Yeshiva University president Richard Joel has declined to answer questions about why he said nothing as Sheldon Adelson said Obama should nuke Iran on a Yeshiva University stage, at the president’s side on Oct. 22. I asked the school for an interview on the matter, and cited the widespread condemnation of the remarks, lately from Spaniards who object to Adelson bringing a casino to Madrid in light of his views.
“President Joel is unavailable for an interview,” Yeshiva U’s Noah Jacobson wrote back to me.
Could casino mogul’s extreme views cause business woes? Sheldon Adelson’s call for a nuclear strike on Iran is causing overseas business problems for the billionaire casino magnate.
Some other followup to the story: William McGowan has put up a report on the evening, titled, “Hiding The Bomb For Israel: At Yeshiva U Panel, Bret Stephens Keeps Israel’s Nukes ‘In The Basement’ As Sheldon Adelson ‘Bombs Iran’.”
McGowan focuses on Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens’s statement that he agreed with “98 percent” of what Adelson said, and also his assertion that to possess nukes is to use them, a geo-strategic axiom he does not apply to his beloved Israel. By the way, Lisa Goldman at Open Zion also did a fine report on Stephens’s rabid ethnocentrism.
I see in McGowan’s story this quote from Chris Hayes on the episode:
This is not coming from some powerless old crank. These might sound like the rantings of an anonymous basement dwelling wing-nut internet commenter, but they are not. They are the rantings of an insanely rich and incredibly powerful conservative.
Hayes is right, of course– but he misses a central point about Adelson’s power that speaks to the media’s failure re neoconservatism generally. Sheldon Adelson backed losers again and again last year. The next time he supports a presidential candidate, his support will be controversial. But Adelson faced little scrutiny at all when he destroyed the so-called peace process in 2000 through his donations to the Bush campaign, which took office and promptly abandoned Clinton’s Camp David efforts. Yes, and what did Adelson advise George Bush about Iraq?
Connie Bruck at the New Yorker did the most extensive reporting on Adelson in 2008, long after he was “out of office,” but she was able to tell us far less about his views than one little video did, because he wouldn’t talk. Now we know why people kept his mouth shut, he’s thuggish. But it’s not as if this man did not wield incredible power over policy. The outrage over Adelson is a little bit like closing the barn door after the horse has run away.