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Blocking Mideast Peace
In This Section
Moskowitz and Settler Violence
In This Section:
Moskowitz and settler violence

In these days when Muslim charities are shut down on the basis of accusations of supporting violent organizations, Moskowitz continues to fund settlers in Jerusalem and Hebron who are known for terrorizing Palestinians and destroying their property. We have seen no evidence that Moskowitz has ever condemned settler violence and, in several instances the Coalition has found, he appears to condone it.

[Click here for two news reports about settler violence [in .pdf format]]

[More news reports about settler violence in this section]

Mother Jones magazine published a report on Moskowitz in its Sept-Oct. 2000 issue that included interviews with many of the his associates, most notably a longtime Moskowitz friend, who remarked that the bingo magnate "makes no secret of his hostility toward Arabs -- and toward Jews who seek reconciliation." The longtime friend, Robert Silverstein, who grew up with Moskowitz in Milwaukee, said "I can't believe he's dong this to cause peace between Arabs and Jews," He also recounted a conversation with Moskowitz soon after a right-wing activist assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in an ideologically driven effort to kill the peace process.

As Mother Jones recounts it:
In November 1995, Silverstein was preparing to visit the doctor in Miami. Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin of Israel had just been assassinated. "I called him to set up the meeting," Silverstein recalls. "There was a pause in the conversation, and I said this business with Rabin is too much. Suddenly there was a cold silence. Then he said, 'You don't know all the facts.'" Shocked, Silverstein concluded that Moskowitz supported the assassins. He soon called back to say he wouldn't be visiting, ending the men's lifelong friendship.
A Moskowitz-Sponsored Hate Web Site
In 2001 Moskowitz's wife – and partner in the casino—Cherna Moskowitz sponsored a website "game" of destroying top Israeli leaders who favor peace with the Palestinians. The animation-based game invited "players" to click on –and explode-- images of then Prime Minister Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, and Parliament Member Yosi Sarid. The exploding faces were accompanied by the sound of screaming.
What does this have to do with the controversy in Hawaiian Gardens? As explained in a Yedioth Aharonot story from February 21, 2001, the website is registered to Cherna Moskowitz, the wife of Irving Moskowitz.
[see the article on the Assassination Game page]
After this game was exposed in the Israeli press, the Internet hosting company took it down. But we saved it to show California officials its violent nature – evidence that the Moskowitzes do not have the good character required by California law of applicants for a gambling license.
[You can view the game by clicking here.]
Moskowitz website posts call for expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland
On September 5, 2002, Irving Moskowitz posted on his website a call by columnist Gary M. Cooperberg to expel Palestinians. Cooperberg writes: "I believe in a different "Gaza First" plan. First we should move all of our Arab population to Gaza, and then we can deport them elsewhere, outside of Israel. Unless we are prepared to move our enemies out of our homeland altogether, we are doomed to suffer more acts of terror." He also writes: "we cannot afford to guess which Arabs will and which will not come to murder us. They all must be removed before more Jews get murdered. The Ostrich has its own peace plan. When danger approaches it buries its head in the sand and chooses not to accept reality. This is exactly how the Israeli government is behaving. Pretending that speaking and negotiating with the PLO will bring peace fools no one but ourselves."
Maximalist Christians and Jews
The articles below point to the curious and ominous alliance between traditional "end-of-the-world" Christians waiting for Jesus and their Jewish counterparts whose theology requires that the Muslim Mosque complex Omar and Al Aksa (the Dome of the Rock) be replaced with the restored ancient temple and all of Jerusalem "purified" of non-Jews. Ateret Cohanim, the radical settler group to which Moskowitz has given $5.63 million, trains men who assert priestly descent to resume a 1900-year old practice of animal sacrifices. Ateret Cohanim might be a Yeshiva (school for advanced religious study) but its curriculum of temple revival practices puts it in a category of one. Muslims perceive a threat from both the Christian and Jewish fundamentalists encroaching on the complex, Haram al -Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). Jewish, Christian and Muslim peacemakers, prefer to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the pragmatic issues of land, water, dignity and coexistence.
Will fundamentalist Christians and Jews ignite apocalypse? Pt 1
by Margo Patterson
11 October 2002
National Catholic Reporter

Margo Patterson notes the closeness between "...the intransigence of certain Christian fundamentalists mirrors that of many right-wing Israelis, notably the ultra-nationalist religious settlers on the West Bank who view the conquest of the West Bank as part of a plan for divine redemption and who oppose a peace settlement that would involve Israel ceding any inch of territory it controls. For many of these settlers, rebuilding the Temple, an activity that would almost inevitably involve the destruction of the Dome of the Rock, Islam’s third-holiest site, which is believed to lie on the ruins of the old Temple, has become a rallying cry."

Hebron: a West Bank Magnet for Trouble, Pt 2
by Margot Patterson
18 October 2002
National Catholic Reporter

Patterson reports on how extremist Jewish settlers are affecting life in the predominantly West Bank city of Hebron. She quotes Lewis Roth of Americans for Peace Now, saying that "Hebron has attracted some of the most reactionary elements of the settlement movement." and that "the settlers not only harass the Palestinians around them but they harass the police and the soldiers who are sent to protect them." She also quotes a settler spokesman saying: "We shouldn’t give up one inch of Israel, whether this will bring war or not. We’re in the middle of a war because the Arabs are trying to take over bit by bit the whole of Israel."
Bingo Tycoon Subsidizes Extremism in Israel
by Margot Patterson
18 October 2002
National Catholic Reporter

Irving Moskowitz has disrupted the peace process in Israel by purchasing land from Palestinians and supporting Jewish settlement in Palestinian neighborhoods.

Curbs on Muslim charities seen as double standard: Some say Treasury is allowing Israeli groups to operate
by Chris Di Edoardo
27 December 2001
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Area activists say the U.S. Treasury is using a double standard when it freezes the assets of Muslim charities while allowing Israeli groups to operate.

The Treasury is "closing a legitimate charitable organization that, as far as anyone knows, is doing legitimate charitable work," said Aziz Eddebbarh, spokesman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Southern Nevada. "Meanwhile, we look the other way when people use tax-free money to build illegal settlements in occupied territory."

Eddebbarh is referring to the Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation, which is based in Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., near Los Angeles. With tax-free revenue generated by a bingo club, Moskowitz has bought land in Arab-dominated East Jerusalem and transferred title to Jewish migrants.

We already have a "Road Map"
by Gary M. Cooperberg

25 March 2003

"We can argue as to whether or not Arafat and his followers are truly descendants of Amalek, but there can be no doubt that no Jewish government has the right to give away Jewish land to anyone, much less to enemies of the Jewish people. In the Passover Seder it says, "In every generation there are those who rise up to destroy us, but Hashem, in His mercy always rescues us from them." It is one thing to depend upon God's mercy, but another thing entirely to actually oppose God by aiding our enemies in their effort to destroy us."

What is Amalek? According to Amnon Rubinstein (The Zionist Dream Revisited: From Herzl to Gush Emunim and Back, Schoken: 1984, p. 116) "The Deuteronomy injunction to smite Amalek and 'blot out his memory' is taken, despite all religious evidence to the contrary, as referring to the Arabs. Consequently, and because Israel's wars are described as a 'war of religious obligation,' ordinary rules of humanity should not be applicable to these new 'Amalekites.'....Military rabbinical chaplains have scandalized the public by asserting that under Halachic law (Jewish religious law), Arab civilians may be killed in these wars of religious obligation. Rabbi Israel Hess, of Bar Ilan University, went even further and unwittingly mocked his own views by resorting to Moslem terminology and declaring that 'God personally intervenes in this war of religious obligation against Amalekites and declares a counter-Jihad against them. 'Lest anyone miss the innuenda, the aritcle, published by the Bar Ilan Students Union,, is entitled 'The Torah's Commandment of Genocide.'"

Moskowitz supports domestic right wing groups
under constructionmore...
News reports about Moskowitz’s support of militant settlers

Irving Moskowitz’s patronage of the right-wing settlers goes back many years. These articles, some stretching back to the mid-nineties, highlight Moskowitz’s financial ties to some of the most controversial settler development activities in East Jerusalem in recent years.

Settlers torch Palestinian fields to disrupt Yitzhar outpost removal
by Amos Harel, Nadav Shragai and Moshe Reinfeld
19 June 2003

Violent clashes erupted Thursday between settlers and security forces as evacuation began of the illegal outpost of Mitzpeh Yitzhar, adjacent to the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, south of Nablus.

Settlers ignited Palestinian-owned wheat fields and olive groves in the area in an attempt to disrupt the operation, which was the first to remove an inhabited outpost. Ten uninhabited outposts were removed last week.

The hundreds of paratroopers and police who managed to make their way to the hilltop were armed only with the knives they carried to remove the settlers' tents.

Hundreds of settlers turned back soldiers attempting to take down the main tent located in the center of the outpost, and hundreds more settlers were reported to be making their way to the site to join the resistence. Security forces resumed their efforts at around 3 P.M. to remove the outpost after halting it for a few hours in the afternoon

Jewish purchase of Arab lands could trigger IRS investigation
by Cynthia Mann
14 January 1997
JTA News

U.S.-based charities raising money to purchase Arab-owned land in Israel"s disputed areas could be scrutinized for possible violations of U.S. tax laws.

Critics of these purchases charge that they are a political and provocative act by those who seek to change the facts on the ground and sabotage the peace process.

They say such ideological activity cannot legally be financed with the help of U.S. dollars, through charitable tax exemptions and deductions.

Both a current and former official with the Internal Revenue Service said publicity of the issue, such as a recent segment on the CBS "60 Minutes"" program, could trigger an audit by federal tax authorities.

But the results of such an audit are far from certain.

Tax experts say determining whether organizations are violating their tax-exempt status is highly subjective and rendered on a case-by-case basis. They say the complexity stems in part from IRS guidelines that are highly nuanced. The charities in question, such as Ateret Cohanim, defend their tax-exempt status as legitimate, saying that their mission is humanitarian or educational. They say any related property acquisition fulfills the religious and Zionist call to redeem the Land of Israel and that it is anti-Semitic to restrict Jews from living in certain places, Israel most of all.

Some add that by helping settlers, they are filling gaps caused by the United Jewish Appeal"s policy of not allocating funds over the Green Line, or beyond Israel"s pre-1967 borders.

That UJA policy evolved in part in deference to the political sensitivity of the U.S. government, which provides grants to the UJA"s system for refugee rescue and resettlement.

The ideological back and forth over the purchases by the charities could continue without resolution, but for one claim by the critics: that the charities" tax-exempt status is illegal if their raison d"etre is primarily political and ideological. And these critics say they are intent on calling it to the attention of U.S. tax authorities.

Jerusalem Municipality Planning Another Jewish Settlement In Abu-Dis. The Solution: Irving Moskowitz
by Eyal Hareuveni
03 January 1997
Kol HaIr

According to initial planning, 250 units will be constructed in the settlement on 82 dunam [=20.5 acres], and it will extend beyond the Jerusalem city limits. The architect of the neighborhood also planned the settlement in Ras al-Amud for the patron of the extremist right, Irving Moskowitz, who is behind this initiative as well.

On Tuesday, the Jerusalem City Council approved the allocation of 298,000 shekel [=$92,000] for planning a Jewish settlement in abu-Dis on land owned by Jews adjoining the planned route of the eastern ring road. The area of the planned settlement is 82 dunam [=20.5 acres], of which 62 dunam [=15.5 acres] are within the city limits. According to the plan, some 250 units can be built on this site. In the past, Dr. Irving Moskowitz, the patron of the settlers' associations Ateret Cohanim and Elad, tried to take control of these lands through a bid issued by Amram Blum, former head of the Bureau of State Bequests. After publication of the affair in Kol Ha'Ir and the intervention of the Ir Shalem association, which filed an appeal to the High Court of Justice, the bid was disqualified by the Attorney General, Michael Ben-Yair, and it was agreed then that the lands would be managed by the Bureau of State Bequests at least until January 1997. Now the Municipality is trying to revive Moskowitz's initiative using public funds.

Over a Week Ago, Netanyahu Rejected a Proposal by Kahalani to Delay Opening the Tunnel
by Akiva Eldar
27 September 1996

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization associated with the National Religious Party (Mafdal), is in charge of managing the controversial tunnel, which charges visitors a fee, while the state has invested public money in the site through the Society for the Development of East Jerusalem. This information appears in a document submitted by former minister Yossi Beilin to the government of Shimon Peres early this year and is characterized as "a public scandal that demands investigation".

The document, brought to the attention of several ministers in Benjamin Netanyahu's government, includes a recommendation to delay opening the new tunnel exit until after the elections, and even then to do so at the appropriate moment and while engaging in dialogue and reaching understanding with the Muslim religious authorities in Jerusalem.

Last Thursday, Netanyahu rejected a proposal made by Avigdor Kahalani, the Minister for Internal Security, to delay opening the tunnel until implementation of the redeployment in Hebron which might have lessened the anticipated Palestinian protest.

Deterioration of the tunnel incident began on September 4th following an order to halt restoration work at Solomon's Stables issued by the City of Jerusalem, without holding senior level discussions about the implications of that decision. In response to the order, Waqf leaders gave orders to step up the pace of work. Police officials anticipated that enforcement of the order would provoke riots in Jerusalem, so the Prime Minister decided not to enforce it, but instead to allow for opening of the tunnel.

Moskowitz Bought 3 Dunams on Mount Scopus
by Hillel Cohen
10 January 1997
Kol Ha'ir

Dr. Irving Moskowitz, patron of the settlers, plans to construct a yeshiva and dormitory between Beit Orot and Hebrew University.

Dr. Irving Moskowitz, patron of Ateret Cohanim (and also contributor to the Tehiya party, Golan settlers, and many others), recently completed another land deal in East Jerusalem. Not far from the Augusta Victoria hospital, quite near Hebrew University, the doctor bought a large plot with the intention of establishing on it a yeshiva and dormitories for its students. This time it will not be in the heart of an Arab area, like Ras al-Amud, but on the periphery, on the seam between East Jerusalem and the Mount Scopus enclave from before 1967.

The purchase was effected by the Everest Foundation, one of the non-profits set up by Moskowitz and his friends in Israel and the U.S. for purposes of land and property acquisition in East Jerusalem. The source of funding for the purchase is the bingo parlor that Moskowitz runs in California, most of whose patrons are lower-class Hispanics. According to the tax authorities of California and the agreement between Moskowitz and Hawaiian Gardens, where the bingo parlor operates, Moskowitz must use the profits only for educational or charitable purposes. In a correspondence between the Everest Foundation, which requested the money, and the Moskowitz Foundation, asked to make the contribution, the lawyer of the Everest Foundation in the U.S., Oren Ben-Ezra, said that this allocation of funds is for goals that are legitimate, since educational institutions and student dormitories will be constructed on that location. Negotiation about the deal began as far back as 1993, and the registration of the land under the name of the Everest Foundation was just completed several months ago.

Diamonds in Silwan
by Hillel Cohen
16 October 1996
Kol HaIr

The diamond family Ben-David bought a home in Silwan through the Elad association. Tension in the village.

New residents moved into Silwan this week. The Posen family settled into what is called Rimon House, which guards hired by the settlers had entered the night of the elections. The house, bought through Elad, was acquired using monies from the diamonds and hotel businesses of the Ben-David family, and actually belongs to them. They plan to renovate it for use by one branch of the family, while the current residents, a young couple, lives there for the time being. This family then joins donors from all over the Jewish world, especially France and the U.S., who invest their money in Silwan and East Jerusalem. The family is known to have many investments in the territories, both financial and ideological, from the Palm Beach Hotel in Gush Katif [Gaza Strip] to donations to Channel 7 [pirate religious radio station] and other bodies.

Opening of the Tunnel at the Wall: Some of Netanyahu's Financial Considerations
by Ya'ir Ettinger
27 September 1996
Kol Ha'Ir

How American donors of Netanyahu and Ateret Hakohanim are tied in with the opening of the Tunnel at the Western Wall

The opening of the tunnel at the Western Wall following Yom Kippur was carefully hidden from the media, and of course from the Palestinians. The only two journalists who were invited promised not to publish anything about it in advance. Among those who knew and were invited were representatives and donors of the Society for the Development of East Jerusalem and the Fund for the Heritage of the Wall. One of the main donors of the Fund who was present at the opening was Dr. Irwin Moskowitz, the patron of Ateret Kohanim, who bought a great deal of property in East Jerusalem (including Beit Orot, Sheffer Hotel, and land in Ras al-Amud). Until the opening of the tunnel to tourists, Ateret Kohanim settlers were among the few who held the keys to the tunnel. Guides trained by them would lead groups of tourists in an effort to get donations on behalf of Ateret Kohanim from those participating in the tours.

Bingo in America Feeds Arab-Jewish Conflict in Israel: Hawaiian Gardens, Jerusalem, and The Moskowitz Foundation, Part III
by Dan Aznoff
01 July 2001

"...Rabbi Beliak urged any person (whether Jewish or not) who supports peace in Israel to visit The Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem website.

"Read. Read all the background information. Read the story of Irving Moskowitz and how he has used the people of Hawaiian Gardens for his own personal gain and to delay the possibility of peace in Israel," said Beliak.

"If you read, you will take action. That much I know."

Abu Dis

Abu Tor

Beit Orot

Ras El Amood

Money For Settlements in Abu-Dis, Not for Poor Neighborhoods
by Eyal Hareuveni
10 January 1997
Kol Ha'Ir

Out of its own pocket, the Jerusalem municipality is paying for the planning of a new settlement in abu-Dis, even though it's private property. Other plans for public use were frozen due to budget cuts.

The Jewish municipality will cover the cost of planning the Jewish settlement in abu-Dis, 298,000 shekel [$92,000], from an improvement tax to be charged to residents of the settlement, if it gets built. The plan is for development of privately owned property, including a lot owned by Dr. Irving Moskowitz, the patron of extreme right Israeli organizations.

Two Cities, Two Stories, One Philanthropist-Kingpin
by Joey Fishkin
01 April 2000
Urim V'Tumim

n Abu Dis, a tiny Palestinian town just east of Jerusalem, a secretive Jewish businessman named Irving Moskowitz recently bought land a few months ago for a Jewish settlement. Tensions ran high - the Palestinian penalty for selling land to Jews is death, and this particular site has recently gained international prominence as a possible capitol for a future Palestinian state. The Palestinian and Arab press denounced Moskowitz, and contended that he was acting at the secret behest of Israeli leaders - a view bolstered by the fact that Moskowitz is a personal friend of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Many have accused Moskowitz of deliberately disrupting the peace process. Whatever his intentions, this purchase, like several previous high-profile actions by Moskowitz in Israel, could not be better calibrated or timed to imperil the chances of a "land-for-peace" settlement.

Halfway across the world from Abu Dis, a largely Hispanic crowd plays an extremely fast, dollar-a-board game of "speed bingo" in the bingo club of Hawaiian Gardens, California, which at less than a square mile is the tiniest town in Los Angeles County. It's an unusual scene. The glitzy club, open seven days a week, operates like a casino and takes in a staggering $33 million a year. Casinos are illegal in California, but this club is not because the law allows 501(c)(3) organizations such as churches to run volunteer, charitable bingo games. In this club, recent immigrants from Mexico, legally "volunteers," work the tables full time and subsist on tips. It seems almost inconceivable that this oddly intense bingo game, or these Californians, could have anything to do with Palestinian-Israeli politics. Yet, because of Irving Moskowitz, they do.

The 501(c)(3) this unusual bingo club supports is the Irving Moskowitz Foundation, which sends most of its money to Moskowitz' causes in Israel, according to its Form 990 reports filed with the IRS. In addition to the bingo club, Moskowitz now owns and runs the rarest of cash cows in California - a real card-playing casino, legal only because of a special referendum the town passed several years ago, in a high-profile election that involved tremendous spending by Moskowitz. Between the taxes he pays on his casino and other properties, and voluntary contributions he makes periodically through his Foundation, Moskowitz is responsible for much of the City of Hawaiian Gardens' bottom line.

Bingo in America Feeds Arab-Jewish Conflict in Israel: Hawaiian Gardens, Jerusalem, and The Moskowitz Foundation, Part I of a 3-part series
by Dan Aznoff
01 July 2001

The low-income minorities who live in the tenement apartments in this tiny town southeast of Los Angeles share a nightmarish bond with Palestinian residents of the Ras al-Amud neighborhood in Old Jerusalem.

Both groups share vivid memories of a knock on the door that led to the uprooting of their families. In Hawaiian Gardens, poor black and Hispanic families were moved out of their homes through eminent domain to make room for a community redevelopment project that eventually became a gaudy, neon-covered gambling parlor.

The knock on the door was much more ominous for the Palestinians. It was also a notice of condemnation. Not by the Israeli government wanting the property to enhance the community. But from Arabs groups who threatened to kill any Palestinian who sold their land to make room for Jewish settlers.

"Selling to Jews was like signing their own death certificate," said Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, founder of The Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem ( ). "They are forced to move. Not just out of Jerusalem, but out of the country if they have any hope of staying alive."

The development in each country, critics say, is the direct result of the influence peddled by Dr. Irving Moskowitz. Opponents claim that the retired Miami physician bought enough influence in Hawaiian Gardens that he persuaded the city council to use public funds to build him a casino. Gross receipts from his card room and the bingo parlor around the corner--estimated to be as much as $35 million per year--have been used by Moskowitz to buy out neighborhoods in East Jerusalem to create new communities for Jewish settlers.

"We are not denying that Dr. Moskowitz used his own money to buy the homes in Jerusalem. In most cases the homes were purchased for twice what they were really worth because the Palestinian owners knew the danger of selling to Jews," explained Moskowitz attorney Beryl Weiner. "The money was probably used by the families to escape the country before the Arabs were able to carry through on their threats."

Bingo in America Feeds Arab-Jewish Conflict in Israel: Hawaiian Gardens, Jerusalem, and The Moskowitz Foundation, Part II
by Dan Aznoff
01 July 2001

Julia Sylva was being pulled in many directions. As a Latina, she felt empathy for the low-income residents of her town who had been forced out to make room for a gambling establishment. As a lawyer, she saw how the strategies used by Moskowitz and Weiner confused the members of the city council who served in dual capacity as the town's redevelopment council. As a Jew, she was appalled to learn that the monies generated from bingo by the non-profit Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation were apparently being funneled to Israel to displace Palestinians to make room for fundamentalist Jewish settlers in Jerusalem and along the West Bank.

"The residents of Hawaiian Gardens have suffered in a way that cannot be remedied or compensated with bingo or casino proceeds," said Sylva. "All gains have been for Moskowitz/Weiner, all the losses have been suffered by the residents of the city."

Members of both the Likud and Labor governments in Israel have criticized the estimated $25 million given to Orthodox settlers to establish Jewish communities in Arab neighborhoods. In 1997, then-U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright described the "racist policy" of building of Jewish-only settlements as, "the seizing of Arab lands, demolishing Arab homes, settlement expansion and the construction of Jewish homes in East Jerusalem."

Louis Roth of American for Peace Now has come out publicly against the construction of flats for settlers. "What they are trying to do is establish a Jewish stronghold in Arab neighborhoods with the eventual goal of taking over."

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