Jack Rosen, Jewish Oligarch and Friend of Kleptocrats
Jack Rosen isn’t crooked, at least not that I know of. But the Jews he hangs out with sure leave a lot to be desired in that department. Gary Rosenblatt, Jewish Week’s editor, files a damning report on Rosen’s stewardship of the American Jewish Congress, which has become his personal political fiefdom. He’s ruled AJC for the past few years since he orchestrated a putsch and wiped out the formerly liberal group’s storied legacy of fighting for peace, and human and civil rights. In its place, is now a Jewish Republican neocon outfit that makes George Bush’s heart warm and fuzzy inside. How you go from Bill Clinton champion in the 1990s to hardline neocon in the 2000s as Rosen has–therein lies a tale.
So let’s get back to the gazlanim. Some of you know that several months ago, Charles Bronfman ousted the World Jewish Congress’ longtime director, Israel Singer accusing him of embezzlement on a wide scale:
A report two years ago by the New York State Attorney General on alleged corruption within the World Jewish Congress found no criminal wrongdoing but said Singer violated his fiduciary responsibilities and had to pay back to the WJC several hundred thousand dollars that he had used personally. He was later fired by then-WJC president Edgar Bronfman, who accused Singer of stealing from him.
Did Singer hang his head in shame and retreat to a dark corner to lick his wounds and count his ill-gotten gains? No, Jack Rosen saw to that:
Some members of the [AJC] board of trustees are expressing deep frustration and anger over Rosen’s…decision to appoint Israel Singer chairman of the international policy council of the Council for World Jewry — an AJCongress offshoot Rosen helped create and chairs — after Singer was ousted from the World Jewish Congress for alleged financial misdeeds. “Not only was it embarrassing to the name of the American Jewish Congress to try to resuscitate the reputation of someone associated with financial wrongdoings,” one board member said, “but Jack acted unilaterally, against the rules. Most of us didn’t even know about it until we read about it.” (“Israel Singer Back In Leadership Role,” Jewish Week, Nov. 30.)…”Leadership of the Congress should be about honesty, character and integrity, but Jack is a bully who intimidates anyone who questions his decisions,” said one.
“He sees the organization as his personal fiefdom,” said another. “It’s all about ego and power, and he is doing a colossal disservice to the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish people.”
Some said they would call for a split between the Council and the Congress.
“I hope there is a divorce between the two groups,” one senior board member said, “and the Congress can be a healthy and transparent organization and let Jack have his Council.”
It’s simply astounding that given the above charges that Rosen could release the following encomium about Singer:
Rosen praised Singer’s leadership over the years and said it was “morally wrong to taint anyone based on rumors. He hasn’t been proven to have done anything wrong or unethical.”
Rosenblatt notes that Rosen has stacked the deck of the AJC board by installing business cronies and close family, which should insulate him from the type of charges flying in this story:
What’s particularly noteworthy is that these complaints are coming from a board that Rosen has played a major role in selecting and which includes his son, Daniel Rosen, and his brother, Joseph Rosen, as well as his attorney, business associates and politicians whose campaigns he supports financially, according to critics within the organization.
Rosenblatt reports that Rosen told the board he agreed to withdraw Singer’s nomination as chair of the Council. However, weeks later Singer himself said he remained chair. Rosen then released a statement “clarifying” the situation and confirming that Singer was not affiliated with the Council. That clears that up, doesn’t it? Is this any way to run a national Jewish organization?
Rosenblatt notes the rather unsavory character and backgrounds of several of the other board members of the Council:
According to the Council’s public tax documents, its board is made up of 27 people, mostly American, but including the Bukharian Jewish billionaire, Lev Leviev, who lives in Israel [ed., he actually now lives in London]; Len Blavatnik, a Russian-born billionaire living in New York and London; and the Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman.
(Rosen is on the advisory board of Fridman’s Russian conglomerate, Alfa Group, whose subsidiary company, Altimo, does business with Iran. When asked about this, Rosen said that “as an adviser, I urged that they get out of that business and have been assured they are in the process of doing so.”)
Readers of this blog will remember Lev Leviev’s critical role in building Israeli settlement towns and cities in the West Bank and in Judaizing East Jerusalem through fraudulent sales of Palestinian land to settlers. Not to mention a putsch he helped organize which allowed Chabad to take control of the Russian national Jewish communal organization.
And all of this is particularly interesting in light of the recent flap provoked by the AJC when its pro-Israel ad promoting Israeli women’s supposed high social status was rejected by Ms Magazine. Rosen had the chutzpah to call Ms “anti-Israel,” when he really should be getting his own organizational house in order.
My recent coverage of Rosen and the ADL’s Abe Foxman reveal just how insular, autocratic and obsessively pro-Israel each of them is. It’s a wonder that the groups they run still retain the stature that they have in some Jewish circles. When will people wake up and see these two Jewish emperor-dinosaurs have no clothes?
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Perhaps there are, alas, some Jewish hearts thrilled by all this, buoyed by the concept that only given the opportunity Jews can be just like everyone else. They sure as hell can be, and many of those who, seizing the opportunity, manifest ethics that by contrast would make a dung heap smell sweet offer to the public a holier-than-thou stance – some named in the article above. It’s interesting to note that such as these somehow seem to get involved quite regularly in various right-wing causes, like the support and expansion of illegal settlements (bloodshed and world opinion be damned) and the purchase of nauseating full-page ads on behalf of the Republican Jewish Coalition, an organization enamored of such as Bush and Cheney and Rove, Pipes and Lieberman, and other heroic advocates of the sword. Hopefully the heat and light of continuing exposure will help reduce the deleterious efforts of such anthropomorphic mildew as the above article names.
Please be sure to check out Dr. Norman Finkelstein’s comments regarding Rabbi Singer: