Sunday, December 30, 2007

Guns n' Gambling back Cameron's Tories

DON'T accuse Britain's Tories of being anti-immigrant. Their papers may stir up hysteria about "foreign criminals" and asylum seekers "flooding in", but they'll welcome anybody if their money is right. Especially if they give lots of money to the Right. After the row over Labour's hidden donations, the Sunday Times, normally campaigning for David Cameron's Tories, has balanced the picture a bit by revealing one of the Tories' biggest donors is a Finnish billionaire whose fortune was built up with Israel's arms industry, and who owns almost half of Las Vegas.

A balance of sorts it is. David Abrahams, the North East property developer who used go-betweens to give money to Labour politicians is a pillar of the Labour Friends of Israel.

Poju Zabludowicz, whom the Sunday Times reveals has donated £70,000 to the Conservative party over the past three years, is also one of the financial supporters of the Conservative Friends of Israel, which has also given money to the party. He is chairman of the Britain-Israel Communications and Research group, BICOM, which works directly with the Israeli embassy. Ex-Labour MP Lorna Fitzsimmons became its chief executive officer when Danny Schenk was promoted ambassador to France.

It was in September 2000 after the second intifada erupted that the Israeli ambassador in London called businessmen supporters of Israel to an urgent meeting. "That evening a group of them raised an initial £250,000 fund for pro-Israel lobbying and public relations. First to wave his chequebook was Poju Zabludowicz, a little-known name at the time but now an emerging figure who recently entered the Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated £2 billion, and who owns 40 per cent of downtown Las Vegas."

Mind you, Zabludowicz is a bit of an internationalist. His father, Shlomo, described as an Auschwitz survivor who went to Finland, is credited with developing Israel's heavy arms industry from seeking self-sufficiency to becoming a major exporter. He died in 1994. Since then like France's Le Creusot Poju has diversified into saucepans.

Now Zabludowicz, 55, lives in London but is counted as "non-domiciled" for tax purposes. He heads the Tamares Group, which has its headquarters in Liechtenstein and has an international property portfolio, which includes hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, and property in New York and Washington, as well as a business park in Haifa.

But Poju is still one of the big guns of Israel's lobby in Britain and Europe. As the Jewish Chronicle reported in July 2006 it was planning a major revamped PR campaign aimed particularly at opinion-formers and leaders. "We must also now focus on educating Britain's leaders about the importance of the shared values between both countries. We hope that our plans will set an agenda for the entire pro-Israel community," said Bicom chairman, Poju Zabludowicz.

"According to Electoral Commission records, Tamares provided £15,000 for Cameron’s leadership campaign in 2005 and has donated £55,000 to Conservative funds in 2006 and 2007.
Zabludowicz has also provided funds for the Conservative Friends of Israel, which in turn has donated nearly £30,000 to the Tory party.

"Cameron already enjoys the backing of another foreign businessman, Mahmoud Khayami, a French citizen who has given £830,000 in the past year. Both Zabludowicz and Khayami are registered to vote in European Union elections and are entitled to make donations to the Conservative party".
Vegas casino billionaire bankrolls the Tories,

see also:
Richard Perle employed as consultant by Soltam:

Just to add to our point about the internationalism of the arms industry: Soltam's M-66 mortar was based on a Finnish design, but then mounted on a Sherman tank chassis. A later Merkava gun was mounted on the British Centurions which Israel was able to build under licence. But it was Soltam's co-operation with the South African arms industry which gave rise tio the GHN-45 reported in use by Israel in the Bekaa valley during the 1982 Lebanon war. Ironically, the further development of South African heavy weapons which the Israeli industry had assisted is thought to have led to the "supergun" which Saddam Hussein's Iraq tried to build with help from British technicians.

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