Graham and Rubio are dependent on pro-Israel money in bid for White House

US Politics
on 24 Comments

Two jawdropping stories from the Republican presidential race.

First, Sen. Lindsey Graham talked about the challenges of raising money for his presidential race on a Wall Street Journal blog. Lobelog picks it up:

He described “the means” as the biggest hurdle facing his potential campaign, adding:

“If I put together a finance team that will make me financially competitive enough to stay in this thing…  I may have the first all-Jewish cabinet in America because of the pro-Israel funding.  [Chuckles.]  Bottom line is, I’ve got a lot of support from the pro-Israel funding.”

Second, Norman Braman is reported to be Marco Rubio’s biggest financial backer for the Republican nomination for the presidency; Politico describes him as another Sheldon Adelson, willing to spend $25 million, friends say, in order to make Rubio king. He doesn’t like Jeb Bush.

Turns out that a few days after Rubio was elected to the Senate, Nov. 2, 2010, he made his first trip to Israel, a trip he had long talked about with Braman. Rubio and his wife met Braman and his wife and her sister over there. The Miami Herald wrote about the trip in 2010: “Guess who’s meeting Marco Rubio in Israel?”

Braman is 82 and a self-made billionaire– car dealerships, NFL teams– and was once 286 on the Forbes list, though that was before he got snookered by Bernie Madoff.

The Politico article doesn’t say what Lindsey Graham is willing to say, doesn’t mention the fact that Braman is Jewish, though it says he and Rubio share a love of Israel. Here they are at an Israel solidarity rally, declaring their support for Israel.

“A very unsettling time” for Israel, Braman says here. He’s worried about the boycott movement worldwide and the delegitimization of Israel. Young people don’t understand how important the creation of Israel was for Jewish life in the U.S.

I remember all the fields in the United States that were closed to Jews… that there were a limited number of major Jewish law firms… There were very few Jews in banking, very few Jews in investment banking other than Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and a few others… and the general lack of respect that existed for Jews… Jews in general always being thought– ‘Well Jews are smart, but they don’t fight back.’.. Israel changed all that. I’m convinced Israel changed all that. All the advantages that Jews have today, that gneerations have since the establishment of Israel has been augmented by Israel…

The man Rubio calls a father figure says he’s unhappy about the state of the world:

I worry whether there’s going to be an Israel in the next 50 years from now…

How do you make peace with people who want to destroy you and are dedicated to your destruction?

Rubio is trying to stick language in the Iran deal demanding that Iran recognize Israel’s right to exist. Is he reflecting Braman’s concerns? You bet.

Rubio and Ted Cruz are also hoping for support from Paul Singer, a hedge fund billionaire in New York who loves Israel.A couple of questions: Could this giant support be any part of the reason that James Baker has come out criticizing the Iran deal? Baker is close to the Bush family, is a foreign policy adviser to Jeb Bush, and was slammed by Israel supporters for criticizing the Israeli occupation at J Street’s conference.

Will Braman’s obvious influence, and Adelson’s, and Haim Saban’s weekend announcement for Hillary Clinton, allow the mainstream media, the Stephanopouloses and Matthewses and Zakarias of the world, to talk about the role of the Israel lobby in the presidential race? I know, it’s so obvious. But the media are afraid to touch it because it seems to feed into anti-semitic tropes, Jewish influence. When Lindsey Graham explicitly describes it as Jewish influence, though in his case they’re pushing on an open door.

Possibly this money is generational? It is older Jews who see Israel as a fulfillment of the Never-again vow they made after the Holocaust. So can J Street point to a younger group of Jewish donors who are opposed to the occupation?

And are there any billionaires (of any religion or ethnicity) who are involved in the presidential race who are anti-Zionist, who want Israel to become a state of its citizens, all its citizens, rather than just the Jewish ones?

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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24 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    April 20, 2015, 6:42 pm

    Lotta dough. Good to see the hard-right-Zionist donation-system so succinctly spelled out. If anyone were to be bravge enough to point it out, it’d make a good story. So clear. So round. So fully packed.

    • Krauss
      April 21, 2015, 12:20 am

      As long as the mainstream media refuses to report on this story, Mondoweiss will be needed.

      You simply cannot understand the primacy of Israel in America politics without understanding Jewish donors. It’s that simple. And you also need to understand the fear and paranoia that drives them.

      And yes, I do think this is generational. Just look at Bend the Arc, by Soros’ son. It will only focus on domestic issues and it refuses to go for foreign ones. A foolish choice, in my view, but I can see why they won’t even touch foreign stuff. It means that they have to get to Israel and any progressive can’t support an Apartheid state. So they just skip it, and try to raise money on gay marriage instead.

      What a sad moral abdication.

      • sklein1953
        April 21, 2015, 9:51 am

        Palestinians vote and serve in Israel’s Knesset. They serve on Israel’s courts. Palestinians are treated in Israel’s hospitals side by side Jewish patients. There are Palestinian doctors and Jewish doctors working in the same hospitals; Palestinian professors and Jewish professors working in the same Universities. Palestinian MKs support Hamas and Hezbollah, etc. How can Israel be anything akin to an Apartheid state?

      • Boo
        April 21, 2015, 3:26 pm

        It has a West Bank apartheid wall worse than anything ever seen in SA, and walls Palestinians up in Gaza from land, sea and air. It has “FUBU” highways. It makes Palestinians stand in line for hours to pass checkpoints, to accomplish the most necessary tasks such as getting to work or seeking medical care. It treats Palestinians as worse than second-class citizens — as a subjugated people, actually. That’s for starters.

  2. ckg
    April 20, 2015, 7:42 pm

    Braman is 82 and a self-made billionaire– car dealerships, NFL teams– and was once 286 on the Forbes list, though that was before he got snookered by Bernie Madoff.

    Excuse me while I shed some crocodile tears. So sad.

  3. Blownaway
    April 20, 2015, 8:07 pm

    These people are vanity candidates, they really don’t have a prayer but will waste a lot of good Jewish money. The good news is that while these narcissists think they can win, their Jewish backers think it will give them mileage in getting their pro Israel agenda out. But in today’s world, all that will do is highlight the influence of a foreign power in domestic politics and I think proud Americans will resent that

    • Citizen
      April 21, 2015, 3:06 am

      But will any of those proud Americans be billionaires willing to put their money where their thoughts are?

      “And are there any billionaires (of any religion or ethnicity) who are involved in the presidential race who are anti-Zionist, who want Israel to become a state of its citizens, all its citizens, rather than just the Jewish ones?

    • Chu
      April 21, 2015, 4:24 pm

      doesn’t matter who they are. They are part of the chorus of the
      pro-Israel beltway gospel.

      They’ll steer the debates with their Likud agenda.

  4. ckg
    April 20, 2015, 8:17 pm

    Could this giant support be any part of the reason that James Baker has come out criticizing the Iran deal? Baker is close to the Bush family, is a foreign policy adviser to Jeb Bush, and was slammed by Israel supporters for criticizing the Israeli occupation at J Street’s conference.

    It’s too late for Fredo. He took sides against the family. Holy Mary.

  5. JLewisDickerson
    April 20, 2015, 10:04 pm

    RE: “How do you make peace with people who want to destroy you and are dedicated to your destruction?” ~ Norman Braman

    URI AVNERY ON HOW THE ISRAELIS (AND PERHAPS OTHERS) HAVE BEEN “BRAINWASHED”:
    “Israel’s Weird Elections”, by Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 1/04/13:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . The Israeli media are already to a large extent neutralized, a creeping process not unsimilar to what the Germans used to call Gleichschaltung. [SEE: Gleichschaltung @ Wikipedia – J.L.D. ]
    All three TV channels are more or less bankrupt and dependent on government handouts. Their editors are practically government appointees. The printed press is also teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, except the largest “news” paper, which belongs to Sheldon Adelson and is a Netanyahu propaganda sheet, distributed gratis.
    [Naftali] Bennett repeats the ridiculous assertion that almost all journalists are left-wingers (meaning traitors.) He promises to put an end to this intolerable situation. . .
    . . . In the coming four years, the official annexation of the West Bank to Israel may become a fact. . .
    . . . If the government continues on its present course, this will lead to certain disaster – the entire country between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River will become one unit under Israeli rule. This Greater Israel will contain an Arab majority and a shrinking Jewish minority, turning it inevitably into an apartheid state, plagued by a permanent civil war and shunned by the world.
    If pressure from without and within eventually compels the government to grant civil rights to the Arab majority, the country will turn into an Arab state. 134 years of Zionist endeavor will come to naught, a repetition of the Crusaders’ kingdom.
    This is so obvious, so inevitable, that one needs an iron will not to think about it. It seems that all major parties in these elections have this will. Speaking about peace, they believe, is poison. Giving back the West Bank and East Jerusalem for peace? God forbid even thinking about it.
    The weird fact is that this week two respected polls – independent of each other – came to the same conclusion: the great majority of Israeli voters favors the “two-state solution”
    , the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders and the partition of Jerusalem. This majority includes the majority of Likud voters, and even about half of Bennett’s adherents.
    How come? The explanation lies in the next question: How many voters believe that this solution is possible? The answer: almost nobody. Over dozens of years, Israelis have been brainwashed into believing that “the Arabs” don’t want peace. If they say they do, they are lying.
    If peace is impossible, why think about it? Why even mention it in the election campaign? Why not go back 44 years to Golda Meir’s days and pretend that the Palestinians don’t exist? (“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people…It is not as though there was a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away. They did not exist.” – Golda Meir, June 13, 1969)…

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/04/israels-weird-elections/

  6. Citizen
    April 21, 2015, 3:22 am

    Maybe for some of these old geezer moneybags, at bottom, at this point, Israel is like their pro football team? Vanity, no longer Fear. The world as a rich guy’s pissing contest?

    The ’48 “war of independence” was actually a lop-sided battle factually favoring “little Israel,” not “the hoards of Arab states” picking on Israel. Do these old geezer moneybags even realize nearly the whole thing was fought on the Arab partition side, not the Jewish partition side that comprised the new state of Israel? And, post 67, how can said geezer moneybags gloat “my team is bad ass” when the power is so lop-sided, when one side has all the latest equipment and the other side is playing without shoes, helmets, shoulder pads, etc?

  7. HarryLaw
    April 21, 2015, 3:41 am

    “If I put together a finance team that will make me financially competitive enough to stay in this thing… I may have the first all-Jewish cabinet in America because of the pro-Israel funding. [Chuckles.] Is what Graham said the very definition of Antisemitism? According to the European Union working definition is..” The myth about a world Jewish conspiracy, or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions”
    And when Sheldon Adelson can say “I am a one issue guy ‘Israel’, ‘Israel’ and ‘Israel”. Here is what that same working definition says.. “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations”. http://www.european-forum-on-antisemitism.org/working-definition-of-antisemitism/english/

    • Eva Smagacz
      April 21, 2015, 5:11 am

      Just to clarify, that there is no European Union’s working definition on anti-Semitism.

      This organisation is trying to give impression that this officially affiliated with European Union. This cannot be further from the truth.

      It is a sort of Hasbara meme, similar to that of ” Arafat died of AIDS “, that is a repeated over and over again on the Internet.

      • Doubtom
        April 21, 2015, 6:23 pm

        Just as difficult is the definition of “self-hating Jew” –there is no other ‘self-hating’ group in the entire world.

      • yonah fredman
        April 21, 2015, 8:00 pm

        Doubtom- When Lillian Hellman referred to Jews who were lower class than her as kikes, does that not amount to self hate. In fact much self hate is merely hatred of those from your group that you don’t like. But Adrienne Rich in her essay on her Jewish identity “Split at the Root” laments that her parents (her Jewish father and nonJewish mother) had trained her in the talent of passing as a nonJew but had taught her nothing about identifying. She calls out her father as a self hating Jew. Check out that essay and tell me what you think.

      • echinococcus
        April 21, 2015, 11:34 pm

        yonah fredman again:

        When Lillian Hellman referred to Jews who were lower class than her as kikes, does that not amount to self hate.

        Logic, please. If they are lower class than her, they are not herself. Look up “self”.

        In fact much self hate is merely hatred of those from your group that you don’t like.

        Logic please: “your group” and self ain’t the same thing.
        The self, at least in our societies in one indivisible unit, i.e. an individual.
        And what is “your group”? My bowling buddies?
        I like myself fine, and so did Lilian Hellman.
        That Ms Rich (seems to be a Gentile anyway by the very definition of her mother) who is not content with being someone and wishes she had a racial/tribal group must be a seriously sick person.

      • Mooser
        April 24, 2015, 12:09 pm

        “When Lillian Hellman referred to Jews who were lower class than her as kikes, does that not amount to self hate.”

        So here is Yonah, hoping to prove the existence of Jewish self-hate?
        Yonah, I’m fascinated! Tell me, bro’: If people try to say “Jewish self-hatred” doesn’t exist, will you start saying they are anti-semites for denying we are heir to that affliction? Fardrai zich dem kop!

        By the way, notice that all of our “Jewish self-hatred” analysts always, invariably diagnose somebody else, some other Jew or Jews with this “Jewish self-hatred”!! They, themselves, of course, don’t have so much as a milligram of it. But every other Jew, of course, is just writhing in an orgy of self-disgust.

        If once, just once in my freakin’ life, one of those self-hatred aficionados would tell us that they themselves suffered from Jewish self-hatred, they might be a groats-worth more believable, or rather, less absurd. But they never do, do they?

        And, oh, BTW, where the hell did Lillian Hellman come from? Did I miss something in the article or thread. Do you have a cite for the Hellman slur??

      • Mooser
        April 24, 2015, 12:16 pm

        Never mind, did some Googling. If a person comes down with a bad case of Jewish self-hatred, there’s a cure! And what do you know, it’s Zionism! It’s the only specific! The panacea, the veritable entire pharmacopeia, the only sure cure for what ails us.

        I should have known that!

      • yonah fredman
        April 24, 2015, 12:26 pm

        mooser- in convivial surroundings I would be more than happy to talk about my Jewish self hatred. but these are not convivial surroundings.

        and read the essay by adrienne rich and tell me what you think.http://www.public.asu.edu/~hiroshi/eng101/documents/rich.pdf

      • Mooser
        April 24, 2015, 12:31 pm

        “who is not content with being someone and wishes she had a racial/tribal group must be a seriously sick person.”

        Oh the heck with her! I got mine! She can stay out in the cold.

        Spending cash, talkin’ trash, and getting front-row seats to a revival of “The Little Foxes”. You ain’t been nowhere, til you been in.

      • Mooser
        April 24, 2015, 12:39 pm

        “had trained her in the talent of passing as a nonJew “

        “But Mommy, I don’t want to watch another Catherine Hepburn movie”
        “You just sit there and watch the African Queen again, young lady! You may not appreciate this now, but someday you will thank me for it”

  8. HarryLaw
    April 21, 2015, 6:05 am

    Thanks for that Eva, the Electronic Intifada think that forum was set up to stifle Palestinian solidarity activism and criticism of Israel. Who can doubt that? http://electronicintifada.net/content/israel-lobby-uses-discredited-anti-semitism-definition-muzzle-debate/11716

  9. OyVey00
    April 21, 2015, 11:58 am

    Let’s call it what it is. These “donations” are nothing else than open bribery.

    And are there any billionaires (of any religion or ethnicity) who are involved in the presidential race who are anti-Zionist, who want Israel to become a state of its citizens, all its citizens, rather than just the Jewish ones?

    Billionnaires seldom donate money out of the good of their heart. So, cui bono? What does a non-Palestinian billionnaire gain from bribing a politician to support a pro-Palestinian foreign agenda? Right, nothing.

    So, how many billionnaires of Palestinian descent are there in America? To be frank, I don’t know any. In contrast, there are dozens of Jewish billionnaires who are only too eager to spend money to advance the “shared Jewish enterprise” of Israel.

    So, there you have it. In the end, everything boils down to money. Jews have it, Palestinians don’t. This is why the situation is like this in the first place.

  10. Doubtom
    April 21, 2015, 6:20 pm

    Oy vey indeed! It’s all about money!

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