Jewish Scene
Where did the Shoah money go?
Michal Grayevsky, Oron Meiri
Published: 10.12.06, 20:19
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1. Money is also taxed
Nir ,   Netanya   (12.10.06)
The money goes to a bank, and when a person wants to take out money the bank takes vey large sum as a "tax". The poor and needy people shouldn't pay a "tax". Please check this.
2. They say the Swiss are Corrupt?
concerned citizen ,   nyc   (12.10.06)
3. Pay the living survivors, not marching youths in Poland
concerned citizen ,   nyc   (12.10.06)
4. Those handling other people's money
Raymond from DC ,   Washington, DC USA   (12.11.06)
This sort of monetary shenanigans is the reason I ceased my (admittedly modest) support of the WJC several years ago. People like Singer should be ashamed to be living the good life on contributions intended for more deserving purposes. 2 Kings 23:7 relates that, of the moneys intended for the repair of the Temple under King Josiah's reforms, "However, no check is to be kept on them for the silver that is delivered to them, for they deal honestly (be'emunah)." Would that we could count on such righteousness when today's Jewish machers handle money intended for righteous causes. This investigation just proves how important it is to determine how much of any dollar contributed to an organization goes to administrative overhead, fund raising, etc. and how much goes to the good works itself.
5. Stinks to High Heaven ...
marya ,   sacramento,USA   (12.11.06)
"The report reveals apparent financial irregularities amounting to millions of dollars, administrative deficiencies and circular transfers of 1.2 million dollars form the accounts of the WJC in New York to a bank account in Geneva. From there, the money found its way to a private bank account in England in the name of Advocate Zvi Barak, in his capacity as a trustee, and from there, it arrived in an account in the name of a private company called Solar, in which Advocate Barak had a shareholding. Upon opening of the investigation, the money was returned. Barak, incidentally, is the business partner of Opher Hirschson, the son of the Finance Minister." Unbelievable that these "volunteers" should be staying in luxury hotels in the towns where they live. They are picking the carcasses of the dead to line their pockets and create financial legacy's for their own families. They need to toss the lot of them out on their ears and start from scratch with a new set of rules. Not one Holocaust survivor should want for anything - and all of their medical needs should be atttended to - I'm sure Mr Singers are. They should be ashamed of themselves, these scavengers, vultures hiding under a kippah!
6. sick
darryl ,   israel   (12.11.06)
when i read about things like this it makes me ashamed to be jewish
7. the claims conference sucks but israel's no better
dan sieradski ,   jerusalem, israel   (12.11.06)
here are 250,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel, one-third of whom live below the poverty line. Since establishing ties with Germany in the 1950s (a move hotly contested in its day; see Segev’s The Seventh Million), Israel has received close to $80 billion in direct restitution — roughly $1.4 billion for each year of the State’s existence, or over $300,000 per survivor. The Finance Ministry claims to distribute $326 million to survivors every year (23% of annual restitution), however that amounts to mere $1,304 per survivor, which is about one-tenth of the average Israeli income. A bill introduced in the Knesset this year would have increased that paltry sum by offering an additional $11 million in direct support to survivors. The bill, however, was killed in committee by the Finance Ministry, which instead, as part of Benjamin Netanyahu’s economic growth plan, opted to freeze aid to survivors, eroding their benefits by 1.65%. more:
8. Shoah Funds
David Fink ,   Montreal, Canada   (12.11.06)
I am pleased that the Claims Conference leadership has recovered these billions of dollars so that all the critics can opine as to how to spend the money, and who to be in charge of spending it. In addition,, the photo in your article of Israel Zinger, is quite telling as Edgar Bronfman, the Canadian businessman and philanthropist, is sitting behind him (although surprisingly not mentioned in your article). Mr Bronfman's documented giving to the WJC, has been in the tens of millions of dollars to support its activities, including its administration (and Mr Zinger's travel). The beneficiaries of his giving has been the WJC directly and indirectly, the Claims Conference. If an experienced businessman like Mr. Bronfman is willing to fund these costs on his own dime, on his belief that this will yield the best result, why all the fuss? To all critics, i think it fair to say "Put up, or Shut up..."
9. israel singer
pinny ,   lawrence usa   (12.11.06)
the wjc deals in billions of dollars and if 1.2mil is unaccounted for over a period of years!!! so what. people who spend nights and days travelling to help raise funds are entitled to travel comfortly.if not for the wjc there wouldnt be any mony.
10. Israel SInger Is Entitled
gorman ,   NY NY   (12.11.06)
Your shoddy reporting is ridiculous. When any executive travels he flighs first class and stays at the best hotels it releives the pressure of a hard travel or flight and keeps the executive tranquil and happy so that bussines can be conducted properly Mr. Singer has procured millions for Holocaust survivors. Shame on your bad reporting
11. stinks to high heaven 2
moshe ,   jerusalem   (12.11.06)
I refer to 5 -marya - Why did the authors of the article not go to the Police and State Controller with the material; they have against Hirshson ,his son ,Zvi Barak etc and ask for an official investigation to be opened for the pulic "right to know" as per the Law ?.This is an integral part of the law and the journalists should hand their material as to suspected corruption over to the authorities immediately.
12. Unbelievable
Mike ,   Toronto   (12.11.06)
13. Nazi Compensation deductions
David ,   Karmiel, Israel   (12.11.06)
In terms of the agreement with the then Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Israel, Holocaust survivors have to declare their Israeli income INCLUDING Social Security! This is in simple terms a disgrace! These claims are to pay for the heinous crimes committed against Jews and have nothing to do with their income today. It is not enough that these elderly people had to endure the greatest crime against humanity but they are, even today, denied the right of a decent life in their old age!
14. SHAME!
Dan66 ,   Ramat Gan   (12.11.06)
15. Re:Israel Singer is Entitled
Rich ,   NY USA   (12.11.06)
You fault the journalist for bad reporting yet you employ bad logic in figuring that Israel Singer is entitled to spend hundred of thousands of dollars of Shoah money for first class tickets and first class hotels because it keeps him "tranquil and happy" after a hard trip. Does it not seem foul and repugnant to pay for those happy and tranquil feelings on the backs of those who lived and died in the camps; from money procured as you say, in their name. And why pray tell has so relatively little of that money actually made it to the survivors who need it. Are they just doing the minimum and waiting for the rest of the survivors die out so they can all be happy and tranquil in one big slush fund? This calls for an investigation, in Israel, In the US and anyhwere else where mony was "procured." Make no mistake, the money as reparations should be collected from those who profited from Nazi attrocities. They should also be paid out fully and promptly to those who were direct victims of those attrocities. As for Israel Singer's WJC investigation with the AG and soon to be Governor of NY, his minions boast mightily of how no criminal wrongdoing was found...yet he was found to have appropriated $1.2 million from the WJC without proper authority, permission or oversight , secured it in a private bank account overseas and didn't give it back until he was caught and his lavish lifestyle was exposed. If not for some serious political connections I suspect this would have been treated as a theft or embezzlement. If all a bank robber has to do is return the money he stole to avoid being labled, charged and convicted as a criminal then I expect our prisons would have many fewer bank robbers in residence. Draw the conclusions that you will. This entire affair is a damnable shame and an embarrassment to the Jewish people who turn a blind eye to such actions. I say again, the blood of the six million was not shed so that Israel Singer and his wife could fly first class to Germany for $24,000. And that apparently, is the least of it. Shame on shoddy logic. And shame on all of us if we allow it to continue.
16. can anyone read?
cathy ,   jerusalem, israel   (12.11.06)
Does anyone see the part where it says that the money spent on travel was NOT spent out of Claims Conference funds? So no survivors were effected by the travel style of the CC execs? So how in the world can this article be taken seriously? This is all about smoke and mirrors.
17. re: 15
Ronnie ,   ny. us   (12.11.06)
How do you figure that the wjc used shoah funds to travel? the article says precisely the opposite. it makes clear that no shoah funds were used for WJC travel. So yes, i would say the journalist shoule be faulted for shoddy reporting.
18. David Fink- Shoah Funds
Outraged ,   Toronto   (12.11.06)
Get your facts right, The money Singer spent from the WJC was not from Bronfman. It is from 400,000 individual donors in the United States who each year give $ 10 million to the WJC. This is charitable money. If the donors knew how Singer used it, I wonder if they would still be so quick to give. And if that is what he does with WJC money, what do you think he is doing with the billions of the Claims Conference? As Pinny of Lawrence wrote: What's a million more, a million less?
19. Charitable Funds
geoff ,   australia   (12.11.06)
This is all sickening. All those defending the outrageous use of public charitable funds by Singer for his personal use. Don't forget - charitable funds are charitable funds are charitable funds. It does not matter if they were charitable funds of the Claims Conference or the WJC. They are all charitable funds. And lets not forget, Israel Singer is the head of both the Claims Conference and the WJC. Both organizations should be acting in the interests of the Jewish People - not to pay for the lavish lifestyle of Singer. Where do you draw the line?
20. Thank You Ynet
daics ,   New York   (12.11.06)
Thank you for exposing the corruption of the people controlling the restitution money which rightly belongs to the victims and the survivors. I only hope that someone has the courage to force these crooks to be made accountable. Starting with the President.
21. to all the critics
golda rachel ,   ny, ny   (12.11.06)
Whether or on Israel Singer and the rest of the WJC executives are entitled to travel in style is up for discussion. What isn't up for discussion is that the money spent on this lavish travel was Shoah funds. They weren't, as the article states very clearly and as the Claims Conference spokesman states at the end of the article. So what is this article really about? Is this an inter-WJC power play? Again? (Groan)
22. illiterate
isidore ,   jerusalem   (12.11.06)
Its pretty clear that the outraged finger pointers here cant read. If they could, they'd see that the author here has pulled a bait and switch. Despite the fact that its clear from the article that Singer recieves no salary from the CC and that all of the expednitures listed by the author (in her disorganized laundry list style rather indicative of no journalistic training whatsoever) were made from the WJC and not the CC, people still seem to think that money's being stolen from the survivors. So tell me, you wise pundits - are the WJC and CC's budgets the same thing? Rather not. The WJC, which was both the source of Singer's salary and all these expenditures and the focus of Spitzer's investigation is funded by private donations, most notably by bronfman along with thousands of smaller contributors, AND no HOLOCAUST MONIES!!! The CC does not pay him, nor did it ever. So stow your outrage all you illiterate commenters, or at least learn how to read before you cast around names.
23. re:17
Rich ,   NY USA   (12.11.06)
If the article states it as you say, then it is not shoddy reporting. You may have fault with me for using WJC and Shoah money interchangably in this instance, but the facts of the article are what they are. As to the non-profit monies being so lavishly spent...Dare we ask where the WJC dollars came from that pay for Mr. and Mrs. Singers $24,000 airline trip to Germany? Do you think the WJC's fund raising letter asks people to donate money to keep Israel Singer "tranquil and happy" when he travels..? Or do you think the worldwide organizations that contribute their fund-raised dollars to the WJC appreciate how important it is to keep Israel SInger comfortable? I think not. This is not to say that there are not legitimate travel expenses and other expenses that are incurred in the course of doing business. But extravagance has no place in the non profit world. This reminds me of the old saw that says,"I don't need to be a millionaire...I just want to live like one." It is my feeling that Israel SInger's profligate spending of monies to satisfy his own comfort, convenience and dare I add, ego are unseemly at best. I do not believe he has the moral authority to travel the globe pretending to speak for the Jewish people and those wronged, while he lives the high life. Frankly, I wouldn't trsut him with bus fare. Read the New York AG's report and ask yourself if anyone else was found to have done the things the report finds he did and to which the WJC agreed after substantial negotiation, would they too have been found to have made a non-criminal "oopsie" or would they be sharing a cell with the Enron and Tyco, WorldCom, Computer Associates crowd? The shame remains. And the scandal of what is or is not being done with Shoah money is only beginning to bubble up. When it finally erupts it will be to the eternal shame of all those who make excuses and look the other way. Bookkeeping aside, the stink of impropriety lingers.
24. singer & bronfman
watchful eye ,   miami   (12.11.06)
does bronfman really fund the WJC on his own ? i dont think so. te spitzer report found numerous "breaches of fiduciary responsabilities by Singer and the WJC, " yet they recieved a slap on the wrist from the Aattorney General, a democrat who clearly did not want to step on the toes of Edgar Bronfman so close to an election. These men are connected to TZVI BARAK , an associate of FM Hirsczon's son. The Claims Conference says that after the Spitzer report Singer has no say over how money is spent and is only a fundraiser. What barometer is being used to judge whether or not he is doing a good job. He lives in a kickback and slush fund world and we should trust this man to be our fundraiser for survivor groups, please!! The excuse that Singer is doing a good job is lame.
25. Claims Conference morality?
Perplexed   (12.11.06)
The real question is how everyone lets Singer get away with it. How can the executives of the Claim Conference keep him there? Don't they know that his stench also sticks to them? Unless, of course, there is more to the story. What else has been going on? Who else, other than Singer, has been cashing in? What about Advocate Julius Berman? Why on earth would the Claims Conference executives back Singer, unless they are as bad as him? It is an absolute scandal that these people contol billions of dollars of funds for survivors. There should be a campaign to disband the entire Conference and move the funds to the State of Israel. While that may not be perfect, at least there will be transparency and we can at least know that the money is not controlled by an organization headed by morally questionable people. And I don't just mean Singer, but the whole lot of them.
26. silly
re: charitable funds ,   canada   (12.11.06)
This outrage is amusing. Every charity flies and houses its executives first-class. if you want to say the system is messed up, fine. But this is silly.
Forester ,   Atlanta GA   (12.11.06)
TO: Michal Grayevsky, Oron Meiri RE Article Shoa Spending It is common practice for executives, especially when travel is extensive to fly first class and stay at the finer hotels. It alleviates the stress of travel and being away from home. Your article intimates that Israel Singer (volunteer of the committee) should fly coach tourist class for 8 -12 hours then check into a tourist class hotel for the night the next morning meet with a head of state - President or Prime Minister negotiate millions of dollars of reparations get in a taxi head to the airport back on coach for another 8-12 hours. On top of all that pay his expenses out of his own pocket. Your reporting is one sided not well researched and is plain stupid! Israel Singer has procured Billions of dollars that have been paid out to Holocaust Survivors and organizations that assist elderly Jews. There are some that fall through the cracks due to paperworkwhich is extensive. I wonder if your article took wind out of his (Singer) sails ...Why Bother!! when ingrates like you find nothing good to say. You should be ashamed of yourselfs PS: TO Watchfull Eye When you spend one day away from your miserable life or lift one finger or travel one mile for Holocaust survivours then you can talk. Good luck pulling yourself off the couch
28. to no.27 bully tactics
Watchful eye ,   miami   (12.11.06)
all international air flights that offer coach and international also offer buissness class, THAT is what most corporate execs and non-profit organization executives fly. You must think were dumb to believe that international first class air fare is common. Its more realistic that after flying on Mr. Bronfmans private plane Mr. Singer begas to look at buissness class as if it were coach. Listen, the problem with Singer is that he is above the law, like some other Isrealis i might add. Edgar Bronfman is part of the problem, he sheilds Singer from having to face these issues, I think the real question is what to do with edgar bronfman ? Regarding your personal attack it is tasteless. As a jew and and Israeli we live in a generation of holocaust survivors and for you too say that i have done nothing to help is tasteless, Singer and Bronfman are also tasteless.
29. sickened by the hypocrisy and idiocy
ilan ,   new york city   (12.12.06)
Hey, watchful eye - have you read the spitzer report? I have. Although the article's headline sensationally points to first class travel, the actual documents (and the text of the article, actually) only shows evidence of business class travel and not first class. Oops. Hoist by your own petard, really. What's clear is that people are willing to believe the worst of their fellows, especially if their fellows have become more famous or successful than they are. Get these facts into your head (each of which is even made somewhat clear in this poorly written article): 1) all of these funds were WJC money, and not claims funds 2) the luxuries the article quotes are not really luxuries - the "deluxe" travel refers to business class, and the "super hotel rooms" to business suites. The article is so unbleiveably misleading. For example - "Singer held several credit cards, including the exclusive black card of American Express, "Centurion", which is restricted to only the rich and famous. This magnificent card gives its holder unlimited credit and the cost of holding such a card is thousands of dollars a year." in fact, the cost is far less than this - $1000 a year for original holders since 1999, at most 2500 a year for people who joined last year. Another wonderful example is this line: "A breakdown of Singer's movements show that he flew to almost the entire world, sometimes together with his wife." Well, yes. He heads the WORLD jewish congress. So should he only fly to say, Israel and europe? I'm guessing he flew on business to these places. Further, its not much of a secret that his wife is an employee of the wjc and has been editing their various newsletters gratis (see their 990s) for over 15 years. How much do you think such a service would be worth professionally? $50k a year? I'd say more than that, but assuming thats the going rate, she's saved the WJC in excess of 750k in the time she's worked for them. Aside from the fact that to edit a newsletter, you'd have to come on the trip as a perectly legit expense, even if she werent entitled to a trip just for that, she's still got the WJC way in the black on her - she's saved them far more than she's cost them. So many lies. There are tons of them in the article. All you need is a little familiarity with the story to know what's patently false. But all you ingrates, you're just a bunch of bellyachers who cant be bothered with the truth. Basically, what you have with this story is a reporter who cant seem to get the story straight, and who wants to sensationalize a story about holocaust funds when its about something much less sexy - the day to day ops of an organization that has little to do with shoah funds, and everything to do with the petty jealousies of little men like isi leibler who's very patently behind the dissemnation of this piece. So squawk your outraged cries, all you hypocrites. But remember that youve either been duped by a pretty inept reporter or worse yet, you're part of the deception yourselves.
30. WJC
Skip Davis ,   Annapolis MD   (12.12.06)
No wonder people hated Norman Finkelstein. It seems he was right about this issue—before this guy and a host of others who have transparently plagarized him since. One may abhor NF's views on Israel, but in this area his case stands on its own merit. As such it is pretty damn persusasive.
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