Last week Sheldon Adelson and the Republican Jewish Coalition held a presidentials’ beauty contest in Las Vegas, at which KY senator Rand Paul was a no-show. Time says Paul’s opposition to foreign adventures worries “the pro-Israel crowd” and the magazine quotes three Israel lobbyists and five pro-Israel donors, most of whom want “to take Paul down.” Adelson, said a donor, is willing to spend “vast sums” to kibosh Paul.
Adelson’s spending is largely motivated by his strong concern for Israel, and Paul’s positions may well put a target on his back.
But compare that to Chris Matthews’s segment last night about Rand Paul dividing the Republican Party. The thrust of the segment was that Paul was taking on Dick Cheney, who had pushed the invasion of Iraq because of his oil interests — similar to Rachel Maddow’s claim of a few weeks back.
Matthews and guests David Corn and Ron Suskind mentioned Adelson a few times, and Corn even brought up the neocons, but no one said a word about the overriding difference between Rand Paul and the other candidates: Israel.
I.e., it’s fine for Matthews to call out the military-industrial complex, but he won’t touch the Israel lobby.
Matthews isn’t telling viewers that Adelson, who is generally thought to be the largest contributor to the Republican Party, has called on the president to nuke Iran, and that he believes Muslims want to kill 100 percent of the Jews. Or that Adelson is more concerned about a foreign country than the U.S.: he’s said that he wished he served in the Israeli army not the American one and he wants his son to be a sniper for Israel.
In a subsequent segment last night, Matthews called out the Koch Brothers, who are also big Republican givers, for destroying jobs and environmental legislation. Matthews said that Chuck Schumer (whose intelligence Matthews praised) wants to do for the Koch Brothers what was done to Bain Capital during Mitt Romney’s presidential run — ruin its reputation among working Americans.
OK– but then why can’t ordinary Americans hear that Sheldon Adelson calls on Obama to nuke Iran, not negotiate, and wants his son to fight for a foreign country? Chris Matthews often cites his opposition to the Iraq war. Well, he should call out Sheldon Adelson for war-mongering against Iran.
The problem here is, sadly, obvious: Adelson’s neoconservative agenda is widely shared inside the Democratic Party. Chuck Schumer is a hawk when it comes to Iran. Samantha Power had to kiss up to Adelson’s beneficiary Shmuley Boteach in order to get her job as U.N. ambassador. That’s why Matthews, Corn and Suskind are dancing around the issue. Even as Chris Hayes and Time Magazine show some spine.
So long as mainstream journalists avoid talking about the Israel lobby, the problem won’t go away. John Judis shows in his book on Truman that the very same financial/political influence that nullified American policy under Truman in 1948 (he pushed for the right of return, for instance) nullified it under Obama in 2011 (who said settlements must end). Isn’t it time that journalists sought to expose this pattern?
P.S. The Nation shows how this should be done. Eli Clifton has a piece up on Paul Singer, the neoconservative funder. The headlines: “GOP Pro-Gay Marriage Funder’s Other Agenda: Bombing Iran: Paul Singer is one of the Republican Party’s most effective fundraisers—and a leading proponent of using military force against Tehran.”
Eli Clifton reports:
First and foremost in Singer’s hawkish foreign policy portfolio is the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative think tank whose scholars have promoted “crippling sanctions,” bombing Iran, and sought to downplay how ordinary Iranians might react to a preemptive bombing campaign. The hedge fund mogul contributed $3.6 million to FDD between 2008 and 2011, making him the organization second largest donor after Home Depot founder Bernard Marcus.