Ron Lauder Pledges $25 Million for Anti-Semitism Campaign


Mr. Lauder said that he did not have concerns about Mr. Trump, who has at times has perpetuated stereotypes of Jews using money to buy political influence, including his 2016 tweet that superimposed Hillary Clinton on piles of cash, a six-point Star of David and the words “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” In recent years, the Anti-Defamation League has tracked a spike in anti-Semitic incidents since the president’s election, with the number roughly doubling between 2015 and last two years.

Mr. Lauder, who has known Mr. Trump for decades, said the president’s 2019 State of the Union address had settled the matter for him, when Mr. Trump declared: “We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism, or those who spread its venomous creed.”

“I don’t believe there is an anti-Semitic bone in his body,” Mr. Lauder said of Mr. Trump. “He set the record straight, as far as I’m concerned, in front of the whole nation.”

Days after the interview, Mr. Trump spoke to the Israeli American Council National Summit on Saturday in Florida. He said many in audience were in the real estate business and “brutal killers”; he also complained about Jewish people “that don’t love Israel enough.” Some Democrats, such as Aaron Keyak, the former head of National Jewish Democratic Council, condemned Mr. Trump for using anti-Semitic tropes.

This fall, Mr. Lauder commissioned a poll by Mr. Schoen, to measure the level of anti-Semitism in America. It found that roughly one in six Americans hold at least some anti-Semitic beliefs, including people who said that the Holocaust is a myth or has been exaggerated (14 percent), that Jews have “too much control over the American government” (18 percent), or “too much control over global affairs (17 percent).

“Very scary,” Mr. Lauder said.

On the Democratic side, Mr. Lauder said he planned to reach out to a group of freshmen Democratic congresswomen who have been become known as “the Squad,” which includes Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib are the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress and both have become lightning rods for many in the pro-Israel community. Israel barred both from coming on an official visit, under pressure from Mr. Trump.



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