Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pro-Israel donors are at the heart of Defence Ministry scandal in Britain

I keep saying that the Israel lobby is a central factor in the making of our foreign policy, and some day journalists are going to have to cover the story-- and the Liam Fox scandal in Britain ups the ante.

Liam Fox was once a rising star in British politics. But the British defense secretary resigned a week back because of his close financial ties to a business lobbyist named Adam Werritty who came and went with Fox on foreign trips and at the ministry, as though he were a government official.

The scandal has had Israel lobby implications from the start. Werritty and Fox met with the Mossad in Israel. Werritty was involved with a shop called Atlantic Bridge that was started to promote the special relationship between England the U.S., but that pretty clearly was also pushing the special relationship to Israel. For instance, thisAtlantic Bridge filing lists Amanda Bowman as CEO. Bowman writes for Pajamas Media, a fount of neoconservatism. Here she says that Islamists are like Nazis. 

Well today, the Guardian has a story about the funding nexus at the heart of the scandal. It seems that the Conservative Party's leading fundraiser, Howard Leigh, sent big pro-Israel donors to Liam Fox, and that these donors' money helped to sustain Werrity's globetrotting lifestyle. Here are the key paragraphs:

The Tory spokesman declined to say which donors had been introduced to Fox by Leigh, and did not expand on whether they knew of how their money had been spent by Werritty. Backers of Pargav [the company that paid for Werrity] include Mick Davis, a South African-born mining magnate known for his pro-Israel views; Tamares real estate, an investment company owned by Poju Zabludowicz, the chief funder of Israeli pressure group Bicom; and Michael Lewis, a former vice-president of Bicom, who donated £13,832 to Atlantic Bridge and £5,000 to Fox.

Davis, Zabludowicz and Lewis would not comment on Wednesday on how their donations had been solicited or what they believed the money was to be used for. However, Lewis has stated he had no knowledge of how his donations to Fox's leadership campaign were used.

...Another source said there had been no co-ordination between the Jewish donors to fund Werritty, though some had initially felt well-disposed to help Fox because of his pro-Israel position. Both Davis and Leigh serve on the Jewish Leadership Council, a body with representatives from community and religious groups. Davis has been chairman of the council's executive committee since 2009.

The same funding nexus exists in the U.S. because of a simple sociological fact: the incredible Jewish success story in the last generation.

Pro-Israel donors lifted our last three presidents, Clinton, Bush and Obama. The back-room fight for these donors between Obama and Romney is the main reason for all the news stories saying that Obama is bad on Israel, or good on Israel. Access to these donors is a major factor in the political careers of Rahm Emanuel, Chuck Schumer, Robert Wexler, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz-- let alone the neoconservatives. And the cultivation of these donors, of people like Lester Crown, is why Obama has Dennis Ross doing Middle East policy despite his record of 20 years of failure and why he had Marty Peretz-protege Stuart Levey filling the Iran shakedown job at Treasury-- even after Levey performed the same job under Bush. You have to keep the lobby happy. It is a central feature of our political landscape. And it's not a news story...

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