The British magnate who bankrolled Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2006 speaking tour in London denied wrongdoing.
Joshua Rowe, a businessman who heads the Manchester branch of the United Israel Appeal, paid for most of a lavish weeklong British advocacy campaign by Netanyahu during the Second Lebanon War, an Israeli television expose on Sunday revealed.
According to the report by Channel 10, Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, rang up a $32,000 bill in London, raising questions of propriety and whether the former prime minister turned opposition leader remains beholden to his sponsors.
Speaking near fluent Hebrew, Rowe told the station by telephone that there was nothing untoward about the expenses and that they were more than worthwhile given Netanyahu’s success as an advocate for Israel’s offensive against Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.
“In England we always work this way,” he said. “When we bring in speakers from all over the world and there are costs, we find a sponsor, so as not to burden the community with the expenses.”
Rowe acknowledged that he has limited business interests in Israel but said he expects no perks from Netanyahu.
Netanyahu has said he repaid Rowe a $3,000 loan from the trip and that he would sue Channel 10 for slander.