Sunday 26 July 2009

Crime Bosses linked to Jewish spiritual leader

First some 'spiritual teaching' from the Jewish Talmud, Zohar, Vayshlah 177b:

"The Jewish nation is the only nation selected by God, while all the remaining ones are contemptible and hateful.

All property of other nations belongs to the Jewish nation, which consequently is entitled to seize upon it without any scruples. An orthodox Jew is not bound to observe principles of morality towards people of other tribes. He may act contrary to morality, if profitable to himself or to Jews in general.

A Jew may rob a Goy, he may cheat him over a bill, which should not be perceived by him, otherwise the name of God would become dishonoured."

Kidney scandal exposed as Rabbis arrested over corruption

A kidney scandal's been exposed in a big anti-corruption operation in New Jersey in which notable Rabbis and Mayors have been arrested.. Follow us on twitter at

Dealing in stolen human organs

For some reason, the news is treading very lightly on the human organ trading part of this deal.

It could be because the FBI is embarrassed.

The FBI was told SEVEN YEARS AGO this was going on by Nancy Scheper-Hughes, an anthropologist from the University of California, Berkeley.

She provided the FBI with the ring leader's address and phone number and the FBI did NOTHING.

In contrast, law enforcement in South Africa and Brazil took the info and acted on it immediately.

There have been countless transactions since then, many conducted down the barrel of a gun - and there's only been one indictment.

Back in 2004, the US State Department dismissed the charges as "urban legend."

"It would be impossible to conceal a clandestine organ trafficking ring."

Yeah, right. Seven years. Great police work.

"Antisemitism!... Antisemitism!..." cry the Jews in unison. "How can you generalise? Those are just a few bad apples!" Just like Madoff and Co(Wall St. thieves)? Why generalise? After all the 6 million Jews who robbed the land of Palestine and are cleansing it of its population are mere bad apples, too?

Crime Bosses linked to Jewish spiritual leader

Government sources believe that one of the aftereffects of the massive money-laundering and illegal organ trading case that broke this week will be a sharp decline in donations to Israeli yeshivas, particularly those linked with the ultra-Orthodox party Shas and its spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Three New Jersey mayors and several rabbis were arrested last Thursday in a sweeping federal investigation into political corruption that also uncovered human kidney sales and money laundering from Brooklyn to Israel.

Sources say that the wave of donations received by Israel's Sephardic yeshivas will significantly diminish as the scandal breaks, even by Jewish bodies unrelated to the affair who want to distance themselves from it.

One of the main suspects in the money laundering case is Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Haim, who is a close associate of Rabbi David Yosef, Ovadia Yosef's son. Ben Haim is also very active in the Yechavei Da'at organization, headed by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's family.

David Yosef heads the Yechavei Da'at kolel, an institute for advanced studies of the Talmud and rabbinic literature, in Jerusalem. Ben-Haim has helped elicit donations from rich U.S. Jews for the institution in the past. These donations are expected to cease.

Another suspect in the case is Rabbi Edmond Nahum, who is considered to be a close confidant of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef himself. Nahum also transferred donations to the Yosef family.

The Israel Police is set to investigate several Sephardic yeshivas, among them those linked with Shas, under suspicion of money laundering as related to the case. Police sources speculate that the investigation may expand to include banks that may have been involved in the possible money laundering operation.

The crime bosses: Kosher Nostra

Religious leaders allegedly acted like 'crime bosses' in a massive money-laundering and illegal organ trading case that broke this week, New Jersey District Attorney Ralph Marra said Saturday.

"For these defendants, corruption was a way of life," Marra said, adding "Politicians had willingly put themselves up for sale ... the existed in an ethics-free zone."

Solomon Dwek, a failed real-estate entrepreneur and an FBI informant, is the man behind the arrests week. Dwek's identity was revealed in documents submitted to the court Saturday.

On Friday, some of the 44 suspects were released on bail.

Some New Jersey residents said they feared the investigation was motivated by another mob that wanted to "clear the ground" for its own operations. Others sought comfort in the diversity of the suspects.

"It's nice to see people from different religious and ethnic backgrounds working so closely for corruption and fraud. Syrian Jews, Italian Americans, Afro-American, Hispanics ... it's equal-opportunity corruption," one person said.

The investigation began in 1999 with two local corruption cases, but only genuinely took off in May 2006, when Dwek, a real-estate businessman from the Syrian Jewish community in Deal, New Jersey, was arrested while trying to cash a $25 million bad check.

Due to his debts and the evidence against him, he agreed to cooperate with the FBI. Armed with a microphone, an unfounded reputation as a real-estate mogul and envelopes thick with cash, Dwek was sent to scores of meetings with politicians, officials and rabbis. He tried to convince them to help him "promote his business" and launder money.

The investigation became public last Thursday, when more than 200 FBI agents stormed the suspects in their offices, arrested them and searched the premises. Twenty-nine people were arrested on charges of corruption, and 15 were held on suspicions of money laundering, including the "kidney trade middleman," Levi-Yitzhak Rosenbaum. There were so many detainees that a bus was used to transport them.

The arrest of five rabbis, whose pictures were splashed across the front pages of U.S. newspapers, led some to dub the affair "Kosher Nostra."

The rabbis, including two synagogue leaders, are suspected of organizing a money-laundering network that allegedly worked through charities in Deal, Brooklyn and Israel.

The money came from a variety of sources, from a fraudulent bankruptcy claim to profits from selling fake Gucci bags.

The FBI set up a shell company to trap one suspect, Eliyahu Ben Haim, rabbi of the Ohel Yaakov synagogue in Deal. Ben Haim allegedly accepted a $50,000 check from Dwek from the straw company's account, addressed to one of the rabbi's charities. The rabbi agreed to keep 10 percent of the money, and to return the remainder to Dwek, "cleaned up."

On another occasion, Dwek is said to have brought the rabbi a cereal box stuffed with $97,000 in cash to be laundered. Rabbi Edmond Nahum, also among the detainees, allegedly told Dwek "to spread it among as many rabbis as possible," in order to better cover his tracks.

The District Attorney's office stressed that the suspects' religion was irrelevant, and that all the suspects knew the money they were laundering came from illegal sources.

"These rings, led by clergymen, cloaked their extensive criminal activities behind a facade of rectitude," Marra said, describing a disgraceful picture of religious leaders leading money-laundering crews and acting as crime bosses.

Senior politicians, mostly Democrats, were also no strangers to Dwek's envelopes, especially when campaigning. The mayors of Hoboken, Secaucus and Ridgefield; a New Jersey City deputy mayor; and others all allegedly took money from Dwek for their campaigns, while promising to help him.

Hoboken Mayor Peter J. Cammarano III, who took office on July 1, two weeks before his arrest, allegedly promised Dwek that he would be be "treated like a friend."

Dwek, while allegedly giving a bribe to New Jersey assemblyman Daniel Van-Pelt, made sure no one could suspect him of political bias.

"I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican," he is said to have told Van-Pelt. "I'm a member of the Green party. Green is cash."

Most of the suspects have been released on bail and tagged with electronic tracking devices. Meanwhile, it is becoming clear that these arrests were only the beginning.

Cammarano's spokesman said the mayor was "totally innocent" and intended to fight the charges. And pundits and commentators already began guessing what repercussions the affair will have for the upcoming gubernatorial campaign of the incumbent, Jon Corzine, who took office four years ago on a corruption fighting platform.

Sephardic community rocked by detention of leading rabbi

"Don't talk to him," the woman shouted as she pulled at the lapels of a yeshiva student's jacket. "Can't you see he's a journalist?" She then chased the student away from a man standing before the synagogue of Shaare Zion, the Brooklyn Syrian Sephardic community's central and most prestigious synagogue. The woman's reaction hinted, perhaps without her realizing, at the injury and insult prevalent in the community ever since last week's arrest of several prominent Syrian Sephardic rabbis on money laundering charges.

Bernie Madoff, dubbed the "biggest ever crook" by the U.S. media, was an alien to the Brooklyn Jews - a millionaire in a penthouse somewhere on faraway Park Avenue. But the pictures flickering across TV screens and staring from newspaper pages since last Thursday and Friday have rocked this large, well-to-do community to the core. Images of an elderly rabbi being helped into his coat by an FBI agent, an enlarged passport picture of a Hasid, and the headline "Nothing is Holy" - all these will not be soon forgotten.

Among the detained are rabbis from Williamsburg and Borough Park, two Brooklyn neighborhoods that are home to a large number of orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews, hundreds of synagogues, and dozens of yeshivas and Hasidic courts. The insult was most bitter among the Syrian Sephardic community, a general term for Jews with roots in Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. The Syrian Jews are considered one of the elites of Brooklyn, something they will always make sure to remind visitors of. It's also a closed community, many members of which have done extremely well in the export and import businesses. Children of Syrian Jews are normally only married to those whose Syrian ancestry is beyond reproach; many years ago, a chief rabbi of the community had ruled its members could not wed Ashkenazi Jews.

The shock was even greater when it transpired that one of those being questioned by the FBI is Rabbi Saul J. Kassin, the chief rabbi of the community and of the Shaare Zion synagogue. The general reaction to the news was one of disbelief. "The suspicions against the rabbi are completely false," said a young man in a black skullcap who identified himself as a relative of the Kassin family. "When it gets to court, everyone will see they were unfounded."

New York assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represents Borough Park, told Haaretz he thought the charges against Kassin were ridiculous. "One of his sons is a multimillionaire," he said.

Others, however, were less certain. "If the charges against the rabbis are proved to have been correct," one veteran Brooklyn rabbi said, "it'll be the worst and most terrible blasphemy that will ever be remembered about the New York Jews."

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