A Tale of Two Cities
Letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak
by Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem
Originally published 15 November 1999
in general release

9553 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90035
P.O. Box 1471, Hawaiian Gardens CA 90716
pager 310-797-0457

The Honorable Ehud Barak
Prime Minister of Israel

by fax:
to the Prime Ministers office in Israel: 972-2-651-2631
to the Israeli Embassy in Washington: 202-364-5423

Dear Mr. Barak,

Zion will be redeemed through justice (Isaiah 1: 27.) Apparently the prophet Isaiah didn't anticipate Dr. Irving Moskowitz and the cash-hungry settler movement. Ask Israelis: "who is the American Jew most affecting the peace process?" And they will name Moskowitz of Ras al Amud and the Temple Mount Tourist tunnel. We found it significant that last-ditch opposition to the Wye agreement facilitation funds came from Moskowitz.

Rather than building a legacy of peace, Moskowitz is pouring money into disrupting the peace process. We believe that the sources of that money are: Dr. Moskowitzs private fortune; the tens of millions of tax-free dollars taken in by Moskowitz's "charitable" bingo parlor in Hawaiian Gardens California. (In 1997 alone according to its most recent available IRS filing--the Moskowitz Foundation sent $9.4 million of its total grants of $17 million from bingo operations to right-wing Israeli extremists.) profits from his casino, also in Hawaiian Gardens, bolstered by millions in public funds, which Moskowitz, by dint of his local political control, secured to subsidize the casino's construction.

Central to Moskowitz's activities are his control and manipulations of Hawaiian Gardens, a 0.9 square-mile city near Long Beach in Los Angeles County. Most of Hawaiian Gardens residents are recent Latino immigrants; many of them live in poverty and social dislocation like gang and drug problems. Moskowitz's casino project exacerbates and exploits the social despair by draining funds from the city. Hawaiian Gardens is totally vulnerable to Moskowitz's political pressure.

Today, because of Moskowitz's activities, the future of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples are intertwined with the future of the people of Hawaiian Gardens.

Moskowitz threatened your government and your efforts at peace making. After sitting quietly for months during Natanyahu's tenure, Moskowitz made his move the day after your election, moving the bulldozers to his housing project at Ras Al Amud. On July 5 th , when your government was birthing, Moskowitz increased the pace of work in this politically sensitive area with his jackhammers (as Ha'aretz reported.) We believe that Dr. Moskowitz's coup d'tat should be recognized for what it is. At inception, your new government's life was threatened!

All this should not be a small matter to you. Are these the tactics and methods to achieve a Zion Renewed that you and so many others sacrificed and fought for?

We--a coalition of Jewish and Latino activists--urge you to act. Moskowitz is currently operating his casino under a provisional state license, in a settler-like trailer a five table Card Casino. At the same time, he is "creating facts on the ground" by building a larger 250-table casino before he has a permanent state gambling license. If Moskowitz is allowed to open the 250 table casino, a projected $100 to $150 million cash flow will be infused into the political life of Israel, dooming all chances for peace.

We urge you return Governor Gray Davis' recent visit to Israel. Come to California as soon as possible! Visit the state's Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Bring all your political and legal capital to bear. Ask Davis and Lockyer to close Moskowitz's bingo operations and deny him a permanent casino license. Ask your US Ambassador to meet with State Department officials over this matter. Ask that the Internal Revenue Service be informed of your government's anger at Moskowitz's use of tax-free bingo dollars to undermine the Israeli peoples desire for peace with the Palestinians.

Speak to all the American Jews associated with the Democratic Party. Ask them why a Democratic President of the United States, who is seeking to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, must suffer the apparent lack of cooperation of a Democratic Administration in the State of California?

Finally, Mr. Barak we believe in your vision of peace between Israel and her neighbors. Our hopes are with you. We seek to work together to build a strong peace.


The Coalition For Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem

Haim Beliak, Rabbi and Project Coordinator

Mina Meyer, Co-Chair

Carlos Navejas, Co-Chair

P.S. Read more about the activities of Dr. Moskowitz and The Moskowitz Foundation as well as the Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem on www.stopmoskowitz.org

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