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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Olmert's 'cash diet'

The New York Post reports that Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert allegedly received cash bribes from Slim Fast founder S. Daniel Abraham that were sent in containers of Slim Fast - the product that made Abraham his fortune (Hat Tip: NY Nana). Abraham was questioned by Jerusalem police upon his arrival at his hotel at Midnight on Tuesday night. A source who was close to the Presidents' Conference told me that police laid off Sheldon Adelson - the casino mogul who is also suspected of bribing Olmert - at Peres' request during the remainder of the conference. Here's part of the story from the Post:
A former New York limo driver says he's the bagman who delivered suspected bribes to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Manhattan and Jerusalem - including cash hidden in cases of Slim-Fast given to him by the founder of the diet-food empire.

Avi Sherman came forward to make the claims on Israeli TV last night, after billionaire S. Daniel Abraham, the former Slim-Fast owner, blasted earlier reports of his story as "absurd" and said he was "hallucinating."

Israeli police questioned Abraham Tuesday in their expanding probe of allegations that Olmert received $480,000 in bribes from a Long Island businessman, Morris Talansky, and others over a period of several years.

Sherman told Israeli Channel 2 last night that he passed cash from both Talansky and "the man who denies knowing me" - meaning Abraham - during the '90s when Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem.

He said that before emigrating from the United States to Israel several years ago, he visited Jerusalem on a regular basis.

Each time, he brought with him "packages of cash" from Abraham that he hid in a case of Slim-Fast packaged meals and snacks. He said he delivered each case to Olmert.

Sherman also claimed that on Olmert's periodic visits to New York, he served as his limo driver, by arrangement with Shula Zaken, a longtime Olmert aide who also is a target of the probe.

Sherman said he would pick up a cash-stuffed envelope from Talansky's secretary at a Midtown office.

"And then I would go to the Regency Hotel and deliver the envelope to Ehud personally, into his hand," he said.
Abraham has denied the charges. But this morning, JPost reports that 'American Jewish philanthropists' are complaining about Israel's election laws.
"Your laws are screwed up," quipped an American Jewish donor and lay leader. "If every prime minister has been accused of the same thing, there's something wrong with the system."

"Israel's election laws need changing," agreed the fund-raiser. "I understand they're really Byzantine."
Our election laws are screwed up but not because of fund-raising. Yitzchak Shamir was never accused of violating them and neither was Yitzchak Rabin. Bibi Netanyahu was accused, but none of the charges ever stuck. Ehud Barak was accused of very technical violations and some of his aides paid fines for technical mis-steps. Only Ariel Sharon and Ehud K. Olmert - the two former 'right wingers' who converted to the religion of 'peace' have actually faced serious enough accusations that they could end up in jail. And only Olmert is accused of actually putting money in his own pocket and acting for the donors' interest in return.
While police would not confirm the identity of those questioned, a source close to Abraham said that police questioned the 84-year-old businessman at his Jerusalem hotel at midnight on Tuesday, the day he arrived for the conference.

"It's embarrassing for Israel that someone like Abraham, who gives so much and is coming to Israel for Peres's beautiful conference, is met at midnight by cops. The police were unprofessional and then leaked the whole thing to the press," the source said.

"People are joking that the whole conference was held so they could question everybody in one go," a senior Jewish executive said.
No, it's embarrassing for Israel that the country is headed by a liar and a crook like Olmert who is for sale to the highest bidder. Does Abraham risk his life riding buses here while Olmert lets terrorists wander freely throughout Judea and Samaria?
Nearly all the attendees questioned by The Jerusalem Post criticized Israeli political fund-raising abroad.

"I hope [the investigations] will be an incentive to discontinue the practice. It distorts the relationship [between American Jewry] and the democracy here when people from outside the country get into the process," the Jewish executive said.

Most at the conference, however, did not believe the donations would end because of heightened police oversight.

"People contribute to politicians because they are buying access, and they're not going to be put off by this," said one fund-raiser.

"Politics is an aphrodisiac, and those who have tasted it will stay involved," said a donor.
'Fund raising' abroad is a practice that is frowned upon in nearly every country in the world. I recall a scandal involving a President named Clinton receiving political contributions from China in return for nights in the White House's Lincoln Bedroom. Would anyone argue that the United States' election laws are 'screwed up' because that was investigated? I doubt it. No one would dare. Only in the shtetl of Israel do rich Jews feel free to react with indignity when they're accused of breaking the law to bribe a politician. Hey folks, this isn't a shtetl. At least not to those of us who live here, abide by the law and try to do what's best for our country.

Sorry Mr. Abraham, but you're acting like a spoiled child who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and doesn't want to tell anyone how many cookies he ate.

5 Comments:

At 9:22 AM, Blogger NY Nana said...

Carl,

It gets curious and curiouser...and each time Olmert seems to be digging himself down deeper, but keeps climing back up from the primordial slime.

Thanks for the hat tip.../why does this remind me of Boston and Taxachusetts politics so much?

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger Albert said...

Carl, you claim that Ehud Barak was accused of very technical violations and some of his aides paid fines for technical mis-steps.

But according to the state comptroller Eliezer Goldberg this was a "grave" violation of fundraising laws.

The attorney general dropped the case when he claimed foreign banks would not cooperate and cabinet secretary Yitzhak Herzog, who was suspected as raising the bulk of the funds contrary to the law, maintained his silence.

Indeed, never investigated was who paid the large sums needed to hire the best spin doctors in the world, James Carvelle and Stanley Greenberg.

Of course, in the recent Labor Party primary we also heard about the high degree of corruption thad resulted in Ehud Barak obtaining chairmainship of the party.

 
At 1:14 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1:15 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Foreign fund raising should be banned and if Diaspora Jewry wants to contribute Israel and take part in its civic life, they can make aliyah there. That practice makes a mockery of Zionism in that it gives people with no connection to the country an inordinate influence upon Israeli decision-makers. Ehud Olmert and other officials should be guided by the country's national interests, not what they can give to foreign benefactors in exchange for cash payments. That must change.

 
At 2:46 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Albert,

Your recollection is better than mine. I just recall Barak's brother-in-law being questioned about how certain non-profit associations were set up and that no one was convicted of anything serious.

Note that all the Prime Ministers who got themselves into trouble on this issue are affiliated with the left. Given the prosecution's strong leftist bent that's kind of surprising unless the violations are really too serious to ignore.

 

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