The World Jewish Congress imbroglio is hopefully now at an end. After three harrowing years of ongoing scandal as layer after layer of corruption was exposed, there is hope that we are now about to enter a new era.
I am writing from New York, where delegates to the WJC elected Ronald Lauder to the presidency in a stunning landslide victory against his main opponent, Mendel Kaplan.
Having supported Lauder’s candidature for the presidency because of his track record of commitment and devotion to the Jewish people and Israel, I have every confidence that he will conduct the organization in a democratic manner and ensure that governance and financial transparency are applied at all levels.
Lauder faces the daunting challenge of healing the wounds of the past and trying to restore the World Jewish Congress to its former role as the prime global representative of the Jewish people. I hope he will succeed and bring the WJC back to its former glory.
On a personal note, having led the campaign to reform the WJC and introduce governance and transparency, which resulted in the struggle of the last three years, the intimidation and vindictive assaults on my character – not to mention being sued for an unprecedented $6 million – I do take personal pride and satisfaction, that at long last, there now is hope that the WJC may indeed have turned the corner.
It is unfortunate that the reform process was resisted by the previous leadership until intervention by regulatory authorities, which is still ongoing.
THE WJC elections were a battle to ensure that there would be genuine reform and governance, and to prevent those responsible for the scandals from continuing to undermine any such efforts. The new president was elected for the first time in open, fair and transparent elections and is committed to working with the representing communities around the world.
And aside from American Jewry, which is strong enough to stand alone, there is probably a greater need today for a powerful body strong enough to represent the interests of Jewish communities throughout the world than at any time since the Nazi era.
Had the WJC collapsed, escalating anti-Semitism, existential threats against Israel and the need for coordinated global strategies to confront these dangers would have necessitated the creation of a new global Jewish body.
I am therefore delighted that, notwithstanding the scandals of the past, there is hope that the WJC can be saved. It will take time to regain the confidence and support of the Jewish people. But we should all look toward a new era and wish the incoming leadership every success in its future endeavors.
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