World Jewish Congress Vice President Isi Leibler Resigns

Leibler says he came to the conclusion that he had no chance of getting re-elected to the post. His resignation ends an ongoing dispute with WJC chairman Singer.

BRUSSELS - World Jewish Congress vice-president Isi Leibler announced his resignation from the organization Monday at the WJC's annual assembly in Brussels yesterday. Leibler said he made the announcement after coming to the conclusion that he had no chance of getting re-elected to the post.

Leibler's resignation marks the end of an ongoing, harsh dispute between the WJC vice-president and the chairman of the organization's board of trustees, Israel Singer, but will not of the issues that occasioned the dispute.

Leibler told Haaretz on Monday that he was resigning because he "came to the conclusion that I cannot remain in an organization that requires me to give a stamp of approval to activities I deem inappropriate, and after it became clear to me that I will not be re-elected to the position."

Leibler said that despite his resignation, "the organization will hear from me if they don't make good on their promise to rectify the manner in which it is run, which, as they also admit today, is inappropriate."

The conflict between Leibler and Singer revolves around the former's demand for an investigation into the transfer of $1.2 million from the organization's New York headquarters to a bank account in Geneva, and the subsequent transfer of the money by Singer into a trust account held by his friend, attorney Zvi Barak.

Leibler has rejected the results of three internal audits conducted by the organization, saying that they were not performed by professional accountants. He also rejected a fourth audit carried out by newly appointed WJC secretary-general Stephen Herbits, saying that Herbits is a close personal associate of WJC president Edgar Bronfman.

On Monday, the Congress was presented with Herbits's 1,050-page report clearing Singer of all the allegations that have been voiced against him in recent months. The report includes documents to show that WJC funds have been handled properly.

Herbits acknowledged, however, that reforms were needed to improve management and control at the nonprofit organization, which was set up to promote Jewish rights and has collected millions of dollars in restitution payments on behalf of Holocaust victims around the globe.