… has just been sued by Irving Picard – the guy in charge of returning swindled money to Bernie Madoff victims – for very large sums of said money.

Here’s the list:

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ($36 million)
Ben Gurion University of the Negev ($18 million)
Weizmann Institute ($13 million)
Bar Ilan University ($10 million)
Tel Aviv University ($6.5 million)
Technion Israel Institute of Technology

The universities’ response is, as you might expect, we didn’t know, we already spent it, fuck off.

But bulldog Picard, who has, since 2008, clawed back impressive amounts of Madoff’s billions, can be expected to sue hard, citing “unjust enrichment” laws (and after all, don’t most Israelis – most people – consider it axiomatic that art stolen during the Holocaust, for instance, has to be returned even if a particular owner is ignorant of the original theft? — “Holocaust-looted art bears a ‘mark of Cain’ which, under international law, infects all transactions relating to it, including transfers to third parties.”).

Picard also points out that the now-defunct charitable group that gave the Madoff money to these institutions (Picard is also suing this group) had financial as well as charitable motives:

Picard’s complaint in the court claims that the Horowitz Association did not transfer these huge sums only as a donation to encourage research in Israel; it chose to act as an investor with economic interests, and made receiving the money contingent on the provision of proceeds through royalties.

Picard notes that several other institutional beneficiaries of Madoff – Hadassah, for instance – immediately returned their Madoff money on learning that they harbored it.

By refusing to take the moral and respectable path, the [universities] associate themselves with the thief – Madoff – and not the victims.

Will the universities decide to settle some amount or other on the victims, in order to make this embarrassing lawsuit go away?

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2 Responses to “Much of the Israeli Higher Education Establishment…”

  1. charlie Says:

    Many of Madoff’s victims were Jewish. So, we get a Jewish conman rooking other Jews in order to give the proceeds to Jewish universities. This is almost as bad as my brother in law trying to get me involved in his Amway operation….

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    charlie: The strategy even has a name: affinity fraud.

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