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Chris Christie courts Sheldon Adelson

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From the Las Vegas Sun August 1: “Chris Christie finds a reason to visit Las Vegas in the dead of summer:”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to visit Las Vegas today for a private fundraiser hosted by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson at the Palazzo.

A December report on how much Adelson gave in the last presidential election cycle:

By far the largest donor during the 2012 election cycle, Adelson pledged to give up to $100 million to see that Obama was defeated. Now, in the wake of the president’s re-election victory, two Republican sources close to the businessman claim that he not only met his fiscal pledge, but that he exceeded it by $50 million. According to the these unnamed fundraisers, the billionaire gave a whopping $150 million toward Romney’s electoral efforts.

In 2010 Adelson said that his giving was largely related to Israel:

All we care about is being good Zionists, being good citizens of Israel, because even though I am not Israeli born, Israel is in my heart.

Liam Hoare in Haaretz attacked me this week for talking about money in American politics– and says it is anti-Semitic to do so in the context of Israel, because Israel makes a person’s brain go on fire:

For Israel, this anti-Semitic attention manifests itself in theories pertaining to The Jewish Establishment or The Israel Lobby, for example – the notion as perpetuated by Walt and Mearsheimer that a homogenous bloc consisting of Israeli and Jewish individuals and pressure groups is steering the course of American foreign policy. Support for Israel is sometimes achieved through traditional lobbying, yet often through bribery. “Remember that old political adage, Follow the money! I wish the press would follow the money on our country’s Israel policy,” states  Philip Weiss, founder and co-editor of the anti-Zionist site Mondoweiss.

But as a nation, and moreover as an idea or a dream, Israel as a Jewish state and the fulfilment of Zionism can never be normal. Israel will always be a subject of interest and fascination, a cause to be taken up or combated, and the target of unwarranted and undesired attention from those who’d rather it did not exist or wish use it for their own destructive and malicious ends. The perception of Israel as exceptional can bestow rewards – but at a price.

I wonder if that goes for The Hill, too? Last month:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said he will visit Israel this October, the clearest sign yet he is considering running for president in 2016.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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15 Responses

  1. Donald on August 4, 2013, 5:31 pm

    From Liam’s opening sentences–

    “Whether it is desired or not, Israel will always be an exceptional nation.

    It is in the nature of Israel’s birth – of Israel as the manifestation of a dream, or several dreams, and the yearning and investment those dreams hold. The awakening of a Jewish national consciousness within the galut, the revival of the Hebrew language, the founding of Tel Aviv and the kibbutzim, the greening of the land, the victories in existential wars fought on multiple fronts – it is a secular, pioneering achievement unparalleled in modern history.”

    One can almost picture a little demon sitting on Liam’s shoulder as he stares blankly at the computer screen urging “Come on, Liam, this hasbarist twaddle won’t write itself.”

    Actually, it almost could.

    • Krauss on August 4, 2013, 11:32 pm


      I always found people who try to forbid others for thinking deeply about a subject to be the most obsessed themselves with it. On Liam’s Twitter page there’s an Israeli flag.

      By the way, here’s how he opened a recent attack on Nigel Farage(don’t count me as a fan, but notice the usual hypocrisy):

      It was ever-so-slightly distressing to see an august community institution like London’s Jewish Chronicle granting a platform to Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), on Wednesday evening. As someone who dedicates a good deal of his days to fostering an unwelcome climate for the most vulnerable in society — tarting up narrow-mindedness with libertarian lipstick — Farage’s politics aren’t exactly aligned with consensus Jewish values.

      In particular, Farage tramples on the mitzvah to never oppress the stranger. For him, the stranger is the immigrant.


      Yet the same guy who worries about a clownish English imp is a fanatic Zionist, and by necessity a supporter of Apartheid. You can’t make this up. As always, in Britain guys like Liam are schoolboy liberals, always pleasing the headmistress.

      For Israel, however, all those “liberal” values are thrown out of the window.
      These people choose liberalism in their native Western countries not because they are liberal, but because they realize – correctly – that only a strong liberal foundation can provide protection to them as minorities.

      The difference between them and me is that the same protection that I enjoy as a minority, and the same disgust I hold for ethnic fanaticism, I do not wish upon Israel’s victims.
      Liam, on the other hand, doesn’t really care. Sure, he’ll concern-troll about liberal values – much like AIPAC does – the notorious “shoot and cry” tactic. But in the end, if he cared, he wouldn’t support Apartheid. But he does, because it’s Jews who do it, and then he needs to find all kinds of ways to explain away his own hypocrisy and “liberal values”.

      That’s probably been the single most distressing thing to me, to see how many of “liberal” brethren were “liberal” mainly out of crass self-interest, and not because they are genuinly so. Im sure he’s a liberal by Israel’s standards, but then again, it was Mapai/Labor that ordered the two major ethnic cleansing campaigns in Israel’s history and it was Mapai that begun the occupation. Some liberals, eh.

      Oh, and for his concern about immigrants. I’d love to ask him about if he supports Israel’s decision to screen the DNA of the immigrants who come there, or how it treats the black migrants who come there. Watch people like Liam Hoare turn into pretzels as they try to defend the apartheid state. I’m sure they’d support the same policies if it were targeted against them in places like Britain, right?
      Maybe Britain should screen the DNA of it’s immigrants too, can’t have too many of these non-Anglo types right? Too many Jews immigrating to Britain, the racial balance of the country might be upset. See how disgusting this sounds?
      But this is what his beloved Israel is doing. Will Liam speak out on this discriminatory practice against non-Jews?

      Don’t bet on it! But if he was targeted you’d know he was outraged, and for good reason, but it’s cool to do it vs non-Jews to keep the Jewish state “racially pure”, Nazi-style.

      Few things are as disgusting as the hypocrisy of these “liberals”.

  2. piotr on August 4, 2013, 5:58 pm

    I suspect that Israel is undermining national security by inviting all those morons on “educational tours” (like Rick “Oops” Perry). Check the number of google hits for “stupidity is contagious”.

    Christie wrote (said) two years ago that only stupid people go to Las Vegas in the middle of the Summer. I guess smart people go to Moscow.

  3. James Canning on August 4, 2013, 6:55 pm

    Sheldon Adelson spent $150 million on the last election? Yikes.

    Is Adelson still hoping the Palestinians will simply disappear?

    • Citizen on August 5, 2013, 1:00 am

      According to Adelson and Gingrich, the Palestinians are invented. Like gophers on a golf course?

  4. DICKERSON3870 on August 4, 2013, 8:14 pm

    RE: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to visit Las Vegas today for a private fundraiser hosted by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson at the Palazzo.” ~ Las Vegas Sun, August 1

    “Why GOP Mega-Donor Sheldon Adelson Is Mad, Bad and a Danger to the Republic”, By Rick Perlstein, Rolling Stone, 4/10/12

    [EXCERPTS] . . . Adelson’s anti-union mania (I would argue) is the most important thing to know about him. For it reveals just how crazy, and how unscrupulous, the man is.
    Let’s start at the very beginning. Adelson remembers meeting Gingrich in Washington in 1995, when Gingrich was House Speaker and Adelson was lobbying to get the U.S. embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Other reports have them being introduced in 1996 by a far-right anti-union operative in Nevada who worked for Adelson. Details of the subsequent courtship are murky, although the huge favor Gingrich did for Adelson in 1996 by turning off a federal investigation of the gambling industry probably did a lot to cement their friendship.
    Two years later, Nevada conservatives sponsored a “Paycheck Protection” ballot initiative – the right-wing term for measures weakening unions by banning them from automatically deducting dues from members’ pay. Adelson was gung-ho for it – and “would spend any amount of money,” D. Taylor, secretary-treasurer of Las Vegas’s Culinary Workers Union Local 226, told me . . .
    . . . In 1999, Adelson closed one casino, the Sands, and completed work on a new one, the Venetian, stiffing so many contractors that there were at one time 366 liens against the property. Taylor, of the Culinary Workers, said he and his colleagues presumed that “like every other casino that had done that, workers in the [closed] hotel would be given priority when the [new] hotel was built.” Instead, Adelson refused even to talk. All this, in a union town like Vegas, was unprecedented. “Even when you’re having battles, you continue to have talks. Shit, we’re talking to the North Koreans right now!” he told me. “The Israelis talk to the Arabs. Talking doesn’t necessarily solve anything, but at least you understand the other guy’s position.” Adelson, not much interested in understanding the other guy’s position, proceeded to launch a campaign against the Culinary Workers that Taylor calls “beyond aggressive.”
    Right before the grand opening of the Venetian, in 1999, the Culinary Workers staged a demonstration on the public sidewalk out front. Adelson told the cops to start making arrests; the cops refused. Glen Arnodo, an official at the union at the time, relates what happened next: “I was standing on the sidewalk and they had two security guards say I was on private property, and if I didn’t move they’d have to put me under ‘citizen’s arrest.’ I ignored them.” The guards once again told the police to arrest Arnodo and again, he says, they refused. The Civil Rights hero Rep. John Lewis, in town to support the rally, said the whole thing reminded him of living in the South during Jim Crow. . .
    . . . Did I mention Adelson is nuts? But don’t take my word for it – it was George W. Bush who called him “some crazy Jewish billionaire.” . . .


  5. Scott on August 4, 2013, 9:45 pm

    Am actually both surprised and very disappointed by this. Not that Christie would quarrel Rand Paul, that’s politics. But he has (I could find the link with time) stood up for Muslim civil rights in NJ and mocked those who opposed them. He kind of endorsed Obama, as much as he could at least, last election. I assumed it was, at least in part, because he understood the neocon haters were crazy. But now this?

  6. Nevada Ned on August 4, 2013, 10:50 pm

    Adelson has an incredible amount of money to throw at candidates, but his candidates almost always lose. The Romney defeat was just Adelson running true to form.

    • piotr on August 5, 2013, 12:28 am

      Years ago there was a very interesting interview with an investment banker in Philadelphia, in Philadelphia Inquirer (from a small local company). He illustrated his business philosophy with an anecdote:

      To each of his five wives Mr. Plotnik gave an engagement ring with a diamond worth 50 thousand dollars (I guess more than 100 k today). What the ladies did not know was that each time the diamond was coming with a curse — Mr. Plotnik. In many deals the finances are sound but the chemistry is missing.

  7. Krauss on August 4, 2013, 11:35 pm

    Christie is a good guy, for a Republican, on many domestic issue (especially social issues). I liked how he stood up against the islamophobes when he appointed a muslim judge and stared down the nutjobs and called them crazies.

    But on foreign policy it’s as if he has been sleeping in a cave these past 10 years. Has he not seen what tremendous blood and treasure has been paid for invading middle eastern countries with little effect?

    The people who advocate for these wars never send their own children into harm’s way. They do not march in the frontlines. It’s easy to be a chickenhawk when other people pay with their lives.

    And Christie is the toast of this crowd?
    I would never vote Republican anyway, but the party has to cleanse itself from the neocon virus. And the Democratic party, whose role it is to lament but ultimately do nothing in opposition, has some work to do also.

    • Scott on August 5, 2013, 3:57 am

      Thank you for remembering the specifics of Christie calling Islamophobes nut jobs. I had assumed there was some wisdom behind it. I have sometimes voted Republican, and was even considering Christie might be better than Hillary.
      Also, there’s an ambiguity in my comment: “neocon haters” intended to be neocons who hate, not people who hate neocons.

  8. piotr on August 5, 2013, 12:17 am

    Considering the charms of the groom and the bride, this courtship is definitely one to watch, especially for photo opportunities.

  9. john h on August 5, 2013, 1:17 am

    “Israel as a Jewish state and the fulfilment of Zionism can never be normal”.

    Well, you got that bit right, Liam.

    Ask any Palestinian. This abnormality has no adequate words to describe it, or the experiences it has inflicted, and continues to inflict, on all in its path.

  10. MHughes976 on August 5, 2013, 12:15 pm

    Are these huge political donations (I’m not asking specifically about Adelson) real money, really made from selling goods and services to the public, even the gullible public, or are they a way of getting your lawyers and accountants to organise tax exemptions and direct public money to political causes?

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