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Arms dealers, major capitalists fund Peres' 90th birthday bash

Israeli President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday was the central show aired on all three Israeli TV channels Tuesday night. A look into who paid for the extravagant bash?

President Peres presents the Presidential Award of Distinction to former U.S. President Bill Clinton on the sidelines of Peres’ 90th birthday celebrations, June 19, 2013 (Moshe Milner/GPO)

It was an 11-million shekel production dubbed by many as a “North Korea-style event” for the man who brought ‘The Bomb’ to Israel, tried to offer it to Apartheid South Africa when the rest of the world was already boycotting it, was an active partner in promoting some of Israel’s more aggressive wars and one of the architects of the Israeli neo-liberal economy of privatization. In a film made in honor of the event, Peres was shown accepting the Nobel Prize for Peace – but Yasser Arafat and any mention of Oslo was edited out.

Celebrities of all sorts attended, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who the very next day began meetings with Israeli officials in order to protect Nobel Energy’s interests in Israel’s natural gas finds – in his capacity as a lobbyist for the company.

It is no wonder, therefore, that the funders of this celebration were, among others, big-time arms dealers and local capitalists. Hebrew-language website News1 looked into 10 of the funders listed on the Israeli Presidential Conference’s official website. This is what they found (translation is mine, partly edited based on information from The Real Economy website).

First on the list is Ahron Frenkel. Honorary chair of the conference. An international businessman who has brokered military deals for Israel Aerospace Industries and who now owns a company producing military drones and which employs several former IDF officers. Frenkel is a close friend to Peres and other prominent figures in Israeli politics. [Updated, July 13, 2015]

The list continues thus:

2. Marcos Katz – Arms dealer residing in Mexico. Brokered sales to dictatorships, amongst other things.

3. Michael Federmann – Major shareholder in Elbit (weapons manufacturer, H.M.).

4. Alfred Akirov – Shareholder in Leumi Bank, one of the most prominent men in Israeli real estate.

5. Ronald Cohen – Founder of Apax Partners. If you don’t know them, they’re behind Tnuva’s cottage cheese prices (one of the symbols of the #J14 social justice protests, H.M.)

6. Marc Rich – In the years 1983-2001, he was wanted in the U.S. after fleeing the country following an indictment for dealing with Iran during a time of sanctions and a $48-million tax evasion scheme. At the Presidential Conference, he’ll meet Bill Clinton, who on his last day of office pardoned Rich at the request of Ehud Barak.

7. David Weisman – Owner of the Alon Group, which includes the Ribua Kakhol and AM:PM supermarket chains.

8. Raya Strauss – One of the owners of the Strauss-Elite group (one of the biggest food producers in Israel, H.M).

9. Hapoalim Bank (the largest bank in Israel).

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    1. The Trespasser

      Well, at least taxpayers did not pay for the party.

      Speaking of arms dealers – a LOT more people are killed by kitchen knives than by assault rifles.

      Reply to Comment
      • Khaled Khalid

        Trespasser: How much do the Hasbara Parpagandist Agency pay you to Troll 972Mag?
        Are you paid by the word or letter to spread your filth? – You sad pathetic excuse for a human being.
        You talk like you are part of a Mind Controlling Cult like Scienetology.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Read my older posts, ya kalb, you’ll get information about my payments there.

          Scientology is for idiots. It is novus ordo seclorum.

          Reply to Comment
        • Eliza

          Hey Khalid – The Trespasser is the gift that just keeps on giving. If I were in charge of paid hasbara, the Trepasser’s file would be marked ‘never to be employed’. He or she may be enjoying posting the tripe that gets posted, but every post just reminds us of what Israel has become (or probably always was). I’d give him/her a microphone if I could or set him/her up with Bennet et al for lots of speaking engagements in the USA. Let them do their work unfretted in removing the last of the illusions people may have re Israel and its expansionist policies.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            The shining pearl of anti-Semitism.

            Writings of an individual of rather questionable origin, background and agenda are perceived as official policies of the State of Israel.

            Reply to Comment
      • Carl

        Yes, the guns sometimes attached to bayonets are largely for show.

        Reply to Comment
      • William Burns

        Kitchen knives aren’t produced to kill people; assault rifles are. Kind of a a basic difference.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Yet more people are killed by kitchen knives than by assault rifles.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Khaled Khalid

      Trespasser: How much do the Hasbara Parpagandist Agency pay you to Troll 972Mag?
      Are you paid by the word or letter to spread your filth? – You sad pathetic excuse for a human being.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Danny

      A more sickening and downright nauseating display of false and artificial flattery for a man who probably would best serve Israel at this point by dropping dead, has not been seen in these parts in a very long time.

      Shimon Peres has become a fixture on the Israeli political landscape that I like to liken to a boil on one’s ass – one has gotten used to it, yet never ceases to wish it away. That is Peres to me.

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        And a word about Bill Clinton: Outside of Shimon Peres, I can’t think of a more self-serving and corrupt personality than this man. His artifice and rhetoric are as transparent as his hair plugs and botox. He is the very definition of political corruption.

        Reply to Comment
    4. sh

      From this description, Peres’s shindig sounds like Belshazzar’s Feast. Did anyone keep an eye on the wall?

      Trespasser, a) the taxpayer has been paying dearly for Peres’s diplomatic activities for 65 years and counting. b) You’re showing definite signs of strain.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        You sound like I’m personally responsible for the election of Peres, Rabin, Netaniyahu and Lapid jr.

        Speaking of strain, life in Israel is not particularly easy – elected idiots on top, electing idiots below, genocidal Arabs and criminal infiltrators… mwahaha.

        Reply to Comment
    5. carl

      Trespasser you are not responsible of anything in this world, that’s why you are so full hatred and basic propaganda.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Yet more nonsense.

        Dude, can’t you produce some viable argument at least once?

        For example, proving that assault rifles are killing more people than kitchen knives would do nicely.

        Reply to Comment
    6. jörh

      Trespasser: How much do the Hasbara Parpagandist Agency pay you to Troll 972Mag?
      Are you paid by the word or letter to spread your filth? – You sad pathetic excuse for a human being.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Read my previous comments, ya kalb.

        Reply to Comment

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