March 29, 2008

Is AEY Hasidic enough to be eligible for affirmative action?

All the firms intimately or tangentially associated with the Afghan Ammo scandal -- 22-year-old Efraim Diveroli's AEY Inc., his father Michael Diveroli's Worldwide Tactical, and his uncle Bar-Kochba Botach's Botach Tactical -- are listed in federal contractor databases as "disadvantaged" or "minority owned." This implies that the owners must be Hasidic Jews, because only Hasidics, not Orthodox Jews in general, qualify for affirmative action.

Leaving aside the issue of whether Hasidic Jews should qualify for ethnic preferences, which they have since a Reagan Administration decision in 1984, are the Diverolis and Botaches Hasidic enough to list themselves as eligible for affirmative action?

Granted, this entire debate is absurd, but it's fun ... and a lot of taxpayers' money rides on the question of just how hard it is to declare yourself one of those officially privileged "disadvantaged Hasidic Jews."

Congressman Henry Waxman has scheduled hearings into the AEY scandal, but, you know, I have this strange hunch that the hearings, if they ever happen, aren't going to get into any of the fun stuff. The press hasn't yet touched even the most obvious fun stuff, like Efraim being the nephew of Michael Jackson's rabbi or Efraim's mom being being involved in a Michael Jackson fundraising scam. The original NYT article, for example, left the entire ethnic angle out.

The most famous member of the family is Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who appears to be the brother of Efraim's mother, Ateret Diveroli, a mother of five. (Efraim is described as "the eldest of five.") A 2001 article "Who is Shmuley Boteach?" by Benjamin Soskis says:

To understand why Shmuley Boteach is one of the world's most prominent rabbis, you ... simply have to scan the dedication to one of his latest books, Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments. "To Michael," it reads, "who taught me of humility." Michael, of course, is none other than Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, and Boteach manages to slip references to their relationship into most of his interviews and writings. The rabbi is currently co-authoring a parenting book with the blanched superstar and sponsoring a Jackson-led charity dedicated, unbelievably enough, to ensuring that children receive appropriate amounts of affection. ...

Despite Jackson's lesson in humility, he approaches self-promotion with religious fervor. As he told one reporter, his own Eleventh Commandment is "Thou shalt do anything for publicity and recognition."

Shmuley learned his talent for outreach from the experts. Though he had been brought up in a modern Orthodox home in Miami and Los Angeles, as a teen-ager he became increasingly involved in the ultra-Orthodox Lubavitch, or Chabad, movement. Founded in 18th-century Russia as an offshoot of Hasidic Judaism, the Lubavitch are dedicated to making Jewish ritual accessible to even unlearned Jews. When Chabad moved its base to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, after World War II, its emphasis on outreach to secular Jews intensified; ...

When Shmuley was 13, he met the movement's charismatic leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, whom some considered then to be the Messiah and still do today, even after his death seven years ago. The Rebbe, as Schneerson was called, bestowed upon Shmuley a generous blessing—friends joked that perhaps Shmuley was the Messiah—and later dispatched him, at age 22, to Oxford to serve as a religious emissary. ...

As Shmuley's stature on campus grew, his relations with the Lubavitch leadership began to fray. The L'Chaim Society attracted as many non-Jews as Jews—its president one year was an African-American Baptist—and his peers felt Shmuley was spending too much time courting gentiles, thereby diluting outreach efforts and possibly even encouraging intermarriage. Shmuley replied with what would become his signature defense: that broadening the visibility of Judaism to the general public would inevitably, if circuitously, attract Jews. "To get Jews interested in the Jewish world," he later said, "you have to get the non-Jews interested. The Jews will follow what the non-Jews are doing."

Few in the Orthodox Jewish establishment agree. In 1994 Shmuley was officially rejected by Crown Heights after inviting Yitzhak Rabin to speak at L'Chaim against the orders of the Rebbe, who strongly opposed Rabin's land-for-peace position. The penalty was largely symbolic, since Shmuley had become a master fund-raiser (using British parsonage laws to purchase a second home in North London) and was financially independent.

So, this says that the home presided over by Yoav Botach, Shmuley's father and owner of Botach Tactical, where Efraim Diveroli's mom grew up, was "Modern Orthodox" rather than Hasidic. So, how do they qualify for federal affirmative action purposes as Hasidic?

Perhaps Shmuley converted the rest of the family for awhile, but now he's apparently not a Hasidic anymore, so how do these firms keep going on claiming to be Hasidic?

I suspect more federal contractors will be signing up as disadvantaged Hasidics when they realize that the whole beard and hat thing isn't a federal requirement.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

"Is AEY Hasidic enough to be eligible for affirmative action?" I guess if you're Jewish, and the rebbe (any rebbe) says your Hasidic, your Hasidic. Are they Hasidic enough to get certified? Here's how to get certified in New York.

The Opportunity Development Association's Minority Business Development Center offers individual counseling on financing, marketing, and other issues related to business start-up, growth, and expansion. The MBDC also helps businesses become certified as SBA 8(a) contractors, eligible for federal contracts. Hasidic and other Minority businesses are eligible. There is an hourly fee for services on a sliding scale. The initial consultation is free of charge.

contact: Devorah Charnas
affiliation: Opportunity Development Association (ODA)
phone: 718-522-5620
fax: 718-522-5931
address: 12 Heyward Street, Brooklyn, NY11211
focus: Minority-Owned Businesses. Brooklyn. Williamsburg

Anonymous said...

Is Luke Ford Hasidic?

Anonymous said...

"I've watched parts of the Bar Mitzvahs video of a boy who I presume is Efraim's younger brother."
Wrong. I didn't mention the bar mitzvah videos because the boy is not Efraim's brother. The boy might be Efraim's cousin on the father's side and not the Boteach side. The names of Efraim's siblings are in court filings from the divorce and do not include this boy and his sister. Also, that family only had *two* kids...enough to pay up for parties when they happen.

Anonymous said...

"Boteach was bounced out of the U.K. and denied a rabbinical pulpit there, so he returned to the U.S. with visions of grandeur. He was accused in the U.K. of taking charitable money to buy a big house. (He said the charity he was running, the original Oxford L’Chaim Society, needed a headquarters.) "

Boteach is similar to Rev Wright,2933,311781,00.html

Anonymous said...

Another angle is that certain kinds of people are better at tax avoidance than other kinds of people. Setting up offshore companies is an extremely useful strategy for avoiding paying taxes. Efraim has going to report zero profit from the whole contract in his domestic entity and book the all the profit in his offshore entity. That way, he avoids paying any taxes until he brings the money back into the US. But if he lives abroad, he isn't going to pay any US tax.

In a similar manner, Packouz's father runs a charity and Efraim's uncle also runs a charity. These charity organizations are tax advantaged vehicles. Although related party transactions are circumscribed, there is still a lot one can do with a charity which benefits one's self.

Anonymous said...

I was just watching that video too!

I did wonder if young Adam - even showing off his gangster pose at the start - was closely related to Efraim. Does look a bit like him.

And where does young Avigail Diveroli fit in the family tree?

There is a girl who looks like her at the barmitzvah, Adam & Efraim's younger sis?

Dont look for any great insights from her journalism though.

Anonymous said...

The position that you can convert and then be entitled to receive affirmative action is a strange one, if that is truely the government policy.

You were not considered disadvanted before the conversion, but by the act of joining a new religious group you are awarded a privileged statues in federal contracting.

The special status is clearly a "preference" of one religion over another, and therefore should be clearly unconstitutional.

You can make the race argument, but if conversion is allowed then I don't think that argument holds up.

Even the Hasidic admit, they are not disadvantaged, they are "limited" by their religious practices, and they want the government to subsidize those practices with special treatment.

I would want to confirm how Hasidic is defined by the government.

Anonymous said...

So, this says that the home presided over by Yoav Botach, Shmuley's father and owner of Botach Tactical, where Efraim Diveroli's mom grew up, was "Modern Orthodox" rather than Hasidic. So, how do they qualify for federal affirmative action purposes as Hasidic?

Steve, my own suspicion is these nogoodniks met with Federal officials and stated they were Hassidic. Perhaps they wore Hassidic garb to look the part. Is a bureaucrat going to object to what he sees with own two eyes? He sees what he thinks are Hassidic Jews

What is the burden of proof for a Jew to be Hassidic. For the SBA etc it's probably very low

Modern orthodox have neat beards and no beards. Men probably wear yarmulke or a baseball cap will suffice. They are modern looking and in a lot more professions than the Hasidim. Women are rarely wearing wigs

Anonymous said...

The hell of it all is, some of these more-Jewish-than-thous are probably getting Holocaust reparations as well. $$$$$$$$$$$

Some people rack up; some people pay and pay.

Masters and slaves. Socially we haven't advanced one iota from the 14th Century.

Anonymous said...

Here's something from a Federal website a few years back.

June 24, 1997

... (many detailed questions and answers about the Department of Commerce Strategic Plan, Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), import export, NOAA, satellites, communications, and Minority Busines Deveopment, including this:)

Q.33 Is the goal of the Minority Business Development Agency to help only minorities? If so, how are minorities to be identified for assistance by the Minority Business Development Agency?

Q.33.1 The MBDA Emergency Assistance Initiative/Earthquake Recovery Project categorized Hasidic Jews as eligible for MBDA assistance, identifying them as "members of an extremely orthodox Jewish sect whose distinctive appearance and social customs set them apart as a discrete and insular minority". Why does MBDA grant preferential treatment to one branch of a religion over another? Were Orthodox Jews or Reform Jews considered for MBDA benefits? If so, why were they rejected in favor of another "sect"? Have other religious "sects" such as the Amish been considered for MBDA assistance?

A. MBDA has never intentionally recognized a religion as conferring eligibility for its assistance. Prior to 1984, when a regulation was promulgated (15 CFR Part 1500) establishing a procedure for a group's applying for designation as socially or economically disadvantaged, the only way this designation could be achieved was by an informal lobbying of the Department by the particular group.

In the matter of the Hasidic designation, the leader of an individual group (there are many Hasidic groups) of Hasidic Jewish people in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York, undertook to gain designation as socially or economically disadvantaged by requesting such of the Department. The designation would make it possible for his group to obtain business services and help raise the economic level of his community. Based on the community's unique characteristics, which led to its being discriminated against in the business marketplace, the designation was granted in 1974. No community of Reform Jews has applied for minority designation. If they had, their characteristics would have been considered similarly. Representatives of Amish people have never requested minority designation.

Q.33.2 By what standards is "extreme orthodox[y]" to be measured? What does "set...apart" mean, and what role does it play in qualifying for assistance from MBDA? Has MBDA made similar evaluations of other "sects" and their beliefs which may set them apart, such as distinguishing between Orthodox Presbyterians from Associate Reformed Presbyterians?

A. The term "set...apart" refers only to society in general, not to religiously standards of any kind. It refers to matters of appearance, modes of dress, language, cultural norms, levels of education, and so forth. MBDA does not evaluate "sects", it only evaluates such groups as may present themselves to the Agency for minority designation. It is the responsibility of the group to define its own characteristics with various types of evidence, which, since 1984, has been set out at 15 CFR Part 1400. Since 1984, we recall that representatives of only two groups have applied, convicted felons and Iranians who left Iran for political purposes. Both petitions were denied.

Q.33.3 Do some groups or "sects" fail to qualify for MBDA assistance because MBDA found they do not need Federal assistance, or because MBDA has found they are not minorities? How is one people/group discriminated from their MBDA-assisted brethren?

A. As stated in Question 33.2 above, the Agency does not, on its own and for its own purposes, evaluate any "sect" or other group for minority designation. It evaluates only groups that present themselves to the Agency and it evaluates only those characteristics that the petitioners present to the Agency.

Not infrequently, individuals inquire of the Agency as to whether they qualify for assistance because they are disadvantaged. Our response is that they qualify if they fall into one of our nine already designated groups (Hispanics, Asians, Asian-Pacific Americans, Asian Indians, Native and African-Americans, Aleuts, Eskimos, and Hasidic Jews), regardless of their income. We do not have authority to exclude a member of a designated minority group from obtaining assistance because the member's income is too high. In actuality, MBDA-designated minority members rarely request services at our Centers, so the issue is seldom encountered. If an individual is disadvantaged, but is not a member of one of the nine designated groups, then the individual does not qualify for assistance. Such individuals are always informed, however, that they may petition the Agency for designation of their group.

Q.34 Why does MBDA have a goal to channel minorities into "high growth, non-traditional business sectors"? Is high growth not enough? What goal is achieved by non-traditional sectors? Are businesses in non-traditional sectors less likely to fail?

A. MBDA's fundamental mission as established in the 1969 executive order is to assist minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in seeking opportunities for full participation in our free enterprise system. Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) traditionally have been concentrated in low-level service industries such as janitorial and small corner stores which historically have little growth opportunity. MBDA uses the term "non-traditional" to indicate those industry sectors (such as wholesaling, exporting, and other growth sectors) which have not been traditional within the minority community, in order to increase minority businesses' opportunities to expand and to contribute more to the economy relative to tax revenue, jobs and profits.

MBDA seeks a greater positive impact on the economy through assisting the under utilized minority business community access such sectors.

Q.35 What does "permanent institutional capacity in minority communities" mean? Does the Department mean businesses, or does it mean something else? How is this to be a measurable goal?

A. The creation of a "permanent institutional capacity in minority communities" is accomplished through establishing a permanent network of resource providers that can sustain, over time, a high level of support to minority businesses and entrepreneurs at the conclusion of MBDA involvement. The term "institutional" refers not to minority businesses but the local organizations that provides them with assistance. This can be measured by long-term assessment of the impact of MBDA seed-funded organizations on the minority business community after MBDA funding is phased out.

Anonymous said...

I think my dog is Hasidic. so, can i sign him up for some of this government welfare money?

And i can say "Oy Vey", and bobble my head up and down, so can i form a shell company and get on this gravy train?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, Anonymous.

Following your link, the ODA is bossed by 86-year-old Rabbi Zvi Kestenbaum, who apparently got the first Hasidic AA franchise under Reagan.

He has been variously honored by Clinton and by Bush since then. Google his name and they talk about the Holocaust and suffering Hasids.

A Holocaust refugee, he was (is?) a playa in the Diamond District. Not quite sure what disadvantages a diamond merchant suffers in America, but hey, what do I know. I'm just an American mutt working for a paycheck.

All the Commerce Secretaries have given him awards for the last 25 years. Apparently he can really get out the votes and the cash for the current American President, whoever he happens to be.

Zvi studied at Muncacs yeshiva, so he may be a Muncacser Hasid.

But the ODA office is only 2.8 miles from Lubavitcher World Headquarter (770 Eastern Parkway) so maybe he is a Lubavitch Hasid.

Then again, one of the other ODA staffers is "Elke Teitelbaum", so maybe he is a Satmarrer Hasid.

Then again, maybe Bobovers, Skvers, Satmarrers, Lubavitchers, Muncacsers and all the others have reached some ecumenical deal on how to divvy up the cash from AA programs.

I suspect the latter. They would be cutting each other's throats if all the AA cash went to one sect.

These guys are all black-hatters, though. Ashkenazi yidden to the bone: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Poland, etc.

I still can't figure out what kind of deal that Diliberti or Boteach cut with them.

According to Luke Ford, the B's are of Iranian descent, quite wealthy.

They are not haredi yidden by any means.

Is it possible they worked some Sephardi or Mizrachi Affirmative Action angle? The more I think about it, I can't believe the Sephardi Jews (Syria, Morocco, Egypt, etc.) would let the Ashkenazim get all that AA cash without getting their own piece of the action. They can p!ss and moan about how they are victims, too.

Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, no!!

The Federal Register FAQ you quoted wrongly summarized the law. 15 CFR 1400 explains that minorities for affirmative action includes "Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Spanish-speaking Americans, American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts" [15 CFR 1400.1(b)] defined in Executive Order 11625 (1971) as well as "Hasidic Jews, Asian Pacific Americans, and Asian Indians" [15 CFR 1400.1(c)].

Interesting. Both E.O. 11625 and 15 CFR 1400 say "Spanish-speaking" but the FAQ says "Hispanic".

Big, big difference.

What neither explain is who determines your minority status. Who is the official certifier? And under the APA (Administrative Procedures Act) to whom can you appeal the decision?

The FAQ you quoted sounds like "we just determine yes or no on a group, it is up to the group (or the group representative who made the actual application) to decide who gets the loot." This is a license to print government money if there are no other qualifications.

But should we even need to go through a group certifier? For example, I am "Spanish-speaking", and that is exactly what the law states. I am not "Hispanic", however, but that is NOT what the law requires!

I am sure I can get some DNA test somewhere that will show "one drop" of black blood, even though (paraphrasing Jaakeli) I am a freckled six footer with red hair and blue eyes.

Maybe this is how we drive a truck though AA: redefine who you are.

Any lawyers out there who can point us in the right direction? What about the "Spanish-speaking" versus "Hispanic" stuff?

Anonymous said...

And to think, only some black hats and top coats separate ZZ Top from federal minority owned business status!

Anonymous said...

Great journalism Steve. Your breakdown of this story alone should put the NYT to shame. But I reckon they know EXACTLY what is going on but are purposely keeping the ethnic angle out in the hope that nobody would notice before the story fades. That way they can claim they've done their job but the real connections under the hood are not exposed. It's not that Sulzberger has absolutly no commonality with this ammo family, is it?

Anonymous said...

Damn, this might actually be an affirmative action program I qualify for.


Proletariat of the world, unite!

J said...

Regarding the "mystery" of non Eastern European Jews like the Boteach family being Hassidim, there is no mystery at all. Hassidism (Hassid = Follower, I think) is a Jewish revivalist popular movement, emphasizing feelings instead of dry knowledge of the Law. Born 200 years ago among the impoverished and ignorant Jewish masses of NordEast Hungary (today Ukraina), the movement is now fragmented into a multitude of sects and some of them have become missionary and multiethnic. Wealthy donors (like the Boteach) are always welcome and their observance of the Law, their accent or business troubles with the law (which rich man has no problems?) is never debated.

Anonymous said...

In the Iran Contra Scandal, when tow missiles were misappropriated out of USA asset inventories, their shipments did not go through any paper work like an export license to Iran, or did a SBA *8(a) certification come into play, but Mid Eastern arms merchants got bloody rich as brokers in the slimy deals, and George Bush pardoned the top Pentagon guy (Weinberger), and other wise put an end to any accountability in matters. After those obstruction to justice like pardons, George Bush was defeated in his reelection.
Then, out of the Texas swamps W reappeared. Now, we see a total break down in accountability in the Dept of Defense in managing USA assets, money to buy tainted old Chinese duds, or floppy ammo that is suspect, and was used as a pretext to raid USA accounts of vast millions. Last year IBM, who employs 1,000's of workers booked 1.3 trillion. Yet, 2 kids, with a dumpy ofice, no sign on it, get contracts to the tune of around $ 200 million for several years, and then there is the $ 300 million contract where 5 work orders were already placed. The MAIN Stream Press does not want this story on its papers, the reporting in the MSN(main stream news) is sketchy at best. Bebe Rebozo was an arms trader and buddy of Nixon,
the Bush family seems to like shady underworld arms sorts. The front called AEY is a front for a much bigger scam operation.

Anonymous said...

On the above, on noting IBM, I believe the person misspoke, and meant to state that it was $ 1.3 billion, with a "b", not a "t"(like in trillion. Recently, that was covered in a Wall Street Jounral piece, last week, where IBM has contract suspension problems in its dealings with EPA.
Since the AEY problems seem to have gone on since 2004, how did so many in DOD( U S GOV) just turn a blind eye, while troops in Afghanistan were being provided just crap as cartridges. That does not reflect a genuine commitment to defeat the Taliban (al Queada). During that period, the Taliban have risen from the ruins, regrouped, and is causing havoc.
This shocking saga of dereliction does not warrant being relegated to a 2 day story, then it drifts off the News Beacons(in the USA), but that is happening as of now, showing how the Pentagon is very adept to put to rest any story(ON MAIN USA TELCOM CABEL or channels to minimize awareness in the USA to the broader PUBLIC) on waste , fraud, abuse, corruption, thievery, or just flat out swindles.

Anonymous said...

I’m applying for some grad schools and I ran across that notorious “race box.” This is what it reads for “Latino” (A.K.A. “Hispanic”):

“Chicano/Latino: Persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.”

Pretty vague huh? Notice that a qualifier is culture and that race doesn’t matter. This is unique when compared to the other racial categories. It sure sounds pretty subjective to me! So what’s a non-NAM to do when confronted with such a spoils system systematically geared against them?

Have you ever lived close to Mexicans or other Hispanics, and as a result experienced their culture to the point where you could say that you’re from it? You’re Hispanic. Maybe you live in So. Cal? You better say you’re Hispanic. Ever have a long lost ancestor from said countries? You’re Hispanic dammit!

The great thing is, by the most commonly given definition of what a Hispanic is, you aren’t even lying!

And hey, as long as you’re not a NAM you might as well find a legal way to retaliate against the tyranny of “AA” with the hope that the playing field can be leveled some, even though Blacks get more pull than Hispanics.