Jewish backing for Israel around globe at risk: WJC chief

Jewish backing for Israel around globe at risk: World Jewish Congress chief
3 min read
25 August, 2021
World Jewish Congress chief Ronald Lauder cautioned that American Jews are increasingly opposing Israel and becoming more anti-Zionist.
Ronald Lauder is the head of the World Jewish Congress [Getty]

Jewish backing around the globe for Israel may be harmed given stances shaped by conservative and religious pressures, World Jewish Congress (WJC) chief Ronald Lauder cautioned.

In his op-ed for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Lauder noted that American Jews are increasingly opposing Israel and becoming more anti-Zionist, something made more pressing by the fact this comes as "progressive" stances are on the rise.

A Jewish Electorate Institute poll released in July, based on Al-Araby Al-Jadeed's coverage. This research found 34 percent of US Jews believe Israel is racist towards Palestinians in a way which is comparable to American racism.

At the same time, 25 percent of respondents accepted that "Israel is an apartheid state".

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In an apparent reference to this poll, Lauder argued this shows from a quarter to a third feel Israel is an "illegal entity".

The WJC leader also suggested anti-Israel stances have come about among US Jews in particular, but also those in other countries around the world, because they are largely not ultra-Orthodox.

They consider Israel to have positions that contradict their views, the way they live their life, and their principles, he explained.

Young Jews cannot back Israel since they oppose its religious character, in addition to its actions in the West Bank, Lauder said.

In the West Bank, Tel Aviv maintains a brutal, illegal occupation that routinely sees innocent Palestinian civilians tried and imprisoned under a military legal system.

Israeli security forces commonly shoot Palestinians there dead – including children.

Lauder argued three "destructive" changes occurred to bring about lack of support from young Jews.

The most important of these is the rise of "progressive" ideology, he claimed.

Among other things, he suggested progressivism "no longer sees Jews as a part of an alliance of minorities".

This comes as Israel is now viewed as "violent, racist and colonial".

The WJC leader also said the Jews of his children and grandchildren's ages don’t see Israel as a "sacred entity requiring everything be done to preserve its interests" like those of his father's era.

This was put down to factors including a reduced emphasis on Jewish culture and the passage of time since the Holocaust, when the Nazis murdered six million Jews during World War Two.

The final change referenced by Lauder was Israel's increasing domination over Palestine, the occupation it still maintains and the ongoing illegal settlement project.

The WJC leader called on Israel's premier, Naftali Bennett, and its foreign minister, Yair Lapid, to fix ties between Jews around the world and Israel, saying what is going on currently is dangerous for the state's relations with Washington.

This news comes as Bennett explained to The New York Times in an interview published on Tuesday that Tel Aviv is to keep growing those West Bank outposts which have already been created.