Netanyahu & the Sony Leaks

Leaked Sony emails reveal some surprising guest appearances. One of them is the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (or Bibi, as one of the emails refers to him.)

Like in any good film, Netanyahu’s role in the emails exposed today by Wikileaks develops with time. He first appears in an email sent by Jay Sanderson, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles to Michael Lynton, Sony’s CEO. on 2/28/14 Sanderson wrote: “Michael, BiBi is coming to LA and I need to talk to you about it.  Can you call me this weekend? Thanks”

In a phone call held tonight with Sanderson he explained that he approached Lynton, a friend of his, in order to check the option of hosting an event at one of Sony’s studio during Netanyahu’s visit to the West Coast last year. Eventually, he said, the event was held somewhere else.

Next Netanyahu was mentioned in emails sent by film producer Arnon Milchan to Lynton and Amy Pascal, who until recently served as the chairperson of the Motion Pictures Group.

“I’m going to be hosting an intimate dinner at my house in Malibu on March 5th for Prime Minister Netanyahu, and wanted to know if you and your husband could attend,” wrote Milchan, a friend of Netanyahu, owner of New Regency Films and stock holder at Israeli Channel 10. “James Packer is co-hosting with me,” he wrote. “Let me know if you can attend and if so, please save the date and my office will send you details as soon as it’s set.  Would love to see you!”

Packer, a casino and media mogul, seems to be having a close relationship with Netanyahu. Together with Milchen he attended Netanyahu’s speech in the congress last month.

Lynton was fast to reply to Milchen’s emaill: “I would love to join! Looking forward.” “Great!,” Milchen responded, asking if the CEO will be coming alone and informed him that dinner will be served at 8 and dress code is casual.

Pascal seemed more hesitant (“My immediate impulse is to say, yes. It would be quite interesting. But what do you want to do?”) but eventually accepted the invitation. Photos from that party (included the one presented above) were taken by PMO photographer Avi Ohayon and were later released for publication. They can be viewed here.

Three months later Netanyahu was mentioned again, this time in a correspondence between Pascal and her husband, Bernie Weinraub. “Some relatives of mine from Israel…whom I haven’t seen in years –came over”, he wrote to his wife. “they were lovely.. Anthony (the couple’s kid, U.B.) loved them….one of their daughters just got out of the army…they all dislike Netanyahu immensely…Anthony was riveted…it was great.”


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