In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 6, 2003 / 11 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

Putin's prosecution of the oligarchs can teach a powerful lesson about anti-Semitism

By Edward I. Koch

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http://www.jewishworldreview.com | In the early 1990s, post-Communist Russia went through a frenzied period of crime and disorder that rivaled the OK Corral shootouts depicted in westerns. Many Russian businessmen traveled with huge security contingents to protect them from other businessmen, all of whom were seeking to strip the Russian government (then led by Boris Yeltsin) of its material assets which were the national patrimony of the Russian people. This chaotic period gave rise to a new Russian power group called the "oligarchs."

The oligarchs were both ambitious and ruthless as they tried to transform old Communist Russia into a modern capitalist society. Many employed every possible criminal scheme to achieve financial success. They seized the assets of the Communist state, delivering them into private hands and, whenever possible, into their own hands.

In some ways, the Russian oligarchs resemble the so-called "Robber Barons" who corruptly acquired countless billions in 19th century America, sometimes by bribing members of Congress. Using monopolies and giant corporations, which were not subject to anti-trust laws and other government controls, America's Robber Barons — including Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Morgan and Rockefeller (dynasties still familiar to us) — built and acquired railroads, banks, real estate, oil and coal companies and other national resources. President Teddy Roosevelt led a reform movement to reign in these rapacious monopolists, and in the depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt imposed controls on their industries.

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Under the oligarchs, Russia has experienced a similar stripping of its natural and other resources. Last February, I sent a three-paragraph letter to President Vladimir Putin in which I said:

"I am an admirer of yours, and I think you are doing a terrific job in leading your country.

"Enclosed is a copy of a New York Times article on Boris Berezovsky and a discussion of the oligarchs. The Times stated, 'In Russia the small group centered on people like Vladimir Potanin, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Mr. Berezovsky who, through a complicated mechanism that would have been labeled an outright scam in the West, gained control of vast slabs of the former Soviet state's minerals and oil through arranged auctions and loans worth only a fraction of the companies being acquired.

"Wouldn't it make sense for a special prosecutor to examine all of the purchases made by so-called oligarchs when the Soviet Union collapsed and Russia accepted the market economy and began the disposition of assets heretofore belonging to the state? If, as The Times states, the auctions and loans are perceived as outright scams by experts in the West, why should the Russian people be permanently deprived of those assets and the income derived from them? I think you would be applauded worldwide if you were to have the matter adjudicated fairly before a court of competent jurisdiction."

Now the Russian government has begun to take action against the oligarchs. Boris Berezovsky, who amassed billions of dollars in holdings in the securities and automobile sectors, was one of the first to be prosecuted on fraud charges.

Recently, prosecution was initiated against the richest oligarch of them all — Mikhail Khodorkovsky — a major shareholder of Yukos Oil, described by The New York Times as "Russia's richest company." Khodorkovsky's wealth has been estimated at 12 billion dollars or more, and if the charges are true, this wealth was essentially stolen from the state and its people.

Some oligarchs are Jewish, which poses a real danger for all Jews in Russia. Anti-Semitism exists in Russia today as it did in the Soviet Union and under the Czars. In the old days, anti-Semites used the crimes of one Jewish crook as proof that all Jews were criminals. Now there will undoubtedly be attempts to use the crimes of a few Jewish oligarchs as an excuse to attack all Jews. As a small minority, Jews are a convenient and vulnerable target for any country, especially if that country's public officials are trying to divert the outrage of its people who accuse their government of mismanagement and providing low-living standards.

The fear of increasing anti-Semitism should not deter President Putin from proceeding against the oligarchs, provided he takes all necessary measures to assure fair trials for all. He should use this opportunity to attack anti-Semitism and punish those who engage in it. He should point out that crooks, whether as individuals or as part of Russia's organized crime rings, are just crooks.

Unfortunately, Russia today still bears the scars of Stalinist rule. It does not have a judicial system that is independent of government control as is the case in Western democracies. President Putin should proceed against the oligarchs irrespective of their religion and ethnicity. At the same time, he should make certain that the courts in which they are tried are perceived as, and in fact are, fair and independent with presiding judges who are universally accepted as able, scholarly, just and open minded.

Russia is at a crossroads. If it proceeds fairly, it will have turned a significant corner on the road to democratization.

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JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio (WBBR 1130 AM) every Saturday from 9-10 am. Comment by clicking here.

© 2003, Edward I. Koch