Adelson is backing Gingrich in effort to wean Romney and U.S. off peace process

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
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Adelson
Adelson

I realized that I’ve been doing facile mindreading on Sheldon Adelson. How do we know why he’s giving his money to Newt Gingrich? Couldn’t Adelson be exercised about some policy — labor laws, international trade– that has nothing to do with that other issue that’s close to his heart, Israel? When I wrote the other day that Gingrich got paid $5 million by Adelson for his statement that the Palestinians are an “invented people”– well, sure, the timing’s right, but is that really why Adelson gave him the dough?

I.e., why does this episode show that the Israel lobby is a monomaniacal and constant force in our politics (as I regularly assert)?

I’ve looked into it, and the answer is that leaving aside personality issues–Adelson’s quirkiness and irascibility and giant ego– I believe he is making a calculated effort to advance an ultra-Zionist agenda that he does not trust Romney to adhere to without political pressure. 

In a word, a President Romney might try and make a deal for a Palestinian state. And Adelson is trying to make sure that Romney is too beholden to neocons on election day in November ever to do such a thing.

This is precisely what he did in the 2000 election. Alarmed that Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak were planning to divide Jerusalem, Adelson (and others) intervened. And George Bush and Ariel Sharon put the peace process on ice.

Here are three smart people who can explain this better than I can.

Leon Hadar at Huffington Post says that the election results so far show that neoconservatism is on the run. He adds internationalist Jon Huntsman’s number to Ron Paul’s, to say

40 percent of the Republican voters in New Hampshire have rejected President George W. Bush’s global military adventures and democratic crusades. Moreover, the three most radical neocons in the race — former House Speaker News Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and Texas Governor Rick Perry — who cannot wait to start bombing Iran — in the case of Perry, to re-invade Iraq — got altogether 20 percent of the vote in New Hampshire….

If Republican candidate Romney wants to ensure that the supporters of Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman — that include many young voters and the kind of middle class professionals that constitute the critical bloc of “independent voters” — he would need to respond to their opposition to military adventurism in the name of regime change and nation building and accommodate their views by embracing a more prudent and realist foreign policy agenda that looks more like that of George H. W. Bush than that of his son. Or Romney is going to find out in the general election that it is his own neoconservative foreign policy views that may be “outside the mainstream” of the Republican Party and majority American opinion..

That realist pressure is just what Adelson fears. Another friend echoes this point:

Gingrich is the guy who says Palestinians don’t exist. Adelson, we’ve learned, loves this line. But Romney is the guy who hits Gingrich on Palestinians don’t exist and said he’s undecided on Pollard and moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

The latter here is the big dog whistle. That spells, for Adelson, Romney’s potential for weakness on an issue so big for Adelson that he bankrolled a whole organization to advocate (One Jerusalem– to keep J’lem unified).

Don’t forget that Romney wavers. The word in his last campaign was that Dan Senor and Mitchell Reiss were constantly at loggerheads representing the neoconservative and realist factions, respectively. Well, they’re both back this year, but along with a whole host of other neocons, and fewer of the realists.

Campaigns are good places to lay down bold ideas….You’ll probably do some minor damage to Romney by taking this, yes, longshot. But voters will probably forget about all that by November. The most important thing is making sure Romney gets yanked right, too.

Finally, here’s Scott McConnell:

Romney doesn’t need the money, Gingrich does, and he’s more ready to say extremist things than Romney, who is cautious. Adelson wants ideas represented that are generally beyond the pale in the political system. He need someone to push the envelope in a way that Romney would never do. Gingrich is not Barbara Lerner in the National Review saying that the West Bank is Israel’s, he’s someone who might be president. 

McConnell says that neocons were disappointed with George W. Bush in his second term. Disappointed that he pushed the peace process, disappointed that he did not bomb Iran. They are deeply worried that a belief in a Palestinian state is now “institutionalized” in our political structure. Gingrich’s outspokenness on this question, and his ability to take Romney on, is Adelson’s best assurance that Romney won’t go wobbly.

McConnell: “Check out this right wing Zionist blog, Israpundit. The guy has good contacts in Bibi’s government. It talks about the long term plan to bury the two state solution, in consciousness as well as deed, and quotes a minister or sub minister.  I think it fits in with what Adelson is trying to do.”

His cite is to Ted Belman, quoting Boogie Yaalon:

The peace process is like a super tanker in that it has a lot of momentum and must be turned very slowly. The current government is going about the slow turning by constantly taking position which show that the Arabs will never agree. In time the west will lose confidence in the two state solution. Similarly the Israel people are also being weaned off the two state solution. Much of the reason it has such a huge momentum is due to the policies of the former government.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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11 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    January 12, 2012, 12:02 pm

    Rep Paul the counterbalance

  2. Citizen
    January 12, 2012, 12:10 pm

    Never crossed my mind that Adelson was doing anything else, Phil.

  3. casaananda
    January 12, 2012, 12:36 pm

    Adelson does not give a damn about any kind of peace. Such mind boggling idiocy is beyond contempt. Pity both the Palestinians and the Israelis of sound mind and conscience.

  4. Real Jew
    January 12, 2012, 12:53 pm

    No shocked here considering this guy (adelson) stood in front of thousands of people at a birthright event and actually restated and endorsed Gingrich’s “invented people” comment. Wow. Look what a little Arab hatred can get you in America….5 million.

  5. gazacalling
    January 12, 2012, 1:58 pm

    I think this analysis is right on. One can accuse the Lobby of many things, but stupidity is not one of them.

    Two points:

    1) Gingrich could very well be the next president, so such crucial support could be an investment that pays off handsomely down the line.

    2) Supporting Gingrich suppresses votes for Ron Paul, as Phil says in this previous post. Now, why would that be? Giving money to Gingrich to beat down Romney, how does that affect Paul? Phil doesn’t spell it out, but the reason is that if Gingrich emerges as the heavy to challenge Romney, there will be Paul voters holding their nose and voting for Gingrich just to defeat Romney in later primaries.

    The neocons are very adept at playing the game of let’s-fool-the-yokels. Bill Kristol recruited fellow Straussian Alan Keyes to run for president back in 1996 just to cut into Pat Buchanan’s margins. Poor schmucks in the hinterland thought they were casting a vote for a dynamic pro-life voice, when in fact they were voting to enable an unjust, interventionist foreign policy.

    • lysias
      January 12, 2012, 2:48 pm

      New SC poll (taken post-NH) shows Gingrich can beat Romney there:

      Romney 23%; Gingrich 21%; Undecided 17%; Santorum 14%; Paul 13%; Huntsman 7%; Perry 5%.

      • lysias
        January 12, 2012, 3:18 pm

        This news, from <The Hill, bodes well for Romney’s chances in SC: Top Perry donor defects over attacks on Romney’s record:

        A top fundraiser for Rick Perry is jumping ship and endorsing Mitt Romney.

        Barry Wynn, an investment fund executive and top Republican donor for the Texas governor, plans to endorse Mitt Romney. Wynn told The Associated Press that recent attacks by Perry on Romney’s tenure as head of private-equity firm Bain Capital had soured him on Perry’s candidacy.

        . . .

        Wynn, a former South Carolina Republican Party chairman, is also one of three close supporters of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) who reportedly plans to endorse Romney on Thursday. According to CNN, the others are South Carolina businessman Peter Brown and attorney Kevin Hall.

  6. quercus
    January 12, 2012, 2:34 pm

    I must demur. It seems highly unlikely that someone who would support Ron Paul would cast a vote for Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is anathema to Paul in every way one can imagine.

    • lysias
      January 12, 2012, 2:49 pm

      It would be a tactical vote to stop Romney. If Romney wins SC, he’s probably unstoppable. Gingrich can always be stopped later, he has so many weaknesses.

    • gazacalling
      January 12, 2012, 3:31 pm

      That’s not true. Gingrich can effectively articulate conservative principles, like Paul, and he is no establishment Republican. The establishment conspired to crush him those last two weeks in Iowa. There’s a lot of similarities between the two that attract the same pool of voters.

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