Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Even as coronavirus cases rose sharply in Israel, radicals waving black flags, PLO terrorist flags, and Israeli flags defaced with black, continued their protests against Israel’s government.
While millions of Israelis were facing the prospect of returning to lockdown in their own homes, the radicals gathered in huge groups in Kings of Israel Square, hung black flags on historical sites, and clashed violently with police officers who were trying to stop these violent extremists.
Despite their lack of regard for public health, the radical rallies were praised by everyone from former prime minister Ehud Barak to the Israeli Communist Party: part of the Islamic Joint List.
Barak’s support for the rallies wasn’t surprising since a Channel 13 investigation found that the National Responsibility Association had allegedly spent 100,000 shekels (approximately $30,000) on equipment, publicity, and even potentially expenses incurred by the protesters.
The National Responsibility Association had been set up a few years ago by Oshi Elmaleh, Barak’s political adviser, and by his aides and his niece. At the time, Haaretz had described it as a platform for the left-wing politician to relaunch his career. These days the organization claims that it’s deeply interested in democracy and fighting the “far-right”.
But the Channel 13 investigation suggests that it’s actually playing a major role in the rallies.
Early on, Barak appeared to borrow the symbol of the front group in an op-ed titled, “A Sick Country and a Black Flag”, and praised the radicals who have been staging the protests.
While astroturf rallies and front groups are a common feature of left-wing Israeli politics, there is a much more troubling angle to the Black Flag movement and Barak’s alleged involvement.
“The Palestinian Authority flag at a left-wing protest organized by Ehud Barak, the partner of the pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, yesterday outside the prime minister’s house in Jerusalem. Shame and disgrace,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently tweeted.
Next day, protesters outside Barak’s house carried signs reading, “Black Flag protests – financed by money from the sex trafficking of minors”.
The accusations touched on one of the most sensitive issues in Israeli left-wing politics.
In one of the more shocking photos of the Epstein case, Barak was photographed hiding his face as he entered Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse in 2016. The British tabloid noted that on the same day four young women had also entered the now infamous mansion.
One of the women was a Russian model whose father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Red Army, who had attended a university described as an incubator for the KGB, and whose non-profit advocating for diversity in STEM had been reportedly funded by Epstein.
Barak claimed that he was covering his face because of the cold and denied any wrongdoing.
“I was there, for lunch or chat, nothing else. So what?” the leftist politician claimed. “I never attended a party with him. I never met Epstein in the company of women or young girls,”
Barak then threatened to sue the Daily Mail for the “sordid institutions”. That was in 2019.
After the photos came to light, Barak tweeted, “I admit, I usually cover my face when it is cold. Not just in New York. Everywhere in the world. I did not know that this was newsworthy.”
January 2016 was actually New York City’s second warmest winter on record and locals enjoyed temperatures as high as 59° Fahrenheit
More relevant than whether Barak was hiding his face while paying a visit to the world’s most notorious pedophile because of the weather, was his business relationship with Epstein.
Barak claimed to have met Epstein at a party a year after having to leave office where, in his own words, “there were many famous and important people, including, if I recall, both Clintons.”
The former prime minister owed his time in office to Bill Clinton, who had allegedly dispatched his advisers to intervene in the election between Netanyahu and Barak. Obama had made a similar effort to intervene in the Israeli elections against Netanyahu, but Clinton had succeeded.
Barak claimed to have been introduced to Epstein by his corrupt Labor Party predecessor, Shimon Peres, who had been defeated by Netanyahu, despite Clinton’s intervention.
“It would be fair to say that I tried to help Peres win the elections, and I tried to help him in such a way that I would not be openly involved,” Bill Clinton later admitted in an interview with Israel’s Channel 10.
In the interview, Clinton fumed that he was “embarrassed by the audacity” of Netanyahu.
His next choice, Barak, did succeed in taking down Netanyahu, aided by top Clinton advisers,
James Carville, Robert Shrum, and Stanley Greenberg. But then Netanyahu made a comeback.
“You should never underestimate him,” Clinton commented on Netanyahu’s recent victory.
Back in 2001, Barak had lost badly to Sharon, and he was soon looking for career opportunities. A New York Times article noted Barak’s role in global finance, lobbying for big investments from a union in America as a director of a fund run by an unrelated namesake of Winston Churchill.
During this period, he would later claim to have been earning over $1 million a year. Meanwhile he was engaging in business ventures around the world at firms whose names he kept secret.
In 2006, Barak deposited 38 million Japanese yen in a Cayman Islands bank. In 2007, he made a comeback in a unity government with Prime Minister Olmert, who was later convicted and imprisoned on bribery charges. The Olmert-Barak coalition was a disaster for Israeli security and Barak once again announced that he was leaving politics. He began by selling his 31st floor tower apartment, complete with gym, pool, and spa, for $7 million.
Four years later, Barak was touting a new app named Reporty. Two years later it was renamed Carbyne and was backed by $1 million in Barak’s money and by Jeffrey Epstein’s cash. While Barak was the chairman of Carbyne, Epstein had a stake of about 5% in a company valued at around $100 million.
But Epstein didn’t just invest in Barak’s company, he also invested in Barak’s political ambitions.
When Barak’s associates launched the National Responsibility Association, money poured in from American businessmen. The biggest donation came from activist investor Bill Ackman, a top Democrat donor. Ackman, who is married to MIT’s Neri Oxman, had urged MIT to keep his wife’s name out of the university’s Epstein scandal, after Epstein donated $125,000 to her lab.
“I don’t want to see her forced into a position where to protect her name she Is required to be transparent about everything that took place at MIT with Epstein,” Ackman wrote to MIT Media Lab bosses about his wife.
A 44,000 shekel ($40,647) donation to the National Responsibility Association came from HBRK Associates. HBRK was Epstein’s secret non-profit.
Barak denied any wrongdoing. He protested that, “like many respectable people in the United States that we have heard about, I would have preferred in retrospect for this relationship to never have been formed.” But when he was visiting Epstein’s townhouse in 2016, the pedophile’s crimes were public knowledge. Epstein had been tried and sentenced in 2008.
“He’d served his sentence for soliciting prostitution, the indictment didn’t say she was a minor,” Barak protested to Channel 12, when asked about his Epstein ties.
When asked about his visits, Barak claimed that he couldn’t answer the question because of Israeli politics. “Despite the fact that there was no wrongdoing on my part, and that there is not even the faintest suspicion of wrongdoing on my part, I’m not going to address these questions.”
Barak claimed to have met Epstein, “more than 10 times and much less than a hundred times, but I can’t tell you exactly how many” and admitted to visiting what had been dubbed, Pedophile Island, but claimed that it was, “years after the publications about sex parties or orgies there.”
It’s not clear why Barak thought that would be a defense.
The National Responsibility Association promised to transfer Epstein’s donation to at-risk youth, meanwhile it seems to be using its money to fund radical protests targeting Netanyahu.
And it doesn’t end there.
Netanyahu allies have repeatedly raised the question of the $2.3 million that Barak received from the Wexner Foundation. Les Wexner, the Victoria’s Secret billionaire, was the alleged source of much of Epstein’s wealth.
Barak insisted, once again, that it was no one’s business. “My services are in demand, and there are bodies prepared to pay me large sums for them.”
The Wexner Foundation claimed that it had paid Barak $2.3 million to write two papers. The second paper on the subject of leadership had never actually been written.
“We wish to put an end to ugly insinuations, speculations and rumors aimed at tarnishing the foundation’s name without justification,” the Wexner Foundation contended.
The Wexner Foundation partners with the Jim Joseph Fund, which funds the BDS-linked NIF.
A Netanyahu video asked, “What else has sex offender Epstein given to Barak?”
Barak has continued denying the Epstein allegations, angrily asserting last month that, “In the Netflix documentary that was very comprehensive, my name was not mentioned once.”
Meanwhile the hateful Black Flag protests continue to undermine and divide Israel.
Borrowing from the rhetoric of the antisemitic Black Lives Matter movement, Barak asserted that, “Netanyahu and his gang are sitting on the Knesset’s neck just as the white police officer did on the neck of George Floyd”. The Black Flag movement that the National Responsibility Association is funding uses the same white and red on black color scheme as BLM.
The color coordination and the branding strongly suggest that the Black Flag movement is yet another example of an Israeli astroturf group invented by American political consultants. A number of these “social movements” protesting for social justice have come and gone. Their protests were invariably in phase with some Israeli politician’s ambitions and his D.C. consultants, who were free and weren’t working on a Clinton or Obama campaign at the time.
But Epstein’s money adds a darker tone to the Black Flag campaign against corruption.
Netanyahu reminded Israelis that the protests by social justice activists are not only backed by one of the country’s shadiest politicians, but by an organization funded by a child rapist.
And as the Black Flag protests worsen Israel’s coronavirus crisis, Jeffrey Epstein’s money may not only be advancing left-wing politics, but wrecking Israel’s economy and even costing lives.
As Black Flag rioters block roads, throw things at police officers, and start fires, spreading hate and the virus, somewhere deep down, Jeffrey Epstein may be smiling.
Photo: BNO News