World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder attends actress Helen Mirren's honoring by World Jewish Congress for her role in acclaimed film "Woman In Gold" at Neue Galerie on June 19, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company,)

Antisemitic expressions, harassment and violence “have surged in recent years to levels unseen since the mid-20th century, prompting Jewish communities worldwide to fear for their security, well-being, and their future in the countries in which they live as proud citizens,” a prominent U.S. Jewish leader said at a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill this week.

“In the last six months alone, a staggering number of violent attacks directly targeting Jews — including the deadly massacres at synagogues in Halle, Germany, on Yom Kippur, and in Monsey, New York just last month, on the seventh night of Hanukkah — have underscored the very real need for increased vigilance and security measures on the part of local and federal authorities,” said Ronald Lauder, president of the New York-based World Jewish Congress (WJC), during Wednesday’s session of the U.S. Commission on International Freedom.

The commission, a bipartisan body, was holding a special hearing titled “Global Efforts to Counter Antisemitism.”

Lauder highlighted the launch in 2019 of the Special Envoys and Coordinators Combating Antisemitism (SECCA) forum where local, national and international officials exchange views, share best practices, and evaluate progress in the shared fight against antisemitism.

“Antisemitism is the oldest form of hatred,” Lauder reminded the commission, before concluding that “like all forms of xenophobia, antisemitism has no borders.”