Diaspora chief links Israeli nationalism and global antisemitism

EXCLUSIVE: World Jewish Congress President speaks to the JC about Israel and the biggest challenges facing Judaism today


The President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, has said that a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is “inevitable” and warned that “nationalistic” trends in Israel are leading to more antisemitism globally.

Mr Lauder was speaking in a wide-ranging interview in this week’s JC, in which he also warns that anti-Israel sentiment is morphing into antisemitism.

The US businessman — a Republican, Likud supporter and friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump — added: “The more Israel becomes nationalistic and talks about annexation, the more this comes out.”

Mr Lauder, who also spent a decade as President of the Jewish National Fund before taking over at the WJC in 2007, said that Israel “has to have a two-state solution. It’s inevitable and the sooner they do it, the better it will be.”

The WJC is an organisation that seeks to support and represent Jewish communities — especially smaller ones — around the world.

Under Mr Lauder’s leadership it has increasingly begun turning its attention towards the United States. Mr Lauder, 76, said the state of antisemitism in the US was “terrible”. He went on: “We are now dealing with the third generation after the liberation of Auschwitz...these are young people who have had no contact with what happened, and all of a sudden they are becoming part of the extreme right.”

Mr Lauder also said that “antisemitism from the left” was of increasing concern and was being driven by “certain Middle East groups”.

“People will tell me, I’m no antisemite, I’m just anti-Israel. I say, who do you think lives in Israel, Martians?” he continued.

Mr Lauder also expressed his belief that many Jews view Judaism “not as a religion but as a culture”, which made them “JINOs — Jews In Name Only” .

“Judaism is going through a major problem,” he said.

Read the full interview here.

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