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Yeshiva U president Joel has nothing to say about Adelson’s nuke-Iran recommendation

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Richard Joel, Miri Adelson, Sheldon Adelson, Bret Stephens, Shmuley Boteach, and Boteach's daughter. Woman at left unknown

Richard Joel, Miri Adelson, Sheldon Adelson, Bret Stephens, Shmuley Boteach, and Boteach’s daughter. Woman at left unknown

Yeshiva University president Richard Joel has declined to answer questions about why he said nothing as Sheldon Adelson said Obama should nuke Iran on a Yeshiva University stage, at the president’s side on Oct. 22. I asked the school for an interview on the matter, and cited the widespread condemnation of the remarks, lately from Spaniards who object to Adelson bringing a casino to Madrid in light of his views.

“President Joel is unavailable for an interview,” Yeshiva U’s Noah Jacobson wrote back to me.

Haaretz asks:

Could casino mogul’s extreme views cause business woes? Sheldon Adelson’s call for a nuclear strike on Iran is causing overseas business problems for the billionaire casino magnate.

Some other followup to the story: William McGowan has put up a report on the evening, titled, “Hiding The Bomb For Israel: At Yeshiva U Panel, Bret Stephens Keeps Israel’s Nukes ‘In The Basement’ As Sheldon Adelson ‘Bombs Iran’.”

McGowan focuses on Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens’s statement that he agreed with “98 percent” of what Adelson said, and also his assertion that to possess nukes is to use them, a geo-strategic axiom he does not apply to his beloved Israel. By the way, Lisa Goldman at Open Zion also did a fine report on Stephens’s rabid ethnocentrism.

I see in McGowan’s story this quote from Chris Hayes on the episode:

This is not coming from some powerless old crank. These 
might sound like the rantings of an anonymous basement dwelling wing-nut 
internet commenter, but they are not. They are the rantings of an insanely 
rich and incredibly powerful conservative.

Hayes is right, of course– but he misses a central point about Adelson’s power that speaks to the media’s failure re neoconservatism generally. Sheldon Adelson backed losers again and again last year. The next time he supports a presidential candidate, his support will be controversial. But Adelson faced little scrutiny at all when he destroyed the so-called peace process in 2000 through his donations to the Bush campaign, which took office and promptly abandoned Clinton’s Camp David efforts. Yes, and what did Adelson advise George Bush about Iraq?

Connie Bruck at the New Yorker did the most extensive reporting on Adelson in 2008, long after he was “out of office,” but she was able to tell us far less about his views than one little video did, because he wouldn’t talk. Now we know why people kept his mouth shut, he’s thuggish. But it’s not as if this man did not wield incredible power over policy. The outrage over Adelson is a little bit like closing the barn door after the horse has run away.

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4 Responses

  1. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger
    November 7, 2013, 10:51 am

    Thanks for giving Yeshiva University’s president an opportunity to distance himself from the genocidal remarks made in his and his students’ presence, Mr. Weiss.

    I wonder what would have happened to any students there that evening, who, rather than applauding Adelson, or sitting on one’s thumbs, had stood up and shouted “No! That is genocide!” Or “Shame on you!” We will never know, because none did.

    That’s a shame.

  2. Justpassingby
    November 7, 2013, 11:24 am

    Dont you get it? These people support a nuke attack.

  3. annie
    November 7, 2013, 1:24 pm

    followed the haaretz madrid link..and their source link to another haaretz article which included your video phil, no acknowledgement of course. but i clicked on the youtube they used and it goes straight to your youtube account. you started a firestorm that’s traveled all around the world!

  4. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    November 7, 2013, 11:00 pm

    A university president’s job is to raise funds, so pandering to wealthy donors is job #1. Whether Richard Joel was delighted or appalled by Adelson’s outburst, it’s not at all surprising that Joel kept his mouth shut in public.

    I will rejoice if Adelson is included in Max Blumenthal’s next book.

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