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June 7, 2013 8:10 am

JNF Backtracks on Funding Half Million Dollar Clinton Speech

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Bill Clinton in February 2013. Photo: U.S. Department of Labor. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has announced that it is withdrawing from the upcoming gala honoring Israeli President Shimon Peres, where former U.S. President Bill Clinton will earn a $500,000 fee to speak.

An Israel Hayom investigation had revealed that JNF gave the Peres Academic Center, which is hosting the event to celebrate Peres’s 90th birthday, part of the money to cover Clinton’s fee, with the academic center covering the rest. The report sparked outrage in the Jewish community over the large sum for Clinton.

But in a letter sent to JNF board members on Thursday, JNF CEO Eli Spiegler wrote, “In order to remove any doubt, neither the JNF nor any of its members have ever had any contact with Clinton or his representatives” regarding the speaking fee,Israel National News reported.

Spiegler also wrote there were several inaccuracies in media reports about the Clinton fee, and that JNF has decided to pull out of the event out of respect for Clinton and Peres.

“The [JNF steering] committee decided that the atmosphere created does not allow JNF to pay the due respect to former president Clinton and President Peres and our friends and supporters abroad,” he wrote.

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