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Developer Funds Interests Coming and Going

Irving Moskowitz, the Florida businessman and champion of right-wing causes in Israel, is also a big donor for the incoming Republican chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Laura Rozen in Politico reported Monday that Moskowitz and his wife donated in this past election cycle $9,600 to Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who this week assumed the chairmanship of the House committee that oversees foreign policy.

But this is not the only place where Moskowitz is putting his money. He is also the developer and funder of a 20-unit apartment complex in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah. This complex will be built over the ruins of the building known as the Shepherd Hotel, which was demolished this week by Israeli authorities in order to make way for the new project.

And this is where it gets interesting.

Moskowitz is funding the project and is also supporting Ros-Lehtinen. Ros-Lehtinen is now in a position to pose difficult questions to the State Department. And the State Department, with a harshly worded statement by Secretary Hillary Clinton on Sunday, made clear it really opposes Moskowitz’s building project in East Jerusalem. In fact, Clinton even called the tearing down the Shepherd Hotel to make room for the Jewish housing project a “disturbing development.”

And even if Clinton won’t hear from Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on this issue, she is sure to hear from Abe Foxman of the Anti Defamation League. He sent out a letter to Clinton, as well as to the UN and EU leaders, protesting their criticism of Israel’s decision to demolish the hotel and build a Jewish apartment building. The letters were described as “private” but in a press release the ADL said it was “deeply concerned by this barrage of condemnation aimed at Israel.”

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