Source of WJC Leak a Mystery

By Nathaniel Popper

Published March 30, 2007, issue of March 30, 2007.
  • Print
  • Share Share

As the controversy over the firing of top officials at the World Jewish Congress entered its third week, much of the focus was on a topic that seems to riddle all national debates these days: the source of a leaked document.

The document in question was a letter written March 14 by the president of the WJC, Edgar Bronfman. In it, he accuses Rabbi Israel Singer, his longtime lieutenant, of helping “himself to cash from the WJC office, my cash,” of “playing games with his hotel bill” and of not paying taxes. A few days later, excerpts from the letter appeared in a number of news stories, triggering vehement denials from Singer and back-and-forth accusations about which side leaked the material to the media.

The secretary general at the WJC, Stephen Herbits, said that Pierre Besnainou, president of the European Jewish Congress, was the only one to whom Bronfman had sent the letter. Herbits claims that Besnainou must have supplied the letter to Singer, who then leaked it to the press.

“Even though it condemned him, it made him look like the person who is the victim,” Herbits said. “That is Singer’s style. I am telling you categorically that Mr. Bronfman did not distribute the letter.”

After hearing of Herbits’s claim, Besnainou said, “It is completely false.” He declared, “I categorically state that I did not ‘leak’ this private letter to anyone and made this very clear to Stephen Herbits when we spoke in Caracas,” where the two men met last week.

The mystery unravels as both the Israeli and European branches of the WJC are battling with Bronfman and Herbits over the recent firings. Herbits announced that there would be a meeting of the WJC’s steering committee May 7 to discuss the recent dustup.

A larger WJC governing board meeting is scheduled for June. There has been talk that Bronfman will step down as WJC president, allowing for an election at that time. One of the most prominent candidates has been Bronfman’s son, Matthew. But this week, Herbits said, “Mr. Bronfman may or may not tell them he is retiring.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.