On its front page today, the Washington Post has a personality profile of Sheldon Adelson that follows the money, and dispenses with the usual horse-manure that Adelson thinks Romney will be better on labor issues in his casinos. Nope, it’s all about Israel, and they cut the deal last spring. Just what we’ve been saying. Here’s the lead, by Marc Fisher:
When casino magnate Sheldon Adelson switched his support from Newt Gingrich to Mitt Romney during the spring primaries, the billionaire and the candidate were eager to shed their skepticism of each other. If Adelson was going to give a political campaign more money than anyone ever had, he wanted to be certain Romney would join him in steadfast support of Israel. And Romney, according to friends of both, sought assurance that Adelson wouldn’t embarrass him.
Since then, Adelson has joined Romney during the candidate’s visit to Israel this summer, attended presidential debates and gotten together with Romney so often that their wives have become friends, according to confidants of the two men.
There’s a lot in this piece about motivation, and ethnic resentment, and Israel being at the heart of that motivation:
Adelson is driven by the idea of Israel as a muscular riposte to the Holocaust. Based on his experience as a Jewish kid who would get insulted and roughed up in a tough Boston neighborhood, Adelson believes Jewish Americans should back an Israel that puts security first and resists compromise with Arabs who do not accept its existence.
“Israel is at the core of everything he does,” says Fred Zeidman, a friend of Adelson, fellow Romney backer and former chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum…
And Fisher links it with generational Jewish identity issues, involving the Holocaust and anti-Semitism in the U.S.:
As World War II raged across the ocean, in a neighborhood of south Boston that was home to more Jews than any American city outside New York, kids like Sheldon Adelson learned that being a Jew in America both put a target on their backs and gave them a blessed refuge.
Like other Jewish teens in Dorchester, young Sheldon was occasionally beaten up by Irish kids full of anti-Semitic vinegar. Yet he knew that millions of other Jews faced vastly worse enemies in Europe….
More about how deep/ancestral this ideology is:
When Adelson first visited the Holy Land, he wore his father’s shoes as he stepped off the plane so something of his father’s would be the first to touch the ground.
Oh, and Israel led him to leave the Democratic Party. Just as the neocons did in the 1970s. They’re pro-choice, pro-Israel. And which comes first?
Well into adulthood, he was a Democrat, making large donations to the party until 1996. The next year, he switched to the GOP.
“As Jews in Boston, no one voted Republican, because the Republicans were the establishment,” Leven says. “But Sheldon saw the Democrats becoming less passionate about Israel.”