Claims Conference Chair Lashes Out at Critics

Letter Responds To Calls for Independent Probe of Fraud

GETTY IMAGES

By Paul Berger

Published May 31, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Julius Berman, has hit out at media coverage and Jewish communal criticism of his handling of a 2001 letter that could have stopped a multi-million dollar fraud at the organization he has led for more than 10 years.

READ THE FORWARD’S RESPONSE TO BERMAN’S LETTER

In an 11-page letter to members of the Claims Conference board, Berman attacked media organizations such as The Forward and The Jerusalem Post, as well as World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder and Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky.

“I no longer have the luxury of sitting back and allowing such unvarnished lies to be published about me without responding,” Berman said of the Forward’s coverage.

Berman has been under siege for several weeks since a story in The Forward revealed that an anonymous letter sent to the Claims Conference in 2001 alerted the organization to fraud being committed by its own employees. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency later reported that Berman, in his role as pro bono counsel, oversaw an investigation into the letter’s allegations.

At the time, Berman served on the Claims Conference’s executive committee and its control, or audit, committee. One year later, he became Claims Conference chairman.

When the fraud was eventually uncovered, in 2009, it had netted its participants $57 million. Almost all of the people implicated in the 2001 letter were either convicted of or pled guilty to fraud.

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or on Twitter @pdberger

Letter from Julius Berman to the Board of the Claims Conference


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • 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.