Sunday, August 30, 2009

The New "Blood Libel"

"The New "Blood Libel"? Israeli Organ Harvesting


Last week Sweden’s largest daily newspaper published an article containing shocking material: testimony and circumstantial evidence indicating that Israelis may have been harvesting internal organs from Palestinian prisoners without consent for many years.

Worse yet, some of the information reported in the article suggests that in some instances Palestinians may have been captured with this macabre purpose in mind.

In the article, “Our sons plundered for their organs,” veteran journalist Donald Bostrom writes that Palestinians “harbor strong suspicions against Israel for seizing young men and having them serve as the country’s organ reserve – a very serious accusation, with enough question marks to motivate the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to start an investigation about possible war crimes.”1/

An army of Israeli officials and apologists immediately went into high gear, calling both Bostrom and the newspaper’s editors “anti-Semitic.” The Israeli foreign minister was reportedly “aghast” and termed it “a demonizing piece of blood libel.” An Israeli official called it “hate porn.”

Commentary magazine wrote that the story was “merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of European funded and promoted anti-Israel hate.” Numerous people likened the article to the medieval “blood libel,” (widely refuted stories that Jews killed people to use their blood in religious rituals). Even some pro-Palestinian writers joined in the criticism, expressing skepticism.

The fact is, however, that substantiated evidence of public and private organ trafficking and theft, and allegations of worse, have been widely reported for many years. Given such context, the Swedish charges become far more plausible than might otherwise be the case and suggest that an investigation could well turn up significant information.

Below are a few examples of previous reports on this topic.

Israel’s first heart transplant

Israel’s very first, historic heart transplant used a heart removed from a living patient without consent or consulting his family.

In December 1968 a man named Avraham Sadegat (the New York Times seems to give his name as A Savgat) (2) died two days after a stroke, even though his family had been told he was “doing well.”

After initially refusing to release his body, the Israeli hospital where he was being treated finally turned the man’s body over to his family. They discovered that his upper body was wrapped in bandages; an odd situation, they felt, for someone who had suffered a stroke.

When they removed the bandages, they discovered that the chest cavity was stuffed with bandages, and the heart was missing.

During this time, the headline-making Israeli heart transplant had occurred. After their initial shock, the man’s wife and brother began to put the two events together and demanded answers.

The hospital at first denied that Sadegat’s heart had been used in the headline-making transplant, but the family raised a media storm and eventually applied to three cabinet ministers. Finally, weeks later and after the family had signed a document promising not to sue, the hospital admitted that Sadagat’s heart had been used.

The hospital explained that it had abided by Israeli law, which allowed organs to be harvested without the family's consent. (3) (The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime includes the extraction of organs in its definition of human exploitation.)

Indications that the removal of Sadagat’s heart was the actual cause of death went unaddressed.

Director of forensic medicine on missing organs

A 1990 article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs entitled “Autopsies and Executions” by Mary Barrett reports on the grotesque killings of young Palestinians. It includes an interview with Dr. Hatem Abu Ghazalch, the former chief health official for the West Bank under Jordanian administration and director of forensic medicine and autopsies.

Barrett asks him about “the widespread anxiety over organ thefts which has gripped Gaza and the West Bank since the intifada began in December of 1987.”

He responded:

"There are indications that for one reason or another, organs, especially eyes and kidneys, were removed from the bodies during the first year or year and a half. There were just too many reports by credible people for there to be nothing happening. If someone is shot in the head and comes home in a plastic bag without internal organs, what will people assume?” (4)

Mysterious Scottish death

In 1998 a Scot named Alisdair Sinclair died under questionable circumstances while in Israeli custody at Ben Gurion airport.

His family was informed of the death and, according to a report in J Weekly, “…told they had three weeks to come up with about $4,900 to fly Sinclair's corpse home. [Alisdair’s brother] says the Israelis seemed to be pushing a different option: burying Sinclair in a Christian cemetery in Israel, at a cost of about $1,300.”

The family scraped up the money, brought the body home, and had an autopsy performed at the University of Glasgow. It turned out that Alisdair’s heart and a tiny throat bone were missing. At this point the British Embassy filed a complaint with Israel.

The J report states:

“A heart said to be Sinclair's was subsequently repatriated to Britain, free of charge. James wanted the [Israeli] Forensic Institute to pay for a DNA test to confirm that this heart was indeed their brother's, but the Institute's director, Professor Jehuda Hiss refused, citing the prohibitive cost, estimated by some sources at $1,500.”

Despite repeated requests from the British Embassy for the Israeli pathologist's and police reports, Israeli officials refused to release either. (5,6,7)

Israeli government officials raise questions

Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh reports in an article in CCUN:

“In January, 2002, an Israeli cabinet minister tacitly admitted that organs taken from the bodies of Palestinian victims might have been used for transplants in Jewish patients without the knowledge of the Palestinian victims’ families.

“The minister, Nessim Dahan, said in response to a question by an Arab Knesset member that he couldn’t deny or confirm that organs of Palestinian youths and children killed by the Israeli army were taken out for transplants or scientific research.

“‘I couldn’t say for sure that something like that didn’t happen.’”

Amayreh writes that the Knesset member who posed the question said that he “had received ‘credible evidence proving that Israeli doctors at the forensic institute of Abu Kabir extracted such vital organs as the heart, kidneys, and liver from the bodies of Palestinian youth and children killed by the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank.” (8)

Israel’s chief pathologist removed from post for stealing body parts

For a number of years there were allegations that Israel’s leading pathologist was stealing body parts. In 2001 the Israeli national news service reported:

“… the parents of soldier Ze’ev Buzgallo who was killed in a Golan Heights military training accident, are filing a petition with the High Court of Justice calling for the immediate suspension of Dr. Yehuda Hiss and that criminal charges be filed against him. Hiss serves as the director of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute….According to the parents, the body of their son was used for medical experimentation without their consent, experiments authorized by Hiss. (9)

In 2002 the service reported:

“The revelation of illegally stored body parts in the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute has prompted MK Anat Maor, chairman of the Knesset Science Committee, to demand the immediate suspension of the director, Prof. Yehuda Hiss."

Alisdair Sinclair’s death had first alerted authorities to Hiss’s malfeasance in 1998, though nothing was done for years. The Forward reported:

“In 2001, an Israeli Health Ministry investigation found that Hiss had been involved for years in taking body parts, such as legs, ovaries and testicles, without family permission during autopsies, and selling them to medical schools for use in research and training. He was appointed chief pathologist in 1988. Hiss was never charged with any crime, but in 2004 he was forced to step down from running the state morgue, following years of complaints.” (10)

Harvesting kidneys from impoverished communities

According to the Economist, a kidney racket flourished in South Africa between 2001 and 2003. “Donors were recruited in Brazil, Israel and Romania with offers of $5,000-20,000 to visit Durban and forfeit a kidney. The 109 recipients, mainly Israelis, each paid up to $120,000 for a “transplant holiday”; they pretended they were relatives of the donors and that no cash changed hands.” (11)

In 2004 a legislative commission in Brazil reported, “At least 30 Brazilians have sold their kidneys to an international human organ trafficking ring for transplants performed in South Africa, with Israel providing most of the funding.”

According to an IPS report: “The recipients were mostly Israelis, who receive health insurance reimbursements of 70,000 to 80,000 dollars for life-saving medical procedures performed abroad.”

IPS reports:

The Brazilians were recruited in Brazil’s most impoverished neighbourhoods and were paid $10,000 per kidney, “but as ‘supply’ increased, the payments fell as low as 3,000 dollars.” The trafficking had been organized by a retired Israeli police officer, who said “he did not think he was committing a crime, given that the transaction is considered legal by his country's government.”

The Israeli embassy issued a statement denying any participation by the Israeli government in the illegal trade of human organs but said it did recognize that its citizens, in emergency cases, could undergo organ transplants in other countries, "in a legal manner, complying with international norms," and with the financial support of their medical insurance.

However, IPS reports that the commission chair termed the Israeli stance “at the very least ‘anti-ethical’, adding that trafficking can only take place on a major scale if there is a major source of financing, such as the Israeli health system.” He went on to state that the resources provided by the Israeli health system "were a determining factor" that allowed the network to function. (12)

Tel Aviv hospital head promotes organ trafficking

IPS goes on to report:

“Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who heads the Organs Watch project at the U.S. University of California, Berkeley, testified to the Pernambuco legislative commission that international trafficking of human organs began some 12 years ago, promoted by Zacki Shapira, former director of a hospital in Tel Aviv.

“Shapira performed more than 300 kidney transplants, sometimes accompanying his patients to other countries, such as Turkey. The recipients are very wealthy or have very good health insurance, and the ‘donors’ are very poor people from Eastern Europe, Philippines and other developing countries, said Scheper-Hughes, who specialises in medical anthropology.”

Israel prosecutes organ traffickers

In 2007 Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reported that two men confessed to persuading “Arabs from the Galilee and central Israel who were developmentally challenged or mentally ill to agree to have a kidney removed for payment.” They then would refuse to pay them.

The paper reported that the two were part of a criminal ring that included an Israeli surgeon. According to the indictment, the surgeon sold the kidneys he harvested for between $125,000 and $135,000. (13)

Earlier that year another Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, reported that ten members of an Israeli organ smuggling ring targeting Ukrainians had been arrested. (14)

In still another 2007 story, the Jerusalem Post reported that “Professor Zaki Shapira, one of Israel's leading transplant surgeons, was arrested in Turkey on Thursday on suspicion of involvement in an organ trafficking ring. According to the report, the transplants were arranged in Turkey and took place at private hospitals in Istanbul.”

Israeli organ trafficking comes to the U.S.?

In July of this year even US media reported on the arrest of Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, from Brooklyn, recently arrested by federal officials in a massive corruption sweep in New Jersey that netted mayors, government officials and a number of prominent rabbis. Bostrom opens his article with this incident.

According to the federal complaint, Rosenbaum, who has close ties to Israel, said that he had been involved in the illegal sale of kidneys for 10 years. A US Attorney explained: "His business was to entice vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000 which he would turn around and sell for $160,000." (15)

This is reportedly the first case of international organ trafficking in the U.S.

University of California anthropologist and organ trade expert Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who informed the FBI about Rosenbaum seven years ago, says she heard reports that he had held donors at gunpoint to ensure they followed through on agreements to “donate” their organs. (16)

Israel’s organ donor problems

Israel has an extraordinarily small number of willing organ donors. According to the Israeli news service Ynet, “the percentage of organs donated among Jews is the lowest of all the ethnic groups… In western countries, some 30 per cent of the population have organ donor cards. In Israel, in contrast, four percent of the population holds such cards. (17)

“According to statistics from the Health Ministry’s website, in 2001, 88 Israelis died waiting for a transplant because of a lack of donor organs. In the same year, 180 Israelis were brain dead, and their organs could have been used for transplant, but only 80 of their relatives agreed to donate their organs.”

According to Ynet, the low incidence of donors is related to “religious reasons.” In 2006 there was an uproar when an Israeli hospital known for its compliance with Jewish law performed a transplant operation using an Israeli donor. The week before, “a similar incident occurred, but since the patient was not Jewish it passed silently.” (18, 19)

The Swedish article reports that ‘Israel has repeatedly been under fire for its unethical ways of dealing with organs and transplants. France was among the countries that ceased organ collaboration with Israel in the 1990s. Jerusalem Post wrote that “the rest of the European countries are expected to follow France’s example shortly.”

“Half of the kidneys transplanted to Israelis since the beginning of the 2000s have been bought illegally from Turkey, Eastern Europe or Latin America. Israeli health authorities have full knowledge of this business but do nothing to stop it. At a conference in 2003 it was shown that Israel is the only western country with a medical profession that doesn’t condemn the illegal organ trade. The country takes no legal measures against doctors participating in the illegal business – on the contrary, chief medical officers of Israel’s big hospitals are involved in most of the illegal transplants, according to Dagens Nyheter (December 5, 2003).”

To fill this need former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, then health minister of Israel, organized a big donor campaign in the summer of 1992, but while the number of donors skyrocketed, need still greatly surpassed supply.

Palestinian disappearances increase

Bostrom, who earlier wrote of all this in his 2001 book Inshallah, (20) reports in his recent article:

“While the campaign was running, young Palestinian men started to disappear from villages in the West Bank and Gaza. After five days Israeli soldiers would bring them back dead, with their bodies ripped open.

“Talk of the bodies terrified the population of the occupied territories. There were rumors of a dramatic increase of young men disappearing, with ensuing nightly funerals of autopsied bodies.”

“I was in the area at the time, working on a book. On several occasions I was approached by UN staff concerned about the developments. The persons contacting me said that organ theft definitely occurred but that they were prevented from doing anything about it. On an assignment from a broadcasting network I then travelled around interviewing a great number of Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza – meeting parents who told of how their sons had been deprived of organs before being killed.”

He describes the case of 19-year-old Bilal Achmed Ghanan, shot by Israeli forces invading his village.

“The first shot hit him in the chest. According to villagers who witnessed the incident he was subsequently shot with one bullet in each leg. Two soldiers then ran down from the carpentry workshop and shot Bilal once in the stomach. Finally, they grabbed him by his feet and dragged him up the twenty stone steps of the workshop stair… Israeli soldiers loading the badly wounded Bilal in a jeep and driving him to the outskirts of the village, where a military helicopter waited. The boy was flown to a destination unknown to his family.”

Five days later he was returned, “dead and wrapped up in green hospital fabric.” Bostrom reports that as the body was lowered into the grave, his chest was exposed and onlookers could see that he was stitched up from his stomach to his head. Bostrom writes that this was not the first time people had seen such a thing.

“The families in the West Bank and in Gaza felt that they knew exactly what had happened: “Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,” relatives of Khaled from Nablus told me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin and the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who had all disappeared for a number of days only to return at night, dead and autopsied.”

Why autopsies?

Bostrom describes the questions that families asked:

“Why are they keeping the bodies for up to five days before they let us bury them? What happened to the bodies during that time? Why are they performing autopsy, against our will, when the cause of death is obvious? Why are the bodies returned at night? Why is it done with a military escort? Why is the area closed off during the funeral? Why is the electricity interrupted?”

Israel’s answer was that all Palestinians who were killed were routinely autopsied. However, Bostrom points out that of the133 Palestinians who were killed that year, only 69 were autopsied.

He goes on to write:

“We know that Israel has a great need for organs, that there is a vast and illegal trade of organs which has been running for many years now, that the authorities are aware of it and that doctors in managing positions at the big hospitals participate, as well as civil servants at various levels. We also know that young Palestinian men disappeared, that they were brought back after five days, at night, under tremendous secrecy, stitched back together after having been cut from abdomen to chin.

It’s time to bring clarity to this macabre business, to shed light on what is going on and what has taken place in the territories occupied by Israel since the Intifada began.” (21)

The new “Blood Libel”?

In scanning through the reaction to Bostrom’s report, one is struck by the multitude of charges that his article is a new version of the old anti-Semitic “blood libel.” Given that fact, it is interesting to examine a 2007 book by Israel’s preeminent expert on medieval Jewish history, and what happened to him.

The author is Bar-Ilan professor (and rabbi) Ariel Toaff, son of the former chief rabbi of Rome, a religious leader so famous that an Israeli journalist writes that Toaff’s father “is to Italian Jewry as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.” Ariel Toaff, himself, is considered “one of the greatest scholars in his field.” (22, 23)

In February 2007 the Israeli and Italian media were abuzz (though most of the U.S. media somehow missed it) with news that Professor Toaff had written a book entitled "Pasque di Sangue" (“Blood Passovers”) (24) containing evidence that there “was a factual basis for some of the medieval blood libels against the Jews.”

Based on 35 years of research, Toaff had concluded that there were at least a few, possibly many, real incidents.

In an interview with an Italian newspaper (the book was published in Italy), Toaff says:

“My research shows that in the Middle Ages, a group of fundamentalist Jews did not respect the biblical prohibition and used blood for healing. It is just one group of Jews, who belonged to the communities that suffered the severest persecution during the Crusades. From this trauma came a passion for revenge that in some cases led to responses, among them ritual murder of Christian children.” (25)

(Incidentally, an earlier book containing similar findings was published some years ago, also by an Israeli professor, Israel Shahak, of whom Noam Chomsky once wrote, “Shahak is an outstanding scholar, with remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.” ) (26)

Professor Toaff was immediately attacked from all sides, including pressure orchestrated by Anti-Defamation League chairman Abe Foxman, but Toaff stood by his 35 years of research, announcing:

"I will not give up my devotion to the truth and academic freedom even if the world crucifies me… One shouldn't be afraid to tell the truth."

Before long, however, under relentless public and private pressure, Toaff had recanted, withdrawn his book, and promised to give all profits that had already accrued (the book had been flying off Italian bookshelves) to Foxman’s Anti-Defamation League. A year later he published a “revised version.”

Donald Bostrom’s experience seems to be a repeat of what Professor Toaff endured: calumny, vituperation, and defamation. Bostrom has received death threats as well, perhaps an experience that Professor Toaff also shared.

If Israel is innocent of organ plundering accusations, or if its culpability is considerably less than Bostrom and others suggest, it should welcome honest investigations that would clear it of wrongdoing. Instead, the government and its advocates are working to suppress all debate and crush those whose questions and conclusions they find threatening.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rather than responding to calls for an investigation, is demanding that the Swedish government abandon its commitment to a free press and condemn the article. The Israeli press office, apparently in retaliation and to prevent additional investigation, is refusing to give press credentials to reporters from the offending newspaper.

Just as in the case of the rampage against Jenin, the attack on the USS liberty, the massacre of Gaza, the crushing of Rachel Corrie, the torture of American citizens, and a multitude of other examples, Israel is using its considerable, worldwide resources to interfere with the investigative process.

It is difficult to conclude that it has nothing to hide.


Also related

"North Jersey: epicenter of 'Kosher Nostra' and Mossad activity

by Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

(WMR) -- The recent rolling up of a Syrian Jewish criminal syndicate that was involved in buying off local elected and appointed government officials in north Jersey is but one in a long series of law enforcement operations directed, sometimes unsuccessfully due to the immense power of the Israel Lobby in the United States, against Jewish criminal networks in the New Jersey-New York region. These criminal networks also have one important thing in common: close connections to Israeli politicians and businessmen.

The FBI used a confidential witness to identify a number of Syrian Jewish rabbis who were using synagogues and yeshivas as money laundering fronts reportedly for the illegal sale of knock-off designer handbags and even human organs. The witness, Solomon Dwek, is a major real estate developer and gambling boat owner who was arrested in 2006 for trying to pass a bad check and defraud PNC Bank of $25 million. Dwek is a member of the powerful Syrian Jewish clan in New Jersey and New York, which has been called the SY Empire” and the “Dwek clan.”

Dwek’s father, Isaac Dwek, is a rabbi of a synagogue and yeshiva school in the Syrian Jewish enclave of Deal, New Jersey, on the Jersey shore. Deal is a nexus for the radical Israeli right that is opposed to any peace agreement with the Palestinians and the ultra-orthodox Israeli Shas Party, a member of the current Israeli coalition government, has held fundraisers in Deal. The Syrian Jewish community is also heavily involved in worldwide Chabad Houses, which WMR has previously linked to drug smuggling and money laundering, particularly in Mumbai, Bangkok, and other Asian cities. In 1992, the Syrian government lifted travel restrictions and limits on the disposition of property for the Syrian Jewish community. Syrian Jews were relatively free to travel, including to the United States.

Among the rabbis arrested was Saul Kassin, the 87-year-old chief rabbi of the 80,000-member Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn and New Jersey. Rabbis from Brooklyn and Deal were also arrested for money laundering operations that used the tax-exempt status of Jewish religious organizations to avoid detection and reporting to the government.

The mayors of Hoboken, Secaucus, and Ridgefield were also arrested as part of the bribery probe of the Syrian Jewish syndicate, as well as a Jersey City state assemblyman and an Ocean Township mayor and assemblyman. A member of New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s cabinet was also arrested, along with appointed officials in Bayonne, Hoboken, and Jersey City.

The latest reported criminal activity among the region’s Syrian Jewish community is nothing new. One prominent member of the community, which traces its origins back to the Syrian city of Aleppo, was Eddie Antar, the owner of a regional chain of consumer electronics stories called “Crazy Eddie’s,” who fled the United States for Israel after being indicted for fraud. Antar had laundered some $80 million through Panamanian and Israeli banks, much of it ending up at the Bank Leumi in Tel Aviv, Swiss banks, a “folding tent” Liberian company, and a Liechtenstein foundation. Antar used a fake passport and the alias of David Jacob Levi Cohen to enter Israel. Antar also used the alias of Alexander Stewart. Antar was eventually arrested near Tel Aviv and was extradited back to the United States where he eventually received an eight-year prison sentence. The chief federal prosecutor against Antar was Michael Chertoff.

Syrian-Jewish businessman Norman Jemal, the head of another influential Syrian-Jewish family and a consumer electronics competitor of Crazy Eddie, saw his store chain Nobody Beats the Wiz, collapse into bankruptcy in 2003.

Another prominent Syrian Jew was Edmond Safra who founded Banco Safra in Brazil in 1955. The Beirut-based Safra family had long served as important bankers for the Ottoman Empire. Safra eventually became a billionaire banking and investment tycoon. Safra founded the Republic National Bank in New York in 1966. In 1999, Safra was killed in an arson attack on his Monte Carlo home. Safra’s U.S.-born nurse, Ted Maher, a former U.S. Army Green Beret, was arrested and charged with starting the fire but his conviction was overturned. Safra’s killer or killers still remain at large. Safra’s security chief, Shmuile Cohen, had recruited a number of Israeli military special forces personnel to guard Safra, but Shmule and the guards were given the night off by Safra’s wife. Before his death, Safra was negotiating the sale of Republic Bank to HSBC. Safra was also cooperating with the FBI in its probe of the use of U.S. banks by the Russian-Israeli mafia to launder billions of dollars. There is speculation that Safra was murdered by the Russian-Israeli mob to keep him from divulging more details of their operations to the FBI.

After the recent bust of prominent Syrian-Jews in New Jersey and New York, the FBI and Justice Department revealed their investigation had lasted for 10 years. The Safra murder occurred 10 years prior to the recent corruption arrests. WMR has learned that the FBI is actually probing a much bigger criminal syndicate, one that involves more powerful politicians and businessmen involved in real estate and financial services in New York and New Jersey. The arrest of mayors, other small-time politicians, and rabbis may lead to higher-ups if there is cooperation from those already arrested from plea deals with prosecutors.

One prominent member of the Syrian Jewish community is Joseph Cayre, the real estate business partner of Larry Silverstein and Lloyd Goldman in the pre-9/11 lease of the World Trade Center from the New York-New Jersey Port Authority and the subsequent redevelopment of the “Ground Zero” site. Silverstein, Cayre, Goldman, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have recently been feuding with the Port Authority over the terms of the redevelopment scheme. Part of the redevelopment strategy is central to the “Cornerstones Project,” a project to establish four mega-entertainment and sports complexes in Manhattan connected to two other such centers on Coney Island and at the Meadowlands Xanadu entertainment and shopping complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, next to Secaucus. The Xanadu project is being underwritten by Goldman Sachs and is a favorite of Governor Corzine, a former chairman of Goldman Sachs.

In the criminal complaint against Rabbi Eliahu “Eli” Ben Haim of the Ohel Yaacob congregation in Deal, a co-conspirator only identified as “I.M.,” who is based in Israel and was a principal source of cash for Ben Haim, is cited. It is odd that “I.M.” is only identified by initials when two other co-conspirators of Ben Haim are identified by their full names: Schmulik Cohen of Brooklyn and Arye Weiss, also of Brooklyn. “I.M.”s modus operandi is described in the criminal complaint:

“Defendant BEN HAIM also mentioned that he owed another individual $495,000. This individual, according to defendant BEN HAIM, had wired money from Hong Kong to Israel, and stated that ‘he has money in Hong Kong from his -- the kickbacks from the factories.’ Defendant BEN HAIM also further described the activities of Coconspirator I.M. in the following terms: ‘the head contact’s in Israel . . . He has different people, he has, . . . he has a hundred cus-, no customer in New York [u/i] [unintelligible] money in Israel [u/i] real estate investments, they, they want to hide their money. They don’t want it to show. So they give the cash here to him and he gives me the cash . . . You see the merry-go-round? This guy’s been doing it for 20, 30 years.’ Defendant BEN HAIM also indicated that he would pick up cash, as coordinated by Coconspirator I.M., at locations in Brooklyn. The CW [confidential witness] offered to pick up the cash that defendant BEN HAIM anticipated would be available to him the following week.”

The complaint provides even greater details of “I.M.’s” money laundering activities:

“Defendant BEN HAIM told the CW about ‘customers from two, three years ago that are calling me,’ and indicated that “[t]hat’s a signal that the market is tight.’ Defendant BEN HAIM also discussed his source for cash, Coconspirator I.M., and stated that he spoke to Coconspirator I.M. ‘[e]very day - every other day.’ Referring to Coconspirator I.M., defendant BEN HAIM then asked the CW ‘[d]id you know that he had me in the last 4 years send out wires every time to a different place in the world to a different name? It’s unbelievable. I never saw anything like it.’ When the CW asked whether defendant BEN HAIM was referring to different locations in only Israel, defendant BEN HAIM replied ‘[n]o, all over the world . . . All over the world. From Australia to New Zealand to Uganda. I mean [u/i] every country imaginable. Turkey, you can’t believe it. . . . All different names. It’s never the same name. . . . Switzerland, everywhere, France, everywhere, Spain. . . . China, Japan.’ Defendant BEN HAIM also explained that the market for cash was tight ‘only in the beginning of the year and the end of the year.’”

It appears that the FBI was being careful about naming “I.M.” due to his extensive contacts from Israel to countries around the world, an indication that “I.M.,” unlike the rabbis and the New Jersey politicos, is a big fry who is laundering large sums of money, possibly from gambling operations, through synagogues and Jewish charities. It is known that Solomon Dwek was involved in a casino boat business and that jailed GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff was similarly involved in taking control of Sun Cruz Casino boats in Florida. Abramoff also funded radical Israeli settler movements on the West Bank.

WMR has learned from a reliable source that the identity of “I.M,,” if revealed, would serve as a body blow to the Likud government of Netanyahu and his major coalition partners, Yisrael Beiteinu of extreme right-wing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the ultra-orthodox Shas Party. The revelation of “I.M.’s” identity, we are told, will also provide encouragement to the Palestinians to stand their ground against Israeli encroachment in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. In fact, the timing of the recent arrests in New Jersey and New York may be directly tied to Israel’s move to build a residential complex in east Jerusalem over the objections of President Barack Obama.

On July 26, 2009, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Rabbi David Yosef, the son of Shas spiritual leader and former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, left the Long Branch, New Jersey, home of Ben-Haim for Israel just hours before the FBI raid that saw the arrest of Ben-Haim. In May, Aryeh Deri visited the Syrian-Jewish community in the New York-New Jersey region seeking funds for a new political party. Deri’s successor as the head of Shas, Eliyahu “Eli” Yishai, currently serves as interior minister and a deputy prime minister of Israel.

Ovadia Yosef recently condemned President Barack Obama for pressuring Israel on the freeze of settlements. Yosef also called for the rebuilding of the Jewish temple on the site of the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites. Yosef complained that there “are Arabs there.”

The North Jersey/Brooklyn area has long been a hub for intelligence and criminal activities by Israeli nationals. In many cases, those arrested have gotten off with light or no sentences. WMR has reported extensively on these, including:

  • On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, New Jersey police arrested five Israeli employees of Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, New Jersey, which is nestled between Jersey City and Hoboken, near Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, next to Secaucus. The Israelis were earlier seen celebrating, high-fiving, jumping up and down, and videotaping the first and second plane attacks on the World Trade Center.
  • The five Israelis were later linked to an Israeli-owned office moving company called Urban Moving Systems headquartered in Weehawken, New Jersey at 3 West 18th Street. Another Urban Moving office was located on West 50th Street in Manhattan. Urban Moving’s owner, Dominik Otto Suter, identified by the CIA and FBI as a Mossad officer, fled to Israel shortly before he was to be re-questioned by the FBI. The five Israelis, after being jailed for five months, were quietly deported to Israel without criminal charges being filed.
  • Information Spectrum, Inc. (ISI) of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, a subsidiary of the Fairfax, Virginia-based defense contractor, Anteon, took over the operation of the Jersey City police computer system that handled all incoming emergency phone calls on September 11 . . . According to Jersey City Police officials, after the emergency call system was changed from a Wang to a Windows environment, 8,000 emergency 911 system calls registered on September 11 were scrubbed from the archives. In fact, archives dating back to 1989, including those dealing with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, were similarly affected.
  • In October 2000, an Israeli veteran of the Israel Defense Force overheard a conversation between three men in the Gomel Chesed Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey. The three men speaking in Hebrew were discussing the “planes hitting the twins,” a reference to the 9/11 attacks some 11 months later. The FBI Newark office was informed of the conversation. There was no follow-up by the FBI.
  • A Syrian Jew named Rimon Alkatri was indicted by a New York City grand jury for phoning a false terrorist threat to the New York City police in May 2006. The indictment charged Alkatri with making a false terrorist threat in the first degree. Alkatri was arrested on July 31, 2006, a little over a week from the hype generated by the “great airplane liquid bombing hoax.” Alkatri, who owns the El Castillo de Oro jewelry store on Knickerbocker Avenue in Brooklyn and who arrived in the United States in 1996, was arrested by police while he was leaving his apartment in a Syrian Jewish neighborhood on East 9th Street. In May, Alkatri, using the alias Jose Rodriguez, and claiming to be from Israel, said he overheard five Syrian employees of his store use the phrase “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and that they were plotting to hide explosives in hollowed-out jewelry and perpetrate a suicide bombing in the New York subway system on the Fourth of July. Police later discovered that the five Syrian “conspirators” identified by Alkatri were not even Muslims, but Christians and Jews. Alkatri, who could have been sentenced to seven years in jail, was given a six-month sentence.
  • In 2003, Yehuda Abraham, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, global diamond dealer, and native of Afghanistan, was charged with money laundering for an Indian weapons smuggler named Hemant Lakhani who was attempting to purchase Russian portable missile launchers to bring down American passenger planes, including Air Force One, in the United States. Abraham was later convicted in the scheme that also involved a Malaysian bagman associated with the Southeast Asian Al Qaeda offshoot Jemaah Islamiya. Abraham and Lakhani conducted their meetings near Newark International Airport. Abraham was sentenced to home detention.
  • In 2003, Israeli-born Mark Brener, proprietor of Emperor’s Club VIP and three money laundering firms -- QAT Consulting Group, QAT International, and Protech Consulting -- moved from South Brunswick, New Jersey, to an affluent condo in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, with his 19-year-old girlfriend Cecil (“Ceci”) Suwal. Emperor’s Club VIP was the escort service that enmeshed New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and, which more recently is said to involve another governor, reportedly Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania. Brener received a 30-month prison sentence.
  • The targeting of New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, a former mayor of Woodbridge, New Jersey, by Israeli intelligence operative Golan Cipel in a homosexual “honey trap” resulted in McGreevey’s sudden resignation from office in 2004. McGreevey appointed Cipel to a top homeland security job for the state of New Jersey. The Emperor’s Club VIP expose about Spitzer came on the same day that it was reported that emails from the McGreevey administration were erased from the state’s computer systems. Cipel today works as an independent consultant.
  • In December 1995, Israeli Interior Minister Haim Ramon barred from entering Israel six U.S. citizens, all members of the terrorist Jewish Defense League, as well as Rabbi Abraham Hecht of the Syrian Jewish community in New York, for involvement in illegal activities in Israel. Hecht had suggested that assassinated Prime Minister Rabin could have been a “moser,” a Jew who handed over Jews or Jewish property to non-Jews, and deserved the death penalty.

* * * * *

WMR has also learned from sources in China of a significant Turkish angle to the illegal Israeli-run human organ smuggling trade. Apparently, Turkish military surgeons have worked with ethnic Uighurs to harvest organs from young Chinese. The center of the human organ trade is in Israel. Recently, police in Shenzen, China raided a Uighur-run restaurant where younger customers had a habit of disappearing. Police then discovered the restaurant had a grisly secret business: that it was an organ harvesting center, operated with medical expertise from Turkish military surgeons who identified usable organs for wealthy Israelis, as well as Arab potentates. The Turkish military surgeons apparently got their start after the 1999 Izmit-Istanbul earthquake, the first major operation for the organ harvesters.

The Shenzen eatery’s refrigerators were primed for cryogenics, the storage of human organs until transport to customers. The human remains -- limbs, spines, and heads . . . were boiled down and dumped into the sewer or sold to pig farmers for slop. Bones were crushed and likewise went down the sewer pipes. Police were originally stymied in collecting evidence in their investigation of the criminal enterprise.



"Rabbi/Government "Culture of Corruption"

"Mayors, rabbis arrested in corruption probe

"These complaints paint a disgraceful picture of religious leaders heading money-laundering crews, acting as crime bosses. They used purported charities ... as vehicles for laundering millions of dollars in illicit funds," Marra said. The rabbis named in the criminal complaints are accused of setting up charitable tax-exempt organizations at their synagogues that they used to launder money.

"Top NJ rabbis and government leaders arrested in black market organ scandal New Jersey top government officials and religious leaders, according to MSNBC, have been arrested in connection with a supposed "major corruption and international money-laundering conspiracy." Reportedly it was also discovered that many were involved in a black market organ ring."

"Israel Kills Palestinian Boys, Steals Organs For Transplants

"The organ of last resort

"America's "disappeared": The homeless of the big cities

"FLASHBACK - Moldova's desperate organ donors

"‘I Am What You Call a Matchmaker’

"FLASHBACK - Presumed guilty

"FLASHBACK - Israeli organ traffickers shift operations to China

(Also see: China investigating illegal transplants for 17 Japanese tourist; Organ transfers for foreigners banned in '07)

"Organ Trafficking: A Fast-Expanding Black Market

"FLASHBACK - ISRAEL: Still a destination for human trafficking

"NJ official steps down amid corruption arrests The mayors of three New Jersey cities, two state legislators and several rabbis were among more than 40 people arrested Thursday in a sweeping corruption investigation that began as a probe into an international money laundering ring that trafficked in goods as diverse as human organs and fake designer handbags.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the investigation initially focused, with the help of the cooperating witness, on the money laundering network that operated between Brooklyn, Deal, N.J. and Israel. The network is alleged to have laundered tens of millions of dollars through charities controlled by rabbis in New York and New Jersey.

This is shaping up to be a modern-day horror story.

Israelis deep into organ trafficing

Is Israel harvesting organs of Palestinian youths?


Two Haifa men sentenced to jail for organ trafficking

Anyone counting the homeless lately? Are any missing?

"Prof says she told FBI about kidney trafficking"

"Rabbi Busts Stun World's Largest Jewish Enclave Brooklyn In Awe As FBI Hauls Off 1 Prominent Figure After Another Allegedly Connected To N.J. Corruption Probe

What the TV news is NOT reporting is:

1. The FBI was advised of this organ traffciking ring SEVEN YEARS AGO by a totally credible source (a university professor) and it's MUCH larger than a single potential transaction.

2. Law enforcement in Brazil and South Africa acted immediately on the information and went after the criminals.

3. This was not just organ dealing. It was organ stealing. Impoverished people were flown in and told if they didn't go through with the deal, they'd be shot. Some had no idea the details of what they'd agreed to.

Organs were "bought" for $10,000 and re-sold for $150,000 and more. It took the FBI SEVEN YEARS to get themselves in gear and get an indictment.

The Racketeering Rabbis

Welcome to Israel, the land of White Slavers, Body Snatchers and Drug Mules

Busted: The Orthodox Criminal Network

"11 Suspicious Letters With White Powder Sent to N.J. Government Offices The FBI is investigating 11 suspicious letters containing a white powder that were sent to various New Jersey government offices this month

"Makes it a little awkward to close the investigation, doesn't it?"

Many thanks to WtFU for providing the items, links and commentaries above.

Also see:

Yeah, he's got that right.