Head of Mideast Dialogue Group Has Ties to Fulani
The top professional of an American Jewish organization that supports Jewish-Arab dialogue programs in Israel is on the board of an organization founded by the leaders of the now-defunct, anti-Zionist New Alliance Party.
Robert Levy, the new executive director of the Givat Haviva Educational Foundation Inc., has been an active board member of the All Stars Project Inc. — a charity that claims to serve 30,000 young people per year. The All Stars was founded by two-time presidential candidate Lenora Fulani and Fred Newman, who have long attracted the scrutiny of Jewish organizations for their controversial stands.
According to the Anti-Defamation League Web site, Fulani was a strong supporter of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and was quoted in the New Alliance Party newspaper as saying Jews “had to sell their souls to acquire Israel and are required to do the dirtiest work of capitalism — to function as mass murderers of people of color — in order to keep it.”
Newman, too, has been quoted in “National Alliance” as saying, “The Jew, the dirty Jew, once the ultimate victim of capitalism’s soul, fascism, would be victimizer on behalf of capitalism,” according to the ADL.
The ADL reports that Newman and Fulani regularly referred to themselves as “anti-Zionist” in the pages of their party newspaper.
“The All Stars Project is part of the series of enterprises fully associated with Newman and Fulani,” said Kenneth Stern, antisemitism and extremism specialist at American Jewish Committee.
A vice chairman of the Givat Haviva Educational Foundation, Harold Shapiro, who is also the chairman of Meretz USA and its past president, said he had not previously heard about Levy’s reported involvement with Fulani. Upon hearing about it from a reporter, Shapiro said, “it’s always problematic when someone is involved with someone like Lenora Fulani. This is a very serious charge and something I’m sure we’ll take up in a very serious matter.”
The Givat Haviva Educational Foundation, based in New York, was founded in 1966 as the American tax-exempt support organization for the Givat Haviva Institute in Israel. The institute was created in 1949 by a kibbutz movement linked to the Israeli left-wing political party Mapam, which has since merged into the Meretz party. The institute runs Jewish-Arab dialogues on its campus in northern Israel.
Levy, reached by telephone at his home Tuesday, declined to comment, as did the chairman of the Givat Haviva Educational Foundation Inc., Yvonne Baum Silverman.
Condemnations of Levy and his links to Fulani and Newman are being aired on a telephone hotline of the tiny militant group Jewish Defense Organization.
Jerry Goodman, executive director of National Committee for Labor Israel, told the Forward: “This is a very awkward situation and potentially embarrassing to Givat Haviva.” Goodman’s committee is not connected to Givat Haviva or any of its organizational parents.
“It’s an issue they will have to face quickly and resolve as soon as possible,” Goodman said. “While no one wants to be condemned as guilty by way of association, nevertheless reports concerning Givat Haviva’s executive director’s affiliations could be problematic in this instance.”
Levy, who was hired by Givat Haviva last year, has been involved with Fulani as far back as 1997, if not further. According to a Federation Elections Commission news release dated May 12, 1997, Levy was one of the “respondents,” along with Newman, on behalf of the Lenora B. Fulani for President Committee, in a complaint initiated by the commission over its finances. The Federation Elections Commission sent admonishment letters but took no further action.
Lines between the All Stars Project and other organizations headed by Fulani and Newman are often blurry. According to The New York Post, the All Stars provided grants in 1977 to the Castillo Cultural Center and the East Side Institute for Short Term Psychotherapy, both long associated with Fulani and Newman. Newman has served as the All Stars’ $59,000-a year artistic director, the Post reported.
Levy is no anonymous board member of the All Stars Project. A May 1998 profile in Fund Raising Management of Gabrielle Kurlander, the actress and entrepreneur who has served as president of the All Stars Project since 1990, detailed what appears to have been the close involvement of Levy during the formation of the group’s President’s Committee. “For help [Kurlander] called on Robert Levy, a hardworking volunteer with a background in Wall Street who shared her enthusiasm for discovering and cultivating” donors, the article states.
Newman, who started as an ally of Lyndon LaRouche, helped found the New Alliance Party in 1979. Fulani joined the party in 1984. In 1992, after the strong showing of Ross Perot in the presidential election, the New Alliance Party merged with other, smaller independent parties to form the Federation of Independent Parties. The New Alliance Party dissolved itself in 1994, and Fulani and Newman urged its members to join New York’s Independence Party and the national Patriot Party. In 2000 Fulani served as co-chair of the perennial right-wing presidential candidate Pat Buchanan’s Reform Party presidential campaign.
Investigative journalist Dennis King, whose book, “Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism” was published by Doubleday in 1989, claimed that all of Fulani and Newman’s organizations, including the All Stars Project, “have the political goal to further the power of Fred Newman and Lenora Fulani.”
The New Alliance Party now operates under many different names, said Dan Levitas, author of “The Terrorist Next Door” (Thomas Dunne Books) about the American right wing. “In New York they’re operating under the rubric of the Independence Party… Newmanites is probably the more accurate representation.”
“Time and again we’ve seen many people with legitimate political and professional credentials show up within the close orbit of Fred Newman,” Levitas said.