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Keep your money

Gideon Levy of Ha’aretz uses the Olmert-Talansky scandal to raise concerns about the role of Diaspora money in Israel:

Revealing the identity of the primary witness, Morris Talansky, in the lastest Ehud Olmert affair raises questions that go beyond the prime minister. Serious questions need to be asked about the relationship between American Jewry and Israel.

Granted, Talansky is a mere individual, but he is not the only one. Jerusalem is full of wheeler-dealers, functionaries, lobbyists, donors and philanthropists. There are rich men and middlemen, envoys and delegations, many of them with good intentions, but some without.

They wheedle and schnorr and contribute to various causes. It’s the kind of schnorring that begins with Shaare Zedek Medical Center and could end in court. The question here is why did Talansky, or any other Jewish American, invest, allegedly, in Olmert? What do they receive in exchange for this pot stirring?

His conclusion:

No thank you, we’re doing all right. No thank you, some of you are causing us great damage. If you want to wield influence, do it in your own country. You have a lot of power and influence there. Perhaps too much; it’s none of our business. You are American, not Israeli citizens, and no amount of money can or should change this fact. War and peace, social justice and government, education and religion in Israel are a matter for its citizens alone.

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