The Swiss Jewish community (SIG/FSCI) held its 114th General Assembly on 19 May 2019. The event was hosted for the first time by three Jewish communities of Zurich – ICZ, IRG and Agudas Achim.
SIG/FSCI President Herbert Winter dedicated his welcome speech to diversity, raising the question whether it is possible to uphold the image of Switzerland as a country of diversity today.
The continuous secularisation of society has meant that the traditional tolerance for religious minorities has dwindled. Gradually, a societal view has taken hold, which dictates how everyone should have to live.
Mr. Winter insisted that there needs to be more awareness in society, in politics and in the media of what diversity really means, and raising awareness is a task that the Jewish community needs to take on, in particular because mutual recognition and respect are not always easy.
The main topics of discussion at the General Assembly were concerns about antisemitism and the security of Swiss Jewish communities.
A resolution was adopted unanimously calling on Swiss decision makers to take responsibility to fight antisemitism, and to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism. In addition, the General Assembly called on the Swiss Federal Assembly to follow the lead of the German Bundestag and declare the BDS movement as antisemitic and to refrain from financing or supporting this movement.
The General Assembly was followed by a dinner, which included Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis as keynote speaker. The dinner was attended by over 500 guests, including numerous Members of Parliament, local authorities, and ambassadors.
The Mayor of Zurich, Corine Mauch, was the first to announce a future financial contribution for security measures. The speech pf Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis focused on Switerzland-Israel relations as well as on new strategies of foreign policy concerning Middle East.
Over 80 delegates were present at the meeting alongside members of the Zurich community, journalists and representatives of other organisations, including EJC Public Affairs Officer Daniela Buga.