le dernier cri from haaretz

Im Tirtzu received over $1m from Pindo donors
Uri Blau, Haaretz, Jun 23 2017

1642134204Im Tirtzu’s 2015 “The People Against The Moles” campaign (Photo: Moti Milrod)

2015 was a good year for Im Tirtzu. The financial reports it submitted to the Registrar of Non-Profit Associations showed that donations to the virulently anti-leftist group had soared from ₪1.7m (about $480k) to about ₪7m. The report identifies the major donor to the movement, which gave it about ₪3.7m, as “Shining City.” This is the first time this organization has been mentioned as a donor to Im Tirtzu. Another donor mentioned for the first time in the reports is Pindosis for Jayloomia, which gave the movement ₪995k. Apart from the donor organizations’ names and amounts of donations, details that are required by the Registrar of Non-Profit Associations, the Im Tirtzu financial reports reveal nothing about who exactly sent millions of shekels to its bank account. As Im Tirtzu frequently attacks the funding sources of leftist and human rights organizations, I asked a senior member of the organization whether there isn’t something odd about this. Ignoring that there are more than 40 organizations around the world registered as Shining City, he replied:

Anyone who wants to find information can look on Google.

Now Haaretz has discovered that behind the two hefty contributions to Im Tirtzu were Pindosi organizations connected to close associates of Bibi. Their legal structure allows for transfer of funds whose source is undisclosed. Shining City is a body run by wealthy individuals close to Bibi and the Thugs. It conducted a campaign in Pindostan against former Obama. The organization’s website was registered by Vincent Harris, Bibi’s Pindosi political strategist in the last election in Israel. The other donor, Pindosis for Jayloomia, is registered at the New York address of the philanthropic foundation of Ronald Lauder. The organization is managed by Lauder’s aide Allen Roth. On the eve of the 2012 Pindosi presidential election, it was reported that Pindosis for Jeayloomia had initiated registration of Pindosi voters living in Israel. Roth, who has not replied to a Haaretz query, is also president of an organization called Secure Pindostan Now, which worked to thwart Obama’s 2012 reelection. Both of these organizations are registered under the IRS Code section 501(c)(4) for organizations engaged in promoting social objectives, which enables them to direct some of their money to advancing political goals without revealing their sources of funding.

Shining City was founded in Virginia in late 2014 to educate the public on “relations between Israel and Pindostan” and the latter’s political relationships in the Middle East. It was registered by law firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, which specializes in developing financial mechanisms to fund conservative causes and Thug candidates (ie they are Jabotinsky’s Herut loyalists – RB). According to a Bloomberg report, the firm was involved in registering companies that donated $250m to campaigns connected to the 2012 presidential election. Shining City operated mostly during the 2015 Knesset election campaign, when the nuclear agreement with Iran was under discussion in Pindostan. At the beginning of 2015, after Bibi was invited to speak before Congress, they promoted the speech on social media and lauded him. Though Shining City is still registered as an active organization, it is hard to find any mention of its current activity. Its website has shut down and there have been no tweets in its Twitter account since the end of 2015. Infrequently, its Facebook page still shares things, among them statements by Netanyahu.

According to official statements filed in the name of Shining City in Virginia, the group had three directors in 2016: Phil Rosen, Eliot Lauer and Andrew or Andy Albstein. All are prominent New York attorneys and at least two of them are close to Bibi & the Thugs. Rosen is a partner in the firm of Weil Gotshal & Manges, where he heads the real estate and infrastructure practices. He has served as president of Pindosi Friends of Likud and is considered a friend of Bibi. Rosen is also a member of the directorate of the RJC, of which another donor close to Netanyahu is Sheldon Adelson. Rosen said neither he nor other directors of Shining City funded its activities, and refused to say who did. He also said he does not recall donations to Im Tirtzu. He promised to get back to Haaretz after looking into the matter but did not do so despite repeated requests. Lauer, the treasurer of the RJC, is a lawyer with the firm of Curtis Mallet Prevost Colt & Mosle, but is best known as the attorney for Jonathan Pollard. Last year Lauer was among the organizers of a fundraising event for Ted Cruz. In 2012, he donated $3k to Bibi and also gave financial support to Mitt Romney. Also among the hosts of the Cruz event last year was Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, who was listed the previous year as president of Shining City. A few weeks ago it was reported that Lightstone would be appointed as an adviser to Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, but there has been no official confirmation of this report. Lightstone said only that he is no longer working with Shining City. The third director at Shining City, Albstein, is a New York real estate lawyer. He told Haaretz he became acquainted with Lightstone through another person involved in pro-Israel political activity, but refused to give that person’s name. Albstein, too, refused to say who funds the organization, which he said to the best of his knowledge is currently inactive. When asked about the donation to Im Tirtzu, he replied he was not familiar with any such donation but that does not mean it was not given.

According to newspaper reports in recent years, there were once extensive connections between Im Tirtzu and Bibi. Raviv Drucker found that Bibi had approached businesspeople to donate to the IDF “reservists’ protest” against Olmert after the Second Lebanon War, a protest in which Im Tirtzu was a leader. According to Drucker, Bibi connected Im Tirtzu with evangelical Pastor John Hagee, who became one of its donors. Im Tirtzu stated in its financial report that most of its expenses in 2015, about 4 million shekels, went for PR and publications. At the end of 2015, Im Tirtzu launched its campaign depicting human rights workers as defenders of terrorism. The movement is now promoting a code of ethics for academia, composed by philosophy Prof Asa Kasher. Im Tirtzu responded to queries:

Most of our donors today are Israelis, but we are pleased to find private donors from around the world as well (individuals and private foundations) who support our important activity and thereby try to strengthen the Jewish and democratic identity of the State of Israel. The guideline in the movement with regard to raising funds is non-acceptance of money from any foreign state entity or foundations that promote delegitimization of Israeli society. The Im Tirtzu movement does not examine the political opinions of those who seek to donate to it. We are deeply grateful to every donor who helps Im Tirtzu in its extensive activity for the Jewish people and we are not surprised that many people in Israel and abroad are prepared to place their trust in us and invest in us. With God’s help, we will continue to go from strength to strength in our activity for the State of Israel.

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