Ron Lauder to establish antisemitism watchdog providing $25 million

Called the Antisemitism Accountability Project, or A.S.A.P., the project's mission, as described by WJC president, is targeting politicians at any level who engage in antisemitic discourse.

President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder (photo credit: NOA GRAYEVSKY)
President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder
(photo credit: NOA GRAYEVSKY)
Jewish philanthropist and World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder has announced that he is going to establish a new organization to fight antisemitism in the political and academic field and that he has set aside $25 million from his personal funds for this purpose.
Lauder revealed his new initiative in an interview with The New York Times, which was published on Monday.
Called the Antisemitism Accountability Project, or A.S.A.P., the project was described by WJC president as both an NGO and a super PAC, with the mission of targeting politicians at any level who engage in antisemitic discourse.
“Although I am a lifelong Republican, antisemitism knows no political party. I’m going after the Right as well as the Left,” he told the Times, mentioning as an example Steve King, a Republican congressman from Iowa who in the past, has often expressed positions close to white supremacist ones.
Asked about US President Donald Trump, who has also made remarks considered by many to be antisemitic, including accusing American Jews who vote Democrat of being “disloyal,” the philanthropist responded that he didn’t believe that Trump had a single “antisemitic bone” in his body.
He further said that, in his opinion, the president made what he thinks clear when he said that “we must never ignore the vile poison of antisemitism, or those who spread its venomous creed,” in the 2019 State of the Union.
The Times interview was carried out before Trump addressed the Israeli-American Council’s (IAC) in Florida on Saturday night, when he told a crowd of around 4,000 people that some American Jews “don’t love Israel enough,” and that even those who don’t like him would vote for him to avoid the “wealth tax,” as he called the tax policy presented by Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren.
According to the Times, in the past Lauder has donated $200,000 to Trump and $1.65 million in 2018 to a super PAC that ran ads against Democratic House and Senate candidates.
Lauder also said that he would like to “sit down and talk” with the group of freshman Congresswomen known as “The Squad,” which includes Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who have also been repeatedly accused of employing antisemitic tropes.
“I think everybody has a right to disagree with Israel’s policies and what they’re doing,” he told the Times, adding that at the same time, he was uncomfortable with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
According to the Times, A.S.A.P. will target politicians who hold antisemitic views with a campaign to prevent their election that could include TV and radio ads, as well as events.
“The keyword for all these things is ‘action,’” Lauder added. “Because we’ve had polls, we’ve had conferences, we’ve had different speeches. But no action.”
In addition, Lauder said he plans to target university and professors taking “an antisemitic point of view” by going after their donors and persuade them to stop funding the institution.
The initiative will be managed by Tusk Strategies, the consulting firm of Bradley Tusk, the campaign manager for former New York mayor and current Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg. The report added that also Democratic pollster Doug Schoen and Republican strategist Nelson Warfield will have a role in it.