World Jewish Congress leadership role for foreign policy expert

By Jennifer Lipman, November 30, 2010
Daniel Diker

Daniel Diker

An American commentator with expertise on the Iranian nuclear threat and Israeli security issues is to take charge of the World Jewish Congress (WJC).

Foreign policy and media expert Daniel Diker has been appointed to succeed Michael Schneider as secretary general of the 74-year-old organisation, which represents Jews in nearly 100 countries.

The outgoing secretary general will officially step down next June after four decades of involvement in the WJC and four years in charge, although Mr Diker will take on the role immediately.

The native New Yorker and Harvard graduate, who has served both as the WJC’s director for strategic affairs and its Middle East adviser on policy and diplomacy, was previously Knesset affairs correspondent for Israel’s Channel One.

He spent a decade working for the Jerusalem Centre of Public Affairs, during which he produced and edited a number of books on Israel’s foreign policy and diplomatic process.

The appointment was welcomed by WJC president Ronald Lauder, who praised Mr Diker’s “unique set of talents, skills and strengths that will help us achieve our goals of uniting, defending and strengthening our global community”.

Mr Lauder said: “He brings great energy, vision and political will to help forge new directions for the WJC and help strengthen the bond of Jewish communities worldwide and fortify their relationship with the State of Israel.”

He also paid tribute to Mr Schneider, describing him as “a consummate diplomat” who had been essential in revitalising the WJC and ensuring it played a leading role on the world stage.

He thanked Mr Schneider “for his extraordinary service, not only to the WJC, but to the Jewish People”.

Mr Diker said, “At this time of unprecedented challenges to the state of Israel and the Jewish people, I am honoured to help lead the WJC’s worldwide efforts to unite Jewish communities to protect and advance their vital interests.”

Last updated: 4:11pm, November 30 2010