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NY Times ‘Discovers’ $200-Million American Jewish Settler Funding Network

It only took them three years since bloggers like Phil Weiss and I first covered this issue and wrote about it intensively, but you’ve got to give credit to the NY Times.  They’ve finally discovered that the funding network among pro-settler American Jews who abuse U.S. tax law in order to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to Israeli settlements, poses a very serious obstacle to Israeli Palestinian peace.  Even more importantly, the Times published this piece a day before the White House meeting of Bibi Netanyahu and Barack Obama.  It gives them a little mood music, though certainly not the mood that either one of them was likely to have preferred for this meeting.

Honestly, I don’t know whether to feel proud or annoyed.  On the one hand, the Times reporters have exploited ideas and research many of us have developed painstakingly over that period of time.  And they did so without acknowledging any of the work.  It’s as if the Times has to pretend that the issue was first discovered by them.  God forbid, that they should acknowledge even peripherally that some bloggers pioneered the issue before they came along.

Because of this artificial division they created, they did not use some of the best material that’s already been published–for example, Phil Weiss’ post offering an audiotape of Women in Green’s Nadia Matar telling a Manhattan synagogue audience that she advocated assassinating Mahmoud Abbas.

I don’t mean to imply either that Phil and I were the only ones: Akiva Eldar, David Ignatius and Josh Nathan-Kazis published terrific research and reporting on the subject as well, in Haaretz, the Washington Post and Jewish Forward.  But none of this is credited.

Yitzhak Shapira, founder of Od Yosef Chai yeshiva, decreed that Palestinian children could be killed since they pose a danger to Jews. He receives tax-deductible donations from U.S. Jewish followers (Rita Castelnuovo)

I suppose I should feel vindicated that the arbiter of American journalism has finally weighed in on a subject I begged the American media to write about for the past two years at least.  Further, the fact that the Times has done so, and in a convincing and commanding way, will add infinitely more to the impact this issue will have than anything I could ever have written.  Them’s the facts.

In fact, I would expect that the IRS is holding meetings about this as I write and trying to come up with a response to the decades of laissez-faire oversight that allowed, according to the Times estimates, far-right American Jews to pump $200-million (at a minimum) into the settler enterprise in the past ten years.

My readers will note Ethan Bronner’s byline on this story.  Undoubtedly, he and his Israel-based reporters did a good deal of the legwork checking out the settlements and interviewing settler leaders like David Ha-Ivri.  But there are a few objectionable elements in this story that he clearly had a hand in introducing.  The main one is this:

Of course, groups in the pro-settler camp are not the only ones benefiting from tax breaks. For example, the Free Gaza Movement, which organized the flotilla seeking to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, says on its Web site that supporters can make tax-deductible donations to it through the American Educational Trust, publisher of an Arab-oriented journal. Israeli civil and human rights groups like Peace Now, which are often accused of having a blatant political agenda, also benefit from tax-deductible donations.

What the hell does “having a blatant political agenda” mean??  Does Bronner, who clearly wrote this passage, equate settlement funding which supports purchase of security gear, weapons, K-9 attack dogs, etc. with supporting Israeli-Palestinian co-existence, human rights and Israeli democracy?

On the bright side, I was pleased to see in this story interviews with sources Bronner usually ignores in his Israeli reporting: Palestinians.  I’d be willing to bet that his co-writers insisted on incorporating their point of view into the story and it benefits from this.

Returning to the masterful timing of this article, the Jerusalem Post churlishly complains about B’Tselem’s report issued today which attacks the Israeli rationale for settlements by claiming that 21% of the built-up areas in settlements are on privately owned Palestinian land.  According to the Post, the human rights group deliberately (!) released the report in order to embarrass the country’s prime minister on the eve of his White House coming out ceremony.  How absolutely nasty and anti-Israel of B’Tselem!

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{ 38 comments… add one }

  • uncle joe mccarthy July 6, 2010, 1:43 AM

    simple enough way to get around this…deny the tax exempt status

    this is nothing new, and neither you, your fellow bloggers or the times broke the story on anything

    this story was broken years ago with the ateres cohanim project, funded by my pal irving moskowitz (i have known the moskowitz family for 30 years)

    since then….the donors and front orgs have just gotten a bit smarter….moskowitz was not very quiet about funneling monies from his bell casinos to buying arab land in the old city.

    and i take it that you are upset at the word “blatant”, for there can be no question that both peace now and free gaza have a political agenda, and that it is obvious that free gaza is just the american arm of the ism (not sure, do they have tax free status?)

    • Richard Silverstein July 6, 2010, 9:33 PM

      my pal irving moskowitz (i have known the moskowitz family for 30 years)

      Why am I not surprised? This is not information that will endear you to anyone except the murderous scum in the settlements he funds, & clearly you’re attempting to be a provocateur, but failing in the process.

      peace now and free gaza have a political agenda

      They have an educational, humanitarian & social agenda. They are not political in the sense of supporting any political party or movement. But Moskowitz & the scum buckets who get $200 million fr. the U.S. courtesy of our taxpayers who subsidize it are militants maiming & killing Palestinians routinely & regularly. No one in FGM or Peace Now has done anything close to this to my recollection.

      • uncle joe mccarthy July 8, 2010, 1:03 AM

        uh….moskowitz never funneled public funds….it was monies from his casino

        sure he got a tax break….he is a smart businessman

        additionally, his casino has given alot back to the city of bell in terms of jobs and taxes

        and you have no evidence that anyone involved in ateres kohanim ever maimed or killed anyone…they bought land

        and regarding peace now, free gaza and the ism, guess we will have to agree to disagree

        and i wont be shamed of my connection to the moskowitz family….went to school with dr moskowitz’ sons…went over to their home many times for shabbas and yom tov…and still have a close relationship with them

        and i think that it was a tremendous thing that he chose to take the proceeds from the casino and rather than enrich himself, chose to donate it to a yeshiva…who ended up buying land in the old city.

        shoot…he couldve just chosen to be donald trump

        • Richard Silverstein July 8, 2010, 7:02 PM

          Moskowitz has the entire political echelon in Bell & Hawaiian Gardens in his pocket. I’m sure he is being hugely subsidized by the people of those communities so in effect he is on the public dole.

          As for doing anything for the local community, are minimum wage jobs in a casino something they should be grateful for? Not to mention feeding the addiction & bringing misery to countless gambling addicts. So Moskowitz & Adelson are ea. fueling the most atrocious, violent, hateful & disgusting impulses of the Jewish people w. the help of the poor miserable wretches who throw away their money at their gambling dens. Nice work if you can get it.

          I don’t need a weathervane to know which way the wind blows as far as Ateret Kohanim is concered. They want to re-establish the Holy Temple & destroy the Muslim holy places to do so. They are among the worst of the settler scum. And I say this realizing that not all settlers are scum. But these are the worst, the absolute worst of the worst.

          You don’t need to be ashamed of yr connection to Moskowitz. We will be for you. Don’t mention yr relationship w. him here ever again in a positive context because there is NOTHING positive about this man. He is an abominable Jew & human being. Praise him elsewhere. And I mean this.

          Moskowitz doesn’t “buy” land. He steals it from Palestinians just as he did the Shepherd Hotel & countless other plots. He may exchange money for some of these parcels, but he has no legal right to them as they Palestinian owners for the most part never willingly parted with them. In most other countries what Moskowitz does would be considered criminal & he would be in prison where he belongs. Only in Israel & similar countries can he get away with such atrocities & come out smelling like a rose (to some at least).

    • Norman July 7, 2010, 4:25 AM

      Well, Uncle Joe, I suppose dog-paddling in a cesspool must have some kind of positive use, like donning sackcloth and ashes, or something. Your land-thief “pal irving moskowitz” is at least indirectly responsible for violence and spilled blood and quite directly responsible for working against the interest of peace, this country (U.S.), the international community, and ultimately even the interest of Israel surviving as an accepted, law-abiding, decent nation – a light, that is, not a blight. And you’ve “known the moskowitz family for 30 years”? Lucky you, lucky they! What else to say but oy vey!

      • uncle joe mccarthy July 8, 2010, 1:10 AM

        im missing something here

        how does buying land equate to being a “land thief”?

        how does buying land make someone responsible for violence and bloodshed?

        are you saying that international law forbids the sale of east jerusalem to jewish interests?

        ateres kohanim never made a secret about what they were and are doing….it states it quite clearly on their website

        are you trying to say that if and when east jerusalem becomes the capitol of palestine…jews will not be allowed to own land or live there?

        hmmmmm

        • Richard Silverstein July 8, 2010, 7:08 PM

          He STEALS land. He gains it by fraud, by falsifying deeds. This is documented by articles in the mainstream media. He is a thief, a liar, a fraud, a despicable human being. He doesn’t buy the land from Palestinians. In some instances he even falsifies the identity of the Palestinian landowner & “buys” the land fr. someone who doesn’t even own it. In some instances the Israeli gov’t steals the land & then sells it to him (cf. Shepherd Hotel).

          EVERY law forbids the stealing of land. International law & even Israel law (though unenforced of course).

          Jews will not be allowed to steal land after a peace agreement. They will be able to buy land in an honest, above board and non coercive manner.

          This will NOT become a debate about Irving Moskowitz. If you want to defend him you’ll have to do it somewhere other than here. I’ve written a great deal about Moskowitz & there is NOTHING you can say that can cleanse the filth that he represents. So you’re on a VERY short leash as far as he’s concerned.

          This man will destroy Israel if given half a chance. DESTROY Israel. I don’t suffer such people or their fellow travelers gladly or at all.

        • Norman July 9, 2010, 3:15 AM

          “hmmmmm”, indeed. You play the innocent game, Joe McCarthy (my God, how do you avoid vomiting when using this name?), thus attempting to disguise yourself as a simple advocate of ordinary, legal transactions. Please, sir, theft can occur both at the point of a gun (Israel’s chief method of such) and at the point of quasi legalisms and sundry manipulations. The results are the same. I suggest you stop playing cute and be honest enough to call what is happening in East Jerusalem for what it is – an appalling and dangerous theft by bandits acting in the name of Biblical certitude.

  • Stop Moskowitz July 6, 2010, 2:08 AM

    “Our coalition has been working since 1998 to stop Irving Moskowitz’s activities in Jerusalem and Hawaiian Gardens, a small, predominantly Latino city in Los Angeles County, California.

    In Hawaiian Gardens, Moskowitz operates a bingo hall and owns a casino; he controls the government for the benefit of his gambling operations. In East Jerusalem, he uses profits from those operations to thwart Israeli-Palestinian peace by buying strategically placed Palestinian real estate for Jewish settlers and supporting militant anti-peace organizations.”

    • Medawar July 7, 2010, 8:09 AM

      I agree that where the money comes from may be as important a moral issue as what it is spent on.

      Gambling dens are NOT happy places, especially in the United States, where psycho-active sequences of flashing lights have been the norm since the mid seventies, when research was done into just this field, and the new Z80 microprocessor made it possible to build a gambling machine with such a facility. (The processor, at least in the seventies, had no role in which bars came up: the sole purpose was to implement an addictive sequence of flashing lights.)

      Very, very interestingly the same design of hardware in fruit machines was available for export from the USA in the early eighties, but the software was not programmed to produce the addictive light pattern, only a sort of Edwardian fairground swirl of lights.

      A British engineer went to the United States, stealthily removed an Eprom from an American gambling machine, returned to the UK and tried it in one of several identical machines at a venue somewhere in East Anglia. The one with the American flashing light software took several times as much as the ones without it, and if the eproms were swapped round, the one with the American software always took several times as much as the others, so it wasn’t to do with their position in the hall or the hardware.

      So, the odds are, very strong, that the money being ploughed into this dubious field of endeavour comes from willfully harming the thought processes of US citizens and visitors with a psychoative light pattern whose short-term effects are known to be bad and whose long-term effects can only be guessed at.

      The extremists purport to be more religious than everybody else, but it sometimes seems as if they do not fear God at all.

    • uncle joe mccarthy July 8, 2010, 1:06 AM

      you do know that the city originally approached him…right?

      and you are aware that the operation employs many locals

      i have a feeling that no locals are a part of your coalition

      • Richard Silverstein July 8, 2010, 7:04 PM

        Oh you mean Moskowitz buys off the locals with the hundreds of millions he reaps & this is supposed to make him a good citizen?

        I have no idea what you mean by locals being part of my coalition. You are making almost no sense which is usual for you.

        • Medawar July 9, 2010, 1:51 AM

          The City, does that mean the people who live there, or the politicians temporarily in charge of it?

          The experience in the UK was that gambling interests paid the Labour Leadership of 1997-2007 to liberalize the gambling and planning laws in their favour, and then “invite” them to “regenerate” depressed areas, by building super casinos.

          This idea commended itself to Mr Brown a lot less than it had to his predecessor, and to the wider public hardly at all.

          Now that the new Coalition government has abolished Regional Development Authorities, there is now no mechanism for imposing planning permission for casinos against the wishes of the local population, so few, if any, will now be built in the UK.

          But the process as the previous Labour Leadership and the gambling industry WANTED it to work, gives a fair insight into how it DID work, in California.

          The realization that a corrupt politician may only be in office for a limited period of time has lead gambling interests to create large residential buildings in Florida, with huge “lobbies” able to be converted into casinos in a matter of weeks, if not days. So, as soon as the law can be changed top allow casinos in Florida, even if a future government of the state has other ideas, they can be presented with a fait accompli.

          The money isn’t the only thing being transferred from the American gambling industry to the West Bank settlements: the sudden land grab tactics are also very similar.

          As for casinos creating jobs: the now moribund proposal for a casino in Luton on the (Kimpton Road) site of the former Vauxhall car factory, was billed as creating 800-odd permanent jobs. The car factory employed thousands directly and supported tens of thousands of jobs at component factories in almost every town anywhere near Luton. About the only off-site employment created by casinos is in the sex industry, which not everybody wants as neighbour or as a career for their children.

          And the person who spends his hard earned on a car one day, still have that car the next day to takes his children to school in and himself to work. If he spends the money at a casino, all he has the next day is a void.

  • Donald July 6, 2010, 3:56 AM

    Another annoying thing is the way they endorse the settlements which are suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and which they say will almost certainly go to Israel in exchange for land when a peace agreement is reached. Maybe so, but it’s just rewarding Israel for land theft to talk about how some settlements are part of Israel now. “Facts on the ground” really does work.

    They also make a distinction between the militant settlers and the Israeli government, taking the “good cop, bad cop” routine seriously.

    Finally on your point–

    “Does Bronner, who clearly wrote this passage, equate settlement funding which supports purchase of security gear, weapons, K-9 attack dogs, etc. with supporting Israeli-Palestinian co-existence, human rights and Israeli democracy?”

    I’d add that it doesn’t occur to the NYT to compare militant Israelis with militant Palestinians–it’s illegal to give money to the latter, but not the former.

    • דוד July 6, 2010, 6:26 PM

      “I’d add that it doesn’t occur to the NYT to compare militant Israelis with militant Palestinians–it’s illegal to give money to the latter, but not the former.”

      What do you mean by “militant”? It occurs to me that there is a big difference between people who live in a settlement and palestinian murderers.

      • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2010, 1:06 AM

        Just as many settlers have murdered & maimed Palestinians as the other way around. Or have you forgotten that fact?

        • דוד July 7, 2010, 3:40 AM

          Only a small minority of the settlers is violent. The vast majority lives peacefully. Comparing donations to settlements with donations to palestinian terror organizations is comparing oranges to apples. A real comparison is between donations to palestinian terror organizations like Hamas to israeli terror organizations like Gdudey Shalhevet Pas (named after the baby mudered by palestinian sniper at Hebron. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Shalhevet_Pass ). I’m against donations to terror organizations, but support donations to settlements.

          “Just as many settlers have murdered & maimed Palestinians as the other way around”

          Please backup this claim with evidence.

          • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2010, 11:12 AM

            This too is a ridiculous claim. Anyone reading this blog knows the record of blood & mayhem accruing to many settlements. Violence is the norm, not the exception.

            Settlements don’t live “peacefully.” They live in perpetual friction w. their Palestinian neighbors & don’t have the support of even a majority of Israelis.

            This blog records many of the violent incidents in which settlers have wounded, maimed & killed Palestinian civilians, not to mention spitting on them, defacing their holy places, burning them down, etc. I’m not going to do yr research for you. Comb my archives using my search feature & you’ll find numerous such incidents.

          • Liz July 7, 2010, 5:21 PM

            Settlements don’t live “peacefully.”
            Richard-I go by the border of East/West Jerusalem daily and Arab youths scream profanity and make taunting remarks at me. I see Arab youths whipping each other with belts for no apparent reason. The Arab “settlements” don’t always meet this standard, either.

          • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2010, 10:44 PM

            What you mean to say is that you travel across the Green Line into Occupied Territory and you’re upset that Arabs taunt you. Really? And btw, could you take along yr video camera next time & videotape this alleged scene? I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but it sounds like a bubbe meiseh to me.

            And what are you talking about whipping ea. other w. belts? I’ve lived in Israel & visited many times & never seen such a scene before. I have no idea what you’re talking about. But perhaps once again you can video it & allow us to see it w. our own eyes to determine whether it does indeed happen.

            There is a religious custom I’ve seen & read about in Iraq of religious flagellation. BTW, this custom occurs in many religions & has existed in Judaism as well (though it is not normative practice). If you’re talking about such a custom you’re mixing things up. I’m pretty sure that Iraqi religious customs haven’t reached Palestine yet. Though I’m sure Shrin can speak more expertly about this than I.

          • Liz July 10, 2010, 10:37 AM

            Richard-you may want to extend the number of comments allowed (depth)-it makes it frustrating to answer sometimes.

            you travel across the Green Line
            No-I am talking about the “White Statue” that is at the end of the road George Adam Smith near Mount Scopus that connects to Route One!

            and you’re upset that Arabs taunt you.
            Yes, wouldn’t you be? Can these people behave like humans? Whose fault is that? Ours?

            could you take along yr video camera next time & videotape this alleged scene?
            So while they are yelling and screaming at me-point a camera at them as to prove that I am right in your eyes? Why don’t you come here yourself and try-I gave you the coordinates. Better yet, send one of your loyalists there a few times and see what happens!

            And what are you talking about whipping
            I am talking about teenagers boys standing at the white “modern art” statue (described above) with belts whipping each other as some sort of game. They have nothing to do apparently, except scream at passersby and beat each other with belts. Again, you have the exact location-knock yourself out. Why should I get knocked out? Some of the articles on your site seems to describe the conflict as an epic struggle. It is and it isn’t. Here is one case where it isn’t.

      • Donald July 7, 2010, 9:33 AM

        I don’t see the big difference–if you live on a settlement you are benefiting from an apartheid-like system. You may not be personally engaged in violence, but there is a massive system of coercion and violence backing you up.

  • Tina in Brooklyn July 6, 2010, 9:34 AM

    The organization ADC (American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee) in Washington DC worked with the NYT on this article for several months, and apparently Newsweek is coming up with a similar expose very soon – stay tuned.

  • fiddler July 6, 2010, 9:53 AM

    That “political agenda” has become a smear word, something one can be accused of, among the right, even moderates like Bronner, is indicative for the sorry state of political discourse these days.

    What are the IRS guidelines to determine if a non-profit organisation is awarded preferential tax status? It can’t be that the organisation mustn’t have a “political agenda”, nor that they can’t oppose govt policy. It seems to hinge on the supposed legality of the supported activities. Outrageous individual remarks like Matar’s or Shapira’s aside, are the settlements collectively illegal under US law (assuming that only US law, not int’l, let alone Israeli law is relevant for the IRS)?

  • David July 6, 2010, 10:00 AM

    I know it’s wrong that this stuff has long been kept out of “polite conversation,” as the NYT so delicately referred to the Elephant in the Room, but we should be glad that it’s being published now, however belatedly. The blogosphere may be the cutting edge, but the NYT does reaches the reading masses.

  • lally July 6, 2010, 10:47 AM

    Here’s a somewhat related gem found, as is often the case, in an OpEd in the Israeli MSM:

    “A few days ago, AIPAC’s top brass visited Israel. AIPAC leaders met with Netanyahu and other ministers. They agreed that once the freeze period ends, Israel will engage in restrained, moderate construction in the West Bank and report to AIPAC accurately and in advance on every house or balcony to be built.”
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L3915438,00.html

    The author of this piece is Amnon Abramovich, Channel 2’s news commentator.

    Perhaps someone could question the notion of the Israeli government reporting to a non-governmental entity about details of their illegal actions in the OT. Will AIPAC be updating the administration on these developments in a timely manner?

  • DICKERSON3870 July 6, 2010, 1:47 PM

    RE: NY Times ‘Discovers’ $200-Million American Jewish Settler Funding Network – R.S.
    MY COMMENT: I’ll bet Fred Hiatt, Jackson Diehl and The Washington Post are “pea green with envy” (as Scarlett O’Hara might say). They must really hate it when they get scooped by the New York Times. (lol)

    • DICKERSON3870 July 6, 2010, 2:04 PM

      RE: “…Fred Hiatt, Jackson Diehl…must really hate it when they get scooped…” – me
      TWISTING THE KNIFE: But really, what do they expect when they spend so much of their precious time “moderating” events at The Institute* (AEI) and other right-wing “stink tanks”!
      * an allusion to Kafka

  • דוד July 6, 2010, 6:18 PM

    “What the hell does “having a blatant political agenda” mean?? Does Bronner, who clearly wrote this passage, equate settlement funding which supports purchase of security gear, weapons, K-9 attack dogs, etc. with supporting Israeli-Palestinian co-existence, human rights and Israeli democracy?”

    Most donations are used for education, welfare and housing etc, not security measures. The law shouldn’t discriminate between political organizations. If donations to left wing groups like Peace Now are tax-deductible, so should be the ones to right wing groups.

    • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2010, 1:05 AM

      NO donations should be used for weapons, and NO donations should be used for purposes that are contrary to U.S. policy, which opposes new settlements.

      • דוד July 7, 2010, 3:17 AM

        The weapons are used for self defense. If it weren’t for the palestinian terrorists who intrude to settlements and murder people, the weapons wouldn’t be needed.

        The current US administration is very hostile to Jews living in Judea and Samaria. Other administrations had more sane policies. Do you suggest the law should fit itself to the current policy? So anti-abortion groups won’t get tax benefits during a democratic administration, and likewise pro-abortion groups when republicans are in power?

        • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2010, 11:08 AM

          Bullcrap. You & yr settler friends have stolen private Palestinian land. You have no right to be there acc. to international law & U.S. policy. Besides, you have an Israeli army protecting you as well. You have no need for such weapons. And if you do it should tell you something (but it won’t of course).

  • morris herman July 7, 2010, 2:33 PM

    [comment deleted for violating comment rules]

  • Ellen Shatter July 7, 2010, 4:49 PM

    Just how do the settlements and the people living on them
    support themselves? Do they have industrial, commercial, or
    agricultural enterprises on the settlements? Do the residents
    commute to jobs in Israel proper? Or do are they totally
    supported by donations from abroad? Just wondering.

    • Richard Silverstein July 7, 2010, 5:23 PM

      They generally commute to jobs in Israel. But the hardcore, really remote settlements receive a lot of charity & social welfare help. The settlements are definitely NOT self-sufficient in any sense.

  • Medawar July 8, 2010, 2:09 AM

    If you think the money is being used to destructive ends, look at how it is made in the first place. You may find that’s equally destructive in its own way, of Canada and the USA rather than the Middle East.

    Then perhaps you’ve got the ammunition for a campaign to turn off the money taps.

    And if a lot of this money is raised via the American gambling industry, a major sponsor of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair when he was in Downing Street, then that may call into question his impartiality and suitability as a peace envoy, too.

    (Blair’s idea of an urban regeneration strategy was to let the American casino operators have free reign. This led to such gems as replacing Vauxhall’s Luton car factory with a casino. In a town that’s about one third Muslim and one third Methodist, Baptist or Pentecostal Christian, it isn’t really possible to imagine a less appropriate development. Every part of his “liberalization” of gambling and planning laws pertaining to casinos, was designed to please the same vested interests which now appear to be bankrolling the illegal settlements on the West Bank.)

    Is anyone aware of anything that Blair has done for peace that was actually helpful and not pure self-aggrandizement?

    Don’t get me wrong: we don’t want him back, in any of his six heavily guarded mansions in the UK, but if the peace of the world ever depends on Blair then we’d better all either remember how to pray, or dig slit trenches.

  • Meni Zehavi July 8, 2010, 10:05 AM

    off topic: Richard, have you seen this?

    “Israeli Arab strikes plea bargain over Hezbollah espionage charges
    Omar Saeed was suspected along with another Israeli Arab, Ameer Makhoul, of establishing contact with Hezbollah agent and passing him information which could serve to benefit the enemy body.”
    (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israeli-arab-strikes-plea-bargain-over-hezbollah-espionage-charges-1.300782)

    I don’t know what’s the “illegal organization” for which Saeed allegedly worked, but given the draconic Shin bet treatment of him ever since his arrest, the sentence of 7 months’ imprisonment is the proverbial mouse begotten by a mountain.

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