Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak yesterday described the Daily Mail article featuring pictures of him in January 2016 entering and leaving the New York home of disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein as a "blood libel." The UK newspaper last night ignored Barak's ultimatum that it remove the article from its website by 7pm Israel time or face a defamation suit.
He also blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the article's appearance, telling activists of his Israel Democratic party. "A despicable act has taken place in Israel in the past 24 hours - a loathsome, false and groundless blood libel that is no surprise. For more than 25 years, we have lived in a poisoned atmosphere in which anybody who disturbs the pursuit of power by Netanyahu and his extremists becomes a target for incitement, lies and becomes a traitor and worse."
Epstein is accused of child sex trafficking and has pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from a minor.
The pictures of Barak were first published by the Daily Mail in 2016 in which Barak was described as an unidentified man because his face was covered as he entered Epstein's Manhattan home. The Daily Mail has now republished the photos as well as some of him leaving Epstein's home without the face covering, accompanied by a body guard.
The Daily Mail has implied that Barak covered his face because of the covert nature of his visit, but Barak insists that as a Middle Easterner he finds it cold in New York in January.
Yesterday Barak waved the face covering in front of party activists in Tel Aviv as he attacked Netanyahu. The latest opinion polls show Barak's new party precariously poised around the 4-seat minimum threshold.
Barak, 77, who hopes to return to the Knesset, is running in the September 17 elections as Chairman of the newly formed Israel Democratic party. He says he has instructed his lawyers to break off his business relationship with Epstein.
He told the "Daily Beast" "I met him more than ten times. I never participated in his parties and never met him when he was with young women or minors."
Barak is angry about the sordid insinuations in the Daily Mail article. He is shown entering and leaving Epstein's home an hour later. Also in the article are pictures of young women who entered Epstein's home on the same day with no clear indication of any timeline.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 18, 2019
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019