The charges against financier Jeffrey Epstein for sex trafficking are of course one of the biggest stories in the country these days, and Israel and its friends have been an ongoing theme in the case.
Epstein, a 66-year-old former hedge fund manager, supported many Jewish causes and Zionist organizations, and was on the board of the Wexner Foundation, which is devoted to Israel. He had friendships with many Israel supporters, from Alan Dershowitz to Howard Rubenstein to Ehud Barak to Larry Summers. And there is speculation that Epstein, a mysterious international figure, had links to Israeli intelligence.
Dershowitz, Epstein’s former lawyer, says Israel is a factor in the case. Two days ago Dersh published an op-ed for Newsmax aimed at preempting the New Yorker’s anticipated expose of his role in the case (one of Epstein’s victims says that she was compelled to have sex with Dershowitz. He denies the charges, but he has admitted getting a massage at Epstein’s mansion.). Dershowitz says the New Yorker is trying to hurt Netanyahu.
Here is Dershowitz’s blockbuster lead:
I recently learned, from a source close to The New Yorker magazine, that its editor, David Remnick, has commissioned a hit piece against me for the explicit purpose of silencing my defense of President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the State of Israel. Remnick despises Trump and Netanyahu, and is well known for his strong anti-Israel bias. Remnick explicitly told people that I must be silenced because mine has been the most persuasive voice in favor of what Remnick feels pose dangers to values he holds dear, and that he will use the credibility of The New Yorker to accomplish this goal.
This doesn’t seem very plausible. Remnick can be very critical of Israel but he is a liberal Zionist. Connie Bruck is said to be the reporter on the case and though she has a pretty good track record (exposing Adelson) she is married to an Israel devotee, former Rep. Mel Levine.
Also, if Netanyahu is so hurt by the case, why is he pushing for an investigation of Epstein in the election campaign, so as to hurt his rival, Ehud Barak?
Epstein’s relationship with Ehud Barak, the former PM who is now trying to stage a comeback in Israel, has become an issue in the Israeli campaign, the New York Times reports. Epstein made what appear to be shadowy investments with Barak.
Ehud Barak, 77, a former prime minister and defense minister, received some $2.3 million in payments from [the Wexner] foundation associated with Mr. Epstein from 2004 to 2006, and Mr. Epstein invested a reported $1 million in a limited partnership established by Mr. Barak in 2015 . . .
“I never took part in any party or event with women or anything like that,” Mr. Barak said, adding that in Mr. Epstein’s house he had met the heads of leading American universities, philanthropists, Nobel Prize winners, older women from academia, business and law, and political figures from the Clinton, Obama and Trump circles . . .
Mr. Barak does not dispute having received some $2.3 million in three installments from the Wexner Foundation, an Ohio-based nonprofit, and its founder, Leslie H. Wexner, a retail mogul and a former close associate of Mr. Epstein’s and an investor in his financial company.
Mr. Epstein was a trustee of the Wexner Foundation and one of its main donors.
The payments were registered as compensation for research, but Mr. Barak has refused to divulge any details about the research, saying that doing so could harm his future business…
Rabbi Elka Abrahamson, the president of the Wexner Foundation, which provides development training for Jewish volunteer leaders and Israeli public figures, has declined to say what the research payments were for.
One of Epstein’s investments in Barak, in 2015, would seem to have intelligence applications.
Israeli news media has reported that the investment was about $1 million. Mr. Barak’s company, Carbyne, formerly known as Reporty Homeland Security, specializes in emergency response geo-location and live video-streaming…
This brings up the intelligence angle. Federal investigators found an Austrian passport in Epstein’s NY mansion with a fake name and listing an address in Saudi Arabia that Epstein reportedly used to enter four countries, “France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia.”
The scandal at the heart of the new prosecution is that Epstein served only a year or so in jail on Florida solicitation charges in 2007-2008, even as his lawyers cut a non-prosecution plea deal from the feds on more serious charges. Dershowitz was a lawyer on that team. Former US attorney Alexander Acosta cut that deal, and resigned as Labor Secretary last week when it became an issue.
As the Daily Beast reports, Acosta said he went light on Epstein because of an intelligence connection.
He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. (The Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.)
The speculation about Epstein’s connections includes the fact that he was associated closely with a woman who allegedly helped bring him girl victims, Ghislaine Maxwell, who (as this news aggregator notes), “is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, the media mogul who died under mysterious circumstances in 1991. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh alleged in his book The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy that Maxwell was tied to the Israeli Mossad. Hersh was sued for the allegation, but then received an apology.”
Gabe Sherman mentions Mossad in Vanity Fair:
One theory circulating among prominent Republicans is that Epstein was a Mossad agent. Another is that the George W. Bush White House directed Acosta not to prosecute Epstein to protect Prince Andrew on behalf of the British government, then the U.S.’s closest ally in the Iraq war.
In Epstein’s 2004-2005 address book (published by Gawker) Israel has a listing among several countries (including Switzerland, Italy, France, Kenya, and Brazil). The Israel file includes future-prime-minister Ehud Olmert.
Several Israel supporters are in that address book, including former Murdoch news exec Gary Ginsberg, who wrote speeches for Netanyahu and is on the board of the Genesis Foundation, which gives prizes to Israel’s friends. Also Ron Perelman, a financier and supporter of Israel.
The only thing we can be sure of in this case is that more names are likely to come out, and more speculation about how Epstein became such a wealthy international player when his financial chops were questionable to say the least.
Thanks to David Samel, Donald Johnson, and Adam Horowitz.