Debbie Wasserman Schultz 2
Haaretz has a piece by Chaim Levinson showing that Romney and Netanyahu share a number of donors. No surprises. But here is the most interesting nugget, involving the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
The Falic family of Florida owns the company Duty Free Americas, which is active in both North and South America. The family patriarch, Fima Chaim, died in January 2012, but is survived by his widow and three children. Altogether, the family is responsible for donating NIS 165,000 [$40,000] to Netanyahu, split among several members (since the legal ceiling on individual donations is NIS 43,280 ). Before his death, Fima gave $20,000 to the Republican Party and smaller sums to various Republican candidates.
Unusually, however, he also donated to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Jewish congresswoman from Florida who chairs the Democratic National Committee. His sons Leon and Jerome, and his son-in-law Simon gave $40,000, $41,500 and $55,000, respectively, to the Republican Party, as well as smaller sums to individual Republican candidates, including Romney. All three have also donated to Democratic candidates, however – especially Wasserman Schultz.
(Here is the FEC data on the Falic family showing the contributions to Wasserman Schultz. They maxed out for her, at $2300 each.)
These donations help explain why Wasserman Schultz said, astonishingly, during the recent Democratic Convention that there must be no daylight between the Republican and Democratic Parties on support for Israel–
“We need to make sure that the fact that there has never been and will never be daylight between the two parties, or the support for Israel that we have in the United States– that that is conveyed to Jewish Americans across the country.”
It’s an astonishing statement because politicians are supposed to drive wedges between their party and the other one where differences exist in public opinion. But it’s obviously Not in Wasserman Schultz’s interest to do so here because the party needs to raise money, and she knows that for Israelcentric donors like the Falics, they don’t care which party gets in so long as that party is for rightwing Israel. And there are enough of those Israelcentric donors that if the Dems and Republicans openly debated issues that Americans might just differ on–say, going to war with Iran, or colonizing the West Bank– the Dems would have to move left– against war and against colonies– and lose some of those donors. This is the same reason the National Jewish Democratic Council is positioning Obama to the right of Romney on Israel!
Such contributions also explain the most devastating reporting nugget in Peter Beinart’s book, The Crisis of Zionism. When Netanyahu spoke to the Congress in 2011 and said that Jerusalem is not a settlement, and defied US policy in other ways too, the Congress gave him 29 standing ovations and, according to Beinart, Wasserman Schultz led the cheers. She stood up and clapped her hands over her head to indicate when others were supposed to stand too.
Some day the issue will be politicized. Some day Wasserman Schultz will have to abandon her rightwing pro-Israel friends or lose her job. Right now, no problem!