Jeff Ballabon – The Dangers to Secular Jews When those Secular Jews Agree that non-Orthodox are Not Really Jews, Trump

Trump’s Orthodox Whisperer

DURING A FOX BUSINESS INTERVIEW IN MARCH, Donald Trump’s former campaign advisor Jeff Ballabon called Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar “filth.” When host Stuart Varney suggested that, perhaps, “filth” might have been too strong a word for the Muslim congresswoman and Somali refugee, Ballabon doubled down. “She is a filthy disgusting hater,” he spat. It had been over a month since the start of the media fracas over Omar’s tweets criticizing the pro-Israel lobby, for which she faced calls to resign as well as death threats. By April, a 55-year-old Trump supporter was calling the congresswoman’s office and threatening to “put a bullet in her fucking skull.”

At first glance, Ballabon’s Fox appearance might seem like just another iteration of what has become a sad, dangerous routine in American politics—another Trump surrogate spewing invective and riling up the base on daytime TV. But Jeff Ballabon is not just another Trump surrogate.

A former media executive—he once headed communications for CBS News—and a veteran Republican operative, Ballabon has worked for roughly two decades to turn Orthodox Jewry into a mature political force allied with the Republican Party. Now, under Trump, that alliance has begun to pay big dividends—not only on Israel, long a focus of Orthodox politics, but on domestic issues as well. Indeed, never before has Orthodox Jewry, and the Jewish right more broadly, had such access to a president. 

With this increased power and influence has also come a change in political style—one that Ballabon’s comments in March, as well as his Twitter feed at all times, exemplify. Angry, vitriolic, even vulgar, contemptuous of “political correctness” and unafraid to traffic in racist tropes, this is Jewish politics in a new key—and Ballabon wants to be a leading composer. His transformation from behind-the-scenes campaigner to aspiring movement leader reflects the emergence of an assertive, aggressive Orthodox Jewish right that has already reshaped American politics—as well as intra-communal Jewish politics—and could continue to for years to come.

Ballabon’s path from political fixer to Trump proxy maps the Republican Party’s trajectory from the “compassionate conservatism” of the George W. Bush era to the gleeful cruelty of Trump. He began his career not on the fringes of the right but at its center—as legislative counsel for Missouri Sen. John Danforth, who by today’s standards would be considered a moderate. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Ballabon cultivated close ties with the Christian Right, then at the apex of its power, which he identified as both a potential model for a new Jewish politics and a more natural partner for Orthodox Jewry than liberals in the Democratic Party, which was (and remains) the political home for the majority of American Jews.

After Bush’s victory in 2000, Ballabon became, as the right-wing Jewish paper The Algemeiner put it, the administration’s “unofficial liaison to Orthodox Jews.” In 2004, he worked on the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, during which he devised a strategy to turn the Orthodox into reliable Republican voters. He succeeded. In Long Island’s heavily Orthodox “Five Towns,” for instance, support for Bush jumped from less than 30% in 2000 to more than 60% in 2004; in the ultra-Orthodox Rockland County enclave of New Square, which went for Al Gore in 2000, Bush won in 2004 with roughly 98% of the vote. The Orthodox communities that shifted to the right in 2004 have, for the most part, heavily favored Republicans ever since

Having made his name as the keeper of the keys to the Jewish vote—Ballabon was the subject of a fawning 2005 New York Observer profile by Ben Smith, now the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News—he would go on to work for several Republican campaigns, among them Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid.

Today, Ballabon has become one of President Trump’s most prominent Jewish surrogates, making regular appearances on various Fox News shows and weighing in on Jewish-related matters as an authentic, kippah-wearing spokesman. (Ballabon comes from a non-hasidic Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, community.) He has appeared on the America First radio show hosted by Sebastian Gorka—a member of the Viteszi Rend, a racist Hungarian nationalist order founded by Hungary’s antisemitic, Nazi-collaborationist leader, Admiral Miklos Horthy—and he has defended Gorka from charges of antisemitism. While Instagram grifter Elizabeth Pipko has played the face of the bungled “Jexodus” initiative—which claims to be leading American Jews out of a Democratic Party turned irrevocably antisemitic—it is Ballabon who has led the astroturf movement from behind.

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The Magic of Platinum Partners and the Wand of the Magicians Involved – and the Great Tragedy to Jews Everywhere

Great liars are also great magicians.

Adolf Hitler

[Opinion 6.24.19]

Platinum Partners’ Feats of Magic and the Potential for a Great Escape –

The Existential Threat to All of Judaism

The anti-Semitism of Eastern Europe in the mid-1900’s was perpetuated by fear. The prominent Jewish families of Eastern Europe were financiers, bankers, jewelers, clothiers and well-known figures in art and antiquities collection. In whatever form of religious observance our family members took, they were feared because of their successes not because of their improprieties. Hitler’s hold on his own supporters was dominated in large part by a culture of fear shared by Bavaria and surrounding German areas, of the possibility of losing their German Arian identity to Jews, who did not inspire trust, not because they were untrustworthy but because they were gloriously successful at everything they did. Our family members were accomplished.  There were very few who exchanged education for Talmud even in the most religious families of the time. Rather for many families, mastery of life encompassed an aptitude at religious and non-religious subjects and a strong mentality of self-sufficiency. And, the Jewish identity of perseverance and tenaciousness inspired unfounded mistrust, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. As such, Hitler gained power and Jews were slaughtered.

Fast-forward fifty, sixty, seventy years and the world is seeing an increase in anti-Semitism. Unlike in the past, however, it is not a blind mistrust, it is one based upon what feels almost like a culture of fraud and deceit ingrained in so much of the Jewish Zeitgeist that it is tainting all Jews. It can almost be said that the mistrust is justified, based in Ponzi Schemes, privatized, inadequate education to the detriment of non-Jews and secular Jews and an uncanny ability to circumvent laws. Everything from vaccines and education to financial accountability and governmental regulations, are not outside the scope of subject the pubic Jewish collective is trying to manipulate.

Those of us willing to call out wrongs are relegated to courtrooms and lawsuits with no end in site. As such, anti-Semitism is far more difficult to counter than it was in the times immediately preceding Hitler’s power and during the war. And if our Jewish brothers are not held to account, Jews everywhere will be castaway as pariahs.

The Platinum Partners Ponzi Scheme, the Madoff Ponzi Scheme, the Philip Esformes conviction are so deeply rooted in the Jewish run ethos, they are leaving far more than financial ruin in their wake. They are increasing the breadth of a community of people who hate Jews because we are viewed in the unfavorable light these Jewish fraudsters shine on our community. That these frauds are perpetrated with such grace and ease by members of the Jewish community is a travesty.  That the moral compass of the community supporting them is so skewed it is unwilling to even acknowledge that the acts of Platinum’s Partners’ partners were calculated, orchestrated and choreographed like any great magic show.

And if Platinum Partners’ partners do not get convicted, the result could be catastrophic for Jews everywhere. If we are incapable of bringing swift and harsh justice against those Jews who commit wrongs, we will all suffer the consequences. That fraud is with increasing frequency seeping into the “Jewish identity” and is damaging that identity for everyone. The Platinum Partners case is a blight on our community and it should be viewed as such, whispered like the big C-Word (cancer) when our parents talked at the Shabbos table about a friend diagnosed days before. Jewish orchestrated fraud is a cancer, a blight, a disease of the worst form and if not stopped, it will spread. This is not anti-Semitic but an honest view of the dangers that rampant fraud within our community creates.

The Magic of the Platinum Partners’ Ponzi Scheme was the ease with which it was orchestrated, the complexity of the scheme and the corresponding complications involved in painting a clear picture for a jury such that the jurors can convict. The case was and continues to be simply too chaotic, too scattered, too unintelligible and we opine that this is by design, a master creation by a brilliant defense team.

If the Judge does not rule a mistrial, we believe there is a significant likelihood that this jury will come back without the clarity necessary to convict. Like the crimes themselves, a mistrial or a failure to convict will be deeply unjust for those defrauded, for future victims, for public trust and most importantly, for Jews everywhere and the world’s perception of us. We will once again be viewed as having a magical ability to escape unscathed.

It is very likely that when the Defendants sat with their team of lawyers, negotiated their joint defense agreements, and strategized, it was clear that the first thing they needed to manipulate was the jury. They did not trust their fates to fellow Jews, a jury of their peers, but to the diametric opposite, a mostly African America pool of jurors likely inexperienced in the private equity investment world.

Mark Nordlicht, David Levy and Joseph SanFilippo are smart, savvy and well-educated. They are the epitome of privilege and money. Nordlicht comes from a polished, Jewish, observant Yeshiva-related upbringing. Levy is much the same. These are not men who have ever had to live from paycheck to paycheck. These are not men who have experienced racism or the African American experience, a far cry in fact. And the jury, with all respect due to each of the jurors, most likely knows little about what it is to be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth. The Defendants are, have been and will always be men of privilege. The jury, as a matter of profiling by appearance alone, does not share this providence.

The breadth of the evidence that was admitted, or excluded, was a remarkable play of legal defense gamesmanship, cleverly manipulated to share as little damaging information as possible. This is not unusual. But anyone who thinks that this was not calculated as the financiers of Platinum’s top brass were defrauding their investors is either naive or stupid. We believe, based upon previous experiences of some of that brass and their closest confidants, that Platinum Partners knew what to expect if their fiefdom fell. And as they were performing their magical feats of financial optical illusions, they set the stage for a worst-case-scenario.

Very early on the Judge presiding over the case ruled that Murray Huberfeld’s conviction for bribery, the avalanche that set in motion the public unraveling of Platinum Partners, was not permissible evidence in the case against Nordlicht, Levy and SanFilippo. The fact that Huberfeld was acting in consort with the partners at Platinum to bribe Norman Seabrook and entice COBA money was deemed to be outside the scope of the presentation that the government could make to the jury. As such, the corresponding testimony of Jonah Rechnitz in the previous trials was also not admissible evidence. The legal maneuvering was brilliant, awe inspiring.

Huberfeld acted as an Agent of Platinum Partners when he convinced Seabrook to invest. He was one of Platinum Partners’ alter egos. His actions and the resulting convictions could have set the stage for a clear picture for the jury regarding the maneuvering to bring in investors.

But it was deemed inadmissible.

The judge has already dismissed the count of “Fraudulent Investment Scheme” from the indictment.  Why? Because the government proved no match for the defense team. They failed ingloriously to use the same arguments the judge made for dismissal, as proof of guilt, namely that Platinum Partners’ partners calculated what needed to be put in place to cover their collective asses, the “CYA” term of endearment. The hiring of a valuation team was not a sign of care and compliance, quite the opposite. It was a distraction to mislead the government into believing that the valuations were conducted honestly.

 

B. Fraudulent Investment Scheme
As to the fraudulent investment scheme, defendants’ motion for a judgment of acquittal under Rule 29 is granted as to the allegation that they overvalued level 3 assets but otherwise denied.
The indictment alleges that defendants overvalued Platinum’s level 3 assets, but none of the Government’s witnesses challenged the accuracy of Platinum’s valuations of these assets. The Government has not even introduced witnesses who purport to be qualified to challenge these valuations, let alone attempted to introduce expert witnesses who could have guided the jury through assessing the values of level 3 assets – which are, by definition, difficult to value.

Case 1:16-cr-00640-BMC Document 752 Filed 06/17/19 Page 4 of 9 PageID #: 10473
5
Nor has the government shown that Platinum’s process for obtaining these valuations is so deeply flawed that the jury can fairly infer that the valuations were false, and fraudulently so. To the contrary, the testimony has shown that Platinum hired third parties to confirm its valuations; hired an experienced director of valuations; and maintained a valuation committee. There is insufficient evidence for a reasonable juror to conclude that defendants have falsified any valuations, let alone evidence that would support defendants’ conviction for fraudulently overvaluing assets.

Contrary to the Judge’s comments, Level 3 assets are not difficult to value if you mark them against the market in which they are traded. The government simply needed to find a market against which to mark the assets.

Justice will not be served because the perpetrators of the crimes have far greater knowledge of their craft than the government prosecutors. The brilliance of the defense attorneys in making it all look so complicated is not by chance. Platinum’s partners took their precautionary measures when they placed a value on the assets well above their market. They had a team of quasi-conspirators in place.

The government needed to bring in a valuation expert to counter what Platinum was suggesting, that the valuation team was evidence they they acted admirably and honestly. Our analysis is that the Defendants breached their fiduciary duty to their investors by over-valuing assets, that they had taken all the necessary precautions to make it look kosher and that this was choreographed with remarkable dexterity. In reality, the magicians at Platinum had performed what is known as “CYA” and had done so with the skill commensurate with their experience, what any good hedge fund manager would have done.

Platinum Partners’ partners knew what they were doing. The very argument that the judge makes regarding Platinum’s valuation team should be the argument that substantiates the fraud: that Platinum hired the people who would paint a rosy picture to cover up financial impropriety. They brought in Picasso and commissioned him a painting, and paint he did.

Platinum knew its assets were worth far less than they were being valued and created a charade. The told “a tale, full of sound and fury” (Shakespeare) but for them, it is signifying exactly what they wanted it to… everything. 

But we digress. As the Judge rightly pointed out, a reasonable juror would likely not have concluded that the Defendants falsified valuations.

We believe, however, that it is not because the charge is wrong but because the government did not understand that the very act of hiring a valuation committees and valuations’ experts was just part of the magic, the optical illusion.

Platinum Partners’ victims are many, a vast range of people, mostly from their own community. Their victims are also COBA members who deserve the best the government has to offer and is not getting their justice.

The Defendants’ seats in the courtroom are full, almost every day while the Plaintiff’s seats are comprised mostly of victims, their lawyers, journalists and those most curious. It is a sad state of affairs for the greater Jewish collective.

For a parent, a child can do no wrong so it is understandable that the Defendants’ families would be making a show of support. But, an acquittal poses an existential threat to the greater Jewish identity.  Not only do we surmise that these men are likely already planning their next major magic show, but we fear the darkness that would come of an acquittal.

Justice should be served. The victims are entitled to justice and the greater Jewish collective deserves the optics of an equitable distribution of accountability, only accomplished by a conviction. But the government will need to start pulling better punches, or a rabbit from a hat.

LM

Roman Abramovich and a Record Donation for the Fight Against Antisemitism Worldwide

Roman Abramovich,  the Russian billionaire businessman and owner of the soccer team Chelsea FC.

ROMAN ABRAMOVICH GIVES $5M. TO JEWISH AGENCY FOR FIGHT AGAINST ANTISEMITISM

Russian oligarch and philanthropist Roman Abramovich has given $5m. to the Jewish Agency for Israel to assist in its efforts to combat antisemitism around the world.

Abramovich, who also has Israeli citizenship, gave his donation due to rising antisemitism in Europe, the US, and beyond and will be used by JAFI’s “International Unit,” which engages in various operations and activities to combat antisemitism.

Antisemitic incidents have been on the rise in the UK, France, the rest of  Europe and in the US in recent years, including increasing numbers of violent attacks, which has heightened the need for better monitoring, intelligence and security measures for Jewish communities across the globe.

Abramovich himself has not commented on his gift, but JAFI chairman Isaac Herzog praised him for his financial assistance.

“Jewish communities around the world are coping with record numbers of dangerous, antisemitic attacks. I applaud Roman Abramovich for taking strong initiative to combat antisemitism and am grateful for his contribution to the Jewish Agency’s efforts to ensure Jews are safe in their communities around the world” said Herzog.

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READ ALSO: https://www.thejc.com/news/israel/roman-abramovich-donates-millions-to-the-jewish-agency-in-order-to-combat-antisemitism-worldwide-1.485337

Rabbi Attacked in Buenos Aires from Group Should anti-Semitic Slurs

Libertador Avenue in North Palermo, Buenos Aires.(Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

Rabbi attacked on Buenos Aires street by group shouting anti-Semitic slurs

 

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A man wearing a kippah was beaten and subject to anti-Semitic epithets on a street in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The attack took place on Saturday night following services at Mikdash Yosef, an Orthodox synagogue in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires.

Eli Chamen, 34, was violently beaten in the face and heard shouts of “f***ing jews” and other anti-Semitic invective against “the Jews.”

Chamen told local media that other people who witnessed the attack laughed or continued to walk by on the streets in the crowded, upper middle class area near the synagogue.

Chamen, a businessman and father of six, fell to the ground from the force of the attack and broke his hand. He received treatment at a local hospital and later filed a report with the local police and also at the Jewish political umbrella, DAIA.

Nearly two months ago, a homeless couple entered the same synagogueand threatened the worshipers. The synagogue’s rabbi was injured scuffling with the homeless man following Shabbat services.

In February Argentina’s Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich was beaten and seriously injured by a group of up to seven assailants who broke into his Buenos Aires home in the middle of the night. The attackers stole some 200,000 Argentine pesos (roughly $5,000) in cash, as well as valuable jewelry and a Haredi-style black hat.

Davidovich was hospitalized with serious injuries, including nine broken ribs and a punctured lung. The intruders reportedly shouted: “We know you are the rabbi of the Jewish community” during the attack.

 

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When Members of Naturei Karta Meet with Dignitaries Whom do They Represent? – They are Dangerous!

Naturei karta.1Naturei karta.2

 

 

Representatives of Neturei Karta frequently meet with dignitaries from around the world to discuss our position and to develop a dialog of understanding. For further details and information, select an event from the list below:
DATE LOCATION EVENT PURPOSE
Various Visits with Palestinian Dignitaries Develop dialog of understanding
09/02/15 NYC Iranian leader meets Jewish Rabbis in NYC
12/07/14 Jericho, Palestine Rabbis Visit Mayor of Jericho
02/04/13 Washington, DC Letter to US Senators on Chuck Hegel nomination for Defense Secretary
11/29/12 UN Bldg, NYC UN Meeting on issue of Palestinian Statehood
09/27/12 NYC Pres of Iran meets with Anti-Zionist Rabbis
04/18/12 Umm al-Fahm, Palestine Ceremony for Sheikh Raed Salah
02/01/11 Doha, Qatar Meeting with Shiek Yousef Al-Qaradawi
06/04/10 Washington, DC Peace Delegation Meets with Turkish Embassy Officials
05/01/08 Doha, Qatar Rabbis meet with Shiekh Qaradawi Call for the peaceful dismantling of Israel
09/24/07 NYC, NY Meeting with Iranian President Ahmadinejad
09/21/06 New York City, NY Meeting with Iranian President Ahmadinejad
03/21/06 Ramallah, West Bank Meeting with Palestinian Leaders, Ramallah
03/01/06 Tehran, Iran Second Historic Mission to Iran
05/27/05 Washington, DC Anti-Zionist Orthodox Rabbis present Plaque to new Palestinian President M Abbas
07/15/04 London, UK Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qardawi Orthodox Rabbis in the UK show their support of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qardawi
12/17/01 Ramallah Yasser Arafat meets with Neturei Karta Demonstrate our support of the Palestinian people.
04/29/01 East Jerusalem, Israel Orient House Meeting of Palestinians and NKI
04/29/01 East Jerusalem, Israel Declaration of Loyalty Statement of Loyalty to the Jewish Faith
04/29/01 East Jerusalem, Israel NY Rabbis Support Orient House Delegation NY Rabbis issue statement of support for Orient House Delegation

Anti-Semitism is on the Rise – The Measles Has a Vaccine, Anti-Semitism Doesn’t?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9Xn6WCj0K8
Updated 4.19.19

measles.4

The Measles, Uniquely Jewish, anti-Vaxxers, Anti-Semitism and the Moral of the Story….

There are reasons for not getting vaccinated, legitimate reasons. Children with compromised immune systems often cannot be vaccinated. People with specific allergies sometimes cannot be vaccinated. And there are religions wherein it is forbidden to vaccinate. That last one raises questions, but it might be possible to understand. And we have been told that people who practice those religions limit access to their children and to others, a virtual self-quarantine. 

Judaism is not one of the religions that forbids vaccinations. In fact, it is arguable that Pikuah Nefesh – the notion that saving human life trumps all else – demands that Jews vaccinate our children. Yet, here we are known world over as a community that has helped spread, if not fostered and advocated for the spread of, an all but extinct virus, the measles. Historically Jews have been blamed for plagues. Never before, however, has the causal correlation between religious insularity and the effect of spreading an all but extinct disease been quite so clear.

Organizations like the anti-Defamation League (ADL), the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), the Simon Wiesenthal Center and others wonder why there is a rise in anti-Semitism. We do not wonder. When ultra-Orthodox rabbis are out advocating for the right to spread disease, there is little question. It is reprehensible that the revered leaders of  the ultra-Orthodox community could be telling parents that vaccinations are dangerous (barring unique circumstances) and moreover that it is okay to spread disease. Yet many outspoken ultra-Orthodox Rabbis are advocating anti-vaxxing. And, as such Jews are the public face of a renewal of an all-but-extinct virus’s spread. 

Even as Jews it is difficult not to feel resentment for a community that is now defining by implication, even the principles of moderate Judaism, through the very public spread of a virus. Is it not the season of the Ten Plagues? Is that the association we want? To be the cause? 

With a full generation of people who have been vaccinated, there is little known about what is in store for the children (and adults) who are currently getting sick. Survivors of the German measles (Rubella), who got sick before the vaccine was mainstream, many of whom are now in their late fifties to early seventies, are finding significantly earlier onset age-associated vision loss. There appears to be a causal effect between the two. Many survivors of the second wave of polio, again before the vaccine was used worldwide, suffered second polio syndrome. 

Because the measles was all but wiped out of existence in the United States in 2000, we do not know for certain what follow-up syndromes will befall the children who are now getting sick. We do not know what is the chance for the virus to mutate. We do not know if the strains of the disease that are spreading are the same as those for which there is a vaccine or if there are groups of vaccinated individuals whose vaccines are not effective, either because they had only one dose or because the vaccine in circulation at the time is not working against this virus. We are in a world of unknowns, one associated with being an observant Jew, with being Jewish, one that has mutated. And if perspective is everything, it’s hard to wonder why now is not a great time to be Jewish.

And, with a far more crowded world, a far more transportable world, a far more visible world than the one in 2000, the risks are so much higher for the measles to become something it isn’t. That is from both a scientific and philosophical perspective. An observant Jew who steps foot in a restaurant that is not kosher is supposed to take off his Kippa lest he be seen in an unkosher establishment. Yet he proudly wears his kippa when he tells his followers to avoid vaccinating their children? Clearly perspective was understood by the sages. Do those with a true and deeply held sense of love for Judaism really want to be the public face of the spread of the measles?

And what of the financial costs? So much of the ultra-Orthodox pro-measles advocating community is on Medicare, Medicaid and other forms of public assistance. The costs associated with vaccinating are small. Those associated with treating disease are much higher? Who is to be held accountable? And is that not yet another reason for an increase in hatred against Jews? 

It might be time for the wisest sages within the ultra-Orthodox community to start looking “Two Tzaddim Kadima” (two steps ahead) and consider where this is going to lead. Getting vaccinated is no longer just about the measles. It is about whether or not the greater Jewish community is going to be viewed as a plague upon the world. The measles as an illness is sadly an allegory. Let the Tzadikim among you direct your children to vaccinate, to think about your individual community and the greater good for all Jews, lest we all Jews as a collective, be viewed as a plague.

Let those with true chesed understand, that the religious garb as a symbol of the spread of  the Measles will become the moral of the story for why the world cannot rid itself of anti-Semitism. The measles has a vaccine. Anti-Semitism does not.