Saturday, March 28, 2015

NYU's Michael Steinhardt, Wall Street and Golan Heights Oil Connection: Part 6

NYU Trustee Steinhardt’s `Birthright Israel’ Connection

Steinhardt also revealed in his 2001 autobiography other ways in which he has apparently historically collaborated with the militaristic Israeli establishment that has historically violated Palestinian human rights:

“…I also set up the Steinhardt Family Foundation in Jerusalem…I have derived the most satisfaction from my most ambitious…project `Birthright Israel…’ In the spring of 1997…I ran into Charles Bronfman…whose family controlled The Seagram Company…We agreed to each put up $5 million to start developing an organization called `Birthright Israel.’,,,

“By the summer of 1998, we had developed a plan that would fund `Birthright Israel.’ In Jerusalem,…Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would commit $20 million a year to the project…In addition, Charles and I would raise another $20 million a year on our own…Starting Jan. 1, 2000, 15,000 college-aged Jews would be brought to Israel…In 1999, Charles and I each wrote a check for $9 million…The kids…met Israeli politicians…A number of them took Jeep trips…through the Golan Heights…After seeing the topography…they were absolutely opposed to giving up the Golan Heights in any peace negotiations…”

According to a July 4, 2011 article by Kiera Feldman (no relation to this writer)  in The Nation  magazine, between 1999 and 2011 Steinhardt’s “Birthright Israel…spent almost $600 million to send more than 260,000 young diaspora Jews on free vacations” to Israel. The same article also noted that by 2011, “far-right Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson” was “the largest individual donor, having given Birthright $100 million over the” previous “five years,” while “the Israeli government provided Birthright $100 million during the program’s first decade; and in 2011 Israeli “Prime Minister Netanyahu…announced another $100 million in” Israeli “government funding” for NYU Administration funder Steinhardt’s project.

One reason the militaristic Netanyahu government was so eager to spend $100 million more to fund Steinhardt’s Birthright Israel project in 2011 was perhaps because “after the 2006 Lebanon war, Brandeis researchers found that Birthright alumni were more likely than other young American Jews to view Israel’s military conduct as justified,” according to The Nation magazine article. The same article also described Birthright Israel’s 2000 to 2011 U.S.-based funders in the following way:

“…Most of them just happen to share hawkish Israel politics. In 1998, during his first term as prime minister, Netanyahu gave the initial guarantee of Israeli government funding. By 2000…at least eight funders were trustees of AIPAC’s think-tank spinoff, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy—including Steinhardt and Bronfman. Casino magnate Adelson…once…broke with AIPAC—for not being conservative enough. Other notables: oil billionaire Lynn Schusterman,…thirty-five-year AIPAC veteran and the purse for many `pro-Israel’ youth initiatives such as the Israel on Campus Coalition,…; diamond baron and settlement construction impresario Lev Leviev; Slim-Fast billionaire S. Daniel Abraham, a member of the AIPAC board; and neoconservative philanthropist Roger Hertog, emeritus chair of the Manhattan Institute. Then there’s [now-deceased] donor Marc Rich, a founding Birthright board member, the billionaire oil trader controversially pardoned by President Clinton; throughout his business dealings, Rich gathered intelligence for the Mossad.

“Several Birthright donors, including family foundations operated by the Gottesmans, Grinspoons, Steinhardts and Schustermans, have also financially supported illegal Jewish settlements…”

But in an Apr. 29, 2013 article that was posted on The Electronic Intifada website, three non-Israeli Jews who launched the website Renounce Birthright called for an end to Steinhardt’s Birthright Israel program, because it is “based on the belief that Jews have a right to settle in modern-day Israel, to the exclusion of the indigenous Palestinians” and “operates under the premise that all Jewish people have an exclusive `right’ to Palestinian land;” while “a Palestinian refugee population of nearly 7 million people is to this day excluded from returning to their lands by Israeli state discrimination.”

As a late September 2014 press release of the Loyola University Chicago Students for Justice in Palestine [SJP] chapter—that was issued after 15 Palestinian students lined up on Sept. 9, 2014 at a Birthright Israel table on Loyola University’s campus and asked if they, as Palestinians whose families were expelled from villages inside present-day Israel, could also register for a Birthright trip—also observed:

 “…Birthright Israel is an Israeli government-funded program that sponsors free trips to Israel exclusively for Jewish students…Any Jewish student worldwide can register for the program, while indigenous non-Jewish Palestinians are not only ineligible for the program, but often are denied the right to live in or even visit their homeland freely.”

(end of part 6)

Friday, March 27, 2015

NYU's Michael Steinhardt, Wall Street and Golan Heights Oil Connection: Part 5

NYU Trustee Steinhardt’s Israeli Investments

In 1979, Steinhardt apparently began to invest his money more heavily in an Israeli society whose military violated the human rights of Palestinians. As he recalled in No Bull:

“In 1979…I went into partnership with an Israeli businessman, Lehu Veisser. We constructed industrial parks in…towns, including Kiryaf Gat, Natirot, Schderet, and Ofakim, that had been built near the southern border of Israel primarily for strategic purposes…I met Shimon Topor, who eventually became a partner of mine. He became my guide to all subsequent investments made in Israel, some of which have been substantial…”

Before becoming a business partner of Steinhardt, Shimon Topor, was, coincidentally, the Israel Continental Bank’s Chairman and CEO and managed the international operations of Israel’s Bank Hapoalim.

Given NYU Trustee Steinhardt’s “substantial” investments in Israel’s corporate-oriented economy, in 1990, not surprisingly, Steinhardt also “held a meeting of leading Israeli economic figures at” his “home” that “included the senior members of the” Israeli “Ministry of Finance, including then Finance Minister Berga Shohat, as well as the” Israeli “Ambassador to the United States.., Lester Crown, CEO of General Dynamics; Leonard Garment, a former…adviser to President Nixon; and…Richard Ravitch, former head of the Metropolitan Transit Authority…to discuss the development of new infrastructure programs for Israel,” according to No Bull.

(end of part 5)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

NYU's Michael Steinhardt, Wall Street and Golan Heights Oil Connection: Part 4

NYU Trustee Steinhardt’s Vietnam War Era Hedge Fund Firm

NYU Trustee Steinhardt apparently made a lot of money during the Vietnam War Era after he, Howard Berkowitz and Jerold Fine established a Wall Street private investment/hedge fund firm they named Steinhardt, Fine and Berkowitz & Company in July 1967. In his 2001 book, No Bull, Steinhardt indicated how his partnership of Wall Street hedge fund speculators apparently made its profits during the Vietnam War Era:

“…Hedge funds generally charge a management fee of 1 percent to cover overhead and expenses, plus a percentage of the profits [of their clients’]—in our case and conventionally, 20 percent…By the end of fiscal 1969 [during the Vietnam War Era], Steinhardt, Fine, Berkowitz & Company, had almost $30 million in capital…In 2 short years, still in our late twenties, Jerry and I had become millionaires…Our biggest success came with King Resources, a company whose story was vast oil and gas discoveries…We made about 5 times our money in a few months…Because I was at the center of…trading information, I gained a competitive advantage…We were often accused of `running ahead’—trading on the knowledge of buyers and sellers that the block traders provided…In 1969, a trader needed to sell 700,000 shares of Penn Central, a large railroad…I bought 700,000 shares at 7…I turned around and sold the 700,000 shares at 7 ¾ to a buyer at another firm…I made more than a half million dollars on a trade that took all of 8 minutes…Marc Rich…became an investor and then a good friend of mine…”

Coincidentally, a Mar. 9, 2001 article by Josey Ballenger, titled “Marc Rich inquiry highlights strange bedfellows,” on the Center for Public Integrity’s website contains the following reference to NYU Trustee Steinhardt’s “good friend,” Marc Rich (who died in 2013):

“Buried in the furor over former President Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich is the role the fugitive commodities trader played in supplying oil to South Africa's apartheid government, in violation of international sanctions against the racist regime…The billionaire Rich, who fled to Switzerland in 1983 to escape tax evasion and other U.S. criminal charges, was South Africa’s biggest supplier of oil (and traded other commodities with the pariah country), contravening U.S., European Community and OPEC embargoes and amassing millions of dollars… Rich headed the list of oil suppliers to South Africa, according to the Shipping Research Bureau, an Amsterdam-based watchdog that monitored sanctions-busting commodities trading from 1980 to 1993…An apartheid-era official from the Strategic Fuel Fund—South Africa’s oil procurement agency—confirmed in a recent interview that the former government traded directly with Rich, sometimes through front companies. The SFF considered Rich to be its most reliable supplier during the boycott, said the official, who asked not to be named.

Rich was indicted in 1983 on more than 50 counts of tax evasion, fraud, racketeering and trading with the enemy. The Justice Department charged that he evaded more than $48 million in taxes (the largest tax fraud case in U.S. history)…Rich’s companies paid $200 million in criminal fines and penalties in 1984 in connection with the case, but he was not tried as an individual.”

(end of part 4)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

NYU's Michael Steinhardt, Wall Street and Golan Heights Oil Connection: Part 3

Sol Frank Steinhardt and Michael Steinhardt’s Historic Business Relationships

Much of the money that Steinhardt used when he first began his speculation activity on Wall Street during the early 1960s was money that his father, Sol Frank Steinhardt, apparently gave him. As Michael Steinhardt recalled in No Bull:

“…My father began loaning me money to start investing. Before long, I had a stock portfolio worth $200,000, a substantial sum of money for a 20-year-old in the early 1960s…He would give me, say, $10,000, all in $100 bills (in early 1960s-valued money)…I never asked where the money came from. I simply took the money…to begin investing for him. Occasionally, he would come up with more than $10,000. Once, he handed me a substantially larger amount, which I stuffed in my pockets….It heightened my consciousness to be carrying stacks and stacks of $100 bills through the streets and subways of the city…Investing my father’s money allowed me to invest in the stock market without feeling undue pressure…”

Coincidentally, only a few years before the father of NYU Trustee Steinhardt, Sol Frank Steinhardt, began handing his son a lot of cash in envelopes to “invest,” Sol Frank Steinhardt apparently was accused of enriching himself illegally by then-Manhattan District Attorney Frank Hogan’s office. As Michael Steinhardt noted in No Bull:

“…My father became a gambler of some repute as an adult. His friends and his business activities, along with his gambling, drew the attention of various state and federal authorities…He paid for everything with cash…He did not keep business records nor seriously prepare a tax return until the federal government finally discovered this oversight…He knew Meyer Lansky, the…mobster, and right up until the time of my father’s death, he remained close to Lansky’s partner, Jimmy Aiello--`Jimmy Blue Eyes,’ as his friends called him. I met Jimmy on several occasions; he and my father saw each other at least a couple of times a year…Plenty of rather shady characters were in my father’s circles. When Joey Anastasia, another acquaintance, was shot in the barbershop of the Park Sheraton Hotel, the police picked up my father for questioning. The two of them had apparently been out gambling together the night before Anastasia was killed…

“My father’s gold-buying during the war [World War II] became the defining opportunity of his life and led him into the jewelry business. He became a fixture on Forty-Seventh Street, in the `Diamond District’ of Manhattan, where cash was often the primary medium of exchange…Everybody in the jewelry district knew him…I even heard him referred to as the `jeweler to the mob.’…During my time at Penn, my father was arrested…In 1958, Frank Hogan, the District Attorney of Manhattan, arrested my father and announced publicly that he had apprehended the biggest jewel fence in America, Sol Frank Steinhardt…My father was found guilty on two felony counts and sentenced to prison. For each count, he received 5 to 10 years, to be served consecutively, not concurrently…I hired a lawyer who taught at Brooklyn Law School. He won a second appeal for my father…The court agreed to release my father on the basis of time served (almost 2 years), if my father accepted the felony charge. He did.

“At the time, I believed, totally, in my father’s innocence…Over time, I have come to have a different opinion…He had certainly engaged in purchasing stolen jewelry at various times in his life…He did engage in illegal activities…”

(end of part 3)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NYU's Michael Steinhardt, Wall Street and Golan Heights Oil Connection: Part 2

Most anti-war, anti-corporate and environmental activists and students on the Lower East Side and in other New York City neighborhoods don’t think that a New York City university school of “Culture, Education and Human Development” should be named in honor of a billionaire hedge fund operator—who apparently made his fortune by speculating in the institutionally racist, sexist and classist Wall Street business world of the late 20th century.

Nor do most folks outside the United States think that a U.S. university school of “Culture, Education and Human Development” should be named in honor of a U.S. billionaire who has apparently collaborated since the 1990s with a militaristic Israeli power structure that denies Palestinians their human rights; and who, in recent years, has involved himself in an oil corporation that apparently has both threatened the ecology of Israel/Palestine and seeks to make big money from drilling for oil in the Golan Heights region of Syria, which the Israeli military continues to illegally occupy.

Yet since 2001 the name of New York University [NYU]’s school of education division has been linked to an NYU trustee named Michael Steinhardt in some way; and in 2014 this division—in which nearly 6,000 students are enrolled—still operates under the name of “NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.”

One reason might be because the administration of tax-exempt and “non-profit” NYU has apparently been receiving millions of tax-exempt dollars from Michael Steinhardt since 2001. As a Dec. 23, 2006 press release that’s posted on NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development’s website noted:

New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education has received a $10 million gift from Wall Street financier Michael Steinhardt... and his wife, Judy, a Trustee of the NYU Institute of Fine Arts…The donation matches their $10 million gift in 2001, when the school was named in honor of the Steinhardts. The combined $20 million is the largest gift in the history of the school…In March 2007, the Steinhardt School of Education will be changing its name to the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development…”

And, coincidentally, another $5 million was received by the NYU Institute of Fine Arts—on whose board of trustees sits Judy Steinhardt—from the Steinhardts in 2013.

In his 2001 autobiography, No Bull: My Life In And Out of Markets, NYU Trustee Steinhardt indicated how he obtained his personal wealth from being a Wall Street speculator who apparently has profited from U.S. capitalist economic recessions historically:

“Much of my life’s focus has been on my performance as a hedge fund manager…Since the age of 13, stocks have held a magical fascination for me…I started buying bonds on the premise that the economy would weaken faster…In the early 1980s, I managed about $75 million in my two hedge funds—the flagship Steinhardt Partners, LP, and an off-shore fund, SP International…We invested $50 million of the funds’ cash and borrowed another $200 million to buy a quarter of a billion dollars’ worth of intermediate 10-year Treasury bonds…Bond bulls—investors like myself—hoped that the money supply would stop growing. This would indicate that the economy was slowing down and possibly heading into recession, good news for bondholders…Our bond investment of $250 million, on $50 million of equity capital and the rest borrowed, made a profit of $40 million…”

(end of part 2)

Monday, March 23, 2015

NYU's Michael Steinhardt, Wall Street and Golan Heights Oil Connection: Part 1

“…Hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt has an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion in 2012. He is known to be the founder of the hedge fund company, Steinhardt, Fine, Berkowitz and Co. He acquired most of his net worth from his diverse business investments as well as from serving as the Chairman of IDT Corporation and Wisdom Tree…In 2010, he started working for Israel Energy Initiatives Ltd (IEI) as the Chairman of the Board….”

--from The website

“Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI) announced in March 2011 a project to transform shale into oil...If it proceeds, the shale oil extraction in Israel project could permanently alter the…atmospheric climate of the Middle East… Along for the ride on this venture are media mogul Rupert Murdoch and former US vice-president Dick Cheney, along with many other notables…IEI's planned operations in the Elah Valley include digging five kilometers of trenches through farms and vineyards to expose the shale rock, which would then be heated…If carried out as planned, IEI’s project would constitute one of the least energy efficient forms of oil production ever devised…Heating the shale…could release at least 15 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. No other extraction process…is…as carbon intensive. This carbon release takes place even before refining, let alone consumption…”

--Macdonald Stainsby in the Nov. 30, 2011 issue of The Dominion

New York University will celebrate the naming of the School of Education in honor of Michael and Judy Steinhardt...The Steinhardts’ $10 million gift, the largest in the school’s history, will create an endowment…The school will be named The Steinhardt School of Education…[then-NYU President] Oliva said: `Our New York University community is enormously proud that our School of Education will bear the name of Michael and Judy Steinhardt…’…A former Wall Street financier, Mr. Steinhardt is a member of the NYU Board of Trustees, chairman of the Board of Governors of Tel Aviv University…Mrs. Steinhardt is a Trustee of the NYU Institute of Fine Arts and co-chair of the American Friends of Israel Museum…”

--from a Mar. 26, 2001 press release of NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development

“In 1991 the SEC began investigating four hedge fund managers–Steinhardt, Soros, Robertson and Bruce Kovner–for colluding with Salomon Brothers to corner the market in two-year Treasury bills. Robertson and Soros were eventually dropped from the investigation, but in 1994 Steinhardt, Kovner and Salomon agreed to pay to settle the allegations. Salomon coughed up $290 million–then the second-largest fine in Wall Street history–while Steinhardt Partners paid $70 million, 75% of it coming out of Michael’s personal pockets…”

--from a Feb. 10, 2014 Forbes magazine article

Friday, March 20, 2015

Falll River, Massachusetts `Not Seasonally Adjusted' Jobless Rate Jumps To 10.7 Percent in January 2015

Between December 2014 and January 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Fall River, Massachusetts jumped from 8.9 to 10.7 percent; while the Massachusetts “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate increased from 4.9 to 5.6 percent during the same period, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in 9 other major Massachusetts cities and in the town of North Adams also increased between December 2014 and January 2015:

1. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Lawrence, Massachusetts increased from 9.6 to 10.4 percent between December 2014 and January 2015;

2. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in New Bedford, Massachusetts increased from 8.8 to 10.3 percent between December 2014 and January 2015;

3. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Springfield, Massachusetts increased from 9.4 to 10.2 percent between December 2014 and January 2015;

4.. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in North Adams, Massachusetts increased from 8 to 8.7 percent between December 2014 and January 2015;

5. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Brockton, Massachusetts increased from 6.7 to 7.4 percent between December 2014 and January 2015;

6. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Lowell, Massachusetts increased from 6.3 to 7.1 percent between December 2014 and January 2015;

7. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Pittsfield, Massachusetts increased from 6.1 to 6.6 percent between December 2014 and January 2015;

8. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Worcester, Massachusetts increased from 5.8 to 6.3 percent between December 2014 and January 2015;

9. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Lynn, Massachusetts increased from 5.5 to 6.2 percent between December 2014 and January 2015; and.

10. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Boston, Massachusetts increased from 4.4 to 4.8 percent between December 2014 and January 2015,

According to the Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s March 12, 2015 press release:

“…The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates for January were up in all twenty-four labor market areas according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics compared to December 2014 rates…During January 2015, both Massachusetts and the fifteen local areas for which job estimates are published experienced seasonal job losses…”

And according to the Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s March 19, 2015 press release:

“…Released preliminary February 2015 estimates…show…manufacturing had no change….in its jobs level over the month…Trade, Transportation and Utilities lost 3,200…jobs over the month…. Construction lost 900…jobs over the month…Leisure and Hospitality lost 500…jobs over the month…”.

Between December 2014 and January 2015, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed workers in Massachusetts increased by 22,000—from 176,000 to 198,000;  and nearly 55,000 of these officially unemployed workers lived in Boston, Brockton, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester or North Adams. In addition, during the month of February 2015, 193,900 workers in Massachusetts were still unemployed, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data.