By Gilad Atzmon
A few days ago the BBC reported on an extraordinary French identity theft scam. For two years starting in late 2015, an individual or individuals impersonating France's defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, scammed an estimated €80m from wealthy French patriots.
The victims of this fraud were tricked into believing that they were being contacted by France’s Defence Minister who was requesting money to help pay ransom for journalists held hostage by Islamists in the Middle East. Since France officially does not pay ransom to terrorists, the fake minster assured the victims that payments could not be traced and asked for the funds to be wired to a bank in China.
The BBC deemed the operation “one of the most outlandish and successful rackets of recent times.”
You may not be surprised that the accused evil genius behind this con is a French-Israeli character of Tunisian Jewish background named Gilbert Chikli. Chikli grew up in the working-class Belleville neighbourhood of northeast Paris.
In 2015, Chikli was found guilty of scamming money from French corporations by pretending to be their chief executive. By the time the verdict was reached, Chikli was safely ensconced in the Jewish State, which refuses to extradite its nationals.
Chikli's luck ran out in August 2017 when he made the mistake of travelling to Ukraine where he was arrested at the request of the French police. Chikli told police he was on a pilgrimage to the tomb of a well-known rabbi. But a search into his phone’s communication revealed that he went to Ukraine to buy a silicone mask
The alleged crime saga didn’t end there. Recently reports began to arrive at French embassies around the world that once again a fake Le Drian, now French foreign minster, was trying to squeeze money out of influential ‘friends of France’. In February, three French-Israeli citizens were arrested near Tel Aviv in connection with this new swindle.
Chikli’s racket is astonishing, creative; criminologists may decide that it borders on genius. Although Chikli didn’t invent the art of the swindle, he ratcheted it up to a higher level.
What I find remarkable about Chikli’s operation is not the stunning amounts of money, the sophistication, or even the chutzpah involved: it is the fact that Chikli ’s scam was dependent upon the humane compassion of others. He banked on the fact that humans feel and care for each other. We are dealing with a disgraceful blow against the most precious aspect of humanity, that which sustains kindness and brotherhood.
It is not surprising that some very wealthy and influential people fell for Chikli’s racket and for the obvious reason: decent humans would find it hard or even impossible to imagine the extent of Chikli and his friends’ deception.
And Chikli is not alone in his practices. In recent years we have seen a number of instances of gross misbehavior and abuse and on a spectacular scale. And as is the case of Chikli we find Jews and Israelis at the centre of these embarrassing sagas.
In 2010 an Israeli court ruled that seven Israelis suspected of scamming tens of millions of dollars from U.S. pensioners in a so-called ‘Nigerian scam’ could be extradited to the United States to face trial there. Israel has bought itself a reputation as the location of some of the most horrendous crimes such as organ trafficking (look here and here), and is notorious as a hub of human trafficking, blood diamond, crypto currency criminals, the binary options scam, and the scope of gross unethical behavior extends well beyond the borders of the Jewish State.
In 2012 Britain was shocked to discover that one of its most popular TV stars was a serial pedophile who had committed sex crimes against children throughout his 50 year career. Jimmy Savile raped children in the BBC’s dressing rooms, in orphan homes and in institutions that cared for the disabled. No one bothered to defend Jimmy Saville. Yet when Lord Janner faced similar allegations, the British establishment was somehow hesitant and confused. Despite the fact that Lord Janner was suspected of sexually abusing more than 30 children from the mid-1950s until the late 1980s the British judicial system found itself struggling.
Janner, a former Leicester MP (Labour) was the chairman of the Board of Jewish Deputies (BOD), a body that claims to represent British Jewry and the founder of the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET). To date, neither the BOD nor the HET has expressed any regret for its past association with Janner who died at age 87 before a trial could take place.
Lord Janner’s family is taking good care to restore their father’s reputation. Soon after the Lord passed away we learned from the British press that Janner’s three grown-up children asked “to take part in the investigation into his alleged crimes.”
Outside the investigation’s London headquarters, Lord Janner's son, Daniel Janner QC, attacked the "shambolic and discredited inquiry" (into his father alleged crimes).
He claimed there had been a "total failure" to acknowledge "our late father's good character and legal status as innocent"
In February 2018 we learned that Lord Janner’s son vowed to bring a private prosecution against the man who initiated the Westminster child abuse claims, who has himself been charged with paedophile offences.
I am not in a position to verify whether Lord Janner was guilty of the crimes he was accused of but I can confirm that the enquiry into his suspected sex abuse has collapsed. In all, 33 men and women accused Lord Janner of abusing them. Their plight has been forgotten. One of the most embarrassing chapters in Britain’s past remains untouched.
Lord Janner is hardly alone as a suspect in an abusive sex scandal. For the last two years we have been learning about another Zionist enthusiast who left more than 80 victims traumatized, abused and humiliated.
In October 2017, The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that tens of women came forward and accused Harvey Weinstein, formerly head of Miramax Films and The Weinstein Company (TWC), of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse over a period of at least three decades. More than 80 women in the film industry have since accused Weinstein of such acts. Weinstein denied "any non-consensual sex".
Jeffrey Epstein’s story is similarly abusive. The convicted sex offender prostituted dozens of underage girls and should have spent the rest of his life in jail. Again this is no ‘one-off’ abuse of an underage child, he was a serial sex predator.
According to Joseph Recarey, the lead Palm Beach detective on the case, Epstein was essentially operating a “sexual pyramid scheme.”
The Vox writes that the girls and women who reported abuse by Epstein, meanwhile, were markedly powerless. Most of them “came from disadvantaged families, single-parent homes or foster care,… Many of the girls were one step away from homelessness.”
In November 2017 the genius comedian Larry David was criticized in the Jewish press for admitting on Saturday Night Live that many of those accused of sexual harassment in Hollywood are Jewish.
Jews often brag about their genius gene pool and about the fact that so many Nobel Prize winners are Jewish (20%). Jews frequently boast about their power in politics, media and finance. “Jews must never be afraid to use their well-earned power” was the title of a recent article by Alan Dershowitz, who was a member of Epstein’s legal team and was later accused by one of the victims’ lawyers of himself participating in the sex trafficking ring.
This raises the obvious question of whether the same ‘gene-pool’ that created so many spectacular Jewish minds is also responsible for the list of gross misconduct as illustrated above. I am not a biologist nor an evolutionary scientist, but I admit I am not a great believer in the notion of a ‘Jewish gene.’
I contend that Chikli, Janner, Weinstein and Epstein have something else in common. Their actions display a dismissal of others that verges on complete contempt for humanity. This is the crux of choseness. To be chosen is to see oneself as an exceptional creation. It entails blindness to otherness. It is a form of impunity. To be chosen often involves a near or total lack of empathy. Such lack is often defined in terms of acute narcissism and psychopathy. Chikli is clearly aware of the human inclination for empathy, it is that impulse that he allegedly exploited to his own benefit, he just lacks that empathic quality himself.
Not every Jew identifies him or herself as chosen. None of the Jews in my social circuit displays any of the horrid symptoms described above. As a reader of early Zionist texts, I know well that Zionism was born to emancipate Diaspora Jews from their exceptionalist cultural traits and to make them ‘people like all other people.’ I am also aware that some rabbinical Judaic interpretations of choseness are somehow different from the contemporary Zionist secular Jewish political interpretation of Jewish exceptionalism. Nor is choseness limited to Zionists or Israelis. Choseness has become the pillar of Jewish self identification. Choseness is what binds Jews together. This includes anti Zionist Jews boasting about the precious contribution of the so-called ‘Jews in the movement’ and the Israelis and Zionists who celebrate their choseness at the expense of the indigenous people of Palestine.
Like an early Zionist, I would have liked to see Jews liberate themselves from the choseness prison but I accept that such a shift can not occur in the form of a collective or political movement. The escape from choseness to the ordinary must be an individual struggle, a surrender to self-contempt that eventually matures into a genuine search for peace and harmony with the universe, with the soil and with one’s neighbours.