Posted Thursday, October 30, 2003

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 New York Sun;

New York, Tuesday, October 28, 2003


Steinberg, friend


Major Shake-Up Follows Feud


Staff Reporter of the Sun

THE World Jewish Congress, one of the most influential Jewish organizations in the 20th century, is headed for a major institutional shake-up after a raging feud between two of its top leaders left the group reeling.Edgar Bronfman Sr

Billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr., (left) the president of the World Jewish Congress, has agreed to appoint a task force that will review the 'entire mandate' of the organization, as well as its rules of procedure and structure, a senior adviser to the group, Elan Steinberg, (above) told The New York Sun.

The creation of the task force represents a shift in power in the leadership of the 67-year-old World Jewish Congress, which Mr. Bronfman has led as president since 1981.

Mr. Bronfman, the former chief executive of Seagram, will remain at the helm. But a key member of the task force will be [billionaire] Isi Leibler, a senior vice president of the World Jewish Congress who has tried to drive Mr. Bronfman from power.

The presence of Mr. Leibler on the task force will also likely pull the organization to the right on Israeli issues.

LeiblerTheir clash boiled over last summer, after Mr. Leibler (right) angrily denounced Mr. Bronfman for co-signing a letter with former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger (below) to President Bush that took a critical position on the Israeli security fence.

In August, Mr. Leibler asked Mr. Bronfman to apologize for his letter or resign from the World Jewish Congress. An outraged Mr. Bronfman fired back, calling Mr. Leibler an 'arrogant twit' who 'has decided that G*d is dead and he is taking his place.' He said the World Jewish Congress will 'deal with Isi Leibler in due course.'

Mr. Bronfman's threat was not ultimately carried out. Rather, Mr. Leibler, as a member of the task force, will take a lead role in remaking the organization.

One Jewish leader familiar with the work of the World Jewish Congress suspects that Mr. Bronfman assented to the idea of a task force after Mr. Leibler 'hired lawyers and they did a lot of investigating' into the finances of the World Jewish Congress.

Eagleburger'They looked at everything,' the Jewish leader, who wished to remain anonymous, said. 'A lot of money came through there.'

Mr. Bronfman, a major donor to the World Jewish Congress, was not immediately available for comment, and Mr. Leibler refused to discuss the circumstances behind Mr. Bronfman's agreement to a task force.

'I'm very glad that everybody agrees we need government, transparency, and a new constitution, to make us fully democratic,' Mr. Leibler told the Sun from his home in Israel. Mr. Leibler, who made millions of dollars as an Australian travel agency magnate, has lived in Israel for five years.

Sharon, Peres

Mr. Bronfman, an ally of Labor Party leader Shimon Peres, (above with Ariel Sharon), has been highly critical of Israeli settlements and has leaned on Israel to carry forward with the peace process. Mr. Leibler opposed Israeli cooperation with the socalled 'road map' peace plan and believes Israel should not compromise on security.

Mr. Steinberg, who supports Mr. Bronfman's leadership, said the clash between Mr. Leibler and Mr. Bronfman 'precipitated soul-searching within the organization.'

Under Mr. Bronfman's leadership, the World Jewish Congress took a prominent role in the 1980s and 1990s in some of the most significant issues affecting world Jewry of the time, including the fight to gain freedom for Jews in the Soviet Union and the campaign to restore property to Jews stolen in the Holocaust.

The World Jewish Congress also exposed the Nazi past of Kurt Waldheim, the former secretary-general of the United Nations.

BronfmanBillionaire Edgar Bronfman (right) is stated in the Jewish press to have been one of the major financial contributors to Deborah Lipstadt, paying the millions of dollars that were used to finance her neutral expert witnesses to testify as they did in Mr Irving's libel action against her.




... on this website
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Schindler, the Leiblers, and the Keeping of Lists
World Jewish Congress and Adolf Eichmann's 1944 "Jews for trucks" offer
Lawrence Eagleburger urged Washington Bar not to dismiss thief Neal Sher
Lawrence Eagleburger admits: His International Commission on Holocaust-Era Insurance Claims has spent $56 million to obtain offers of claims payments of $35 million
Bronfman, Leibler exchange bitter words over Israel
A Talk by Edgar M. Bronfman: "Jews and Justice"
Finkelstein lays into Wiesenthal, Bronfman and Eizenstat (in German)
Financial Post: Ottawa tries to cover up who's behind the $800m tax waiver
 Bronfman family's mystery tax break faces Canadian trial
Bronfman linked to Israeli probe
 Dec 2001: Judge scolds tax officials, but crusader loses case
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