Apr 1, 2015

Federation Men “Follow the Money” to Learn “Who Is Really Funding the Terrorists?”

After exploring sports, fine spirits and Cuba as well as philanthropy together this season, our Men’s Division took on a topic of most critical concern for their spring event: “Follow the Money: Who Is Really Funding the Terrorists?” On March 24, men of all ages who care about premium time together as well as helping the community overflowed Chuck and Gail Lichtman’s beautiful Sun & Surf home and patio area in Boca Raton. After connecting over hors d’oeuvres and cocktails by the pool, they got down to serious business with renowned international terrorism financing expert Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

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Stu Ganslaw, who co-chairs the Men’s Division with Gary Rubin and Peter Wohlgemuth, spoke of the new division’s great success, noting, “There was clearly a need for men’s programming, and we’re filling it.” Wohlgemuth followed with a wrap-up of the men’s remarkable recent mission to Cuba. He emphasized the power of seeing the important work being done for our Jewish family there with our help, as well as the bonding the men experienced. “There is strength in our numbers,” he said. “The Mission connected neighbors who had to go to Cuba together to find out how much they had in common. And the trip sparked a great renewal of Jewish identity among many of us as it sparked the philanthropic spirit. While we were there, we raised nearly $25,000 together for our Cuban Jewish family.”

Chuck Lichtman, the event’s host, introduced Schanzer. The guest speaker was a former research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He studied Middle East history in four countries, and earned his Ph.D. from Kings College London. Schanzer wrote his dissertation on the U.S. Congress and its efforts to combat terrorism in the 20th century. Widely traveled, internationally published and a frequent guest on television in the US and on Arabic language channels such as al-Arabiyya and al-Jazeera, Dr. Schanzer is the author of several influential books and has testified before Congress.

Schanzer’s riveting presentation and his responses in a lively question and answer session gave an insider’s view of the economics and cash flow that explain world events of critical interest to our Jewish community and to Israel. He discussed the economics behind the rise of ISIS and the international response, calling Syria “the Peshawar of this generation.” Schanzer also analyzed the cash flow behind the lead up to and aftermath of last summer’s war with Gaza, among other topics.

Schanzer further focused on the economics related to negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program, seeing the situation “at a precipice of having Iran in the same place as far as capability and disclosure, despite lifting sanctions that have been effective.” He continued, “The United States and Israel must get past their differences on Iran and focus on our common enemies.” Schanzer also expressed confidence in Israel’s technological edge as a powerful tool in the conflict, “Israel can deploy these as powerful weapons without firing a shot.” And he separated the people of Iran from the regime, “Our greatest hope is that there are many people there who want what we want.”

After the event, many of the men had Schanzer sign copies of his most recent book, State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State, which argues that the main roadblock to Palestinian statehood is not necessarily Israel's intransigence, but the Palestinian Authority's political dysfunction and mismanagement.

Matt Levin, Federation President & CEO, described guest speaker Schanzer as “a remarkable individual who has been embedded every day for years in the critical issue of terrorism financing, researching and providing real time information and playing an integral role in the designation of numerous terrorist financiers.”

In addition to Co-Chairs Stu Ganslaw, Gary Rubin and Peter Wohlgemuth, the Men’s Committee includes: Don Brodie, Mark Dern, Bryan Drowos, Arthur Goldberg, Stewart Kasen, David Katzman, Chester Kay, David Kirschner, Michael Krauss, Kenneth Lebersfeld, Chuck Lichtman, Joseph Mishkin, Jeffrey Newman, David Pratt and Michael Shapiro.

Federation’s Men’s Division is generously sponsored by BNY Mellon. The March event was sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, and The Boca Raton Observer is Exclusive Magazine Sponsor.

For more information about the Men’s Division and activities, contact 561.852.6084 or felicen@bocafed.org.

Click here to view more photos from this exciting event