Saban funds a) Democratic Party, b) D.C. thinktank, c) Israeli army, d) all of the above

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 8 Comments
Haim Saban, funder of the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center on Middle East Policy, with some of his beloved. Photo by Israel Hadari

I don’t understand why people take the Brooking Institution’s Saban Center on Middle East Policy so seriously when its namesake and funder is holding fundraisers for the Israeli army. But that’s just me. Danielle Berrin reports in the Jewish Journal on a Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces gala held in Los Angeles on December 8 (the night before the IDF shot Mustafa Tamimi on occupied land in Nabi Saleh):

Century City’s Hyatt Regency ballroom was teeming with Los Angeles’ most hawkish, hard-line lovers of Israel, among them the annual event’s hosts, Haim and Cheryl Saban. Channeling a less idealized love were the evening’s headliners — Barbra Streisand, who sang, and Jason Alexander, who emceed — both of whom belong decidedly to the pro-peace, two-state solution left.

There were other, stranger contrasts and ironies: Maimed Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and U.S. Army veterans shared tables …

It was a striking mix of Jewish guilt and privilege, and nowhere was the conflict between those forces more evident than in Haim Saban himself. When he took the podium, he momentarily digressed from the speech on the teleprompter to admit, “It’s truly humbling to follow these guys” — referring to a one-eyed veteran of the war in Iraq, a paralyzed IDF soldier and a female F-16 fighter pilot, all of whom risked life and limb in the name of national fealty. “And here we are in Beverly Hills,” Saban said, “having a good time.”

He should know. He used to drive tanks; now he has a driver. He used to live in Israel; now he lives in Beverly Park. He moved on from his first love and thrived with his next love. So how does a man repay the country that saved him from persecution in Egypt and remained faithfully true, even after he abandoned her for the good life in America?

Israel is Saban’s poor ex-wife to whom he’s paying lifelong alimony.

Which explains why, year after year, Saban goes all-out for Israel. In addition to the millions he provides to support pro-Israel U.S. political candidates and the Democratic Party, as well as to the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and his seemingly endless and unchecked support for local organizations like the Israeli Leadership Council, the FIDF dinner is his biggest public show. This one night of the year, Saban can prove to Israel that even though he can’t be with her, he really does still love her.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

8 Responses

  1. irmep
    December 15, 2011, 7:28 pm

    Americans should be VERY concerned about Saban. His tax advisers arranged an illegal dodge to keep him from paying any capital gains on his sale to Disney in 2001.

    Saban claimed ignorance of the shelter when Congress called him in to testify. His tax adviser, who is doing all the jail time, claimed otherwise.

    Likewise his offer to buy Hillary some of her very own super delegates with a tax exempt donation miraculously did not result in election law violation indictments.×6058477

    Saban uses tax exempt donations and financial shenanigans to saddle the average Americans with huge war and aid liabilities. (There used to be a great video of Martin “Lock and Load” Indyk singing his praises while pimping for the Iraq war, but Brookings wisely deleted it). Saban’s many dealings with the Israeli government are in-transparent, though broadly known, yet he refuses to register as a foreign agent. Rich, but slippery, he’s kinda Abraham Feinberg and Nahum Bernstein rolled into one slick media package.

    Average Americans may not know Haim, but they’re paying the taxes he doesn’t.

    • Kathleen
      December 16, 2011, 9:33 am


      • Kathleen
        December 16, 2011, 9:35 am

        To think that capital gains taxes went from 28% to 20% under Clinton and then from 20% to 15% under Bush. And then someone as rich as Saban pays no capital gains on transactions. Criminal

  2. teta mother me
    December 15, 2011, 8:08 pm

    you should add the Brookings Center that Saban set up in Doha.

    Saban wields a lot of clout with Hillary Clinton/State Department. They’ve appeared at microphones together to discuss punishing Iran and supporting Israel, etc. The only way Clinton’s speeches and actions in Middle East make sense is when considering that Saban supported her NY senate candidacy. In my view, Saban owns Clinton. Thus, it was fascinating to hear the strident anti-Clinton comments from Republican Jewish Coalition last week.

    As well, Clinton was dangerously off script when she criticized Israel’s treatment of women — was she really speaking about herself, a woman who has been/is being ill treated by Israel?
    Her Use By date having expired, is the trollop now being cast aside?

  3. Kathleen
    December 15, 2011, 8:32 pm
  4. yourstruly
    December 15, 2011, 9:59 pm

    at a friends of the idf fundraiser held in los angeles
    dual citizen/israel-firster haim saban acknowledges the heroism of a one-eyed veteran of the war in iraq and a paralyzed idf soldier
    heroes for what?
    having been tricked into serving themselves up for slaughter?
    in wars to keep colonialism alive?
    in terrorism that’s passed off as liberation?
    or for going along with the one about their sacrifice having been for a just cause?
    keeping silent
    closed to the truth
    that they were on the wrong side of history
    sold out by the likes of haim saban and his fellow israel-firsters
    for a zionist entity that never should have been
    won’t be for much longer
    that’s done with
    on the way out
    welcome palestine
    so long overdue

  5. Justice Please
    December 16, 2011, 8:27 am

    “This one night of the year, Saban can prove to Israel that even though he can’t be with her, he really does still love her.”

    Over his own country. Treat him the same way that Putin treated the oligarchs – chase him out.

  6. kalithea
    December 16, 2011, 2:27 pm

    Zionism needs an uber-Zionist funding each party, so it’s got Saban for the Democrats and Adelson for the Republicans and all bases are covered and the control is in the bag.

Leave a Reply