Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
This past June we noted here that the “stunning news that the Claims Conference secured a four-year $1 billion infusion of funds from the German government to aid Holocaust survivors has been largely overshadowed by criticism that those leading the conference mishandled an internal investigation into the embezzlement of $57 million by some employees over a fifteen-year period.”
As we said, “This is not to suggest that the theft of $57 million is an insignificant thing or that those who have been key to the conference’s achievements should be exempt from criticism or inquiry. It is to lament, though, that public discourse seems more and more driven by those with narrow perspectives and a penchant for ‘gotcha’ journalism.”
We went on to note that the new $1 billion funding had followed the securing over the years of the “staggering total of $70 billion” and questioned why there was the exclusive focus in some parts of the media on the $57 million, “particularly when several conference employees went to jail for embezzlement following a federal investigation materially aided by the assistance of the very conference leadership now being attacked.”
In an opinion piece last week in The Jerusalem Post, Julius Berman, the chairman of the Claims Conference (its full name is the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany) charged, among other things, “that the Claims Conference is being hounded by a few individuals who have been ‘careless with the truth’ – to put it mildly – during recent months.”
Mr. Berman further asserted that “These individuals have fed the media in general, and The Jerusalem Post in particular, a web of lies and distortions” and noted that “US Attorney Preet Bharara repeatedly and publicly thanked the Claims Conference for bringing the matter to the FBI’s attention…for their outstanding ongoing assistance and for its extraordinary continued cooperation in this investigation.”
He went on to say that “Unfortunately few, if any, bothered to ask for first-hand evidence, preferring instead to ride a wave of sensationalism….”
In a largely inexplicable editorial mea culpa, the Post said, in pertinent part:
We reject Berman’s claim that the Post was “careless with the truth.” We regret any harm done to his good name or to that of his organization….
If we omitted salient facts, we accept responsibility for this oversight. One such fact is that not one Holocaust victim was deprived of any funds.
The role of the Claims Conference in uncovering and investigating the misappropriation of funds was for the most part unacknowledged.
All parties that meticulously investigated fraudulent acts in the organization, including the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office, have determined that the Claims Conference acted appropriately….
Additionally, the German government – the only party to have lost out as a result of the fraud – has given the Claims Conference a consistent vote of confidence. It continued working closely with the Claims Conference for the benefit of survivors, even while the investigation was ongoing. During negotiations with the Claims Conference last May, the German government agreed to provide an extra $1 billion over four years….
The Post prides itself on independent investigation and fair coverage. As much as we try in good faith, we do not always get the balance completely right, and when we err we are prepared to admit our mistakes and apologize as we do for any wrongdoing in our coverage of the Claims Conference.
So after saying they “reject the claim that the Post was ‘careless with the truth,’ ” the Post’s editorial writers proceed to acknowledge that the paper in fact “omitted salient points,” that it takes “responsibility for this oversight,” and that it permitted important aspects of the case to go “for the most part unacknowledged.”
At any rate, we trust this mealy-mouthed about-face will allow the Claims Conference to go about its important work free from at least some artificial roadblocks.
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The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.
Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof
What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.
Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.
The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.
Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US
No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?
For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.
It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.
For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.
Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation
Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.
Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers
It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”
Last year the Obama administration sought to minimize civilian deaths from drone strikes by generally requiring that missile attacks be limited to instances where Americans were directly threatened and there was a “near certainty” that no civilians would be killed.
If anything, Operation Protective Edge showed that Israel will not pull punches when it comes to combating terror.
Toward the end of Operation Protective Edge this past summer, the president was unusually vocal about Israel’s so-called disproportionate use of force and alleged lack of compliance with international humanitarian law.
There was no accompanying caption, but the cartoon could not help but feed the anti-Semitic canard that Israel was responsible for 9/11.
An accomplished Torah scholar and ardent adherent of Bobov chassidus, he was renowned for his self-effacing dedication and skills as an international lawyer and law professor
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