Trending Topics:

‘NYT’ editorial writer savages Republicans for ‘pro-Israel, philo-Semitic’ curtseys to Adelson

on 31 Comments
Sheldon Adelson wearing Romney button in Hebrew, at King David Hotel Jerusalem, 2012

Sheldon Adelson wearing Romney button in Hebrew, at King David Hotel Jerusalem, 2012

David Firestone, an editorial page editor at the New York Times, has a fabulous piece up savaging the Adelson primary in Las Vegas last weekend, and making no bones about what was going on. Firestone tells readers this was about Israel–and philosemitism, too. His piece is titled, “The Line to Kiss Adelson’s Boots.” Excerpts:

It’s hard to imagine a political spectacle more loathsome than the parade of Republican presidential candidates who spent the last few days bowing and scraping before the mighty bank account of the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. One by one, they stood at a microphone in Mr. Adelson’s Venetian hotel in Las Vegas and spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition (also a wholly owned subsidiary of Mr. Adelson), hoping to sound sufficiently pro-Israel and pro-interventionist and philo-Semitic to win a portion of Mr. Adelson’s billions for their campaigns…

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio made an unusually bold venture into foreign policy by calling for greater sanctions on Iran and Russia, and by announcing that the United States should not pressure Israel into a peace process….

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin brought up his father’s trip to Israel, and said he puts “a menorah candle” next to his Christmas tree. The name of his son, Matthew, actually comes from Hebrew, he pointed out.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey also described his trip to Israel, but then did something unthinkable. He referred to the West Bank as the “occupied territories.” A shocked whisper went through the crowd. How dare Mr. Christie implicitly acknowledge that Israel’s presence in the West Bank might be anything less than welcome to the Palestinians? ….

And sure enough, a few hours later, Mr. Christie apologized directly to Mr. Adelson for his brief attack of truthfulness.

More at the link.

Jon Stewart also did an episode last night mocking the cattle call. He described Adelson as “an ultra-Zionist” and blew up Chris Christie’s apology to Adelson for referring to the West Bank as the “occupied territories” in an exchange (6:00 at the link) with “Senior Zionist Billionaire Correspondent Samantha Bee.”

Stewart observes that the West Bank is best described as land “occupied by some foreign military” with “countless foreign settlements.” Then asks:

When did [Sheldon Adelson] get veto power over every word Republicans say about Israel.

Remember that Andy Borowitz of The New Yorker sought to satirize the Adelson event yesterday without mentioning Israel. That magazine should be embarrassed by Firestone’s and Stewart’s emphatic pieces.

Also, note that Firestone is talking about philo-Semitism, a powerful force in American political life at a time when Jews are such an important element of the Establishment. Cue David Frum on philo-Semitism, from his book on Bush:

Clinton can fairly be called the most philo-Semitic president in U.S. history. His closest friends and most trusted aides were Jews, his administration was crammed with Jewish appointees, both his nominees to the Supreme Court were Jewish—even his most famous girlfriend was Jewish. And Jews liked Clinton as much as he liked them. They appreciated his intellectuality and his social tolerance, his liberated wife, and his moderate liberalism. Jewish donors contributed generously to Clinton’s election campaigns; after he left office, some of those former donors helped him to grow very rich very rapidly.

Philip Weiss

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

Other posts by .

Posted In:

31 Responses

  1. seanmcbride on April 1, 2014, 12:14 pm

    David Frum wrote:

    Jewish donors contributed generously to Clinton’s election campaigns; after he left office, some of those former donors helped him to grow very rich very rapidly.

    This is why American politicians need to worry a great deal not only about what might happen to them during their terms of office regarding their views and policies on Israel — but about what might happen to them *after* their terms. (And not only to them but to their family members as well.)

    Frum is describing a system of powerful financial and social control exercised by the Israel lobby over American politics. (Actually, Frum is directly referencing the Jewish lobby in that quote — “Jewish donors.” Frum himself is Jewish, was a leading neocon, and was a key ringleader of the Iraq War — he knows what he is talking about on Jewish issues. Last I checked he wasn’t a “Jew-hater.”)

    Regarding David Firestone and Jon Stewart — awesome — they are truth-tellers.

    Regarding all the Republican politicians who cravenly groveled before Adelson and the RJC at this meeting — consider them disgraced — worthy targets of savage parody and satire. They exemplify everything that has gone wrong in the Republican Party and in American politics in general in both parties.

    Chris Christie’s apology to Adelson (more groveling) marks him as pathetic — definitely not the tough guy he pretends to be. But on the left, Samantha Power (to pick one of many examples) has been as conspicuous a groveler as any Republican.

    David Firestone in the New York Times dared to use the words “loathsome” and “bootlicking” to describe these proceedings — good for him.

    • hophmi on April 1, 2014, 12:58 pm

      Well, you see what you want to see, but I think Firestone is criticizing the general tendency of political candidates to grovel in front of major donors more than he’s criticizing their politics on Israel. But it’s really no different when the same politicians grovel in front of the Koch Brothers or in front of the NRA.

      And then you have antisemitic crap like this: “PS Clinton was so philo Zio thhat he gave his only begotten daughter to a zio banker.”

      • philweiss on April 1, 2014, 1:02 pm

        I take your point on the Clinton crack, Hophmi. It’s gone. Phil

      • eGuard on April 2, 2014, 3:44 am

        Could have stayed, Phil. “philo zio” and “Zio banker” is not anti-semitic. Zionism is a political opinion.

      • bilal a on April 1, 2014, 1:14 pm

        ex banker ?

        The source says that Bill has had it out for Marc ever since he quit his Wall Street job just six months after he married Chelsea in 2010, so that he could “sort his head out”.

        Marc lived the life of a ski bum for a while in Wyoming and left Bill’s baby girl to fend for herself in New York


      • lysias on April 1, 2014, 2:42 pm

        People Magazine: Chelsea Clinton & Marc Mezvinsky: No Trouble in Their Marriage, Says Source (Feb. 2, 2011):

        Mezvinsky, 33, an investment banker who had been working for the Manhattan financial firm G3 Capital, recently left his job. What he plans to do next is not known, but in the meantime he is taking advantage of his time off to ski in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

      • Woody Tanaka on April 1, 2014, 1:22 pm

        I think it’s tough to say it’s just the groveling. But at the very least, the article is a pretty good brief on why the US needs an asset tax of about 99% on everything above, say, $100 million dollars.

      • seanmcbride on April 1, 2014, 1:22 pm


        What raises so many eyebrows about the Adelson situation is that these controversies are swirling around a *foreign government*. The issue is not that this government is Israel, or that Israel is a Jewish state, or that Adelson is Jewish, but that so much attention is being focused on the activities of any foreign government in American domestic politics. Groveling before the NRA, which is an American organization, has a very different feel about it.

        If Irish-American, Swedish-American or Japanese-American billionaires, Adelson-style, were manipulating the American political system on behalf of Ireland, Sweden or Japan, the intensity of disbelief and outrage from the American public would be the same.

        (I agree with you that the tone of that comment you quoted is antisemitic and think that Phil was wise to delete it.)

        The best advice I could offer the Israel lobby is to lower its profile dramatically and drastically — to the same level as that of other foreign lobbies in American politics. Be as invisible as possible. But clearly it has chosen to take the opposite course — let’s see how that plays out.

      • Ellen on April 1, 2014, 8:18 pm

        Yes, I think Firestone is mostly criticizing the vulgarity and depraved system we now have of politicians for hire in the USA.

        But Aldelson distinguishes himself from the Koch Brothers and the NRA in that he has made US legislative and political boot licking to the foreign Israeli Zionist project the single cause. (being nice and doing what he tells them to do, as expressed in his own words.)

        The difference between Aldelson and the Koch bros. is that Aldelson regrets having work a US Uniform instead of an Israeli one. That Aldelson’s daughter is/was proudly in the IDF. That he hopes his young sons will be in the IDF. And, as he says, his son “likes to shoot and will be a good IDF sniper. ”

        It is not about some wealthy ultra right wing rich guys trying to steer US policy with their money and bought politicians, it is about an ultra wealthy American/Israeli buying US politicians for the purpose and desires of a foreign country first.

        That is the difference.

        He says it all here.

      • Citizen on April 2, 2014, 12:31 pm

        The NRA’s agenda is to push the right of Americans to bear personal arms to the max–in America, under America’s constitution; the arms dealers want more profits. This is not like an Israel First agenda. The NRA benefits no foreign country; it has nothing to do with any foreign country. The evidence of the Koch Brothers agenda as one primarily devoted to a foreign country–where are they?

    • Krauss on April 1, 2014, 4:15 pm

      This is why American politicians need to worry a great deal not only about what might happen to them during their terms of office regarding their views and policies on Israel — but about what might happen to them *after* their terms.

      Yeah, good catch Sean. This is precisely right. If you’re even-handed on Israel/Palestine, you’re not going to be paid enormous amounts of money by the donor class, which has a large Jewish segment.

      Nevertheless, even if you alienate the Jewish segment, you’ll be far from poor. So in the case of Clinton it is also personal greed.

      In addition, if he wants his wife to do well in the informal primary of the Democratic party, the donor primary, then he must be in good standing with the Jewish donors. Remember Obama’s talk about his “brain trust”, nearly all Jewish donors from Chicago.

      Money is power in American politics as it is everywhere else.
      But following in the money in this case becomes very sensitive, for obvious reasons.

  2. seanmcbride on April 1, 2014, 12:24 pm

    More David Firestone:

    The ability of one man and his money to engender so much bootlicking among serious candidates, which ought to be frightening, has now become commonplace. Why talk directly to voters when you can get a billionaire to help you manipulate them with a barrage of false television ads, as the Koch brothers are doing with Republican Senate candidates around the country.

    It’s a cynical calculation that is turning people away from political involvement. Mr. Adelson thinks that’s not only terrific, but hilarious. Politico reported that at a party on Saturday night for the Republican Jewish Coalition, Mr. Adelson said he couldn’t give the group the $50 million it requested because its director didn’t have change for $1 billion.

    The event was closed to the press, but it’s not hard to hear the fawning laughter and applause from here.

    By the way, be sure to browse the comments by New York Times readers on Firestone’s post — and sort them by Readers’ Picks. Be prepared to be singed by the outrage.

    • Krauss on April 1, 2014, 4:17 pm

      Firestone’s did an okay job. No more.

      His readers, however, seem to be half-stupid. Nobody seems to be talking about why all these GOP people are falling over themselves on Israel, instead you get confused rants about Las Vegas and gambling.

      Stewart was not brave at all. He barely went after Christie other than saying “see, Bush said occupied territories, too!”.

      Stewart’s “liberal” Zionism gets in his way. I wonder how he’ll frame the collapse of the peace talks. At best we’re looking at a “its both of their faults”, but he’ll likely blame the Palestinians more.

      • MRW on April 1, 2014, 8:35 pm

        I agree. Nothing brave, unusual, or savage about any of it. It’s faux outrage after holding a wet finger to the air upon hearing Mark Levin went first.

  3. ziusudra on April 1, 2014, 12:32 pm

    …occupied territories…..
    Christie made a freudian slip because he & every else know that that is the whole case!
    It is like the guy who forged a US bank note using his own image, yes, he got caught!
    Who was that philosopher that quipped, we say the darndest things?

  4. pabelmont on April 1, 2014, 12:45 pm

    No sacrifice too much! But did God intervene at the last moment to save wee Clinton?

  5. American on April 1, 2014, 1:25 pm

    Clinton- politicians- philo semitism…it all comes down to:

    Shabbat Goys and Court Jews—step and fetch for one another.
    The Club slogan?…”aint no honor among thieves”

  6. dbroncos on April 1, 2014, 1:55 pm

    “after he left office, some of those former donors helped him to grow very rich very rapidly.”


    • lysias on April 1, 2014, 2:31 pm

      Likewise Blair.

      And no doubt likewise Obama, in a few years.

  7. seanmcbride on April 1, 2014, 2:23 pm

    This Mondoweiss story currently ranks in the second slot among Twitter search results on the Adelson story (just behind Bill Moyers and ahead of Glenn Greenwald):

    [Twitter; Adelson ]

    Make no mistake: Mondoweiss is a high-impact publication among global thought leaders.

  8. dbroncos on April 1, 2014, 3:03 pm

    A grimacing, china white Venetian mask with a tuft of orange hair. A visage that perfectly mirrors his agenda.

  9. DICKERSON3870 on April 1, 2014, 3:47 pm

    RE: “Clinton can fairly be called the most philo-Semitic president in U.S. history. His closest friends and most trusted aides were Jews . . .” ~ Frum


    (EXCERPT) . . . Saban has been a generous and consistent donor to the United States Democratic Party according to his mandatory Federal Election Commission filings. Mother Jones, in an analysis of the major donors to the campaigns of 1998 election cycle, ranked Saban 155th among individual donors.[23] Amy Paris noted that Saban’s Clinton-era “generosity did not go unrewarded. During the Clinton administration, the entertainment executive served on the President’s Export Council, advising the White House on trade issues.”[23] The New York Times reported that Haim and his wife “slept in the White House several times during President Clinton’s two terms.” Saban remains close friends with the former President. Clinton described Saban as a “very good friend and supporter.”[5] Saban contributed between $5 million to $10 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation.[24]
    During the 2000 presidential election, Saban increased his rank to 5th among individual donors with a combined contribution of $1,250,500.[23] Matthew Yglesias wrote that “Saban was the largest overall contributor to the Democratic National Committee during the 2001–2002 cycle.” [25] Saban’s donations during that 2001–2002 period exceeded $10 million, the largest donation the DNC has received from a single source up to that time.
    In September 2004, Hillary Clinton described Saban as a very good friend, supporter and adviser: “I am grateful for his commitment to Israel, to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and to my foundation’s work, particularly on reconciliation issues.”[5] In May 2007, Haim publicly declared his support for Clinton in 2008 presidential election.[20] In June 2007, Saban and Steven Spielberg co-hosted a Hillary Clinton fundraiser at the house of Peter Chernin, the President of News Corporation.[26] According to the Los Angeles Times,[26] the fundraiser brought in over $850,000.
    In March 2008, Saban was among a group of major Jewish donors to sign a letter to Democratic Party house leader Nancy Pelosi warning her to “keep out of the Democratic presidential primaries.”[27] The donors, who “were strong supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign”, “were incensed by a March 16 interview in which Pelosi said that party ‘superdelegates’ should heed the will of the majority in selecting a candidate.”[27] The letter to Pelosi stated the donors “have been strong supporters of the DCCC” and implied, according to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency,[27] that Pelosi could lose their financial support in important upcoming congressional elections.
    On May 19, 2008, it was reported that Haim Saban had “offered $1 million to the Young Democrats of America during a phone conversation in which he also pressed for the organization’s two uncommitted superdelegates to endorse the New York Democrat.“[28] . . .

    SOURCE –

    • DICKERSON3870 on April 1, 2014, 3:54 pm

      P.S. RE: “In September 2004, Hillary Clinton described Saban as a very good friend, supporter and adviser . . .” ~ Matthew Yglesias (from above)

      “Haim Saban”, by Matthew Yglesias, The Atlantic, June 10, 2007

      [EXCERPT] If you’re interested in the foreign policy views of major Hillary Clinton financial backer Haim Saban, there’s no need to follow the Atrios path of attempting guilt by association with Kenneth Pollack. He [Saban] discussed his views on the Middle East and Persian Gulf region in great detail in a reasonably recent interview with ‘Haaretz’:

      “When I see Ahmadinejad, I see Hitler. They speak the same language. His motivation is also clear: the return of the Mahdi is a supreme goal. And for a religious person of deep self-persuasion, that supreme goal is worth the liquidation of five and a half million Jews. We cannot allow ourselves that. Nuclear weapons in the hands of a religious leadership that is convinced that the annihilation of Israel will bring about the emergence of a new Muslim caliphate? Israel cannot allow that. This is no game. It’s truly an existential danger.” . . .

      SOURCE –

  10. eGuard on April 1, 2014, 4:25 pm

    Jon Stewart used a peculiar map. For him, the settlements are not part of the Occupied Territories. West Bank is an archipel.

  11. PeaceThroughJustice on April 1, 2014, 6:49 pm

    Jon Stewart show, March 31, 2014: first use of the term “zionist” in mainstream US media.

    • Ellen on April 1, 2014, 8:48 pm

      Don’t know if it was the first time used in mainstream media, but it was the first time (I think) that Zionists are the ridiculous joke. The fist time a comedian does Ziospeak as Senior Zionist Billionaire Correspondent Samantha Bee.

      This is big and a lot was there. It is how court jesters speak truth to power through comedy.

  12. a blah chick on April 1, 2014, 6:59 pm

    “The Line to Kiss Adelson’s Boots.”

    That’s not all they kissed.

  13. DICKERSON3870 on April 1, 2014, 10:01 pm

    RE: “David Firestone, an editorial page editor at the New York Times, has a fabulous piece up savaging the Adelson primary in Las Vegas last weekend, and making no bones about what was going on.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Here is Donkey Hotey’s take.

  14. charlesfrith on April 2, 2014, 7:07 am

    Although mild Jon Stewart’s criticism is welcome.

    First a trickle. Then a flood.

  15. seafoid on April 2, 2014, 10:19 am

    Beinart in Ha’aretz

    “The ignorance is painful. At times, Adelson seems to suggest that Palestinians are a religion. (“They don’t want the Jews or any other religion to be alive.”) His claim that “all the terrorists are Islamists” reveals a lack of familiarity with, among others, Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, the Klu Klux Klan, the Irish Republican Army, the Tamil Tigers, the Basque National Liberation Movement, the FARC, and the Jewish Defense League. Adelson is on record as admitting that “I don’t know the difference between the Shia and the Sunnis.”
    This is what American democracy has come to. Because billionaires can now spent unlimited sums on political campaigns, a primitive old man, who knows almost nothing about Palestinians and Muslims except that they are all murderous savages, can summon the leading Republican presidential candidates to his casino and make them grovel for his affections. Although there were several hundred people in the audience last weekend in Las Vegas, the Washington Post reported that Ohio Governor John Kasich “frequently directed his remarks to ‘Sheldon’ in his speech, as if he were having a one-on-one chat.” “

  16. AaronCohen on April 3, 2014, 7:45 am

    Sheldon Adelson’s culture of hate: If anyone said about Jews what the American Jewish billionaire says about Palestinians, he’d be considered a Jew-hater in the same league as Farrakhan and Ahmadinejad.

Leave a Reply