Electronic Telegraph. International News. Thursday July 4 1996 Issue 420
Netanyahu is pressed over American ‘aliases’
By Anton La Guardia in Jerusalem
ISRAEL’S Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, came under mounting pressure from opposition MPs yesterday to clear up mysteries about his past, particularly allegations that he used a variety of names in the United States.
Amid rumours that Mr Netanyahu may have worked secretly for the US government during his 11 years in America, Palestine the Speaker of the Israeli parliament yesterday agreed Informationto allow the issue to be raised after MPs failed several times to table questions.
He had earlier ruled that one motion, entitled "Who are you Benjamin Netanyahu?" and presented by the Labour MP Dalia Itzik, was insulting.
"I have serious reason to suspect that the Prime Minister is concealing something," she said yesterday after tabling a watered-down version. The affair started last week when Kol Hair, a Left-wing weekly newspaper in Jerusalem, reported that Mr Netanyahu’s social security file in the United States contained four different names:
John J Sullivan and
John J Sullivan Jr.
Even murkier was the disclosure that the file had been marked "Secret". The paper said this can be done only by the CIA, the FBI or the Internal Revenue Service for specific categories of people
— employees of the government and the three agencies; their undercover agents; witnesses under the witness protection programme; wanted criminals and terrorists.
Tamar Gozansky, a member of the mainly-Arab Hadash faction, was denied the right to table a question asking whether Mr Netanyahu had worked for the CIA. Mr Netanyahu has previously admitted using the family name Nitai when he was a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1970s, apparently because the shortened version was easier for Americans to pronounce. "I am amazed that this ridiculous personal campaign did not die down with the end of the election campaign."
Congress received him with great fanfare. President Clinton, who during a recent election campaign had backed his rival, Shimon Peres, appears to have had a change of heart. Yet who is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and why did the political elite in the US accept him with such warmth? A few important facts about Netanyahu and his objectives -- which the US media has obstinately neglected to report -- help to clarify the enigma.
Netanyahu has lived both in Israel and the US: first grade in Israel, second and third in the US; fourth through eighth in Jerusalem, high-school in suburban Philadelphia; military service in Israel, BA. and MA. at MIT. He held DUAL CITIZENSHIP, which enabled him to travel freely between both countries, study in the US, receive federal loans to cover his education costs at MIT and work legally. Like every US citizen, Netanyahu has a social security number, a credit account, and numerous other files in a variety of government offices.
Nevertheless, Netanyahu's files differ from those of most US citizens. The Israeli weekly Hai'r reports that four requests for credit approval appear in US social security file number 020-36-4537. Under each request one finds a different name: Benjamin Netanyahu, Benjamin Nitai, John Jay Sullivan and John Jay Sullivan Jr. -- ONE MAN, FOUR NAMES.
Benjamin Netanyahu is the name Israel's current Prime Minister was given at birth and which he now uses. In June 1973, during his studies at MIT, Netanyahu submitted a petition to the Boston court, asking to change his name from Netanyahu to Nitai; "I prefer a shorter name," he wrote on the request form. The petition was approved, thus the second name has an explanation. The last two names, however, remain a mystery. Furthermore, the address attached to these names -- somewhere in Malibu, California -- does not exist. Who then is John Jay Sullivan?
Biranit Goren and Einat Berkovitch from Hai'r tried to find out. They looked into Netanyahu's credit account. This file is supposed to hold information regarding bank accounts, loans, credit cards and so forth; yet, surprisingly the file was empty. It is as if Netanyahu never had a debt, had never taken out a loan, and always paid his bills up front and in cash.
Goren and Berkovitch then attempted to examine Netanyahu's social security file, but were denied access. They did, however, find out that Netanyahu's file has a different classification than most. They were denied access not merely due to the 1974 privacy act, but because the file had a "CONFIDENTIAL" classification. Goren and Berkovitch have explained that such a classification only applies to five categories of people: those who work for one of the three federal agencies -- FBI, CIA, IRS -- or those who are considered to be terrorists or criminals. Since it is 'UNLIKELY' that Netanyahu fits the latter two categories, or that he worked for the IRS, it appears that he was on the payroll of a security agency -- the CIA or FBI.
According to Israeli law, a person who runs for Knesset (the Israeli parliament) cannot hold DUAL CITIZENSHIP. Netanyahu claims that in 1982 he gave up his US citizenship, yet he is unwilling to grant the press access to his file located in the US embassy in Tel-Aviv -- the file which holds information regarding his citizenship. Interestingly, the status of his files in the US has not changed, so ACCORDING TO U.S. LAW, Netanyahu REMAINS a US CITIZEN.
Netanyahu -- the person who in 1982 left his job as a furniture salesman to be a POLICY ADVISOR at the ISRAELI EMBASSY in Washington DC, and within 14 years became PRIME MINISTER -- is still in many ways a conundrum. By contrast, his political objectives are becoming clearer.
An Israeli proverb asserts that the intention of a person can be understood by examining the goals of his friends. And indeed, in order to gain insight into Netanyahu's political objectives it is well worth looking at his acquaintances and financial supporters. Goren and Berkovitch report that Hagen-Daz founder Reuben Matheus, who contributed (until his death sometime last year) millions of dollars to Kahana's fascist political party and to the Jewish settlement in Hebron, also contributed to Netanyahu. Marvin Josephine, the head of ICM, one of the biggest publishing companies in the US, is considered a major contributor to the Likud, and more specifically to Netanyahu. Another donor is Barry Slotnik, an attorney who has among his clients the Italian and RUSSIAN MAFIA. (Slotnik was also a friend of Kahana, acclaiming him one of the biggest heroes in Jewish history). Ted Arison who owns cruise-lines in the US is considered not only a friend, but a confidant. His Calridge-Arison group is interested in purchasing "Bank Hapoalim," the second largest in the country.
Contributors and political allies from Australia, Joseph Brender, Bernard Moss, Mark Bissan and Jack Mendel, wish to invest in Israeli real-estate and the textile industry. Mendel, one should note, lets Netanyahu use his luxury condo in Tel-Aviv. Sandy Eisenshtat, who allows Netanyahu to use his Jerusalem condo, owns an Israeli oil and gas company. In London, Netanyahu often stays with RUPERT MURDOCH.
Finally, from the Esteè Lauder cosmetic dynasty, Netanyahu's ally RONALD LAUDER, who ran for mayor against Rudolph Giuliani. During his election campaign, Lauder called Giuliani an impostor who was not conservative enough to be a member of the Republican Party. Lauder is founder, major contributor, and chairman of Shalem Institute, a right wing think tank located in Jerusalem. Dr. Hazoni, the Institute's director, said to Hanna Kim from the Israeli daily Ha'aretz that the Heritage Foundation in DC, and the Center for Social Policy Studies in London are his models. Like Heritage which is thought to have developed Reaganomics, and the Center for Social Policy which designed what is now called Thatcherism, it seems that Shalem Institute will introduce what in years to come will be known as NETANYISM. -- ( excerpted )
by Neve Gordon
Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University.
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