Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Sheldon Adelson Owns a Share in Trump’s Rise

Lobelog

By most accounts, Donald Trump was not the first choice for GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson. Last February he and his wife Miriam were allegedly split between voting for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Then Trump destroyed the Adelsons’ top picks as primary voters flocked to his showmanship mixed with liberal doses of populism and bigotry, including anti-Semitism.

Yet, after the Adelsons top choices were eliminated from the field, Adelson ended up contributing a reported $25 million to help get Trump elected, apparently in a single-minded pursuit to elect a president who shares his hawkish visions of the United States and a pro-Israel force in the Middle East.

Adelson is no stranger to the dangers of anti-Semitism.

Connie Bruck’s 2008 profile of him in The New Yorker describes how, growing up in Boston, “[h]e and other Jewish boys in the neighborhood were beaten up by Irish youths” and “In 2006, Sheldon and Miriam donated twenty-five million dollars to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial, the largest donation from a private donor in its history.”

Trump’s Anti-Semitism

In May, the Republican Jewish Coalition, which Adelson heavily supports, raised concern about the use of anti-Semitic invectives against journalists covering the presidential race.

But by July’s Republican National Convention, the Adelsons were on Team Trump, helping underwrite the costs of the convention after corporate donors backed away from Trump’s toxic rhetoric. That contribution earned a personal visit from the candidate to their private suite. And the Adelsons, while occasionally voicing concerns about Trump’s lack of self-control, never turned off the money tap.

Trump’s flirtations with racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Semites were hardly a new thing.

In 1991, a former Trump casino executive reported that Trump said:

Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.

In July, Trump tweeted a graphic depicting Hillary Clinton, a six-pointed star that resembled the Star of David, a stack of money, and the text “most corrupt candidate ever.”

Trump chose not to apologize and instead blamed “the dishonest media.”

The Anti-Defamation League repeatedly flagged the worrisome combination of anti-Semitic winks from Trump’s campaign and the growing number of endorsements of his candidacy by openly racist and anti-Semitic figures.

Toward the end of his campaign Trump engaged in ever-more-explicit anti-Semitic dog whistling.

He accused Clinton of meeting “in secret with international banks,” which the ADL compared to charges that “historically have been used against Jews,” and his final campaign ad depicted Clinton in the center of a “global power structure responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped out country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of large corporations and political entities.” The ad flashed images of prominent Jewish Americans: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, investor George Soros, and Goldman Sachs CEO and chairman Lloyd Blankfein.

So, why did the Adelsons write eight-figure checks to support a candidate whose stump speeches, tweets, and commercials were, if not openly anti-Semitic, attracting effusive praise and endorsements from David Duke, the KKK, and the head of the American Nazi Party?

Adelson’s Rationale

Newt Gingrich, who is currently rumored to be on the short list for an appointment as secretary of state, gave an interview in 2012 in which he tried to answer why Adelson was bankrolling his primary campaign:

Ted Koppel: There has to be a so-what at the end of it. So– if you win what does Adelson get out of it?

Newt Gingrich. He knows I’m very pro Israel. That’s the central value of his life. I mean, he’s very worried that Israel is going to not survive.

Adelson put his money where his mouth is, opening his wallet for a number of hardline, hawkishly pro-Israel and pro-Likud causes. He’s invested millions in think tanks and politicians who opposed nuclear diplomacy with Iran, personally advocated for striking Iran with a nuclear weapon as a negotiating tactic, and denied that Palestinians exist as a distinct Arab people.

Trump, for his part, promised to tear up the nuclear agreement with Iran, employed a proponent of expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank as his top adviser on Israel, and, in a split from longstanding U.S. policy, has already hinted that he will follow through on his pledge to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv.

Jewish Americans as a voting bloc didn’t buy what Trump was selling. Trump’s bigotry, his nods to anti-Semites, and the endorsements from hate group leaders all appear to have helped deliver 70% of the Jewish vote to Clinton. Trump picked up only 25%, five percent less than Mitt Romney got in 2012.

Adelson has long been out of step with Jewish voters, but now he’s pursued a narrow set of interests to help elect a man whose rhetoric parallels historical examples of leaders who embraced intolerance, bigotry and, in the worst cases, outright persecution of minorities, including Jews.

The Las Vegas-based casino mogul was the biggest bankroller of Trump’s campaign and one of the key donors behind Republican efforts to hold their majorities in the House and Senate. Now that Trump won the White House and faces minimal opposition in Congress, it’s time to give credit where credit is due.

Sheldon Adelson ignored the concerns of fellow members of the Republican Jewish Coalition, the Anti-Defamation League, and the vast majority of Jewish voters to help elect a president who reflected his hawkish views on America’s role in the Middle East. In doing so, he had to excuse or simply not care about his candidate’s role in embracing bigotry, especially anti-Semitism, as a tool for bringing white voters to the polls. And now Adelson owns a unique responsibility for enabling Trump’s rise.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Bret Stephens is a columnist for the New York Times who previously worked at the Wall Street Journal and the neoconservative flagship magazine Commentary.


Donald Trump’s second attorney general, William Barr is the focus of a growing controversy over the Robert Mueller report because his decision to unilaterally declare that the the president had not obstructed justice during the Mueller investigation.


The Republican Jewish Coalition is a right wing Jewish advocacy groups that promotes an aggressive pro-Israel and anti-Iran policy.


Erik Prince, former CEO of the mercenary group Blackwater, continues to sell security services around the world as controversies over his work—including in China and the Middle East, and his alleged involvement in collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia—grow.


The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the more effective U.S. lobbying outfits, aims to ensure that the United States backs Israel regardless of the policies Israel pursues.


Gina Haspel is the first woman to hold the position of director of the CIA, winning her confirmation despite her history of involvement in torture during the Iraq War.


United against Nuclear Iran is a pressure group that attacks companies doing business in Iran and disseminates alarmist reports about the country’s nuclear program.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

The new government will, once again, be the most right wing in Israel’s history. But this time, the length of the new government’s tenure will depend more on Netanyahu’s legal troubles than on the political dynamics of the coalition.


Given such a dismal U.S. record on non-proliferation, why should North Korea trust U.S. promises of future sanctions relief and security guarantees in exchange for denuclearization? If anything, the case of the JCPOA has demonstrated that regardless of its pledges the United States can reinstate sanctions and even bully private multinational companies to divest from Iran.


As Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman clamor for a war against Iran, they seem to have conveniently forgotten the destruction and mayhem wrought by the American invasion of Iraq 16 years ago.


President Trump’s announcement that he would recognise Israeli sovereignty over the western part of the Golan Heights destroys the negotiating basis for any future peace between Israel and Syria. It also lays the groundwork for a return to a world without territorial integrity for smaller, weaker countries.


The Senate on Wednesday passed a measure mandating the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Saudi/UAE-led war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. The vote marks the first time since the War Powers Act of 1973 became law that both chambers of Congress have directed the president to withdraw American forces from a conflict.


The Trump administration’s failed “maximum pressure” approach to Iran and North Korea begs the question what the US president’s true objectives are and what options he is left with should the policy ultimately fail.


In the United States, it’s possible to debate any and every policy, domestic and foreign, except for unquestioning support for Israel. That, apparently, is Ilhan Omar’s chief sin.


RightWeb
share