US President Donald Trump

World Jewish Congress has commended US President Donald Trump on formally viewing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organisation.

This is the first time the US has given such a label to another government.

“President Trump has taken a courageous and unrivalled step in forcefully calling out terrorism by its name and making it clear to the world that Iran’s ideology of violence and oppression will not be tolerated or sanctioned in any way by the United States,” said WJC President Ronald Lauder.

“The moral leadership shown by the US should be emulated by all proponents of democracy, justice and humanity. It is inconceivable the same international community that clearly designates groups like Al-Qaida and ISIS as terrorist organisations should turn a blind eye to the very real and present danger posed by Iran, and its proxies including Hezbollah around the world.”

Lauder added that Iran was one of the greatest threats to the world, particularly to Israel, United States and global Jewish communities.

“Through its long arm, it finances terror and international crime across continents, subverts any semblance of democracy or civil rights within its own borders, and holds the key to some of the deadliest weaponry known to man, with the stated intention of destroying the Jewish state and its nemeses in the West,” he explained.

Wendy Sherman, former Undersecretary of State and lead US-Iran nuclear negotiator in 2015, said the announcement “absolutely endangers” American troops in the region.

In other WJC news, CEO Robert Singer applauded the Republic of Rwanda for opening the first Israeli embassy in its capital, Kigali.

Writing to Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Richard Sezibera, Singer said the action would lead to an expansion in bilateral cooperation between Rwanda and Israel, especially in science and technology, innovation and agriculture.

Singer also welcomed an announcement that RwandAir will commence direct flights to Israel.

“These achievements reflect the warm and enduring diplomatic relationship that exists between two great nations, which despite their small area, are united in making significant contributions to the global arena,” he said. “These accomplishments were especially evident during the most recent session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, when Rwanda abstained on four of the five anti-Israel resolutions considered.”

Noting a close bond between the WJC and Permanent Mission of Rwanda to the UN in New York, WJC co-hosted an event to mark the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention.

“This event symbolised the unshakable bond between two peoples which have tragically suffered from the crime of genocide and are committed to combatting discrimination in all its forms,” concluded Singer.

Meantime, WJC diplomat Gabriel Buznick (Argentina) delivered a statement on the United Nations Human Rights Council floor warning of a global rise in anti-Semitism.

Buznick called on member states to include the Holocaust in educational courses.

He noted, “We denounce the resurgence of populism and nationalism exploiting and obfuscating Holocaust memory and glorifying Nazis as part of a nationalist agenda.

“Regrettably, the disagreement with Israeli government policies has morphed into a virulent anti-Zionism that is nothing more than a politically correct disguise of traditional anti-Semitism to attack the Jewish people wherever they are.”

WJC however lamented a European-wide CNN poll that found a rise in anti-Semitism had coincided with a decline across the continent in public knowledge about the Holocaust.

There was also a warning from WJC diplomat Philippe Assouline (Israel) to the Council about the systematic abuse of children as soldiers by Palestinian groups.

Quoting former PLO leader Yasser Arafat, Assouline said the terror group followed this strategy for decades. And the policy had not changed.

“It is what Hamas does in Gaza every war, every riot, every week,” he explained. “It poisons children with lust for martyrdom, sends them to the front, ensures that many get killed, and uses their tragic deaths as currency to manipulate the West, secure in the knowledge that this body will aid them.

“By reflexively condemning Israel every time children are deliberately put in harm’s way by Hamas, this body is rewarding a system that abuses the world’s compassion. You are not defending human rights. You are tools in the cynical and criminal mass exploitation of child soldiers.”

Jewish Diplomatic Corps members have delivered over 80 statements on behalf of the WJC over the past five years at the UNHRC.

By Natalie Ash