to restore the memory about every person. Ukraine shows Europe and the world how important it is to restore the memory of the Holocaust. At the same time our fight against global anti-Semitism is also very important. Left and right anti-Semitism is on the rise with every coming day in Europe, the United States and in the Muslim world. And I remind you how important it is for the whole world to stand up against this evil,” Sharansky said.
According to the President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine Boris Lozhkin the construction of the Holocaust Memorial Center “Babyn Yar” in Kyiv was one of the most exciting topics at the Kyiv Jewish Forum 2020.
The construction of a modern memorial complex at the site of the Babyn Yar tragedy today is responsibility of developing democratic society for memorialization of victims of this mass massacre and for education of the future generations of tolerant democratic world. The project receives support of international donors, the Ukrainian authorities and the international Jewish community.
This means that the idea of worthy preservation of the memory of the victims of Babyn Yar tragedy for the first time in the years of Ukrainian independence has received a real chance to be implemented.
Participants of the Kyiv Jewish Forum expressed their support for the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center and stressed the need to bring implementation of this project to an end.
Member of the Board of Trustees of the Moldavian Jewish Congress Mikhail Vaisman addressed the participants of the Kyiv Jewish Forum. In the message to the Forum the Moldavian Jewish Community noted the necessity to combat anti-Semitic phenomenon in its various forms which Jewish population of Moldova faces during long time.
In the message the Jewish Community of Moldova has strongly condemned the manifestations of anti-Semitism against members and activists of the community. These incidents are signs of increasing negative trends in Moldovan society such as lack of tolerance and manifestation of hate to Jews.
“The existing situation brings attention to the problem of extremist statements and hate crimes on an ethnic basis and demonstrates that Moldovan authorities remain passive in preventing ethnic discrimination in the functioning of the criminal justice system (which was the obligation assumed under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination)”, is written in the message of the Moldavian Jewish Community to the participants of the Forum.
The Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, speakers and participants of the KJF 2020 will support the Moldavian Jewish Community in their fight against anti-Semitism and tolerant future around the world.
Director of Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center in Tel Aviv University (studies the history and heritage of the Jewish people and their culture in the diaspora in all areas). Professor Simha Goldin, announced during the Kyiv Jewish Forum 2020 that a new project for the Ukrainian and Jewish studies is being launched.
“I am very pleased to announce the creation of a new project at the center – the initiative of the Ukrainian and Jewish studies. This has become possible thanks to the generous support of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress. I would like to especially thank Dr. Haim Ben Yakov, General Director, Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Inna Ioffe, Director, Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and Mr. Boris Lozhkin, President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, for their help and dedication in creating this project,” Goldin said.
The purpose of the Ukrainian-Jewish research initiative is to study the history and culture of Jews in the Ukrainian lands from the ancient times to the present days. The relations between the Jewish and the non-Jewish communities, in which they existed, will be examined.
In his closing speech Boris Lozhkin stated that he sincerely believes that the long-standing tradition of the Jewish debates is extremely important and necessary in the contemporary world, where beliefs and ideas are constantly criticized and challenged.
He also announced holding the third Kyiv Jewish Forum.
The Jewish Confederation of Ukraine is the umbrella organization uniting independent social, charitable and religious Jewish organizations in Ukraine. Its mission is to unite the Jews of Ukraine, preserve Jewish history and culture and support Israel and Jewish communities around the world and fight against anti-Semitism.
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