No.14, July 20, 1998


A Moral Issue

Goldhunt Update


NEW YORK -- American Jewish groups are now demanding that the Swiss banks and government agree to hand over at least $1.5 billion of bank- and taxpayer money in a global settlement of all their demands.

The shrill campaign by the American Jewish community to force the Swiss to hand over more cash is causing mounting concern in Washington. It began to look like an old-fashioned Thirties' protection racket -- as the threats multiplied to damage the banks' commercial operations in New York, unless they handed over arbitrarily fixed sums of money to the blackmailers.

Stuart E Eizenstat, the Under-Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, has tried in vain to damp down the community's predilection for extortion methods.

Biggest culprits are Edgar Bronfman, Senator d'Amato, and Alan G Hevesi, the Comptroller of New York City, "whose family included Holocaust victims," as The New York Times informed its readers on Aug. 25 last year, in an unsubtle hint at his racial origins.

Heedless of federal government appeals Hevesi began to hint that New York City would implement sanctions against the Swiss banks unless they coughed up -- sanctions including the withdrawal from the Swiss companies of cash from the city's pension funds and other big investors.

"In Switzerland," reported the NYT, "some executives and politicians have already said that they feel as if they are being shaken down [robbed] for contributions."

In June this year the three largest Swiss banks announced a final offer of $600 million, adding that they would not consider "unfounded and excessive" demands for even more.

This offer was rejected by Bronfman and the World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Jun. 19, amid angry claims that the Swiss had broken a court-ordered confidentiality agreement.

"We are pained," said WJC general secretary Israel Singer, "by the monetization of a moral issue."


Taking a different line, Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles stated:

"We consider the offer a lack of seriousness on their part. An independent study showed $442 million (U.S,) was plundered by the banks. Over fifty years, with interest, it is now worth about $4.5 billion."

It has to be said that Jewish leaders in Switzerland are horrified by this international campaign, and accuse the American community leaders of methods similar to the worst excesses of Chicago-style protection rackets.

Anybody else voicing such comparisons is accused of antisemitism.

Regardless of the mounting anti-Semitism they are generating in Switzerland, American financial officials meeting in New York - representing eight hundred finance officials with the power to withhold government business from major Swiss banks represented in the United States -- on Jul. 1 gave the go-ahead for further sanctions.

California state treasurer Matt Fong, overseeing $32 billion in state funds California on Jul. 2, became the first state to adopt the tough new measures. -- Based on AP and wire stories.


Swiss newspapers know which side their bread is buttered, and have leapt onto Senator Alfonse d'Amato's bandwagon. First Facts, then the Schweizer Illustrierte in its Holocaust dossier, then Blick, the largest newspaper, published a photograph showing four Swiss soldiers in August 1942 loitering nonchalantly near the frontier fence as four ragged civilians pleaded with them from the German side to let them through. Blick: "The boat is full. Jewish refugees plead for asylum at the Swiss border during WW2. In vain."

Unfortunately for the Holocaust Liars, one of the soldiers, Emil Winzeler, recognised himself: "The picture was not taken in August 1942," he wrote in a reader's letter, "when the Swiss border was sealed against Jewish refugees, but in April 1945, a few days before French troops under General Lattre de Tassigny reached the Swiss border at this place. Of the many refugees who wanted to get into Switzerland at this time, only Party and SS members were turned back. The men on the picture were returning forced labourers."

Winzeler's reward for speaking the truth? There were calls for his prosecution for "denying the Holocaust" under Switzerland's new German-style laws for the suppression of free speech.

Footnote: The dramatic picture is still being used for Holocaust articles in publications like Brückenbauer, in Switzerland.

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