By Francesca Merlo
Inspired by the Document on Human Fraternity, Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) is urging governments to take the right steps towards combatting hate speech.
Document on Human Fraternity is key
On 4 February, 2019, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar signed the Document on Human Fraternity.
Speaking with Vatican Radio’s Sr Bernadette Reis, Lauder explains that “in many ways, the internet has hate speech” and that, until now, there has been nothing to “counter it”. This is exactly what the Document does, he explains. Now “we have something to counter it, we have something to talk about”.
What is “key” now, according to Lauder, is that “governments take the right step” towards stopping hate speech. He believes that it is their responsibility to fill the internet with “fraternity”, following instructions based on February’s Document. “Now we have a Document to use against hate speech”, he says, adding that “it is much easier to love than to hate”.
“It’s interesting”, continues Lauder recalling the memory of a meeting he had with Holocaust survivor, writer and human rights activist, Eli Wiesel, “Eli Wiesel one time said to me that the opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference”. That, he continues, is what we see “too often…all over the world”.
According to Lauder, indifference “undermines the entire Christian Church”, it undermines “Judaism, it undermines all of us”.
There is “nothing unique about peace”, says Lauder. “Peace is about ‘shalom’, or about ‘salam’, about ‘pax’”. It is the “basics of a whole life”.
Finally, Lauder expresses his hope that, like him, others will “realise” just how important the Document is. He explains that it speaks of peace, and that “peace is used to fight hate”.