It never ceases to amaze me, what kind of money “charities” can come up with to host events at swanky places like the resort that Donald Trump refers to as the “Winter White House,” Mar-a-Lago. After a wave of cancellations last year, as people discovered just what a bubbling pot of boiled bowel Trump is, the cost for holding an event at Mar-a-Lago was suddenly public knowledge: It can run a group $125K-$250K for a big event, and the prices don’t come down much from there, on account of being required to use the Trump facilities if you host an event there — caterers, security, etc. Still, cost is one thing — hosting a fund raiser for war criminal is another.
That seems like a pretty big number for a charity, if you ask me.
Anyway, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is a Chicago-based charity, which helps both Jews in Israel and the “diaspora” around the world. They are hosting a big shindig in March at Mar-a-Lago, and it looks like they’ll be paying about $167K for the “honor” of doing so. Ironically, much of their donations come from Christians and Christian groups, although evangelical end-times belief and the Zionism that rules the government of Israel are at long odds with one another. Not that they don’t both believe in the Abrahamic God, but, um… The Christian version requires all the Jews to be dead to come true. I’ve always puzzled over that.
There’s no time to puzzle, however, over whether or not IFCJ is a Zionist organization — they are huge supporters of Benjamin Netanyahu, the former and current Prime Minister of Israel and he of them. In fact, his ringing endorsement might come at a pretty bad time for them:
“We deeply appreciate your dedication and consistent support, and commend your outstanding efforts. I welcome this opportunity to express our gratitude to Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, for his dedication and contribution to this important cause. I salute the supporters of this institution, whose efforts and dedication have helped it flourish.”
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein may have smiled when he got that statement, but one wonders if he’s still smiling now that Netanyahu is about to be indicted.
“Bibi,” as he is known to his friends and to friendly world leaders, is corrupt. He and his entire family have improperly used Israeli funds and demanded favors, and now it’s going to pay in dividends in the form of charges for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
More importantly, Bibi is known as a war criminal.
Regardless of your stance on Israel and Palestine, it must be conceded that war crimes have been committed on both sides of the conflict, from bus bombings by Hamas-friendly militants, to mosque massacres carried out during prayers by Israeli soldiers.
But it is also not up for debate that Israel’s actions have far outweighed the Palestinians’, whether or not you believe they are entitled to “protect themselves” from a people with no army, no air force, and certainly no “Iron Dome” protecting them, as Israel has. Not only that, but Israel, under Netanyahu, has carried out atrocities that the Palestinians simply are not capable of returning: building illegal settlements in order to reclaim land from Palestine, arbitrarily arresting and detaining Palestinians (often breaking up families), and literally starving children to death by blockading humanitarian aid.
Getting Bibi for bribery while his record on human rights stands where it does is a little like busting Al Capone for tax evasion — it sucks, but we’ll take it, just so he has to stop.
For his part, Rabbi Eckstein booked the fundraising venue in hopes that Donald Trump himself would stop by.
“These people are going to be standing and giving an ovation to President Trump if he comes.”
That’s because the group, like their patron Netanyahu, supports Trump’s recent decision to explicitly name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the American embassy there.
IFCJ isn’t the only group that supports Donald Trump, and they’re not the only group paying upwards of a hundred thousand dollars in hopes of catching a glimpse of the president strolling through the Versaille-style ballroom of Mar-a-Lago. They are the only ones holding a fundraiser for Israel’s activities under the guise of a “charity.”
Featured image via Evan Agostini/Getty Images