Exposed: Dirty Money Schemes
To Steal Election for Sharon
by Jeffrey Steinberg, Anton Chaitkin, and Scott Thompson
The One Jerusalem Foundation posted a press release on its website (www.onejerusalem.org) in June, reporting on the visit to Irving, Texas by Jerusalem's Mayor Ehud Olmert. During his several-day Texas tour, Olmert, a Likud party member, participated in the Jerusalem Prayer Summit, a Likud outreach project to America's Christian evangelical community, which he was launching, in league with two leading U.S. Christian Zionists, Rev. Mike Evans and Rev. Pat Robertson. All told, 300 Christian Zionist figures, including Dr. Tim LaHaye, Dr. John Hagee, Christian Coalition Director Roberta Coombs, and singer Pat Boone, have so far endorsed Olmert's Jerusalem Prayer Team.
The One Jerusalem release failed to mention that almost all of the Christian Zionists who joined in the bonding exercise with the Likud, have also teamed up, since the mid-1990s, with Rev. Sun Myung Moon's dirty-money and sex cult, the Unification Church. The Moonies' own deep ties to the Sharon faction in Israel, which date back to the late 1970s, were recently exposed in EIR ("Will Moonie Money Be Used in Netanyahu-Sharon Election Theft?" Nov. 15, 2002).
According to the One Jerusalem release, during one event in Dallas, the Mayor Olmert raised $400,000 for his New Jerusalem Foundation, ostensibly to aid "victims of terrorism in Jerusalem."
Sharon Personal Fundraising in U.S.
In his address to the Dallas gathering, Mayor Olmert declared, "I will go back tomorrow to Jerusalem, and I will tell the people of Jerusalem that we have established here in Dallas something that will spread across America, and later across the world—the Jerusalem Prayer Summit, the Jerusalem Prayer Team that I have the honor to inaugurate today. I promised it to my friend, Mike Evans, that I will join him in going from one congregation to the other, from one community to the other to participate in the Jerusalem Prayer Summits."
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, speaking through his Foreign Policy Adviser Danny Ayalon, also addressed the Dallas gathering. "The Prime Minister," Ayalon said, "would like to express his personal appreciation to you, Mr. Evans, for being such a friend of Jerusalem and the State of Israel, speaking out with courage and compassion for over two decades. He salutes your achievements and wishes you continued success."
Shortly after Ayalon's Dallas appearance, he was appointed by Sharon as the new Israeli Ambassador to the United States.
Several months after his Texas jaunt, Mayor Olmert was back in the United States—and back on the fundraising trail. On Oct. 11, Olmert addressed a "Christian Solidarity With Israel" rally at the Washington Convention Center, sponored by Robertson's Christian Coalition. Rabbi Benny Elon, the head of the Moledet Party and a member of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, who preaches the "ethnic cleansing" of all the Palestinians and Arabs from Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, also addressed the rally, along with Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Roberta Coombs, and Lt. Col. Oliver North (ret.).
Then on Oct. 15, Olmert participated in another Jerusalem Prayer Summit at the Mission Valley Christian Fellowship Church in San Diego. The $1,000-a-plate dinner netted Olmert half a million dollars.
According to several Israeli sources interviewed for this article, Olmert travels to the United States "almost every week," in pursuit of Christian Zionist and other right-wing cash. And according to one well-placed U.S. intelligence source, Olmert was one of a handful of "Likud Princes" who swung the recent Likud election for party chairman to incumbent Prime Minister Sharon, who defeated his rival, ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, by a wide margin. Olmert's Nov. 18 endorsement of Sharon was considered by many Netanyahu supporters to have been the fatal stab in the back that finished "Bibi."
Sharon's victory came less from the Likud faithful than from big donors in America, who poured their cash—illegally—into Sharon's pocket, according to the U.S. source. Indeed, the turnout on Likud primary day was so poor, that the Prime Minister went on national television at midday, to plead for a larger voter turnout, as a "show of strength" against terrorists, who had conveniently carried out attacks against Israeli targets in Kenya and inside Israel earlier in the day.
While the published polls claim that Sharon is a shoo-in for re-election, over the Labor Party's new chairman Gen. Amran Mitzna—the Mayor of Haifa and an advocate of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's land-for-peace policy—the no-show turnout (initially below 20%) of the Likud faithful suggests that this may be more hype than reality. Sharon's political rise, from reviled war criminal to national leader, was accomplished, every step of the way, by massive infusions of crime- and cult-tainted money from the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Now, unless a major public outcry is provoked in Israel and the United States, the same dirty-money operations will literally steal the Jan. 28, 2003 Israeli Knesset elections for the radical right wing, and will return Sharon to the Prime Minister's office, as the first man to be re-elected to that top post in decades. Sharon's dirty money-tainted victory, if it happens on Jan. 28, might prove to be the epitaph on the gravestone of the State of Israel.
In all of his fundraising sojourns in America, Mayor Olmert says that the charitable contributions he reels in are going to his New Jerusalem Foundation (NJF), a non-profit agency he established as a fundraising arm of the City of Jerusalem. New Jerusalem Foundation was first established in March 1998, according to an April 9, 2000 article in the Jerusalem Post, and its executive director Tzvi Raviv told another Israeli newspaper, in September 1999, that he had already raised $2 million.
This provoked an outcry from opposition Jerusalem City Council members, who discovered that NJF had never registered with the Interior Ministry as a non-profit organization. City Councilwoman Anat Hoffman, of the pro-peace Meretz party, told the Jerusalem Post, "There is no accountability here." And she was dead right! The Post reported that "opposition members fear the Mayor has been avoiding proper reporting of the foundation's activities because he has been using it to raise funds for his own political needs."
The New Jerusalem Foundation, while having no official existence inside Israel, was granted tax-exempt charity status in the United States on Dec. 9, 1999. Olmert told the Jerusalem Post that he had received $4.5 million and had invested the money in 80 separate Jerusalem projects—but no further details were provided, other than a blanket statement that the foundation is "in the process of registration."
In the United States, NJF is a 501(c)3 charity; yet it has no physical presence in the country. The only American even remotely associated with NJF is Gary Wallin, of Manchester, New Hamphire, who is listed as the foundation's representative. But Wallin is, according to Tzvi Raviv, merely a pass-through for the cash, which goes directly to Olmert bank accounts in Israel, managed by Raviv and Uri Messer, Olmert's "legal adviser." Wallin may be a "pass-through," but he is no lightweight. He is the Treasurer of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful "official" Israel lobby in American politics, an intimate pal of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), and the head of the Gush Etzion Foundation U.S.A. Kfar Etzion, in the Gush Etzion region, was the first West Bank settlement established after the 1967 war.
Raviv refused to tell the Jerusalem Post who contributes to the New Jerusalem Foundation, or who even maintains the records of the contributions, or how the money is spent. But, he did insist that no laws have been broken, because "No Israeli or Israeli organization has given to the New Jerusalem Foundation, ever."
In an interview with an American journalist, he did reveal that NJF works closely with Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, of the Chicago- and Jerusalem-based International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, with Mike Evans' Jerusalem Prayer Team, with Leo Giazinetti of San Diego, with the Dutch Reform Church, and with the Mormon Church-sponsored Children of Israel Fund.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein is, indeed, another pivotal player in the dirty-money flows from America into the Likud coffers. Eckstein has been the match-maker of the marriage between the Jabotinskyites in Israel and the most fanatical of the Christian Zionists in America, dating back to the late 1970s, when he was the co-director of inter-religious affairs for the organized crime-tainted Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL).
After serving with the ADL from 1977-1983, Eckstein quit the League, to create the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which also has 501(c)3 tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In 1981, when the Reverend Moon-bankrolled Dr. Joseph Churba and Rabbi David Ben-Ami arranged for private meetings between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Terry Riesenhoover (head of the American Jerusalem Temple Foundation), Eckstein oversaw the entire project. To this day, Eckstein's "close friend," Rabbi Ben-Ami, is a front-man for the Moonies, who serves as one of the cult's back-channels to the Likudniks in Israel.
In 2000, Eckstein moved to Jerusalem, where he set up a second branch of his IFCJ, called Hakeren L'Yedidut. Eckstein also established another entity, the Jerusalem Friendship Fund, which presented Mayor Olmert with a check for $1 million, shortly after Eckstein's aliya. Eckstein now holds two posts, significant in combination: Olmert appointed him as his "special adviser for fundraising in the non-Jewish world"; and Sharon, shortly after he was elected Prime Minister, appointed Eckstein as his public relations ambassador to the Christian community worldwide, according to a May 24, 2002 article in Salon magazine by Michelle Goldberg.
Eckstein's other current project is Stand For Israel, an IFCJ-spawned effort he co-founded with Ralph Reed—the former executive director of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition—who is now the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, and was a campaign aide to George W. Bush. Stand For Israel was established with the modest goal of creating a Christian Zionist equivalent of AIPAC. In June 2002, Eckstein and Reed held a founding convention of Stand For Israel in Jerusalem, which was followed by a face-to-face strategy session with Sharon.
While accounts differ, Eckstein tells reporters that he has personally raised more than $30 million for Israel since 1993. Esther Levin, the director of another Christian Zionist/Jabotinskyite outfit in America, the National Unity Coalition for Israel (NUCI), claims, bitterly, that Eckstein raises more than $30 million a year, predominantly from Christian Zionists, and that all the money flows into unknown coffers in Israel.
Eckstein's IFCJ also has been a source of political clout in Washington for the Israeli Radical Right. In 1994, Eckstein organized an Evangelical-Jewish Leadership Conference at the U.S. Senate, attended by Reed, Falwell, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, the ADL's Abe Foxman, and other Jewish and evangelical leaders. The meeting averted a rift between the Christian Right and the ADL. Two years later, Eckstein launched the Center for Jewish and Christian Values in Washington, as his beachhead in the nation's capital. The co-chairs of the group, which was shut down when Eckstein moved to Israel, were: Senators Joe Lieberman, Sam Brownback, and Dan Coats (R-Ind.). Eckstein describes himself as a "Joe Lieberman Democrat." Among the speakers at Eckstein-sponsored events was current Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
One Israel/One Jerusalem
Eckstein is clearly one of the major conduits for untraced and unregulated cash, from the Christian Zionists in America, into the pockets of the Israeli Radical Right, particularly the Sharon Likud faction. But the evangelicals are by no means the only sources of illegal campaign gelt flowing into the Likud. A parallel set of U.S.-based tax-exempt organizations are also widely believed to be funneling under-the-table cash into the Sharon campaign. Like the Eckstein operation, these other money conduits have been operating for years, and have been the subject of heated controversy inside Israel.
On Jan. 8, 2001, just weeks before the Israeli national elections that swept Ariel Sharon into the Prime Minister's Office, the One Jerusalem Foundation staged the largest rally in the history of the city. Among the speakers and organizers of the event, which had all the trappings of a Nazi Party Nuremberg rally, were Russian emigré party boss and purported Russian Mafia frontman Natan Sharansky, Jerusalem Mayor Olmert, and Ronald Lauder, then the President of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and a staunch Likud financier. Speaker after speaker stood before the crowd of 250-400,000 people, to denounce incumbent Prime Minister Ehud Barak (Labor), for negotiating with the Palestinian Authority to establish Jerusalem as the capital city of both Israel and a Palestinian state. Upon his return to America, Lauder was denounced by many other leaders of the Conference of Presidents, for appearing at such a flagrantly political campaign rally for Sharon, that called for the end of the Oslo Peace Accords.
The next day, the Jerusalem Post reported that the State Comptroller Eliezer Goldberg was monitoring the rally, to determine whether it was held in violation of Israel's non-profit laws, which ban such organizations from staging activities supporting particular parties and candidates. Further, Goldberg told Israel Radio that the law "clearly forbids" campaign donations from foreigners.
One Jerusalem's chief organizer, Yehiel Leiter, confirmed to the Post that all of the funds for the rally came from abroad, but he refused to provide any further details. The two chief organizers of the rally, Sharansky and Olmert, were both, at the time, staunch supporters of Sharon in the Feb. 6, 2001 election.
One Jerusalem Foundation was launched explicitly to mobilize right-wing Zionist forces internationally, to block a final peace deal with the Palestinians. One Jerusalem Foundation's own literature, using only slightly opaque language, emphasizes this point: "What are One Jerusalem's goals? We have one objective: saving a united Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel."
Like Olmert's New Jerusalem Foundation, One Jerusalem also is tax-exempt in the United States, enjoying 501(c)3 charitable organization status with the IRS. Among the founding members of One Jerusalem, according to their website, are: David Bar-Illan, editor of the Jerusalem Post and a former spokesman for Prime Minister Netanyahu; Baroness Caroline Cox, the head of Christian Solidarity International; Doug Feith, current Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy, and co-author of the 1996 Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS) study, "Clean Break," providing Prime Minister Netanyahu with the roadmap for busting up the Oslo Peace Accords; Yehiel Leiter, former "foreign affairs director" of the Yesha Council, the governing body of the Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza; Libby Pataki, wife of the current Republican Governor of New York State; Sharansky; and David P. Steinmann, the President of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a hotbed of Israeli penetration into the American defense establishment.
Yehiel Leiter, the director of One Jerusalem, has a long track record of dirty-money operations with Ariel Sharon. Throughout the 1990s, the Scranton, Pennsylvania-born Leiter traveled back and forth between the "Jewish underground" terrorist hub of Kiryat Arba, a settlement outside Hebron, and the United States, arranging Ariel Sharon's frequent fundraising jaunts to bankroll the vast illegal expansion of the Jewish settlements. During much of this period, Leiter was officially the Executive Director of the Foreign Desk of the Yesha Council. Following the signing of the Oslo Accords in the White House ceremony in Sept. 1993, Leiter played a central role in the drive to kill both the peace process and Israel's leading peace-maker, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
He penned a book-length tirade against the Oslo Accords, A Peace to Resist. And on May 1, 1994, several months after Kiryat Arba resident Baruch Goldstein massacred some 30 Palestinian worshippers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Leiter wrote a Jerusalem Post op-ed entitled "Hothouse for Hotheads," in which he threatened the assassination of Rabin, unless what the so-called Oslo sellout were stopped. "As long as the government insists on its divisive course," he wrote, "there is a growing danger of assassination." Feigning distance from the fanatical Jewish underground centered in his own Yesha Council, Leiter asked, "Is political assassination a possibility in Israel today? One desperately wishes the answer were no. Yet the possibility of a depraved attempt by Jewish extremists is one we can no longer afford to ignore.... [There is] a resurgent Jewish underground.... [After the overreaction to Hebron] the stakes may well have been raised too high, making political assassination—the most despicable and craven form of political resistance—an all too real possibility."
While ostensibly warning against acts of violence against the Rabin government, Leiter put the onus of responsibility on those supporting the peace process: "The government is sending the message that no number of Jewish lives is too great to sacrifice for the implementation of its political program—one that is supported by no more than half the people.... But rational argument will not be enough to prevent the first Israeli assassination on Israeli soil."
Almost 18 months to the day after Leiter authored this warning on behalf of the Yesha Council, Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated by one of the West Bank Jewish settlers while leaving a campagin rally held by Peace Now in Tel Aviv.
Tax-Exempt Bullet-Proof Vests, Night Scopes
Leiter's One Jerusalem efforts overlap with yet another U.S. tax-exempt "charity," the One Israel Foundation, which is the semi-official U.S. fundraising arm of his "former" organization, the Yesha Council.
In fact, One Israel was an outgrowth of a 1992 U.S. tour by Leiter and Sharon, which established the Yesha/Pro-Israel Heartland Campaign, an earlier fundraising operation that "officially" raised more than $1 million a year for the settlers in the West Bank and Gaza. In reality, according to U.S. and Israeli sources, the Leiter-Sharon duo hauled in far more under-the-table loot from American billionaire right-wing Zionists, including Lauder, the heir to the Estée Lauder cosmetics fortune; and Irving Moskowitz, a Miami and Los Angeles real estate speculator and bingo parlor impresario, who, with the aid of Sharon and Olmert, has been buying up property in the Arab Quarter of Jerusalem, in order to build illegal Jewish settlements, populated by fanatics from Kiryat Arba and from the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva, which promotes religious war over the Jerusalem holy sites. In January 2002, New York State Assemblyman and one-time Jewish Defense League terrorist Dov Hikind conducted a tour of the West Bank, hosted by the Yesha Council, to target specific projects for One Israel funding. Hikind is a close confederate of mobster billionaire Moskowitz.
Incredibly, One Israel's literature boasts that the tax-exempt contributions go to such "charitable" activities as the purchasing of bullet-proof vests, night-vision equipment, and armored cars for the settlers!
136 East 39th Street
A careful review by EIR investigators of the links between One Jerusalem and One Israel, revealed that both money-fronts listed the same East Side Manhattan address in their official form-990 tax filings with the IRS. Both organizations operate out of 136 East 39th Street, a small office building that is the headquarters of another important Jabotinsky front in America, B'nai Zion. B'nai Zion was founded in 1908, and by the 1920s had become one of the hard-core Jabotinskyite agencies, promoting the Revisionist Movement of Vladimir Jabotinsky, the man whom Israel's founding Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion dubbed "Vladimir Hitler," for his overt pro-Nazi and pro-Fascist leanings. This, according to B'nai Zion's own official history.
B'nai Zion literature also takes credit for founding the America-Israel Friendship League and the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel (NCLCI) in 1971. NCLCI, headed by Temple University Prof. Franklin Littell, was the predecessor organization to the National Unity Coalition for Israel. Littell was also the founder of Homefront, an ADL-funded private spy shop that ran some of the earliest slander campaigns against Lyndon LaRouche.
B'nai Zion also founded the American Red Magen David Adom, otherwise called the American Friends of Magen David Adom. Magen David Adom is the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross or Red Crescent; however, unlike most other Red Cross agencies worldwide, in time of war, Magen David Adom is absorbed into the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), and is, thus, barred from membership in the International Red Cross. Recently, the Canadian government moved to strip Magen David Adom of tax-exempt status, because the "ambulance service" was operating inside the occupied territories as an adjunct to the IDF.
Sources identify Ft. Lauderdale, Florida businessman Eliezer Rivlin, the brother of Sharon's Minister of Communication, Revuen Rivlin, as a key Magen David Adom money fixer, with longstanding personal ties to Sharon.
B'nai Zion's direct financial links to the radical West Bank settlers are also extensive. B'nai Zion Executive Director Mel Parness is a major booster of Benny Kashriel, the Mayor of the West Bank settlement of Maale-Adomim, who also is the current head of the Yesha Council. Parness is a leader of Kashriel's American fundraising arm, Friends of Maale Adomim, according to an April 2001 article in the New York Jewish Post. Another member of both B'nai Zion and Friends of Maale Adomim is Milton S. Shapiro of New York City, who is also the National Treasurer of American Friends of Likud.
For years, allegations have circulated, that Magen David Adom was a conduit of American money for the purchasing of West Bank and East Jerusalem real estate for radical settlers, linked to One Jerusalem and Yesha Council leader Leiter, and to Ariel Sharon, according to an Israeli source. EIR first exposed the Sharon-centered "land-scam" operations in the West Bank in 1982, and, again, in March 1986, in the widely circulated Special Report, "Moscow's Secret Weapon: Ariel Sharon and the Israeli Mafia." Among Sharon's cohorts in the early land-grab schemes were: the late American crime figure Meshulam Riklis, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Riklis protégé Arieh Genger, Mossad assassin and Jonathan Pollard controller "Dirty" Rafi Eytan, and Gen. Rehavam Ze'evi, a top figure in the Israeli Mafia and Sharon Tourism Minister, assassinated late last year.
Israeli sources report that, more recently, Magen David Adom is suspected of washing funds through a Cyprus bank account set up by Ariel Sharon's son Omri. Omri Sharon was investigated during the 2001 Israeli elections, for setting up dummy American companies, to funnel cash payments to his father's campaign adviser, the American Arthur Finkelstein.
The Omri Sharon/Art Finkelstein story also implicated Sharon sugar-daddy Genger, of the original "land-scam" project. Genger, Meshulam Riklis' business protégé in New York City Rapid-America Corp., hosted a June 2000 strategy session with Sharon and Finkelstein, at which the scheme was first hatched to place Sharon in the Prime Minister's post.
Ha'aretz writer Aluf Benn revealed, on Feb. 7, 2002, that Genger has been frequently employed by Sharon as a back-channel to the Bush Administration, delivering confidential messages to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell, and, in turn, passing along communiqués from Team Bush. In 1981, Genger sought a top post in Sharon's Defense Ministry, but his appointment was blocked by ministry mandarins.
Genger's own role in sending clandestine cash to Sharon's campaign coffers this time around may be limited. In March 2002, two of Genger's privately held companies, Vicksburg Chemical and Cedar Chemical Corporation, filed for bankruptcy protection in New York State, after falling $224 million in debt. They are subsidiaries of his Trans Resources, Inc.
Nevertheless, Genger travels in some mega-rich circles. He is a member of the investment committee of the Challenge Funds, an investment group that bankrolls Israeli high-tech firms. Other committee members include: Edgar Bronfman, Sr.; G. Allen Andreas, CEO of Archer Daniels Midland; Joseph Ciechanover, Chairman of the Board of El Al Airlines, former Chairman of the Board of Israel Discount Bank, ex-Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and ex-head of the Israeli Defense Mission to the United States and Canada; Giovanni Perissinotto, General Manager of Assicurazioni Generali, Italy's top insurance company; and Bruce Rappaport, Swiss-based businessman, Chairman of the Bank of New York/Inter-Maritime Bank (Geneva), and a major figure in Caribbean offshore dirty-money operations, which have been linked to the Russian and Israeli mafias.