Liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz recently expressed its outrage with The Jewish National Fund after the non-profit paid Bill Clinton $500,000 to speak at Israeli President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday.
JNF, which is well known for planting trees and planning parks, was recently accused by Palestine of committing war crimes by planting trees on Palestinian land. By hosting Clinton, who will speak on sustainability, the non-profit hopes to generate positive PR internationally and ease tensions with Palestine.
Reportedly, the fee will be given to the William J. Clinton Foundation, which focuses on environmental and economic causes.
However, Haaeretz called the payment of Clinton’s fee a “cause for embarrassment,” and chief diplomatic correspondent for Israel TV Ayala Hasson tweeted that she believed it was “a loss of all shame.”
Clinton has a history of charging outrageous speaking fees, including a speech in Hong Kong in 2011 for $750,000. That same year, he earned $13.4 million from speaking fees alone. Clinton’s fees are at the top of the chart, charging at least $50,000 more per speech than high earners Sarah Palin, George W. Bush and Al Gore.
“This is an unnecessary waste of public funds by a supported body that receives aid from the state,” Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich said.
Clinton is also scheduled to speak at the President’s Conference in Jerusalem with celebrity guests Barbara Streisand and Sharon Stone.