NEW YORK – Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, shocked The Jerusalem Post Conference when he called for Jewish people to accept that a two-state solution is the only way for Israel to achieve peace.
“Now is a time for bold action because the stakes are too high for anything else,” Lauder said. “It is not enough to be united. We must also decide to be solution oriented. I want to be very clear, no serious discussion about peace for the Jewish people of Israel can take place without a strong agreement for a viable two-state solution.”
Recalling the landmark White House meeting between PLO head Yasser Arafat and prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1993, Lauder said Rabin was right that Israelis would always share soil with the Palestinians. “It’s true, Jews and Arabs are destined to live side by side,” Lauder said before returning to his central point. “We must acknowledge that a two-state solution is the only viable, workable and negotiable end.”
The WJC president said it will not come easy.
“Palestinians continue to teach hate, name streets after terrorists and the world ignores this.
The world also ignores the fact that the prime minister has said repeatedly that he supports a two-state solution,” Lauder said.
Lauder pivoted to several other pressing topics.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe and around the world, Lauder told the audience.
“Seventy years after the end of the Holocaust, a Jewish boy wearing a yarmulke cannot walk down the streets of Paris or London or Berlin.”
Recalling the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, he said he heard disturbing reactions from people there. “Everyone told me that the Jewish community of France had a problem,” he said. “I disagree.
The Jews of France do not have a problem.
France has a problem and it is serious. They have to deal with the growing threat of radical Islam.”
Lauder also called for conference members to confront the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, against Israel.
“The BDS movement is a very smart media campaign directed against Israel. Its not directed against the settlement issue as it claims. It seeks to destroy the state, its economy and its very legitimacy. BDS offers no answers. They want a one-state solution and that one state is not a Jewish state,” he said.
Lauder offered two tactics to confront BDS.
First, he said, they should lobby to have a trade bill in Congress include provisions that fight against discriminatory trade practices currently being deployed against Israel. Second, Lauder hinted that alumni and donors to universities where the BDS movement is being supported should take action.
“College students across the country are now strongly influenced and even bullied by pro-Arab, anti-Israel, even sometimes anti-Semitic teachers,” he said. “Alumni, and especially donors, should know what schools are teaching,” Lauder said.