via The Political Cesspool
The crisis presents an almost irresistible combination of exploitable
elements — pictures of suffering children, government and law
enforcement chaos and a gullible public who seem willing to believe
But what is different is the appearance of a new breed of online
Jewish entrepreneurs — the Jewish “Schindlers” who style themselves as
selfless saviours of non-Jewish refugees, much as the original Oskar
Schindler was said to have saved Jews.
One of the most colourful is a Florida-based philanthropist and ex-con called Yank Barry
who has made his millions from manufacturing soya “meat substitute” and
supplying the non-discerning diners in hospitals, care homes for the
elderly, correctional facilities and the like. (Barry’s birth name is
Gerald Falovitch. Yank is short for Yankel, his Yiddish name.)
Barry has invested millions in his own personal rescue project in
Bulgaria by feeding and accommodating refugees in hostels and hotels en
route to the West. His philanthropy gained him nominations for a Nobel peace prize by three US congressmen last year.
It also led to a flood of positive publicity. In Britain the Jewish-owned Daily Express dubbed him the “Jewish Schindler,” and he claims the United Nations has endorsed his efforts. He told the Jerusalem Post last year he had succeeded in his “goal to surpass Oskar Schindler, who saved 1,200 Jews,”. Reuters has reported on his expansion plans. He has an enviable media platform from which he is able to pronounce on the refugee crisis at length and criticise Sweden on Bloomberg TV (Bulgaria) for not providing a home for Palestinian refugees .
But all this is a world away from his past life. In 1982 the former
singer and record producer was jailed for six years in a lurid gangland
extortion case. Barry later told Larry King that he was a cocaine addict, but his incarceration helped him to turn his life around.
The description “convicted felon with organised crime connections”
does not look good on anyone’s resume, but Yank Barry bounced back with Vitapro, and also a dietary supplement called Propectin which appears to have near miraculous healing qualities and seems to be specifically marketed at the Black community.
Since 2013 his charitable efforts for refugees in Bulgaria and elsewhere have been carried out through his charity, the Global Village Champions Foundation — motto: “doing well by doing good ” — which, like his soya bean and dietary supplement companies, are based in the Bahamas. Celebrities were happy to lend their names to his efforts.
When Syrians began fleeing over the Turkish border into Bulgaria,
Yank Barry saw an opportunity. He already had his business connection
with Bulgaria because Propectin and the Vitapro were made in Bulgarian
factories. Barry is targeting the booming refugee market and claims he
has already fed refugees in Rwanda, Liberia and the Congo.
Not that charity can’t backfire at times. Accompanied by the usual
posse of TV cameras, Yank Barry took journalists to a refugee camp near
Sofia but his hostile reception clearly took him by surprise
and he beat a quick retreat, but not before plucking some refugees
from the angry mob and accommodating them in his abandoned four-star
hotel in Bankia on Sofia’s extreme outskirts.
But always there will be the carpers and naysayers. Led by German journalist Frank Stier and former Wall Street Journal reporter Mark Mitchell,
the questions have not stopped. How many refugees has he really helped?
Why do some of his named clients deny having dealt with him? Where is
the accounting for his charity organisation? What is the basis for his
claims that his Propectin dietary supplement can successfully treat
diabetes, cancer and radiation sickness? By way of response, Barry has
hit back with a tour of his Bulgarian plant but the questions aren’t going away.
Refugees continue to pour over the border from Turkey into Bulgaria and this has been cited as the new highway to Germany. If this comes about it will be partly through the efforts of philanthropists like Yank Barry.
Another businessman who has repeatedly called himself a “Jewish
Schindler” also comes from Canada and also claims to have rescued the
lives of women and girls in Syria and Iraq.
In Montreal Steve Maman says he was suddenly moved by the television
pictures of refugees needing help. Now his organisation, the Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq, raises funds to pay the ransoms of women and children held captive by Islamic State.
A slick social media marketing campaign featuring professionally made videos and supportive articles
helped raise at least $600,000 dollars on GoFundMe, the crowdfunding
website, and Paypal; Maman says he has freed 128 girls and women so far.
This is far removed from his usual occupation of selling classic cars
and jewellery. But Maman, an orthodox father of six, says he is obeying a
Talmudic injunction to heal the world. The Schindler tag is repeated again and again in the media coverage. A Christian cross is at the centre of his website logo.
As in the case of Yank Barry, Maman’s actions have led to a tide of publicity from CBC, Fox TV, the Times of Israel
and more. He also seems to have received the personal endorsement of
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper who was pictured shaking his
hand. Oddly, he has also won the backing of professional Muslim-baiter
and sometime cartoon competition organiser Pamela Gellar.
Maman claims that donations have mainly been from the Jewish
community who also provide his team of volunteers on the ground in Iraq
but he says he is disappointed that Christian churches have not stepped
up to contribute to his project.
One of the reasons for their reluctance might be a lack of
transparency in his charity affairs. Another is the company he keeps. He
recruited as a hostage negotiator an Israeli woman called Gill
Rosenburg who came with a certain amount of baggage.
She spent four years in a jail
in the US for her role in an Israeli-based telephone “boiler room” scam
that was said to have bilked elderly Americans out of over $25 million.
It was the biggest such racket ever uncovered in Israel and led to
Rosenberg being extradited from Israel to the US to face justice.
But as with Yank Barry, questions are belatedly being asked. Vice reported that doubts
had been raised from within the Yazidi community itself — disputing the
number of rescued girls and women and casting doubt on the whole
operation; these questions were repeated by the Montreal Monitor. Even the Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel appear sceptical.
The only female Yazidi member of the Iraqi Parliament
said that as far as she knew, no Christians had been enslaved in the
area — so none could have been liberated. Now Maman’s allies are trying
to distance themselves from him. Even ex-con Gill Rosenberg says his hostage-brokers were “worse than ISIS.”
Confidence in Maman was not improved when his GoFundMe account was
closed. By this time most people would have quit, but not the
thick-skinned Steve Maman. He sails on.
It is all a sad turn of events for someone who claimed he was
operating from the highest motives. As he told CBC, “What motivated me
is very simple … being Jewish, being part of a people that actually
survived the Holocaust.”