The Republican desire for Jewish/Zionist money is permitting the press to talk about the Israel lobby at last. And the words “Israel First” have shown up in the Daily Beast. Yesterday the NYT published an account of a gathering for Ted Cruz in NY held by two wealthy gay men. Cruz is opposed to same-sex marriage, so what was he doing there? The Times’ Maggie Haberman buried the Israel angle in the sixth paragraph:
[Host Ian] Reisner and Kalman Sporn, who advises Mr. Cruz’s Middle East team and served as the moderator for the evening, said the senator told the group that marriage should be left up to the states. The evening focused primarily on foreign policy, including a discussion of gay rights in Israel versus the rest of the Middle East, and opposition to President Obama.
Israel was mentioned one other time in the piece:
Mr. Reisner said he and [Mati] Weiderpass jointly own the duplex apartment where the event was held. He said that a third host, Sam Domb — another partner in their business who used to work with Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican and a former mayor of New York — was also a property owner there.
The three men are strong supporters of Israel, as is Mr. Cruz. Mr. Reisner, who said members of his family perished in the Holocaust, said Mr. Cruz’s foreign policy views were part of the appeal for people like Mr. Domb.
I.e., Israel is such an important issue to some Jews that they are willing to forget about other political convictions.
The endorsement is no laughing matter in the LGBT community. The charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS promptly cancelled a major fundraiser at XL Nightclub in protest, Wikipedia says.
And in “Why are two wealthy gay men hosting a benefit for Ted Cruz?” Jay Michaelson at the Daily Beast says that folks are planning to boycott Reisner and Weiderpass’s resort in Fire Island.
[O]ver 4,000 people have said they’re going to boycott [Fire Island Pines, a largely-gay resort in Long Island]. The reason? It’s owned by Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, the self-described “prominent NYC hotel owners” who recently hosted a “fireside chat” with Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz….
Notice who the moderator was: Ted Cruz’s Jewish/Israel point man, himself a gay Jewish man and longtime Republican consultant…
[C]onservatives like Cruz, who write laws preventing my partner from visiting me in the hospital, suddenly wave the rainbow flag when it comes to Iran.
In other words, what happened in that penthouse was part of a much larger pattern of gay Jewish Republicans putting LGBT civil rights aside, and putting Israel First.
Michaelson doesn’t want the LGBT community to put aside Cruz’s bigoted positions on same sex marriage, just because gays have freedom in Israel.
But it would be nice too if people discussed Israel’s use of sexual freedom there to “pinkwash” human rights violations against Palestinians, an issue pioneered by Sarah Schulman. And if the boycotting of Reisner and Weiderpass’s businesses allowed people to talk about the effectiveness of boycott as a tool to fight for human and civil rights.
And if the “Israel First” sentiments of these hoteliers allowed Americans to begin a conversation about the national interest and our best friend in the Middle East.