Most famous for being pardoned by Bill Clinton at the last minute of his presidency in 2001, international financier Marc Rich died last month and was buried in Israel. We did a post the other day noting that several Israeli leaders, including Shimon Peres, pushed Clinton for the pardon and that Bill Clinton lately made $500,000 off the Peres Foundation for a speech.
It is also true that some wealthy portion of the Israel lobby was pleased by the Rich pardon and is surely prepared to mobilize behind Hillary Clinton if she runs for the highest office. Follow the money, right? Here is a portion of a piece about the pardon called “The Clintons and the Rich Women,” lately posted by Jeffrey St. Clair at Counterpunch. St. Clair says that Abraham Foxman, a strong supporter of Israel, threw himself behind the pardon and duly mobilized Denise Rich, Rich’s former wife and a good friend of Israel, and that she in turn mobilized Beth Dozoretz, who then served on an executive committee at AIPAC and has many ties to Israel. Bill Clinton is Dozoretz’s daughter’s godfather. Both women have given tons of money to the Democratic Party. When John McCain was once asked why we need campaign finance reform he answered with her name.
The story is a reminder of the fact that Obama was “absolutely livid” last summer when the Democratic convention was prepared to pass a platform that did not state that Jerusalem was the undivided capital of Israel. He got the change, of course. Pro-Israel money is vital to the aspirations of Democratic politicians. St. Clair:
The scene shifts to a crowded restaurant in Paris. It’s Valentine’s Day. Two men are having dinner and drinking wine. They know each other well. One man has just received a $100,000 contribution from the other man’s boss. The man on the receiving end of the money is Abe Foxman, and the financial gift was for his group the Anti-Defamation League. The man picking up the hefty dinner tab is Avner Azulay [head of Marc Rich foundation] – though Marc Rich will soon reimburse him.
Rich has one last shot, Foxman advises. They need to get directly to Bill and Hillary. And the key to unlocking the inner doors of the White House, Foxman told Azulay, is Denise Rich. Foxman confided that he and Denise had flown together on Air Force II to the funeral of Yitzak Rabin.
There was just one problem. Denise Rich still loathed her husband.
Entreaties are made to Denise, now a New York socialite and successful songwriter, by Quinn and others on the Rich teams. Three times Denise Rich declines to come to the rescue of her former husband.
Then suddenly, in November 2000, she agrees to help. What made her change her mind?
That remains open to speculation, but given Marc Rich’s history and Denise’s view that she was shortchanged in the divorce, it may well have involved a financial offering. This much is known. On November 16, Avner Azulay flies to New York and takes Denise to dinner. He pleads for her to back Rich’s pardon to her friends Bill and Hillary. Two days later Denise consents.
Denise calls her close friend Beth Dozoretz for help in the best way to handle the matter. Another rich Manhattan socialite, Dozoretz had been the finance chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Dozoretz had contributed more than $1 million to Democratic coffers. Bill Clinton was the godfather of her daughter.
Dozoretz who, like Denise Rich, would later plead the Fifth at a Senate hearing in the matter, helped Rich craft her strategy. Almost immediately, a check for $25,000 was sent from Denise Rich’s account to the DNC. This was soon followed by Denise Rich’s first letter to the Clintons, imploring them to pardon her ex-husband. Dozoretz also helped Rich bundle a $450,000 contribution to the Clinton library fund. (A Democratic fundraiser told the New York Times in 2001 that Denise had also pledged another million in four installments over the next two years. This figure was disputed by Denise Rich. But the donor lists to the Clinton Foundation are kept secret.) In all, Denise Rich made at least $1.1 million in contributions to Democratic causes, including $70,000 to Hillary’s Senate campaign and PACs, and at least $450,000 to the Clinton foundation.
For her part, Dozoretz kicked in another million of her own money to the fund. This is the same library that now refuses to release more than 300 pages of Clinton’s records relating to the pardon. She later lavished gifts on the Clintons as they left the White House, including antique furniture for the new home and golf clubs for Bill.