There are a lot of elephants running around the room in this piece in the New York Times today titled, “Billionaire lifts Marco Rubio, Politically and Personally.”
Senator Rubio has vaulted to the front of the Republican presidential field, and the billionaire who is expected to spend $10 million to try and make him president is Norman Braman, 82, South Florida auto dealer and professional sports team owner. The fact that Braman is a big Israel supporter appears just once in the (interminable) piece: his “ardent commitment to Israel.” We don’t learn that a few days after Rubio was elected to the Senate, in 2010, he made his first trip to Israel and met Braman and his family there. We don’t learn that Braman is Jewish– and that he believes that Israel’s creation revolutionized Jewish life in the west.
And so the authors, Michael Barbaro and Steve Eder can get away with this stretcher:
Pressed on his financial ties to Mr. Braman, Mr. Rubio said in an interview that he saw no ethical issue. “What is the conflict?” he asked. “I don’t ever recall Norman Braman ever asking for anything for himself.”
I just watched Rubio on the Senate floor saying he wanted Iran to recognize Israel’s existence before the U.S. cuts any nuclear deal with Iran. Does that have anything to do with the fact that he long discussed Israel with Braman and went there with his donor immediately after he got on to the national stage? I think it does, but our leading newspaper can’t even ask the question, about perhaps the most important foreign-policy issue of the coming election.
More whitewash, at MSNBC. Another piece on Braman that doesn’t mention Israel, and claims Braman wants nothing of Rubio.
“Norm Braman is a great man, a pillar of the South Florida community and someone who I’m personally close to. I’m very proud to be associated with him,” Rubio said in an interview early Saturday evening, after he walked up and down Greenville’s Main Street shaking hands with voters. He repeated past assertions that there’s no ethical conflicts in the relationship because Braman has never asked him for political favors.
Again, just days after he was elected to the Senate, Rubio was traveling to Israel to meet Braman there. Till our press even addresses the issue of the Israel lobby, people are going to form dark and conspiratorial views of the extent of its influence. And until it addresses the issue, some conspiratorial ideas will actually have merit. We need sunshine. Especially from Jewish writers, who understand the role of Zionism inside Jewish life.
And by the way, a piece in the Times today about Republican hopefuls adopting a “muscular foreign policy” at a South Carolina Freedom Summit was more frank about the Israel lobby’s presence in our politics. Nick Corasanti reported:
[Wisconsin Governor Scott] Walker, who does not have as much experience as some of his potential rivals on foreign policy, sought to demonstrate that he is working to address what could be viewed as his greatest weakness. Hours after he left the stage, he boarded a plane to Israel for what is being billed as a “listening tour,” which he has said includes a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to a schedule of his trip obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Walker will also tour the Western Wall in Jerusalem, meet with members of Parliament and the Israeli Defense Forces, and take a helicopter tour of Israel.
But aside from a quick mention during his remarks, Mr. Walker was unwilling to discuss the trip.