David Firestone, an editorial page editor at the New York Times, has a fabulous piece up savaging the Adelson primary in Las Vegas last weekend, and making no bones about what was going on. Firestone tells readers this was about Israel–and philosemitism, too. His piece is titled, “The Line to Kiss Adelson’s Boots.” Excerpts:
It’s hard to imagine a political spectacle more loathsome than the parade of Republican presidential candidates who spent the last few days bowing and scraping before the mighty bank account of the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. One by one, they stood at a microphone in Mr. Adelson’s Venetian hotel in Las Vegas and spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition (also a wholly owned subsidiary of Mr. Adelson), hoping to sound sufficiently pro-Israel and pro-interventionist and philo-Semitic to win a portion of Mr. Adelson’s billions for their campaigns…
Gov. John Kasich of Ohio made an unusually bold venture into foreign policy by calling for greater sanctions on Iran and Russia, and by announcing that the United States should not pressure Israel into a peace process….
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin brought up his father’s trip to Israel, and said he puts “a menorah candle” next to his Christmas tree. The name of his son, Matthew, actually comes from Hebrew, he pointed out.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey also described his trip to Israel, but then did something unthinkable. He referred to the West Bank as the “occupied territories.” A shocked whisper went through the crowd. How dare Mr. Christie implicitly acknowledge that Israel’s presence in the West Bank might be anything less than welcome to the Palestinians? ….
And sure enough, a few hours later, Mr. Christie apologized directly to Mr. Adelson for his brief attack of truthfulness.
More at the link.
Jon Stewart also did an episode last night mocking the cattle call. He described Adelson as “an ultra-Zionist” and blew up Chris Christie’s apology to Adelson for referring to the West Bank as the “occupied territories” in an exchange (6:00 at the link) with “Senior Zionist Billionaire Correspondent Samantha Bee.”
Stewart observes that the West Bank is best described as land “occupied by some foreign military” with “countless foreign settlements.” Then asks:
When did [Sheldon Adelson] get veto power over every word Republicans say about Israel.
Remember that Andy Borowitz of The New Yorker sought to satirize the Adelson event yesterday without mentioning Israel. That magazine should be embarrassed by Firestone’s and Stewart’s emphatic pieces.
Also, note that Firestone is talking about philo-Semitism, a powerful force in American political life at a time when Jews are such an important element of the Establishment. Cue David Frum on philo-Semitism, from his book on Bush:
Clinton can fairly be called the most philo-Semitic president in U.S. history. His closest friends and most trusted aides were Jews, his administration was crammed with Jewish appointees, both his nominees to the Supreme Court were Jewish—even his most famous girlfriend was Jewish. And Jews liked Clinton as much as he liked them. They appreciated his intellectuality and his social tolerance, his liberated wife, and his moderate liberalism. Jewish donors contributed generously to Clinton’s election campaigns; after he left office, some of those former donors helped him to grow very rich very rapidly.