National Press Club

Lauder claims perception of lack of U.S. support for Israel at NPC Newsmaker event

February 15, 2012 | By Jamie Horowitz |

Ron Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress

Ron Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress

Photo/Image: Marshall Cohen

In his remarks at a National Press Club Newsmaker newsconference Feb.13, Ambassador Ron Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, compared the United States' relationship with Israel to a big brother watching over a little brother on a rough playground. In Lauder’s scenario, the big brother goes inside to get a glass of water and whispers to the neighborhood bullies: “Don’t beat him up too much while I’m gone.”

While Lauder praised U.S. military assistance to Israel and said he believes President Barack Obama personally supports close ties with Jerusalem, he told the NPC audience that administration leaks and public acts, such as Obama’s visit to Cairo and failure to visit Israel, have sent a message of a weakening support for Israel. In a region where perception is often the same as reality, Israel’s enemies are feeling emboldened by U.S. inaction, he said.

Lauder, a former U.S. diplomat, business leader and philanthropist, predicted that the Middle East will become a tougher neighborhood over the next year. He says it’s only a matter of time before Syria’s Bashar al-Assad falls in a conflict that will deteriorate into a civil war.

At the same time, the generals controlling Egypt will be in no hurry to give up power after watching Turkey sack many of that nation’s military leaders.

All that, however, is “a sideshow” compared to Iran, Lauder says. He believes the Obama administration has been intentionally leaking information about Israel’s plans to take out Iranian nuclear sites in order to slow down an attack by the Jewish state. The former diplomat thinks that an attack by either the U.S. or Israel is inevitable because sanctions don’t work and the Iranian nuclear weapons program is reaching a critical stage that threatens Israel and the West. As dangerous as Iran is to U.S. interests, Lauder believes the Obama administration does not want to risk another war before the U.S. elections this November.