World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder mourns former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell - World Jewish Congress

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder mourns former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell

‘General Colin Powell was a true mensch,’ says Amb. Lauder

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder mourns former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell

Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell addresses the World Jewish Congress’ annual Theodor Herzl Dinner after being awarded the Theodor Herzl Award in November 2017. (c) WJC / Shahar Azran

NEW YORK – Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, issued the following statement on the passing of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell:

“The United States lost one of its finest military leaders, a great statesman and a friend of the Jewish people. Colin Powell, soldier, general and Secretary of State, died today. This is a deep, personal loss for my wife, Jo Carole, and me. We first met the Powells in 1983, when I served in the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO and Colin Powell served as a military adviser to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. It was there that our close family friendship began and continued to this sad day.

“General Colin Powell, the title he preferred, never lost faith in America and was proud of his immigrant parents’ experience, not unlike so many of the millions who came to these shores. He summed up that belief beautifully, in an address to Howard University when he said: ‘Never lose faith in the United States. There are faults … and they are yours to fix.’

“As a high school student, Colin Powell worked for a Jewish-owned furniture store in the Bronx, New York. His relationship with the owner and other Jewish neighbors was a very positive experience in his life and he came to admire the Jewish people and even learned a great deal of Yiddish.

“In 2017, the WJC honored Colin Powell with its highest honor: the Theodor Herzl award. In his acceptance speech, General Powell remembered those days in the Bronx fondly, but he also talked about the G.I.’s who liberated the death camps. He also had a strong sense of realism and admitted that ‘antisemitism has never gone away.’

“I watched Colin Powell’s career grow with admiration, because of his great intelligence, his integrity and his courage. On a very personal note, we shared many family events together during the almost 40 years we knew each other.

“He was one of the best leaders our country ever had and a close personal friend. He will be missed by the many who had the good fortune to know him. 

“General Colin Powell was a true mensch.”

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WJC President Ronald S. Lauder with former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell at the Theodor Herzl Dinner in November 2017. (c) WJC / Shahar Azran

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