Europe

Jewish leader thanks Putin for fighting anti-Semitism

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with President of World Jewish Congress Ronald S. Lauder during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (Krill Kudryavtsev/Pool photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with President of World Jewish Congress Ronald S. Lauder during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (Krill Kudryavtsev/Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • President of World Jewish Congress Ronald S. Lauder, center, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (Krill Kudryavtsev/Pool photo via AP)

    President of World Jewish Congress Ronald S. Lauder, center, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (Krill Kudryavtsev/Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The president of the World Jewish Congress has thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his efforts to fight anti-Semitism in Russia.

Ronald Lauder told Putin during Tuesday's meeting that the Russian leader had kept the promise he made during their last meeting, in 2003, to fight anti-Semitism. Lauder noted that at the time synagogues in Russia were coming under attack.

The American businessman, speaking through a translator, said anti-Semitism was down to a "minimal level" in Russia, while in Europe it still "raises its head."

Putin said "Russian Jewish organizations make a significant contribution to political stabilization in Russia, for which we are very grateful."

Putin caused a stir in January when he proposed that Jews feeling under threat in Europe should come to Russia, where they would be accepted.