…Several weeks ago, [WJC Secretary-General] Stephen Herbits finally made public a document setting forth the purported basis for firing [Israel] Singer. Among the allegations was that [cosmetic heir] Ron[ald] Lauder bribed Singer in in the late 1990s. However, without any explanation, this allegation has [now] been scrubbed from the document.
As far as I know, the only thing to happen in the interim is Lauder's announcement that he and [the son of Herbit's mentor Edgar Bronfman] Matthew Bronfman are jointly running for WJC leadership positions.…
Herbits is is by most accounts a distasteful person. He has a bullying personality and little, if any, compassion for those who work for him. But Krum has noticed something else, something much more surprising, perhaps, to some, especially the editors of the Jewish Week, but something that confirms what I have said about this whole sad affair for the beginning:
…Yesterday came the surprising news that that Ronald Lauder, who has reportedly coveted the WJC presidency for years, decided to form a "dream team" ticket with the Matthew Bronfman, the son of outgoing president, Edgar Bronfman. Yes. That's right -- Ron Lauder, the man who about a month ago was publicly accused by Edgar's top deputy of bribery -- has now joined forces with his son.
If this weren't a farce one would have expected Isi Leibler, a man who has railed on and on for years about allegations of financial impropriety and poor governance within the WJC, would raise a red flag about Matthew Bronfman, who not only is the son of the man he bitterly opposed and a member of the the WJC's finance committee, but was recently forced to resign from his directorship of Israel Discount Bank amid allegations of self-dealing and self-aggrandizement. One would have expected Isi Liebler, a man who expressed shock and horror in response to reports that Israel Singer headed an organization that merely provided funding to another organization that in turn paid money to a consultant for a no-show job, would display even more shock and horror about a man who headed an organization that directly (and illegally) provided services to citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Krum now quotes from a JTA article on the Lauder-Bronfman teaming:
But no. As I mentioned, this is a farce:
Isi Leibler, a former organization official and longtime critic of Bronfman Sr., said he did not view the ticket as a way for the outgoing president to retain influence with the organization.
Matthew Bronfman "is the son, he's not the father," he said.
So how to account for Isi's sudden lack of concern regarding all that stuff about accountability and honesty? Simple. Its all about politics. For years, Isi Liebler has consistently attacked Edgar Bronfman and Israel Singer's dovishness on Israeli foreign policy and support for interdenominational dialogue. Isi Leibler is a ardent hawk, and has long supported Lauder, a Republican who served in the Reagan administration.…
Krum goes on to point out that another ardent Lauder backer, Menachem Rosensaft, expressed similar glee at the Lauder-Bronfman ticket. What the JTA does not tell its readership is Rosensaft has financial connections to the Lauder Foundation, where he serves as counsel.
So, Isi Liebler, the crusader for accountability and transparency, the man who fought "corruption" at the WJC, the supposed "whistle-blower," is endorsing the candidacy of team that includes a man recently forced to resign from the board one of the largest Jewish banks in the world due to allegations of illegal dealings, the son of a man Liebler accused of that and worse at the WJC.
Krum is correct here. Edgar Bronfman was and remains a dove, closely aligned to Israel's Labor Party and a strong advocate of dealing land for peace. Liebler fought Singer because Singer was Edgar Bronfman's respectability, his good public face, and the brains behind everything good the WJC did under Bronfman. He attacked Singer to drive out Bronfman. Ronald Lauder is a hawk, closely aligned to former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The only way to assure a Lauder victory is to mollify Herbits and the Bronfman forces, and the only way to do that is to support the candidacy of Edgar Bronfman's son. So Liebler, ever the disingenuous crusader, does so without qualm.
History will view Israel Singer with a much kinder light than, say, the Jewish Week's Gary Rosenblatt, much closer to the picture painted in the Forward's editorial. The same, I'm afraid, will not be true for Liebler and for those in the media who have uncritically done his bidding.