Trending Topics:

Saban and Adelson put aside presidential differences to save Israel in Las Vegas this weekend

Activism
on 16 Comments

Haim Saban is busy. Three weeks back in L.A., he held a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. This report is from Variety:

Hillary Clinton capped a day of fundraising for her 2016 presidential bid at the Beverly Park home of longtime supporters Haim and Cheryl Saban, as she appeared before a crowd that included such industry figures as Casey Wasserman, Stevie Wonder, Peter Chernin and Clarence Avant.

Donors paid $2,700 per person at the event, the last of three fetes that were expected to bring in close to $3 million, according to fundraisers. Also attending, according to a guest who was there, were Lions Gate’s Rob Friedman, WME Entertainment’s Patrick Whitesell, talkshow host Larry King, Mike and Irena Medavoy, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Mary Steenburgen.

This coming weekend Saban should be in Las Vegas. Nathan Guttman reports in the Forward that “leading Jewish mega-donors” Saban and Sheldon Adelson, who backs Republican candidates for president, are teaming up on a closed-door conference on how to counter Israel’s delegitimization on campus. Guttman says the Vegas confab is at the instance of a few rich men who “decided to take action.”

According to several prospective participants, Jewish groups planning to attend the meeting include the Israel on Campus Coalition, Hillel, StandWithUs, the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federations of North America. The Israel Action Network, a communal body created specifically to counter BDS and delegitimization of Israel, will not attend, although it will be represented by one of its parent organizations, JFNA…

The purpose, an official with one of the groups invited said, was to “find the best strategies” for countering campus anti-Israel campaigns and to “make sure there is funding” for those programs.

Saban has a particular interest in the gathering, Guttman reports.

Saban has spoken to Israeli officials, including the former ambassador to Washington Michael Oren and top officials in the Israeli foreign ministry, about setting up a special task force to deal with increased calls on campuses to adopt measures of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, measures commonly referred to as BDS.

That’s not surprising, because today’s New York Times has an article about rightwing Israeli  leaders “lashing out” against the international campaign against Israel, and quotes an Israeli official saying his “war” against activists began right after the last attack on Gaza last summer, which killed over 2100 Palestinian (and more than 70 Israelis).

Yuval Rotem, a high-ranking official in Israel’s foreign ministry responsible for countering international isolation, said in an interview that politicians rushed to increase the military budget after last summer’s war with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, “but my war started the day after the war in Gaza is over, and I didn’t get even one penny in addition.”

“I know what to do in the United Nations, I know what to do in Geneva — now I need to build a base of power to deal with a trade union in Ireland or a church in Panama,” Mr. Rotem said. “It’s a new spectrum of arenas, it’s a new spectrum of battlegrounds, that takes us to all those trade unions, to all those churches, to all those campuses and universities, and all those conferences of sciences, all museums and art exhibitions. Every element of Israeli activity is basically challenged.”

The Times article gives a lot of support to that Israeli undertaking. It quotes extremist smears without allowing BDS supporters to explain their aims. And that’s intriguing when you consider that Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban last teamed up last November when they held a conversation in Washington about Israel that included a discussion of whether they ought to buy the New York Times.

Saban marveled at how Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had purchased the Washington Post for a mere $250 million, which Saban called “bupkis,” and that he was sorry that he did not try to buy it himself. At that point Adelson pounced on Saban and challenged him on the spot to join with him to buy the New York Times from the Sulzberger family.

Saban expressed an openness to the idea, but was concerned that the Sulzberger family would not sell. Adelson dismissed that concern, “You pay significantly more than it’s worth, then the non-family shareholders have the right to bring a suit between the real value and what’s been offered.” Adelson suggested that he and Saban team up and make them an offer that cannot be refused; “There’s only one way to buy it, money…. but it’s not going to be one of those deals where I put up 10 times more than you” Adelson said.

Saban expressed an interest… and then the panel moved on to other subjects.

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

By the way, Saban also held fundraisers for Obama the last time; and his recent guest Villaraigosa is the guy who had to bring down the hammer on the Democratic convention’s floor demonstration for Palestine 3 years ago, so as to railroad a platform plank saying Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. Villaraigosa said Obama was “absolutely livid” over the platform’s failure to include that language.

 

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

16 Responses

  1. Keith on June 1, 2015, 3:29 pm

    “I know what to do in the United Nations, I know what to do in Geneva — now I need to build a base of power to deal with a trade union in Ireland or a church in Panama,” Mr. Rotem said.”

    “…build a base of power….” As I continue to stress, Zionism is a power-seeking ideology. It cannot be understood in any other context.

  2. amigo on June 1, 2015, 4:14 pm

    “I know what to do in the United Nations, I know what to do in Geneva — now I need to build a base of power to deal with a trade union in Ireland or a church in Panama, “Rotem

    The ICTU ,(Irish Congress of Trade Unions ) officials and it, s members are unified in their opposition to Israel,s treatment of The Palestinian People and will not take kindly to Rotem or his power base interfering in our democracy by trying to usurp their will. I would warn these foreign agents that they will face even more committed opposition to interference in our stand against human rights abuses and attempts to influence our leaders , by whatever methods they use.

    But they are welcome to try.They will be quickly dispatched and sent back to wherever they arrive from.Ireland,s dignity is not for sale .Rotem and co may think they can buy the world but they are sadly , (for them) very much mistaken.

    • Froggy on June 3, 2015, 12:51 pm

      Israel declined an offer to become the 51st state upon learning that the number of seats they would control in the US senate would be reduced to 2.

      :)

      Keep ’em out of Ireland, Amigo.

  3. Boo on June 1, 2015, 4:37 pm

    Bring it on, boys, let’s see if your gelt can overcome our צַדִּיק

  4. HarryLaw on June 1, 2015, 4:59 pm

    “Adelson suggested that he and Saban team up and make them an offer that cannot be refused”
    The Godfather of that other crime family the Corleone’s said that very same thing.
    But maybe not with a horses head in the bed of one of the Sulzberger family for refusing.

    • ckg on June 1, 2015, 10:18 pm

      It’s not personal. It’s strictly business. As journalists, publishers, and politicians know.

  5. amigo on June 1, 2015, 5:01 pm

    This is how Irish people react to attempts to intimidate them.Ask the former SA regime how that worked our for them in Ireland.

    “Product ban
    In 1985, eight strikers and their union official, Brendan Archbold, flew to South Africa at the invitation of Desmond Tutu. They were not permitted to enter, but held under armed guard and deported on the next plane. This caused much media attention back home. The strike finally ended in 1987, when a ban was introduced on South African products by the Irish government. Three years later, Mandela was freed.” Irish Times.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/how-11-striking-irish-workers-helped-to-fight-apartheid-1.1618635

    Must be a lesson here for Rotem somewhere.

  6. annie on June 1, 2015, 5:01 pm

    Saban and Sheldon Adelson, who backs Republican candidates for president, are teaming up on a closed-door conference on how to counter Israel’s delegitimization on campus. Guttman says the Vegas confab is at the instance of a few rich men who “decided to take action.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/gathering-alongside-sheldon#sthash.lovpdAHO.dpuf

    i have an idea!!!! why not follow netanyahu’s lead and accuse the student activist of claiming israelis drink the blood of children?

    http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/children-netanyahu-campaign

    seriously, this is like hasbara gold! whatever advisor of netanyahu’s or think tank or what/whoever came up with that line should get a raise. it’s too brilliant to not believe. it’s just so..realistic… know what i mean?

    • amigo on June 1, 2015, 6:09 pm

      “i have an idea!!!! why not follow netanyahu’s lead and accuse the student activist of claiming israelis drink the blood of children “Annie

      But Annie , not all Israelis do it.

      • CigarGod on June 2, 2015, 8:48 am

        No problem…as long as they can be linked by association…no matter how thinly…

  7. amigo on June 2, 2015, 9:01 am

    This is a must read from Haaretz.

    “The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement has just scored a tremendous victory.

    When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issues a manifest in Jerusalem against the delegitimization of Israel and calls for a “wide front” to combat boycott, and then, within 24 hours, Sheldon Adelson convenes an emergency summit in Las Vegas to fight BDS on university campuses – as Nathan Guttman revealed in the Forward on Monday – BDSers can smugly tell themselves that they’ve finally made it. From a nuisance, perhaps even a danger, they have been elevated the status of existential threat, on a par, almost, with Iran and Hezbollah.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.659269

    No pay wall.

  8. amigo on June 2, 2015, 9:54 am

    More bad news for Israel on the boycott front.

    “Despite Israel’s recent success in foiling the Palestinian attempt to have it booted from FIFA, Foreign Ministry officials hastened to warn on Tuesday that the soccer brouhaha was just the beginning and that Jerusalem will have a difficult time fending off “the diplomatic tsunami.”

    These warnings appear to be well-founded in light of the decision by a number of western European countries, chief among them France and the United Kingdom, to decline to exhibit their wares at the seventh annual Israel Defense expo, which opened in Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning.

    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/UK-France-decline-to-take-part-in-Israel-defense-expo-in-Tel-Aviv-404783

    Drip , drip ,drip.

    • JWalters on June 2, 2015, 5:27 pm

      That sounds big.

    • Boo on June 2, 2015, 9:10 pm

      In fact, they fear these sorts of economic consequences far more than they fear something largely symbolic like being bounced from FIFA.

      My reference here is during last summer’s assault on Gaza when a couple of rockets landed within a day’s walk of Ben Gurion Airport. Israel immediately shut the airport down. Only to reopen it the next day — not because the “threat” had vanished in <24 hours — but because they realized the longer it stayed closed, the more tourist dollars they'd lose, and the less likely it was that potential tourists would be inclined to book flights.

      Clearly, in this instance they put tourist revenue ahead of tourist "safety" (I use quotes because I dispute the notion that tourist flights were ever seriously in danger, but it's obvious Israel didn't share my sentiment).

  9. JWalters on June 2, 2015, 5:26 pm

    These billionaire bullies are plotting to cover up killing Palestinians and stealing their land. Which makes sense since they finance those crimes.

    Their open disdain for facts and democracy makes them traitors to the Constitution that shelters them.

    If you think you are safe from these predators because you are an American citizen you are wrong. Their cabal will send your family members in brigades to die furthering their crimes.

    If you think these are just a couple of random rich guys who happen to be pro-Israel, you are mistaken. They are part of a longstanding operation to subvert America’s press and politics for the profits of a tiny few.
    https://consortiumnews.com/2015/04/13/neocon-chaos-promotion-in-the-mideast/#comment-193096

  10. Nevada Ned on June 3, 2015, 7:47 pm

    Even before this latest development, Sheldon Adelson and others had been attempting to combat the BDS movement.

    Recall that the US Supreme Court has said that rich donors have an unlimited right to make campaign contributions, and those contributions can be anonymous.

    That means that the BDS movement can accuse its opponents of being on the payroll of Sheldon Adelson, and those opponents can’t refute the accusations – because Adelson can make enormous anonymous contributions.

    And Adelson has a bad reputation, among a large number of people, starting with the workers at his nonunion casinos.

Leave a Reply