Last week at a meeting with Jewish Students from around Southern California at UCLA Hillel, Edgar Bronfman did not sound like he was stepping down. However, he did say that his involvement with Jewish students has been the best thing that he has ever done.
Bronfman has been leading the World Jewish Congress for thirty years and got involved with Hillel during Richard Joel’s tenure as president of Hillel. Bronfman is also a major backer of taglit-birthright Israel. He announced today he was resigning from the post of chairman.
Whether or not you get into the whole Jewish mega-org scene or not, the WJC has a following world-wide. In many countries the WJC is seen as representative of world Jewry and has enormous clout. That is why I propose that Ronald S. Lauder take over the reigns of the organization.
Lauder enjoys a fantastic world-wide reputation in Jewish communities and in the halls of power in Europe and the Middle East He is equally at home in Europe, Israel and the US. He is respected for his commitment to Jewish communities large and small, passion for Israel, standing up to Kurt Waldheim when he was appointed Ambassador to Austria, building a renown art-collection, and for bringing me into full-time Jewish communal work.
While the spotlight may be on an insider, Mendal Kaplan for the job, I highly recommend to the steering committee that they elect Lauder. Since the episode with Israel Singer, and long time feuds for control of the organization between American and European executives, the WJC needs Lauder to regain credibility and perspective.