WASHINGTON - Some help from a friend: World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder sent an open letter to the US president expressing his concern about the deterioration in US-Israel relations and calling on Obama to rethink his Middle East policy.
The WJC is the umbrella organization for Jewish communities in 92 states around the world. Lauder is perceived to be a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and has served as his emissary to Damascus where he investigated the possibility of starting negotiations with Syria.
“Why does the thrust of this Administration's Middle East rhetoric seem to blame Israel for the lack of movement on peace talks?" Lauder asked in the letter. "After all, it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who refuse to negotiate.”
He expressed his fear that the crisis with Israel is part of the "administration's desire to improve relations with the Muslim world," and asserted that "appeasement does not work. It can achieve the opposite of what is intended.”
Lauder also queries whether the change in policy indicates that Washington favors a withdrawal to the 1967 borders, asking, "Can it be true that America is no longer committed to a final status agreement that provides defensible borders for Israel?"
In addition, he called on Obama to stop the public criticism of Israel, so that the two countries can contend together with the challenges facing them, first and foremost Iran.