Monday, July 21, 2008

Frank Lowy's Cash Connection To Blair's Lord Levy

Remember Tony Blair's big "cash for peerages" scandal? I was taking another look at this page on Frank Lowy and noticed the Frank Lowy connection to Lord Levy, which I'd missed and/or forgotten to note:
LORD LEVY, one of Tony Blair's closest and most trusted aides, was paid at least £250,000 by an Australian property group headed by one of the world's richest men.

The payments, which the company has attempted to keep private, are far higher than previously thought and began in 1999, the year Levy was appointed Blair's envoy to the Middle East, reporting directly to the prime minister.

They were authorised by Frank Lowy, the head of the Westfield corporation, who has business and political interests in Israel and whose company is seeking planning permission to develop shopping centres across Britain...

The disclosure has raised questions of "cash for foreign policy". MPs expressed concern at Levy's potentially conflicting roles as a consultant for a powerful multinational company and supposedly impartial and unpaid envoy. Levy said he paid privately for trips he made on behalf of Blair. In a letter to Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, said:

"I am concerned the Foreign Office's diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East should apparently be so closely tied to the aims of one of the world's richest men."

Baker said Levy appeared to be "simultaneously a quasi-minister, Labour fundraiser and consultant to a company seeking to influence government policy".

MPs have also demanded to know why a company with big expansion plans in Britain should employ a man with no obvious expertise in the field. Levy has earned up to £3,800 a week since 1999 from Westfield, the world's biggest developer of shopping centres. Over the same three years, Levy made 45 trips to 19 countries, meeting Arab and Israeli leaders and reporting back to Blair and the Foreign Office. He terminated his arrangement with Westfield last month, shortly before he would have been under pressure to make it public by tighter rules on parliamentary disclosure...

Westfield refused to elaborate on its relationship with Levy, saying only that he was retained "to advise on and identify potential business opportunities or partners". His payments over three years totalled "at least £250,000", according to Whitehall sources.
Lord Levy's history is one of being a pop impresario, starting off Alvin Stardust and Chris Rea.

At the time this story broke, April 2002, it was assumed Lowy's main interest in Levy was to build more and bigger Westfield stores in Britain, in the face of growing community protests. But wait a minute...

Levy was getting this money throughout 2001, when the 9-11 operation was unrolled. This means Lowy had personal access to the UK's top man in the Middle East as well as control (with Larry Silverstein) of the WTC site. Think about that.

Also from the Crimes of Zion page:
Frank Lowy funded and launched the Israeli Institute for National Strategy and Policy, which operates within the framework of Tel Aviv University in Israel. Lowy is the Chairman and former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk is Vice-Chairman.

Furthermore, he is a founding member of the International Advisory Council of the pro-Israel Brookings Institution in Washington. According to wikipedia, "Brookings is generally considered one of the three most influential policy institutes in the U.S", and focuses on five main areas of research: Economic Studies, Foreign Policy, Governance, Global Economy and Development, and Metropolitan Policy. The aforementioned Martin Indyk, Vice Chairman of Lowy's Institute for National Strategy and Policy at Tel Aviv Uni and former US ambassador to Israel, is also a Director at Brookings. You can read about Indyk here.
Indyk was born in London but raised in Sydney, gaining a BEcon from the University of Sydney in 1972 and a PhD in international relations from the Australian National University in 1977. He served two stints as United States Ambassador to Israel, from April 1995 to September 1997 and from January 2000 to July 2001.

Finally a bit more on Frank's local Australian connections:
Lowy was vice president of a publication called the Australia/Israel Review (AIR), whose parent body is AIJAC (Australia Israel Jewish Affairs Council), the Australian counterpart of its US equivalent, AIPAC. The AIR is a right-wing Zionist publication whose editor, Michael Kapel, was forced to quit in '98 after the magazine published stolen membership lists of the One Nation party, an Australian nationalist political group.

When Palestinian political activist and politician Hanan Ashrawi was awarded the 2003 Sydney Peace Prize, Frank Lowy was one of the most vociferous among the chorus of Zionist protestors and Jewish lobbyists that decried the result and tried to dissuade NSW premier Bob Carr and members of the Sydney Peace Foundation from giving the award to Ashrawi. Lowy, among others, claimed Ashrawi 'supported suicide bombings' and opposed the two-state solution set out in the 1993 Oslo Accords. Sydney-based Jewish-Australian journalist Antony Loewenstein shows how fraudulent these claims are in the opening chapter of his book My Israel Question, arguing that the real reason behind Lowy and co's objection is her support for the Palestinian cause and anti-Zionist disposition.