Sunday, January 18th, 2009
While the givers of tzedakah to Jewish organizations figure out that they, too, were scammed in the Madoff scandal, scammed by boards of trustees that paid millions of Jewish charity money to their fellow trustee, Ezra Merkin, for his very hard work of transferring their billions to Madoff, other givers of tzedakah might start taking a look at where their Jewish charity money goes.
Do the good-hearted Jews, who give tzedakah to Maimonides hospital in Brooklyn, or the University of Judaism, or American Jewish Committee know that the trustees of those organizations have given over $100,000 in Jewish charity money to Bill Clinton’s “charity”? Why is that use of Jewish charity money anything but a reverse Robin Hood scam by those boards of trustees, stealing from the needy to give to the rich?
Why should anyone, at this point, trust any Jewish organization with even a pledge of $18 without us knowing which billionaire – Merkin, Madoff or Clinton — is the ultimate recipient of huge sums of money that was intended as tzedakah for the poor, the sick, or the teaching of Torah? What, exactly, has the Clinton philanthropy done to justify Jewish non-profits handing over Jewish money intended for Jewish causes?
Martin Peretz, editor of The New Republic, had a recent piece in The Wall Street Journal examining this odd and possibly criminal phenomenon of charities diverting money from their primary purpose to Clinton’s charity instead.