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‘NYT’ anoints Ron Lauder as prophet of doom for Netanyahu

Media Analysis
on 49 Comments

Five months after Ron Lauder, the head of the World Jewish Congress, was granted a platform on the New York Times op-ed page to warn that Israel’s leadership was isolating the country through its unending settlement project and growing intolerance, America’s leading newspaper gave him the page again yesterday, this time to decry Israel’s new nation state bill and its indifference to the opinion of liberal American Jewry. “Israel, This Is Not Who We Are… we cannot allow the politics of a radical minority to alienate millions of Jews worldwide.”

Here are some interpretations of Lauder’s second coming.

The New York Times as a mouthpiece for the American Jewish establishment has decided to take on Benjamin Netanyahu hammer-and-tongs as a threat to Israel’s future– and implicitly, as a pox on the Jewish image globally.

–Does Netanyahu care? Probably not. He needs to appeal to his rightwing base to win reelection and escape corruption charges. He’s just another tinhorn martinet indifferent to world opinion.

–The piece is significant as another marker of divorce between American Jews and Israel. Jewish Insider stresses how intentional it was of the Times to run the articles, and quotes the passages in which the old conservative Likudnik who helped make Netanyahu warns him that American Jews are not on board: “[A]s a loving brother, I ask Israel’s government to listen to the voices of protest and outrage being heard in Israel and throughout the Jewish world. As president of the World Jewish Congress, I call upon Israeli leaders to rethink their destructive actions during this summer of disharmony. This is not who we are, and this is not who we wish to be.”

–The article contains one very important concession: Israel discriminates against LGBT community. This is the exact opposite of Israel’s claims!

If present trends persist, young Jews might not acquiesce to an affiliation with a nation that discriminates against non-Orthodox Jews, non-Jewish minorities and the L.G.B.T. community.

–The article is frank about the fact that young Jews won’t fight BDS. So BDS is not about anti-Semitism.

They may not fight the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, they may not support Israel in Washington and they may not provide it with the strategic rear guard that Israel so needs.

–The article contains a howler that is intended to warn Netanyahu about his danger to American Jews, but that surely reflects badly on Jews in the eyes of the world:

For 4,000 years, the Jewish people were seen as the world’s moral compass.

Really? “Imagine being an adult who believes this statement,” our publisher commented wryly. And:

The Zionist movement has been unwaveringly democratic from its very start.

“It’s clear that Lauder’s knowledge of the history of Israel is lacking.”

–Lauder swears fealty to Israel throughout. “I have always stood by Israel and I always will.” He’s a pillar of the Israel lobby. It would be nice to get an anti-Zionist on the op-ed page, but it’s not going to happen any time soon. The New York Times serves a Jewish audience, assiduously; and Jews are overwhelmingly pro-Israel. There’s a reason that most of the last half dozen Jerusalem bureau chiefs have been Jewish, that recent hires include two pro-Israel Israeli writers (Shmuel Rosner and Ronen Bergman), that most of the columnists who opine on Israel are Jewish. A lot of the Times readership are New York Jews; and the Jewish establishment reads the Times. Remember that Jerrold Nadler said he had to buck his Manhattan district to oppose the Iraq war, and many questioned his commitment to Israel. That’s who lives there. Utah newspapers have to be sensitive to Mormons…

Thanks to Adam Horowitz and James North.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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49 Responses

  1. John O on August 15, 2018, 1:28 pm

    Whenever I see the phrase, “This is not who we are”, I have a great urge to yell, “Oh, yes, it is!”

  2. eljay on August 15, 2018, 2:28 pm

    … “Israel, This Is Not Who We Are… we cannot allow the politics of a radical minority to alienate millions of Jews worldwide.” …

    It must suck to be a Jewish supremacist like Mr. Lauder and know that radical Jewish supremacists are alienating less-radical / “liberal” Jewish supremacists instead of making them feel comfortable about being Jewish supremacists and actively participating in Jewish supremacism.  :-(

  3. JWalters on August 15, 2018, 6:58 pm

    “For 4,000 years, the Jewish people were seen as the world’s moral compass.”

    What ignorance and arrogance. Mr. Lauder could write a book, “How to Make Enemies and Offend People”.

    • RoHa on August 15, 2018, 9:52 pm

      “For 4,000 years, the Jewish people were seen as the world’s moral compass.”

      Confucians, Taoists, Buddhists, Hindus, American, African, Mongolian, and Australian animists, Sikhs, Parsees, and Jains all resolved their ethical problems by asking “What Would The Jews Do”.

      • JWalters on August 16, 2018, 2:07 am


      • oldgeezer on August 18, 2018, 9:25 pm


        Well clearly if you thought that the Jewish people and Judaism were the moral center of the Universe then the only logical option is to become a member of a different religion.

        hophmi never stops coming across as someone who spent too long in a sealed big tent and suffered oxygen deprivation.

    • ckg on August 16, 2018, 1:22 pm

      “For 4,000 years, the Jewish people were seen as the world’s moral compass.”

      This includes the period described in Joshua and Judges. LOL.

    • pabelmont on August 20, 2018, 4:18 pm

      Of course, Mr DeLuded Lauder only meant that Jews were seen by Jews themselves as “the moral compass” of the world. For at least a few of those 4000 years, quite a few Christians allowed themselves to believe that the Jews (as a whole ?) had killed Christ — an action usually thought of, by those same Christians, as not quite moral compass material.

      Actually, that 4000 years remark is an obvious attempt by Lauder and NYT to coerce Americans generally into silent acquiescence to this moral compass nonsense. It’s part of the long-standing Israel-first program: hate Netanyahu if you must, but love Israel.

  4. DaBakr on August 15, 2018, 7:12 pm

    Oh yeah. LGBT feel SOOO unsafe in Israel. they all must be thinking about moving to another neighborhood nearby. Instead of the knee jerk response maybe somebody should read the law that has banned male homosexuals (or heterosexual couples) from having surrogate babies without ANY further involvement of the mother who carried. Phil is pretty close to embracing the handmaids tale of renting out wombs as a business. there are no laws preventing LGBT from any job, office, right, or any other restriction. states have an obligation to protect all life. should abortion be completly free and available after the third trimester if there is no health issue? or is that a discrimination against women. but any way to knock Israel is pw’s modus operandi

    • Mooser on August 15, 2018, 8:37 pm

      Poor “DaBakr”, his last nerve had a breakdown and he’s gone back to muttering.

      • DaBakr on August 16, 2018, 1:22 am

        I would rather mutter about the subject matter at hand then be a source of constant quips and a few really bad yiddish jokes

      • CigarGod on August 16, 2018, 9:45 am

        Baker Boy:
        But Mooser is brilliant at it, and you are just lost in the mutter.

      • Mooser on August 16, 2018, 5:12 pm

        “I would rather mutter about the subject matter at hand”

        Why? What on earth do you think you are doing or accomplishing? Besides exposing yourself (and Zionism along with it) in a particularly nasty way, that is.

      • hophmi on August 17, 2018, 10:40 am

        Nothing about Mooser is brilliant outside of Mondoweiss world.

      • Mooser on August 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

        “Nothing about Mooser is brilliant outside of Mondoweiss world.”

        Uh-oh, “Hophmi” is going to expose me! It’s all a bud libel, I tell you!

      • DaBakr on August 18, 2018, 1:38 am


        I’ve said it before. I’m being entertained, sometimes by people who have an interesting point of view and somtimes by complete idiots or those reeking of dreams of revenge, but I can always draw a ridiculous comment out of you

      • Mooser on August 18, 2018, 7:05 pm

        “I’ve said it before. I’m being entertained…”

        Standing in a corner, grinding your fist in your pocket, looking daggers at everybody in the room and muttering, muttering, muttering is a strange way to entertain yourself, but if you enjoy it, have at it, “DaBakr”.

    • Misterioso on August 16, 2018, 3:06 pm


      The entity known as “Israel” – 70 years of trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

      So predictable:

      To quote Gertrude Bell, one of the era’s greatest Arabists, a colleague of T.E. Lawrence and a member of British intelligence in Cairo: Realizing what it could lead to, she wrote the British cabinet of PM Lloyd George advising it that “an independent Jewish Palestine” was impractical because “[Palestine]…is not Jewish; ” the native population would not “accept Jewish authority…. Jerusalem is equally sacred to three faiths and should not be put under the exclusive control of any one….” (Sanders, The High Walls of Jerusalem, p. 585)

      Henry Morgenthau Sr., renowned Jewish American and former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, 1919: “Zionism is the most stupendous fallacy in Jewish history….The very fervour of my feeling for the oppressed of every race and every land, especially for the Jews, those of my own blood and faith, to whom I am bound by every tender tie, impels me to fight with all the greater force against this scheme, which my intelligence tells me can only lead them deeper into the mire of the past, while it professes to be leading them to the heights. Zionism is… a retrogression into the blackest error, and not progress toward the light.” (Quoted by Frank Epp, Whose Land is Palestine?, p. 261)

      Asked to sign a petition supporting settlement of Jews in Palestine, Sigmund Freud declined: “I cannot…I do not think that Palestine could ever become a Jewish state….It would have seemed more sensible to me to establish a Jewish homeland on a less historically-burdened land….I can raise no sympathy at all for the misdirected piety which transforms a piece of a Herodian wall into a national relic, thereby offending the feelings of the natives.” (Letter to Dr. Chaim Koffler Keren HaYassod, Vienna: 2/26/30)

      Albert Einstein, 1939: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people…. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.”

      Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, 1944: “The concept of a racial state – the Hitlerian concept- is repugnant to the civilized world, as witness the fearful global war in which we are involved. . . , I urge that we do nothing to set us back on the road to the past. To project at this time the creation of a Jewish state or commonwealth is to launch a singular innovation in world affairs which might well have incalculable consequences.”

      • DaBakr on August 18, 2018, 1:43 am


        First of all, despite his concerns, Einstein was a dedicated zionist at the time of his death. You can guess all you want just as y’all do with Dr. King.
        Second, there were always those that predicted doom if a Jewish nation were reborn. The only folks that keep bringing these quotes up are the small percentage of dedicated anti- zionists. And most of them either thought wrong or predicted wrong and the most famous of American jewish critics are well remembered and tarnished by it.

        Oh, and like Sigmund didn’t have a shtload of ideas eventually considered bunk. He almost got his daughter killed by Gestapo before he would believe the nazis meant any harm to such an illustrious jew as himself.

  5. Citizen on August 16, 2018, 11:19 am

    “For 4,000 years, the Jewish people were seen as the world’s moral compass.”

    By whom, when, where? Not to mention, why?

    • CigarGod on August 16, 2018, 7:25 pm

      The myths we learn at Mothers knee.

    • hophmi on August 17, 2018, 10:41 am

      It’s interesting how many of you take issue with Lauder’s comment that Jews have been seen as the world’s moral compass for many years. It’s like you really want to take a dig at Judaism, not Israel. Nothing new there. I doubt you’d be as exercised if a Muslim writer wrote that Islam has been seen as a moral compass for the last 1400 years.

      • oldgeezer on August 17, 2018, 11:08 am


        LOL… I’d be exercised no matter who or what said it. It’s an egotistical pile of crap.

      • Mooser on August 17, 2018, 1:14 pm

        “Hophmi” would you give us an example, maybe even two examples, of a time or situation in which Judaism or Jews have been the world’s moral compass?

        Or have we “fallen away” from that role?

      • Atlantaiconoclast on August 17, 2018, 11:03 pm

        I would reject that notion as well! Neither one have been the moral compass. Certain Christian movements such as the abolition movement, have had greater impact on morality.

      • braciole on August 18, 2018, 6:37 am

        Hophmi – perhaps you can provide an example of a Muslim writer who has made such a claim in a journal as important and influential as the New York Times is alleged to be. If the writer was a Wahhabist, I’d die laughing.

      • annie on August 18, 2018, 10:06 am

        It’s like you really want to take a dig at Judaism, not Israel.

        no, it’s like i’ve never heard of “the Jewish people” as being seen as the world’s “moral compass”. maybe jewish people think of themselves that way, but it’s fairly ballsy implying “the world” agrees.

        so i google “are jews the world’s moral compass?” and what do i find?

        chabad informing me hitler said ““Conscience is a Jewish invention” but guess what? we don’t all think like hitler!

        lauder claims “Elie Wiesel Was the World’s Moral Compass”!

        in fact, there is a lot written about jews being this “moral compass” but all of it seems to be written by jewish people — about themselves. and unsurprisingly, christians seems to think christianity, or christ, is our moral compass:

        and lest we think this glorification of ones moral importance is limited to jews and christians:

        Islam’s moral system is striking in that it not only defines morality, but also guides the human race in how to achieve it, at both an individual as well as a collective level.

        as it turns out, it’s quite common for people of different faiths to make claims about their own morality. what is less common is people outside those religions making the same claim about people of others religions (hitler not withstanding apparently, according to chabad).

        but i think it’s safe to say that For 4,000 years, lots of Jewish people see themselves, or their faith/religion, as the world’s moral compass.


      • gamal on August 18, 2018, 12:35 pm

        “no, it’s like i’ve never heard of “the Jewish people” as being seen as the world’s “moral compass”. ”

        It is a very peculiar claim,

        “and lest we think this glorification of ones moral importance is limited to jews and christians: ”

        While true the piece you linked I think is not making quite that claim, someone mentioned wahhabists, sure they make that claim and worse, but I have Abdullah ed-Dagistanis “Mercy Oceans” a Naqshbandi Sufi ( the sweet Muslims) manual in which inter alia he claims that “God will not question Ladies about their doings (going out to funerals and getting all made up and other stuff) but will question their fathers, brothers and husbands” its from a 1980 commentary seems problematic to me, but I obviously take your point.

        In his work “The Tibetan Tradition of Mental Development” (which as summation of religion I would tend to agree with) Lama Geshey Ngawang Dargyey defines the 2nd Paramita Tsultrim which is Morality he says it has 3 elements, trinity ahoy,

        A. Avoid breaking vows
        B. Being of benefit to others ( no guesswork required there are 11 ways of helping others which I shall not list)
        C. the motivation in all acts of Bodhicitta (of which the relative aspect is to “long to attain Enlightenment for the benefit of others”, and in its ultimate aspect is immersion in Shunya, not as bad as it sounds good in and of itself)

        “All the Paramitas may be applied while practising Morality. One may practice giving while keeping pure morality unsullied by the Hinayana attitude of thinking only of oneself.”

        oh damn so mahayanists are the hinayanists moral compass, tricky thing morality, I don’t mess with it but

        ” Even if a person does not know what virtue is and how to accumulate it or what non-virtue is and how to avoid it, if he has less selfishness, he automatically has more good heart.”

        Lama Zopa navigating by the stars.

      • RoHa on August 19, 2018, 1:25 am

        “Lama Geshey Ngawang Dargyey defines the 2nd Paramita Tsultrim which is Morality …”

        But he’s just quoting the Talmud, isn’t he? Couldn’t have got any moral ideas any other way.

  6. inbound39 on August 17, 2018, 9:42 pm

    I cannot think of any time in my families history where we have sought answers to correct our direction by turning to Judaism moral compass. Maybe it is because we are Scottish Heathens or as Roman’s called us, Barbarians. We were happy when they built Hadrian’s Wall….it kept the Romans out of Scotland….lol.

    • DaBakr on August 18, 2018, 1:49 am


      So then we can assume you never read a bible.

      • echinococcus on August 18, 2018, 10:40 am

        Here, Bakr, I’m reading a bible:

        All summarized here, go to the ref. for full text.

        They warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males … And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones … And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses … And Moses was angry with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, who came from the battle. And Moses said unto them, “Have you saved all the women alive? … kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves (Numbers 31:7-35)

        Now the Israelites looked for the men who’d raped the Levite’s mistress, but the people of Benjamin wouldn’t give them up, and made war until twenty two thousand Israelites were dead; and the Israelites wept, saying “Lord, in return must I kill my brothers the Benjamites?” And they killed twenty five thousand Benjamites and set fire to their cities, until only six hundred men survived who’d run away to the wilderness. Then the Israelites were sorry, and said “How can they find wives when we’ve killed all their virgins!” So they considered, “Is there any tribe which hasn’t come to the Lord’s house?” Now the tribe of Jabeshgilead wasn’t there, so they sent an army to completely wipe them out and managed to capture four hundred virgins, which they gave to the Benjamites to made peace.
        Then the elders said to the Benjamites, “But you’re still two hundred virgins short! However, there’s a yearly feast near Bethel; hide in the vineyards, and catch the daughters of Shiloh when they come out to dance. And if their fathers complain, say “You’re the guilty ones; just because we didn’t reserve your virgins during the war, you should have given them to us anyway.” Judges 20, 21

        So Jephthah became their general; but his attempts to make peace failed, and he vowed “Lord, if you give me victory against Ammon, then whatever comes out of the door of my house when I return shall be offered to you in sacrifice”. And he conquered twenty Ammonite cities with much slaughter. When he returned to his house, his daughter came out to meet him, playing tambourines and dancing; she was his only child. He cried “Alas, my daughter! I’ve promised you to the Lord!” And she said, “My father, do to me whatever you’ve promised; but first let me go to the mountains with my friends, that I may mourn the fact that I must die a virgin.” “Go,” said Jephthah. And she went off with her friends, and wept for her virginity on the mountains. And after two months she returned to her father, who offered her to the Lord as a burnt offering. And she was still a virgin. Judges 11

        Many, many more there.

        So now we know the moral compass. It is exactly the moral compass that makes sense for any Zionist.

      • Mooser on August 18, 2018, 6:59 pm

        .“So then we can assume you never read a bible..”

        Well then “DaBakr”, this is your chance. Why not give us a few of the Bible verses which calibrate your moral compass?

        The ones which make our Jewish morals “the Polestar all men’s needles point towards”, as John Barth said.

      • echinococcus on August 19, 2018, 12:53 am

        I can’t hear you, Aboubakr. Did you say something in response?

        Either you have not read the Bible and you are blissfully unaware of the uncountable genocidal, murderous, grossly immoral or even plain revolting orders of the Lord of this book, which you recommend to all as a “moral compass” (not something eminently moral to do, don’t you think?)
        you have read this book, and your moral compass is fully compatible with the uncountable abominations recommended on the authority of said Lord. Which isn’t unlikely at all, as a lot of these recommendations consist in ordering a given tribe to go invade, steal, murder all –and go back to make sure there is no one left: sound exactly like the moral compass that ny Zionist must have to behave as you guys do.

      • Mooser on August 19, 2018, 2:12 pm

        Sorry, sorry, I looked up the half-remembered Barth quote (From “The Sotweed Factor”) and he was totally talking about something else.

      • inbound39 on August 31, 2018, 10:55 pm

        My father insisted I read the King James Version of the Bible so I could speak from knowledge in religious arguments. I chose as an adult to discard the Bible as just Man’s view of life in order to control the masses. I choose as an Adult to pick a different belief where I do not necessarily take Biblical statements as fact as much of it has found to be lacking truth.

  7. braciole on August 18, 2018, 6:29 am

    For anyone who questions the British Labour Party rejecting the IHRA “examples”, this article demonstrates why it should keep on doing so regardless:

    Lauder swears fealty to Israel throughout. “I have always stood by Israel and I always will.”

    According to the IHRA, the above statement is antisemitic.

    Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

    • RoHa on August 18, 2018, 8:11 pm

      The article doesn’t say that Lauder is more loyal to Israel than to his own country.

      The problem I have with the IHRA definition is that it condemns us for such statements even when they are true. But this is a general problem which applies to all attempts to regulate speech.

      • braciole on September 19, 2018, 1:12 pm

        What happens when he has to decide between the USA and Israel? Seems to me he’d support Israel.

    • pabelmont on August 20, 2018, 4:43 pm


      But, but, sputter, sputter, Lauder does not accuse any Jewish citizens of anywhere outside Israel of fealty to Israel which would harm such other country — he assumes (or pretends to assume) that his own (and only his own, not all Jews’) fealty to Israel could not harm the USA or be contrary to the USA’s interests! NOT TREASON!! And for these several reasons not antisemitism! Perhaps stupid, perhaps immoral, but not (dear G-d) antisemitic.

      • braciole on September 19, 2018, 1:17 pm

        With that statement, Lauder declares he is more loyal to Israel than the United Sates and writing that he’s said that is now anti-semitic according to the IHRA.

  8. Maghlawatan on August 18, 2018, 10:24 am

    Yesterday the NYT ran an oped response to Lauder by Jabotinsky junior aka Naftali self suicide Bennett.

    Lauder is no defender of justice but Bennett is odious. I cannot imagine the NYT giving space to the Christian fundi or Muslim fundi equivalent of Bennett.
    The NYT is liberal for non Jews and pro autocracy for Jews.
    Every day the gap grows wider.

  9. dennis on August 18, 2018, 9:21 pm

    Weiss says: “Jews are overwhelmingly pro-Israel”. From the context he probably means American Jews. I don’t know his meaning of “overwhelmingly”. Are there any statistics available? What percentage of American Jews are pro-Israel?

    I would say “overwhelmingly” for 80% or more. Where I live, Germany, my impression is that the Jews are not overwhelmingly pro-Israel. I’m sorry for Weiss if he is facing an overwhelmingly pro-Israel Jewish population. His writings won’t make a dent in that.

    • Talkback on August 19, 2018, 3:20 am

      Talking about the relevance of American Jews:

      “When comes to Israeli policy, or American decisions about Israeli policy, American Jews are simply irrelevant.

      Over the past several years, the Israeli government has made a calculated decision that American Jews are disposable, and can be replaced by Evangelical Christians as their keystone international allies.”

      Read more:

    • Mooser on August 19, 2018, 2:10 pm

      . “His writings won’t make a dent in that.”

      Why? Are you anticipating Phil Weiss trying to take credit for the precipitous fall in real support for Israel among American Jews?

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