World Jewish Congress praises decision to eject Swiss populist Christoph Blocher from government


Ronald S. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), has praised the Swiss parliament for ejecting the populist leader Christoph Blocher from the government.

In an op-ed for the Swiss newspaper “NZZ am Sonntag”, Lauder wrote: “Step by step, Christoph Blocher has led his party away from the political center to the right fringes of the democratic spectrum of parties. In his quest for votes, he deliberately sought to aggravate tensions between immigrants and people with a different color of skin on the one hand and native Swiss on the other hand. The infamous black sheep-white sheep poster which was endorsed publicly by Blocher epitomizes that strategy. One could witness a Justice Minister as a political stirrer.” The WJC president also said that “Switzerland rightly prides itself on its democracy and its political institutions” and added that Blocher’s ousting from government showed that Swiss democracy was in a good state.

Lauder pointed out that it had always been Blocher’s policy “to isolate himself and his SVP from other parties, and to isolate Switzerland internationally, no matter what. This made his party strong, but not his country. Switzerland will not have a glorious future by isolating itself from the European Union and the wider world. […] Swiss diplomacy can only return to its former strength if the government and the parties supporting it once again represent an open-minded Switzerland.”

On 12 December, 2007, the Federal Assembly in Bern had decided not to re-elect Blocher to the seven-member Federal Council, the Swiss government. In his opinion piece, Ronald S. Lauder called this vote “a good day for Switzerland but also for Europe. Parliament in Bern achieved something many other European nations have not yet managed: to deal a severe blow to those politicians who represent a danger to pluralism and democracy. The Bern signal was in the interest of Switzerland and its democracy and should serve as an example for other European countries. Blocher was beaten in a democratic vote, and nobody should feel ashamed about that.”

To read the full text (in German) of the opinion piece, please click here.

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