Meet the donors who likely attended Romney’s Florida fundraiser

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 19 Comments

One of the sidebar stories to Mitt Romney’s self-destructive comments about half of the U.S. being entitled, the Palestinians wanting the destruction of Israel and the need to keep the status quo in Israel/Palestine is that he made the statements at the home of Marc Leder, a wealthy 50-year-old in the private equity industry. Leder and some of the other donors there have funded Jewish causes as well as politicians who espouse right-wing Zionism and Islamophobia.

Of course Romney has raised money from lots of rich right-wingers– so it may be strictly coincidence that the most explosive story of the campaign came when he was speaking in front of a Jewish crowd. But it is surely yet another example of how Israel plays a major role in the financing of political campaigns– or as Jim Besser of the Jewish Week said, “While Jewish voting isn’t very Israel-focused, Jewish campaign giving is — and especially the mega-giving that is playing a bigger role than ever in Election 2012.”

Indeed, Romney’s statements to the crowd about the peace process may have been scripted by another one of his pro-Israel givers, Sheldon Adelson, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency notes.  (In August of this year, The Daily Beast reported that Adelson has ”asked Romney to state publicly that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are a waste of time because the Palestinians are unwilling to make peace”–which is pretty much what Romney said at the fundraiser. While the story was reported after the Romney fundraiser in Boca Raton took place, Adelson has been meeting and speaking with Romney since February.

So who was in the room that night in Boca Raton? There’s no confirmed list, but Mother Jones has posted a list of some of the other donors who possibly attended Romney’s May 17 $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in Florida. The names Mother Jones lists are based on a “search for Florida-based donors” culled from “people who gave $50,000 to the Romney Victory PAC between May 1 and May 17.” Included in that list are other donors whose politics are tied to right-wing Zionism:

Some of these figures–like Leder, Berman, Feingold and Kislak–have also given money to Adam Hasner, an up-and-coming Florida Republican who is–surprise!–another right-wing Zionist and Islamophobe. As Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald has reported, Hasner pals around with Pamela Geller. And as Mondoweiss has reported, Hasner, a chairman of the “Jewish Americans For Romney Coalition,” is a right-wing Zionist and believer in Greater Israel. “The Jews’ legal, religious, historical, and moral rights to the Land are superior to those of the Palestinian-Arabs,” Hasner wrote in September 2011.

Leder gave $2,500 to Hasner in 2011. Feingold gave Hasner $5,000 last year.  Kislak gave Hasner $2,500 in 2012, and Berman gave him $1,000 this year as well. Other Hasner donors in attendance were Manuel Kadre and John Sykes, who both gave $1,000 this year.

(Additional research by Allison Deger and Adam Horowitz)

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and graduate student at New York University's Near East Studies and Journalism programs. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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19 Responses

  1. lysias
    September 19, 2012, 4:47 pm

    I wonder if anybody can identify the questioner who asked Romney how to duplicate the scenario of Carter’s Iran hostage crisis (to whom Romney replied he would work to find a way to take advantage of any such opportunity). Romney told donors he’d try to ‘take advantage’ of moment to look strong on Mideast:

    Dinner Attendee: When Carter was president, we had hostages. Ronald Reagan was able to make a statement even before he became, he was actually sworn in, and the hostages were released…

    Mitt Romney: …On the day of his inauguration.

    DA: Right. So my question is really how can you sort of duplicate that scenario?

    MR: I could ask you, I could ask you how do I duplicate that scenario?

    DA: I think it had to do with the fact that the Iranians perceived Reagan *inaudible*… That’s why I’m suggesting that something that you say over the next few months gets the Iranians to understand that their pursuit of the bomb is something that you would prevent. And I think that’s something that could possibly resonate very well with the American public.

    MR: I appreciate the idea. One of the things that’s frustrating to me is that in a typical day like this, when I do three or four events like this, the number of foreign policy questions I get are between 0 and 1. And the American people are not concentrated at all on China, on Russia, Iran, Iraq. This President’s failure to put in place a status of forces agreement allowing ten to twenty thousand troops to stay in Iraq- unthinkable! And yet, in that election, in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we had hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean, that was the focus, and so him solving that made all the difference in the world. I’m afraid today that if you simply got Iran to agree to stand down on nuclear weapons, they’d go, “Now hold on. It’s really a-” I mean, if something of that nature presents itself I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity.”

    • seanmcbride
      September 19, 2012, 7:21 pm

      Mitt Romney:

      One of the things that’s frustrating to me is that in a typical day like this, when I do three or four events like this, the number of foreign policy questions I get are between 0 and 1. And the American people are not concentrated at all on China, on Russia, Iran, Iraq.

      Most Americans don’t think about Israel at all, or about Mideast politics, or about international affairs in general. They are focused on American issues and problems, and understandably so.

      Without the aggressive and bullying presence of the Israel lobby, pumping vast sums of money into the political system, Israel would be close to a non-issue in American politics. Americans overall would barely give Israel and its problems a glancing thought.

      • eljay
        September 19, 2012, 7:57 pm

        >> Without the aggressive and bullying presence of the Israel lobby, pumping vast sums of money into the political system, Israel would be close to a non-issue in American politics. Americans overall would barely give Israel and its problems a glancing thought.

        It is quite something to realize that not only is Israel on American radar at all but, unlike most Middle Eastern nations experiencing “tensions”, they’ve done a damned fine job of making their aggressor selves out to be the victims even as they continue smashing, colonizing, killing and cleansing.

        If it weren’t so disgusting and immoral, it would almost be admirable!

      • seafoid
        September 20, 2012, 8:09 am

        I think it helps to look at the ludicrousness of the issue by changing the name of the country involved.

        “Most Americans don’t think about Paraguay at all, or about Conosur politics, or about international affairs in general. They are focused on American issues and problems, and understandably so.

        Without the aggressive and bullying presence of the Paraguayan lobby, pumping vast sums of money into the political system, Paraguay would be close to a non-issue in American politics. Americans overall would barely give Paraguay and its problems a glancing thought.”

  2. sydnestel
    September 19, 2012, 4:51 pm

    I don’t doubt that most of these guys are probably supporters of Zionism, and are right wing. But you can’t prove they are right wing Zionists by just showing that they contributed to the UJA or Jewish Federation. Thousands of Jews who have a variety of ideological positions (or none) contribute to those charities. It would be like concluding that giving to Federated Catholic Charities means the donor is virulently anti-choice.

    • Mooser
      September 19, 2012, 6:52 pm

      “But you can’t prove they are right wing Zionists by just showing that they contributed to the UJA or Jewish Federation. Thousands of Jews who have a variety of ideological positions (or none) contribute to those charities.”

      And of course, Jews are way too smart to give to anything (especially a “charity”? Those are “charities”?) without knowing whether the organisation offends their values or not. They would never, ever give to something, oh, cause a big shot asked them, or cause they could get access or influence, or just to show they’ve got bucks. Nope, not us, the inheritors of the sacred +15! Not to mention the ethical tradition and the values!
      Nor could they ever be, just, you know, wrong, or ignorant. I would never even suggest such a thing, it verges on anti-Semitism, don’t you think?

    • sardelapasti
      September 19, 2012, 7:10 pm

      “you can’t prove they are right wing Zionists by just showing…”

      What the hell are we talking about? Who on earth cares about how their wings are attached, or if they are as unable to fly as myself?
      They are bloody Zionists and the left-wing ones belong to exactly the same piece of evil-stinking turd, and we have had about 80 years to learn that the leftest-wingest one is just as much of a murderous fascist as his opposed brother. So let’s please not re-introduce this sneaky propaganda tactic here, even though I will charitably assume that you are doing this unconsciously.

    • sardelapasti
      September 19, 2012, 7:15 pm

      “Thousands of Jews who have a variety of ideological positions (or none) contribute to those charities. It would be like concluding that giving to Federated Catholic Charities means the donor is virulently anti-choice.”

      Well, no, these are outspoken supporters of Zionism and one of them is officially a Zionist top organization. So whoever contributes, no matter his wings, is a Zionist. Also, nominally catholic people are not more than 90% “anti-choice”. Also, Catholics are not defined by race like you think you are; they cease to be Catholics when they become irreligious, and most of pro-choice people born into Catholic families are no more Catholic. Just as any people born to nominally Jewish families should stop calling themselves that if they have no religion, period. What’s wrong with being human?

  3. Citizen
    September 19, 2012, 4:53 pm

    Be back later, I’m about to puke.
    It’s not easy being an old guy who knows this is the same old nasty wine in new bottles.

  4. seanmcbride
    September 19, 2012, 8:09 pm

    More amazing investigative research by Alex Kane, of the type that the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, etc. assiduously avoid.

  5. talknic
    September 19, 2012, 8:31 pm

    Some caterer will never get another job at the home of Marc Leder.

  6. tombishop
    September 19, 2012, 10:04 pm

    Some more details about Marc Leder’s biography:
    76ers co-owner hosted event where Romney made remarks

    link to philly.com

    • Woody Tanaka
      September 20, 2012, 9:41 am

      “76ers co-owner hosted event where Romney made remarks”

      Go Nets (or Bulls, or Wizards, or Celtics, or Heat, or Nets or Utah Jazz [the most inappropriately named team in professional sports]…)

  7. tear-stained uzi
    September 20, 2012, 3:03 am

    Frankly, I’m surprised that our n00z media, which is normally so driven by salaciousness and scandal, seems completely uninterested in just how skeezy Romney’s funders are. Even if the prostitution in Macau is unproven, Shelly Adelson’s money comes from gambling and alcohol, ferchrissakes — not exactly Tabernacle-approved. And this guy, Marc Leder, owner of the Sixers, is notorious for throwing Caligula-style orgies in the Hamptons.

    How the cable pundits would be reacting if Obama were raking in such sin-soaked shekels is left as a thought exercise for the reader.

  8. clubroma
    September 20, 2012, 4:18 am

    Should the Republican Party be re-named the AIPAC Party

    • seanmcbride
      September 20, 2012, 9:28 am

      clubroma wrote:

      Should the Republican Party be re-named the AIPAC Party

      AIPAC controls both major political parties and the mainstream media. You don’t go nearly far enough. Perhaps the Zionist States of America or the United States of Zion or the United States of Israel would be a more telling description.

  9. ykohen
    September 20, 2012, 8:12 am

    G-d bless them all!

  10. Citizen
    September 20, 2012, 8:45 am

    Meanwhile, a side contrary note to keep us up to date on the progress of BDS–The Irish parliament is pushing ban on goods from Israeli settlements, with some members even wanting it to be a ban on all Israeli goods and wanting a EU ban on the rogue state’s goods: link to english.al-akhbar.com

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