Tuesday, April 26, 2005

DeLay, Abramoff, Indian tribes and the Palestinian intifada

Michael Isikoff:

The pitch from superlobbyist Jack Abramoff was hard to resist: a good way to get access on Capitol Hill, he told his clients a few years ago, was to contribute to a worthy charity he and his wife had just started up. The charity, called the Capital Athletic Foundation, was supposed to provide sports programs and teach "leadership skills" to city youth. Donating to it also had a side benefit, Abramoff told his clients: it was a favored cause of Rep. Tom DeLay.

The pitch worked especially well among a group of Indian tribes who, having opened up lucrative gaming casinos, had hired Abramoff to protect their interests in Washington. In 2002 alone, records show, three Indian tribes donated nearly $1.1 million to the Capital Athletic Foundation. But now, NEWSWEEK has learned, investigators probing Abramoff's finances have found some of the money meant for inner-city kids went instead to fight the Palestinian intifada. More than $140,000 of foundation funds were actually sent to the Israeli West Bank where they were used by a Jewish settler to mobilize against the Palestinian uprising. Among the expenditures: purchases of camouflage suits, sniper scopes, night-vision binoculars, a thermal imager and other material described in foundation records as "security" equipment. The FBI, sources tell NEWSWEEK, is now examining these payments as part of a larger investigation to determine if Abramoff defrauded his Indian tribe clients. The tribal donors are outraged. "This is almost like outer-limits bizarre," says Henry Buffalo, a lawyer for the Saginaw Chippewa Indians who contributed $25,000 to the Capital Athletic Foundation at Abramoff's urging. "The tribe would never have given money for this."

Abramoff, a legendary lobbyist particularly close to DeLay, is also a fierce supporter of Israel—"a super-Zionist," one associate says. That may explain why Abramoff's paramilitary gear ended up in the town of Beitar Illit, a sprawling ultra-Orthodox outpost whose residents have occasionally tangled with their Palestinian neighbors. Yitzhak Pindrus, the settlement's mayor, says that several years ago the town was confronting mounting security problems. "They [the Palestinians] were throwing stones, they were throwing Molotov cocktails," Pindrus says. Abramoff's connection to the town was Schmuel Ben-Zvi, an American emigre who, the lobbyist told associates, was an old friend he knew from Los Angeles. Capital Athletic Foundation public tax records make no mention of Ben-Zvi. But they do show payments to "Kollel Ohel Tiferet" in Israel, a group for which there is no public listing and which the town's mayor said he never heard of.

The phrase "white man speak with forked tongue" comes to mind.

In the news:

Newsweek: US Jewish Lobbyist Funded Settler Gangs with Swindled Indian Tribe Money

Right-wing Jews Rally to Defense of Embattled DeLay

Youth funds siphoned to settlements

Around the Blogosphere:

Oy Vey and WWJD Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay and Ralph Reed

Tom DeLay took 1.1 million from Indians to fund Israeli terrorists and murders

2 Comments:

At 5:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"a legendary lobbyist"

More to the point here is that he is Jewish.

"a super-Zionist,"

Is that the same as a militant or extremist?

"an American emigre"

I find this sort of thing extremely disasteful: Americans who go to or emigrate to Israel for the express purpose of settling in the contested so-called occupied territories.

 
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