Bush Meets With Jewish Leaders At Chanukah Reception

Emphasizing America's tradition of protecting religious freedom, President Bush met with American Jewish leaders who escaped religious persecution for the White House's annual Chanukah reception.

"We all recognize that we're in an ideological struggle against people who murder the innocent in order to achieve political objectives," the president said, "and that, on the one hand, America must do everything to protect ourselves, and … in the long term, the best way to defeat an ideology of hate is with an ideology of hope."

Among those who attended the event at the White House were Rabbi Manny Vinas of the Lincoln Park Jewish Center in New York; the founding president of the Council to Rescue Syrian Jews, Dr. Mayer Ballas, and Jack Abraham who hails from Afghanistan and is the president of Anshei Shalom in Hollis, New York.

Mr. Bush also met with two prominent former refuseniks, or Soviet Jews who were denied the right to leave the former Soviet Union. They include the current deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, and the president of the International Academy of Emerging Markets, Vladimir Kvint, who now lives in Staten Island.

The chairman of NCSJ, an organization formerly known as the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, Ed Robin, said the date of Monday, December 10, was particularly significant for President Bush for two reasons. To start, yesterday was International Human Rights day, but also, 20 years ago this week on December 6 was the Soviet Jewry march on Washington, where 250,000 Americans marched to demand the right of Soviet Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union in anticipation of Mikhail Gorbachev's first visit to America.

"This highlights the continuity of our movement in support of the region and the ongoing American commitment in support of religious freedom for all peoples," Mr. Robin said.

(...) read the rest of th article at the New York Sun website

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