Singer to stand down as President of Claims Conference

Decision comes three months after Singer was ousted from World Jewish Congress over allegations of financial improprieties.

israel singer wjc 298.88 (photo credit: Channel 1)
israel singer wjc 298.88
(photo credit: Channel 1)
The veteran American Jewish leader Israel Singer will not seek reelection as President of the Claims Conference during the group's election next month, the organization announced Tuesday. The decision, which had been anticipated, comes just three months after Singer was ousted from his senior position at the New York-based World Jewish Congress over allegations of financial improprieties, and amidst calls by some members of the Claims Conference to dismiss him from the Holocaust restitution group even before the July elections for the organization's leadership. Singer, who has served as the President of the Claims Conference for over five years, and was up for reelection in July, has categorically denied the allegations of financial irregularities. In a statement, Chairman of the Claims Conference Julius Berman, who was advised of Singer's decision on Tuesday, acknowledged the "tremendous" service that Singer has done on behalf of Holocaust survivors and the Jewish people, and paid tribute to the "remarkable achievements" that arose out of the international negotiations carried out under Singer's direction, which, he said, have made a difference in hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives around the world. Singer has been under a cloud since his sudden March dismissal from the WJC by his longtime friend and associate Edgar M. Bronfman, who subsequently stepped down from the organization after serving as WJC president for over a quarter century. Two months ago, the top body of Australian Jewry uncalled for Singer's immediate ouster from his position as president of the Claims Conference following the renewed allegations of financial improprieties at the WJC, calling Singer "morally tainted" with corruption charges. Singer has a rich three-decade record of service to the Jewish world, including working to free Russian Jewry and acquiring billions of dollars in Holocaust restitution, but his name was badly tarnished by financial mismanagement scandal that has long plagued the organization. An investigation by the New York State Attorney-General's Office which focused on a series of money transfers totaling $1.2 million from New York to a Swiss account, had barred Singer from any future connection with the "financial management, supervision or oversight of fund-raising activities" of the group, but did not find any evidence of criminal wrongdoing.