President of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald Lauder, has expressed fears over “the demise of the two-state solution” and Israel’s “blinkered” policies, which he says could endanger the future of the country.
Writing an article entitled “Israel’s Self-Inflicted Wounds” in the New York Times this week, Lauder said that Israel is confronting two fundamental problems, the first being its apparent abandonment of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, manifested by annexation plans.
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“I am conservative and a Republican, and I have supported the Likud party since the 1980s. But the reality is that 13 million people live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. And almost half of them are Palestinian,” Lauder wrote.
“If current trends continue,” he warned, “Israel will face a stark choice: Grant Palestinians full rights and cease being a Jewish state or rescind their rights and cease being a democracy.”
Noting that “Palestinian incitement and intransigence are destructive,” Lauder said that “annexation plans, pushed by those on the right, and extensive Jewish settlement-building beyond the separation line” were no more conducive to a peace that guarantees Israel’s continued future.
Such blinkered Israeli policies, he concluded, “are creating an irreversible one-state reality.”
The WJC president also raised concerns over what he described as Israel’s “capitulation to religious extremists and the growing disaffection of the Jewish Diaspora.”
In what appears to be a reference to a legion of political crises in recent months that have angered liberal strands of Judaism—particularly the Kotel affair, which in at least one case has already been cited by one prominent tycoon as a reason for withdrawing his donations to Israel—Lauder lamented the fact that many Jews outside of Israel “have come to feel, particularly over the last few years, that the nation that they have supported politically, financially and spiritually is turning its back on them.”
Taking pride in Israel’s technological strides and its military capabilities, Lauder cautioned that “by submitting to the pressures exerted by a minority in Israel, the Jewish state is alienating a large segment of the Jewish people.”
Finally, he urged Israel to take steps that would ensure the continued Jewish unity and to “change course.”
By Benjamin Tobias, Itamar Eichner, Ynet News