Wednesday, April 1, 2015

NYU's Michael Steinhardt, Wall Street and Golan Heights Oil Connection: Part 10

NYU Trustee Steinhardt’s Murdoch-Genie Energy-IEI-Golan Heights Connection

In 2010, NYU Trustee Steinhardt also joined the billionaire Australian global media baron whose News Corp. media conglomerate owns the right-wing Fox News network, the New York PostThe Wall Street Journal  and many other mass media properties—Rupert Murdoch—as an investor and chairman of Israeli Data Technologies [IDT]/Genie Energy’s Israel Energy Initiatives [IEI[: a U.S.-based oil corporation that’s been seeking in recent years to profit from drilling for oil in Israel/Palestine and the Golan Heights region of Syria, that the Israeli military still illegally occupies. As Sarah Pavlus noted in a May 11, 2011 post on her “Conflict of Interest” Media Matters blog:

“Fox Business Network repeatedly promoted a controversial oil shale venture in Israel without disclosing that Rupert Murdoch -- the head of Fox's parent company -- is one of the project's most prominent investors.

“Last year, News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch joined the `Strategic Advisory Board’ of Genie Energy, and purchased an equity stake in Genie Oil and Gas, which consists of Genie Energy's interests in oil shale initiatives on federal land in Western Colorado and in Israel's Elah Valley. Genie Energy -- which is a division of IDT Corporation, a global telecommunications company -- has attracted several other high-profile advisers and investors, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, Lord Jacob Rothschild, and Michael Steinhardt, a prominent hedge fund investor…On three consecutive days last month, Fox Business promoted Genie Energy's project in Israel -- known as Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI) -- yet never disclosed Murdoch's financial stake in it….”

Not surprisingly, however, opposition to Steinhardt and Murdoch’s Genie Energy/IEI planned oil shale drilling project in the Elah Valley of Israel/Palestine by environmental groups soon developed; and the Israeli Union for Environmental Defense was successful in getting the Jerusalem Regional Planning and Building Committee to block the Elah Valley oil shale drilling project in a Sept. 2, 2014 legal ruling. But ten days later the Northern Regional Planning and Building Committee of Israeli/Palestine authorized Steinhardt and Murdoch’s Genie Energy/IEI/Afek Oil Gas division to start drilling for oil in the Golan Heights region of Syria. As an Oct. 22, 2014 article in The Times of Israel noted:

“…On September 11, the Northern Regional Planning and Building Committee approved a project for exploratory drilling in the Golan Heights. The area approved is 396 square kilometers [33% of the 1,200 sq. km that make up the Golan Heights], starting in Katzrin and extending southward…The exploration program allows Afek to drill 10 wells in order to search for oil, which its experts believe exists in a conventional liquid form…Genie [the parent company of Afek] is also the parent company of Israel Energy Initiatives [IEI]Genie Energy…has some heavyweight investors. Former US vice president Dick Cheney, Michael Steinhardt, Jacob Rothschild, and Rupert Murdoch are all reportedly connected to the company. It also has connections within the Israeli political establishment: The chairman of Genie Israel is Effie Eitam…who…served as the minister of national infrastructures in 2002-2003….”

Yet according to the same article, environmental activists in Israel/Palestine “contend that even a small amount of oil seeping into the underground water table” from Steinhardt and Murdoch’s Genie Energy/IEI/Afek Oil Gas division project in the illegally occupied Golan Heights region of Syria “could eventually reach the Sea of Galilee—actually a lake—and make” Israel/Palestine’s “largest freshwater reservoir undrinkable…”

(end of part 10)

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