Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate and his co-horts at the Israeli American Council (IAC), launched off their first ever inaugural “Israeli-American Conference” in D.C. over the weekend (because Israel deserves another annual event for supporters in Washington, no doubt). Conveniently timed right after our elections, Haaretz reported last week we should expect some “gloating and Schadenfreude at [the] groundbreaking meeting”, and they were right.
The talk of the town is the “spirited public discussion” between Adelson and Haim Saban, the billionaire Democratic fundraiser and media mogul. Adelson was in his element throughout the event, dazzling the crowd with his enlightened perspective on a whole range of topics from Palestinians (the purpose of their existence is to destroy Israel and they should be given 5 years to prove otherwise or get the heck out) to democracy (it’s no big deal, nothing to lose so get used to it people, not even mentioned in the Torah). Saban said he would “bomb the living daylights” out of Iran only he used a more colorful expression calling Iranians “sons of bitches”.
But my favorite part was hearing Adelson challenged Haim Saban to team up and purchase The New York Times because the Times is so mean to Israel. It sounds like they’re jealous Amazon’s Jeff Bezos swept in and bought the Washington Post right out from under their noses.
The subject came up in a pubic discussion about media bias and Israel. Saban marveled at how Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had purchased the Washington Post for a mere $250 million, which Saban called “bupkis,” and that he was sorry that he did not try to buy it himself. At that point Adelson pounced on Saban and challenged him on the spot to join with him to buy the New York Times from the Sulzberger family.
Saban expressed an openness to the idea, but was concerned that the Sulzberger family would not sell. Adelson dismissed that concern, “You pay significantly more than it’s worth, then the non-family shareholders have the right to bring a suit between the real value and what’s been offered.” Adelson suggested that he and Saban team up and make them an offer that cannot be refused; “There’s only one way to buy it, money…. but it’s not going to be one of those deals where I put up 10 times more than you” Adelson said.
Saban expressed an interest… and then the panel moved on to other subjects.
Gossip gossip gossip, this conversation garnered “wild applause” from conference attendees, and Adelson said he didn’t like journalism.