Since the original housing/tent protests began here in Israel over a month ago, the word on the street has been that major foreign donors have been funding the protests–both in terms of providing the tents that the protestors are supposedly living in and in terms of providing funds for strategic and material support.
Now some of the details of this support have been uncovered by Israel’s TV channel 10 investigative team that revealed on the channel’s lead news story last night that one of the major funders of the protests is American billionaire S. Daniel Abraham (known to his friends as simply ‘Danny Abraham’).
Abraham lives in Palm Beach, Florida and is listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the 400 wealthiest Americans. He made his fortune by building up a pharmaceutical company and coming up with the diet food ‘Slim Fast.’ An intensely political person, Abraham is one of the leading contributors to the Democratic Party in the United States (1.5 million dollars in the year 2000 alone–at which time he was recognized as the number one donor of ‘soft’ money to political parties in the United States).
A part of the Channel 10 report was an interview with Abraham who said that his motivation for supporting the housing and social protests was “to support the peace process and oppose settlement construction.” Naturally, the reporters wondered how supporting protests concerning the cost of living furthered the peace process or opposed settlement construction. They rightly concluded that Abraham’s (and others’) support of the protestors had politicized the protests.
This TV report was front page news in the Jerusalem Post this morning–where in a new interview, Abraham claimed his financial support did not politicize the protests. Then he continued disingenuously that his real motivation was simply “to get a better life for Israelis.”
To which your humble servant is forced to utter ‘hogwash’. Complete, unadulterated hogwash.
Here’s what my own cursory research has revealed this morning.
Abraham is the founder and chairman of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation–a Center well known for its support of the political left in Israel–and a Center that never misses an opportunity to host those who seek to undermine the current Israeli government. Most recently, on June 28th, the Center hosted Tzipi Livni–the leader of Israel’s disloyal opposition (see my blog of August 7th)–in New York.
Abraham is much less well known for his involvement in the creation of J Street and its subsequent funding. Two of the key founders of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami and Jim Gerstein, were employed at his Center prior to their launching of J Street. Ben-Ami’s working for the Center is documented at: (“New PAC To Offer Pols A Dovish Mideast View”. The Jewish Week (March 26, 2008). Gerstein’s involvement is documented on the J Street website where he is named as one of J Street’s “key and early founders” as well as being the former Executive Director of Abraham’s Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation. Today Gerstein serves on the J Street Advisory Board–and unbelievably as J Street’s official ‘pollster’ (did you ever wonder why J Street’s opinion polls are so biased against Israel?)
And guess who, along with Israel basher George Soros, is one of the main contributors to J Street? That’s right, S. Daniel Abraham (you can see this for yourself by taking a look a J Street tax return posted online at politico.com (click on this link and scroll to the list of ‘contributors': J Street income tax return).
What is the point of all of this? While Abraham claims in the Jerusalem Post article this morning that his donating money (and he says that others have donated far more–perhaps Soros?) does not mean that this has politicized the protests, obviously that is precisely what has happened.
In Abraham’s mind and J Street’s mindset, how does supporting the protestors further the peace process and oppose the construction within Jewish communities? The answer is simple: by undermining and getting rid of the Netanyahu government.
There is an unholy nexus at work here that will probably become more revealed in the coming days– between foreign so-called ‘peace’ organizations like the Center for Peace and J Street and left wing organizations within Israel (such as the New Israel Fund)– to bring down the democratically elected government of Israel.
Unable to accomplish this by political means in the last two years, they have now latched on to social upheaval as a means of attack. In this effort, they have been joined by the Israeli media who have done all they can to exaggerate the numbers of protesters; see my recent op-ed in the Jerusalem Post (a fact that makes Channel 10’s expose all the more remarkable).
Having said this, your humble servant would like to point out that he was careful not to lump the protestors themselves into this unholy nexus. Many (not all) of them have extremely legitimate concerns about the rising cost of living here in Israel, and though many of them would like to see Netanyahu replaced–they would probably be just as happy to see lower prices on everything from apartment rentals to cottage cheese.
But the attempt of foreign donors and organizations to bring down the democratically elected government of Israel is dangerous and despicable.
Back to the picture at the head of today’s blog–why is Hillary in the picture? Obviously because of Abraham’s financial support to the Democratic party.
But also think back over the last few years while Clinton has been Secretary State. How many times have you heard her say that all the United States wants to do is further the peace process–and the only way to get the process started is to stop building in Jewish communities in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. It’s funny that Abraham used exactly the same wording in his interview with Channel 10. Or is it?