Ron Lauder: The Next Chairman of the Conference of Presidents
by Gad Nahshon
Ron Lauder was elected by the conference of presidents to be its next chairman starting June 1, 1999. He will replace Mel Salberg. Leon Levy, the chairman of the nominating committee, said, "Ronald Lauder's experience…vision and dedication to building consensus within the conference to meet the challenges of the 21st century impressed the committee." Lauder thanked the conference for his nomination and said, "We must focus on that which unites us rather than that which divides us."
Levy and Lauder related in their speeches, the objection of some Jewish leaders to this nomination. Also, the Jewish week launched a media campaign against Lauder's election. In a way, it was smear tactics.
Leaders of the Jewish left, such as Howard Squadron or Marc Rosenblum ('Peace Now'), launched an unprecedented personal crusade against Lauder and claimed that he should be investigated. Why? Just because he is a well known supporter of the Likud party and helped Bibi Netanyahu. He is also a friend of Ehud Olmert. So what? We should note that the conference never launched an 'investigation' of other candidates in its long history (from 1952).
Well, many past leaders, or chairmen, had good relations with the labor party. Some helped Yitzhak Rabin, but they served the conference as neutral chairmen. It is also known that most of these chairman were members of the democratic party. Lauder is a republican. By the way, other billionaires such as Edgar Bronfman and Mort Zucherman, tried to become chairmen. There were also many Jewish organizations in this conference and often it is hard to find which members are being represented.
The conference has complicated relations with the Washington based AIPAC, "The pro-Israel" Lobby."
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