Rabin, Clinton, Hussein: Israel-Jordan treaty
Rabin, Clinton, Hussein: Israel-Jordan treaty Israel news photo: GPO

During U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s first year in office, some of the heftiest contributions to her husband’s charitable foundation came from royal families of Arab nations. The list of those who donated to the William J. Clinton Foundation in 2009 was released to the media last week.

Allowing the names on former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s charity donor list to be made public was a condition set by President Barack Obama prior to offering the position of Secretary of State to Hillary Clinton.


A significant number of the high-end contributors were Saudi Arabian business owners and royal families in other Arab countries.


Many Middle Eastern Donors at the Top

Listed among the top donors who gave between $10 million and $25 million in 2009 and in previous years were the government of Norway and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Norway was site of the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1990s, and its government has consistently pressured Israel to make security concessions to the Palestinian Authority. It is not considered a strong friend of the Jewish State. 

Saudi Arabia, which does not recognize Israel, has promoted its so-called 2002 "Peace Initiative" that calls for Israel to allow some five million foreign Arabs, descendants of those who lived in the area but fled during the 1948 War of Independence, to immigrate to the Jewish State under what it calls the "right of return." The plan also demands that Israel hand over all lands restored to the state in the 1967 Six-Day War, including Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Golan Heights and a large portion of Jerusalem, including areas that contain Judaism's holiest sites.

Norway’s contribution was listed for the year 2009 alone; the Saudi funds were listed as having been donated prior to 2009.

Those who contributed between $1 million and $5 million during 2009 included Nasser Al-Rashid, a Saudi Arabian billionaire and engineering advisor to the royal family in Riyadh. Saudi jet-setting oil mogul Walid A. Juffali, the Sultanate of Oman and the Swedish Postcode Lottery also donated to the cause in the same fiscal category.


In the years prior to 2009, those who donated between $1 million and $5 million included Ethiopian-born billionaire Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi, named the 86th richest person in the world in 2007. Al-Amoudi is the owner of a Swedish oil refinery and has business investments in Africa and the Middle East. He is currently a citizen of Saudi Arabia, with a home in Jedda.


Also on the list of those who contributed between $1 million and $5 million to the former president’s charity the year before his wife became Secretary of State were Lebanese Christian businessman Gilbert Chagoury, who has strong interests in Nigeria, the Dubai Foundation, run by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who also is the country’s ruler, former Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister Issam M. Fares & The Wedge Foundation, the U.S.-based nonprofit organization “Friends of Saudi Arabia”, the Open Society Institute sponsored by Hungarian-born leftist George Soros, the State of Kuwait, the State of Qatar, Swiss Reinsurance Company, Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office, the government of Brunei Darussalam and the royal family of the United Arab Emirates, based in Abu Dhabi, the Zayed Family.


Recently re-elected New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s family foundation also donated between $500,000 and $1 million in 2009 to the former American president’s charitable foundation, as did the Bank of America Foundation. Prominent Saudi businessman Hamza B. Al Kholi, whose companies operate in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, contributed between $100,000 and $250,000 in 2009 alone.


A separation donation was made by the Soros Foundation – also under the auspices of George Soros – in the $500,000 to $1 million category. This was a contribution also apparently made prior to 2009, but without details to indicate whether it was in 2008 or earlier. Another donor of note was Abbas Al-Yousef, who contributed between $250,000 and $500,000 prior to 2009, and whose origins are unclear. Ibrahim El Hefni, an Egyptian-American businessman who is now deceased but whose family maintains his foundation, also contributed between $250,000 and $500,000 prior to 2009.


Although Middle Eastern moguls were not the only donors by a long shot, they were prominent in the upper brackets. Also noticeable were a number of foundations run by entertainers, including Barbra Streisand; one of the biggest contributions came from the Bill Gates Foundation.