April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

A week after publishing an open letter in which he criticized US President Barack Obama, Ron Lauder on Wednesday continued to slam the American president and his Middle East policies.

In an interview with the German Der Spiegel, Lauder - who serves as president of the World Jewish Congress and is considered a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - said that Washington's criticism of Israel was "disproportionate."

"The Obama administration is blaming Israel for the stalling peace process, but it is in fact the Palestinians which are opposed to negotiations," he said.

When asked whether the Israeli government can also be blamed for the recent deterioration between the two countries, following its announcement of a plan to build 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem during US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel, Lauder noted the "bad timing."

However, he said that the Israeli government has made extraordinary concessions: "It has accepted the idea of a Palestinian state, a moratorium on settlement building, and it has removed over a hundred roadblocks in the West Bank."

Lauder stressed that despite his close relationship with the prime minister, he does not act as his spokesman.

"I don't represent my friend, but Jews worldwide. I would have written the same letter if someone else were prime minister in Jerusalem. Over his attempts to engage the Muslim world, Obama has strongly neglected the relationship with Israel," he said.

During the interview, Lauder rejected claims that the conflict in the Middle East was harming American national security and said that Washington's "main concern should be Iran. The regime in Tehran is threatening Israel and the entire Western world with its plans to build a nuclear bomb. That is why Obama should end his feud with Israel."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017