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Special Reports Last Updated: Jul 31st, 2009 - 01:09:24

The moneyman behind the Jewish expansion in East Jerusalem
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jul 31, 2009, 00:19

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(WMR) -- The take down by the FBI of a group of Syrian-Jewish rabbis who have held fund raisers for the Binyamin Netanyahu coalition partner, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, has highlighted the financing of the expansion of Jewish building in East Jerusalem, which is not recognized as part of Israel by the United Nations.

The key financier is a wealthy American Jewish bingo parlor and gambling tycoon named Irving Moskowitz, a noted neoconservative who has also backed such neocon operations as the Hudson Institute, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), American Enterprise Institute, and the Center for Security Policy.

Moskowitz has also been responsible for purchasing land from Arabs mostly in East Jerusalem to turn the city into an exclusive Jewish city. More troubling for long-term Middle East peace is Moskowitz�s funding of the right-wing Ateret Cohanim movement, which seeks to tear down Jerusalem�s Al Aqsa mosque, Islam�s third holiest shrine, also known as the Dome of the Rock, to rebuild the Jewish temple.

Of more immediate concern, however, is Moskowitz�s purchase of East Jerusalem�s Shepherd Hotel, which overlooks Mount Scopus, in 1985 and reportedly with the support of Henry Kissinger. The hotel, which is still considered the property of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and was seized as �war booty� after the 1967 Israeli-Arab war, is at the center of the expansion controversy between the Obama administration and Netanyahu�s government over plans to turn the hotel into apartments exclusively for Jews.

In a July 27 op-ed in the Jerusalem Post by Jeff Baraq, a former editor-in-chief of the newspaper, it is stated: �The fact is that while American Jews like Irving Moskowitz can buy land in East Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods, a Palestinian resident of, say, Sheikh Jarrah [where the Shepherd Hotel is located] cannot purchase an apartment in many parts of West Jerusalem, because the Israel Lands Administration, which owns the land, will only enter into a contract with Israeli citizens or persons entitled to citizenship under the Law of Return.� Noting the political instability of the Netanyahu government, Baraq titles his op-ed �Netanyahu Gov�t Unstable, Crisis With US Self-Inflicted.�

With Netanyahu coalition partner Shas now front-and-center in the Syrian-Jewish rabbi scandal, any new revelations about criminal activity by the party in the money laundering escapades in New Jersey and New York could bring down the Netanyahu government. WMR has learned from a White House press corps source that the hidden hand of Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was behind the Justice Department�s move against the Syrian Jews, major funders of Shas, and was meant as a warning shot across Netanyahu�s bow of his increasingly precarious ship of state.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright � 2009

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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