The recent nomination of Robert Singer who used to head the “World ORT” educational Jewish organization for the position of World Jewish Congress secretary general made positive headlines in Jewish and Israeli press. Singer had served for more than ten years in IDF (Israeli Defense Forces). After some 12 years in the office of Israeli PM he joined World ORT and was quickly promoted to the leading position. Now Singer was nominated for one of most coveted positions in the Jewish world. The World Jewish Congress was established in Geneva in 1936, when the atmosphere in Europe was already exploding with anti-Semitism and xenophobia. The WJC then proclaimed a few goals, such as fighting for equal rights for Jewish population in Europe and elsewhere and a creation of all-Jewish representative elected body. It was meant to be based on principles of democracy and liberalism, however the history of WJC proved to be often marred with scandals, corruption and misdemeanor.
Many at WJC agree that Singer, who currently resides in London, will be bringing in a lot of experience, professionalism and new energies so much needed by veteran Jewish organization. The current president of WJC, the billionaire Ronald Lauder welcomed Singer and expressed a hope that his experience and professionalism will benefit the organization and help to promote its goals.
Robert Singer will assume the position of Secretary General in two months, by the end of April. His appointment will be ratified by the 14th World Jewish Congress Plenary Assembly, which is set to take place in w Budapest, Hungary, May 5 -7, 2013. During these three days the WJC presidential elections will also take place in Hungarian capital, where 400 delegates from all over the world will meet to elect the Congress future leader. Ronald Lauder the “Estie Lauder” cosmetics empire heir and the current WJC presidents expects to be re-elected for the third consecutive term. For now it seems that Lauder doesn’t have a thing to worry about, as his victory seems rather predictable. After all, with only a several weeks left before elections, there is still not a single other candidate who will attempt to fight for WJC presidency. And yet, Lauder is trying hard to secure the necessary 2/3 of the votes that he needs to be re-elected for the third time. In December 2012 a story on Lauder’s intervention in Vienna’s local community internal affairs broke and although since then the parties had met in Austrian capital and settled the conflict, the scandal just refuses to die. In early December the leaders of Vienna Jewish community accused Lauder of an attempt to buy out the elections for community presidency. In a letter dated December 3, Oskar Deutsch, the president of Vienna community accused Ronald Lauder of offering $5.8 million members of the Jewish Community of Vienna in exchange for supporting Martin Engelberg candidature for presidency. A spokesman for Lauder denied the claims and called the accusations “ridiculous”. Later in January Lauder visited Vienna and met the elected president, Oscar Deutsch. The two apparently agreed to leave all contradictions behind and move on. Approximately at the same time the Russian press revealed that Lauder unexpectedly became a member of Russian Jewish Congress board of governors.
According to sources in Moscow, he donated to this organization half a million USD. Ronald Lauder resides in New York and does not speak Russian language. The same sources who agreed to speak with reporters on terms of anonymity argued that the membership of Lauder in Russian Jewish Congress is meant to provide him the necessary support during the upcoming elections in May. Considering that up till this very day no candidate attempted to run for presidency, it’s almost certain that the current WJC president will remain at his place for the next term, and that the nomination of Robert Singer for the position of Secretary General will become the last significant change for this important Jewish organization for the foreseeable future.