Monday, January 30, 2017

Maybe the Head of the World Jewish Congress Should Actually Represent Jews?

Donald Trump's Holocaust memorial statement did not mention Jews. This was no oversight; the administration insists it did it deliberately.

Most Jewish groups are incensed, and rightfully so. There is a grand total of one Jewish group that has decided to have Trump's back on this.

It isn't the craven Republic Jewish Coalition.

It isn't the risible Zionist Organization of American (though they are the only Jewish group of note backing Trump's refugee ban).

It is the World Jewish Congress, under the leadership of Trump friend and ally Ron Lauder. They released a statement attacking pretty much the entire Jewish community minus them as "play[ing] politics." Specifically, Lauder wrote that "There is enough real anti-Semitic [sic] and there are enough true threats facing the Jewish people today. Our community gains nothing if we reach a point where manufactured outrages reduce public sensitivity to the real dangers we confront."

This is not the first time that Lauder has decided to give Team Trump a "abuse-the-Holocaust-free" pass. They also immediately came out in support of David Friedman's nomination as Ambassador to Israel, in spite of Friedman's grotesquely antisemitic comparison of Jewish J Street members to kapos -- Nazi collaborators.

The WJC's motto is "All Jews are responsible for one another." The WJC no longer lives out that commitment, and that lies at Ron Lauder's feet. It won't back liberal Jews when they're subjected to vicious antisemitic smears by conservatives, and it won't defend any Jews when they're spurned by Donald Trump. So what good is the WJC?

Three-quarters of American Jews voted against Donald Trump. It is not too much to ask that our communal organizations be representative of actual Jewish viewpoints. If Lauder wants to prioritize friendship with his college buddy over being responsible for Jewish safety and being responsive to Jewish concerns, that his prerogative -- but then he has no business being at the helm of a substantial Jewish organization.

As a Jewish leader, Ronald Lauder is a disgrace. He needs to go.

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