The JNF: A Ship of Fools?

Ship of foolsOn Sunday, based on an official communique from The Jewish National Fund in New York, we reported that former President Clinton’s $500,000 speaking fee was being covered by Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael.

Now, in an email from Russell F. Robinson, JNF-USA’s CEO to eJP last night, we understand The Peres Academic Center is paying the fee.

Again, here is Sunday’s statement from JFN-USA:

It has come to our attention that payment to the foundation of President Bill Clinton was made for his participation in the upcoming Presidents Conference and 90th birthday party of President Shimon Peres by the Peres Peace Center. Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (JNF-Israel) was one of the major supporters as he is also scheduled to speak at their (KKL-JNF Israel) international conference where more than 600 people will attend a gala dinner with President Clinton and President Peres. While it is customary to pay a speaker’s honorarium, travel expenses, and dinner venue cost, Jewish National Fund of America donated dollars were not utilized for this. Participants from over 40 countries are paying their own way to enjoy this celebration. We wish President Peres a happy birthday and a celebration on the level he deserves.

and this from JNF-Israel’s board chair Efi Stenzler:

I have no idea how much the talk costs – I didn’t ask. Why should I ask? After all, a regal dinner is still just a dinner.

[eJP note: While we do not question that The Peres Academic Center paid Clinton’s fee, the question still is, “where is the money from.” No-one appears willing  to answer, on – or off – the record.]