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Cultivating megadonors, Clinton waffles on Iran and stands by Netanyahu

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Earlier this week Marco Rubio gained the support of a top neoconservative bundler of cash, Phil Rosen of the Republican Jewish Coalition, because Rubio has said the right hawkish things on foreign policy. Megadonor Norman Braman, a Florida auto dealer, will support Rubio to the tune of $10 or $20 million, for the same reason; Braman got Rubio to Israel in 2010 when he was first elected. And I’ve heard rumors that Jeb Bush is having trouble raising cash because he is associated with Jim Baker, who spoke to J Street and once put pressure on Israel over the illegal settlements.

Hillary Clinton is in the same game as the Republicans: She is trying to raise money from Jewish hawks. Here is excellent reporting from Politico‘s Kenneth P. Vogel and Tarini Parti: “Hillary Clinton signals to Jewish donors: I’ll be better for Israel.”

The piece is frank about where money comes from for a race that could cost over $2 billion, pro-Israel Jews.

The [Iran] negotiations are of intense interest for some Jewish donors whose political giving is animated by their support for Israel. They’re being counted on by Clinton’s allies to donate huge sums for a campaign and a pair of supportive super PACs that, taken together, are expected to raise $2 billion or more.

Last summer, Clinton distanced herself from Obama in her book, saying that she only came out against settlements because she was Obama’s “designated yeller” as Secretary of State; and now she distances herself in raising money.

Hillary Clinton is privately signaling to wealthy Jewish donors that — no matter the result of the Iranian nuclear negotiations — she will be a better friend to Israel than President Barack Obama.

The piece suggests that Clinton is waffling on Iran to raise money from a handful of megadonors:

But, even as donors increasingly push Clinton on the subject in private, they have emerged with sometimes widely varying interpretations about whether she would support a prospective deal, according to interviews with more than 10 influential donors and fundraising operatives…

[One donor tells Politico that] Jewish donors who oppose a deal and favor military intervention in Iran “are going to put her in a box.”

Clinton’s allies are carefully monitoring the sensitivities of a handful of hawkish Democratic mega-donors for signs that the Iran talks may be influencing their willingness to write million-dollar super PAC checks. Chief among that group is billionaire Hollywood entrepreneur Haim Saban, who sources say has spoken multiple times with Clinton and her top aides about the deal.

And as she did in her book, Clinton brags on her relationship with Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu, the rightwing leader of a government with fascistic strains in it.

at a Manhattan fundraiser last week featuring a largely Jewish group of donors, Clinton defended Obama against charges he had weakened the U.S.-Israel relationship, asserting that such criticism stemmed from a “perception” problem, according to a donor who was present. But she also suggested that if she were elected president she could correct that problem and bring the two nations closer.

“Diplomacy is all about personal relationships, and I’ve got my own relationships,” she said, referencing her two-decade association with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The piece shows that the same pressures coming to bear on the Republicans bear on Clinton: neoconservatives. They can play both sides of the aisle, because neoconservatism transcends party, as we discovered during the Iraq war, and the Israel lobby covers both sides of the aisle:

“If there’s a deal, and she comes out in favor of it, you can be sure there will be a great deal of fire trained on her,” said Noah Pollak, the executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel. The conservative group has worked to rally opposition to the talks and this week began airing an ad pressuring New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is considered a key vote on the deal, to oppose it.

Remember that Chuck Schumer has signalled that he does not like the Iran deal, but also said that Jewish and American interests differ on the deal. Jewish interests being Zionist ones; the Senator is not reading Mondo.

Please support Mondoweiss today with a tax-deductible donation.

Notice that both Leon Wieseltier and Rabbi Eric Yoffie in expressing contempt for Michael Oren’s new book for driving a wedge between the US and Israel have said, But I share his concerns re Iran. Wieseltier:

I share his opposition to Obama’s hallucinations about Iran


American policy on Iran may be well-intentioned, but it is profoundly mistaken and dangerous for all parties.

That is to say, even US centrist/liberal Zionists are hawks when it comes to Iran. These are the forces that Barack Obama contended with throughout his presidency, and that defeated him on illegal settlements and his opening to the Arab world. The Jewish community has become profoundly conservative because of the Israel issue. And as for Jews and the presidential sweepstakes, well, Politico agrees with bankrobber Willie Sutton: that’s where the money is.

(Though I would argue that all these folks are in for a surprise next year, in the shape of a diverse Democratic base and younger Jews who don’t share Schumer’s definition of the Jewish interest.)


About Philip Weiss

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27 Responses

  1. John Douglas
    July 4, 2015, 11:11 am

    Saban and the neocons have the money. Mondoweiss and company have the ideas. Is there any doubt as to who is persistently gaining ground?

  2. Philip Weiss
    July 4, 2015, 11:20 am

    Happy 4th John Douglas; we’re a hopeful bunch!!!

  3. Kay24
    July 4, 2015, 11:42 am

    Nothing says lovin’ than an American politician showing complete loyalty and devotion to Israel, before the next election. All roads to winning elections must pass Zio land through the tunnel of love. Wow, she even says that she will be BETTER than her own boss at showing complete love to a piddling little nation full of condemned policies and crimes against humanity. Note that no American politician says the same drivel about our other (more worthy) allies. It must always be for a rogue state in the ME.
    They control us and we know it.

  4. Blownaway
    July 4, 2015, 11:51 am

    ABCB—anybody but Clinton or Bush… I’m looking at Jim Webb a lessor evil

    • just
      July 4, 2015, 12:09 pm

      I am rooting for Jim Webb as well.

      I’m sure that some folks noticed this:

      “Clinton ally lobbied Hillary to meet then-envoy Michael Oren, email reveals

      Bill’s old college roommate wrote Clinton in December 2009, asking if her staff were stopping her meeting the new Israeli ambassador to Washington.”

      Q: Who else on the planet gets this kind of access or control over US foreign policy and national security?

      A: Nobody.

      Happy 4th.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 4, 2015, 2:04 pm

        happy 4th just!

      • Citizen
        July 4, 2015, 9:21 pm

        I am also rooting for Webb. Happy 4th of July Mondoweissers!

    • Annie Robbins
      July 4, 2015, 2:02 pm

      oh great, webb’s running! thank heavens. i just found out..thanks for the heads up.

    • ckg
      July 4, 2015, 2:08 pm

      Has Webb issued a stance on the Confederate flag or marriage equality?

      • just
        July 4, 2015, 2:42 pm


        “(CNN)Democrat Jim Webb said Wednesday the Confederate flag has “wrongly” been used for racist purposes in recent decades, but did not comment on whether or not the flag should be removed from places like the capitol grounds in South Carolina.

        Webb, who is a descendent of Confederate soldiers, broke with what other Democrats vying for their party’s presidential nomination have said about the recent groundswell of opposition to the flag.

        The Southern Democrat and veteran posted a statement on Facebook that cautioned against jumping to conclusion on the flag.

        “We all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War,” he wrote. “The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades. It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us.””

        “Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., said Sunday that despite his past tough stance on same-sex marriage, he is comfortable with “the evolution” on the issue in public opinion and in the courts.
        “I think this has been a good thing for the country,” Webb said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” When he ran for the Senate in 2006, he said he believed marriage was between a man and a woman, but he did not support the state constitutional amendment that defined it as such.”

        The nice thing about Webb is that he allows himself to evolve. I’ll never forget this:

        “At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia’s newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn’t long before Bush found him.

        “How’s your boy?” Bush asked, referring to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

        “I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

        “That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How’s your boy?”

        “That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President,” Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.”

        Happy 4th, ckg and Annie!

      • ckg
        July 4, 2015, 9:47 pm

        Thanks, just. Happy 4th, just and annie.

  5. Brewer
    July 4, 2015, 3:19 pm

    Andrew P. Napolitano :

    In the course of my work, I am often asked by colleagues to review and explain documents and statutes. Recently, in conjunction with my colleagues Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne, I read the transcripts of an interview Ms. Browne did with a man named Marc Turi, and Ms. Herridge asked me to review emails to and from State Department and congressional officials during the years when Hillary Clinton was the secretary of state.

    What I saw has persuaded me beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty that Mrs. Clinton provided material assistance to terrorists and lied to Congress in a venue where the law required her to be truthful. Here is the backstory.

    Read more:

    • Brewer
      July 4, 2015, 3:59 pm

      Apropos of the above:

      Whistleblower Julian Assange implicated the United States – along with the Saudi Arabian government – in a plot to overthrow the Syrian government. Saudi Arabia, the United States, France, and Britain were involved in a secret 2012 deal to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Sunday….
      …Last week, Assange’s whistleblowing website WikiLeaks released a batch of more than 60,000 of what it said were classified Saudi diplomatic cables. ​The leak aimed to prove that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey had a secret deal to topple Syria’s President Bashar Assad as far back as 2012.

      France’s Former Foreign Minister: UK Government Prepared War in Syria Two Years Before 2011 Protests

      Hellooo? Is this thing on?? Can you hear me??

  6. JLewisDickerson
    July 4, 2015, 3:25 pm

    RE: “Clinton’s allies are carefully monitoring the sensitivities of a handful of hawkish Democratic mega-donors for signs that the Iran talks may be influencing their willingness to write million-dollar super PAC checks. Chief among that group is billionaire Hollywood entrepreneur Haim Saban, who sources say has spoken multiple times with Clinton and her top aides about the deal.” ~ Weiss

    WHAT THAT PORTENDS: “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.” . . .

    . . . Saban was the largest overall contributor to the Democratic National Committee during the 2001-2002 cycle, when the party leadership was backing the Iraq War and Terry McAuliffe was DNC chair, and if Clinton becomes president, they’ll be back in the positions of influence they enjoyed back then. I doubt this all means that Hillary Clinton’s secretly itching for war with Iran, but it’s yet another illustration of the fact that her views on national security policy are too neoconnish for my tastes.

    SOURCE –

    • JLewisDickerson
      July 4, 2015, 3:32 pm

      P.S. RE: “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.” ~ Haim Saban (from above)

      FROM WIKIPEDIA (Daniel 7):

      [EXCERPT] Daniel 7 (the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel) tells of Daniel’s vision of four world-kingdoms replaced by the kingdom of God. Four beasts come out of the sea, the Ancient of Days sits in judgement over them, and “one like a son of man” is given eternal kingship. An angelic guide interprets the beasts as kingdoms and kings, the last of whom will make war on the “holy ones” of God, but he will be destroyed and the “holy ones” will be given eternal dominion.
      It is generally accepted that the Book of Daniel is a product of the mid-2nd century BCE.[1] It is an apocalypse, a literary genre in which a heavenly reality is revealed to a human recipient;[2] it is also an eschatology, a divine revelation concerning the moment in which God will intervene in history to usher in the final kingdom.[3] Its context is the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV, who outlawed Jewish customs and built an altar to Zeus in the Temple (the “abomination of desolation”), sparking a popular uprising which led to the retaking of Jerusalem and the Temple by Judas Maccabeus.[4][5] Chapter 7 introduces the theme of the “four kingdoms”, which is that Israel would come under four successive world-empires, each worse than the last, until finally God and his hosts would end oppression and introduce the eternal kingdom.[6] . . .

      SOURCE –

      Daniel’s vision of the four beasts – woodcut by Hans Holbein the Younger

    • JLewisDickerson
      July 4, 2015, 3:42 pm

      P.P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Goldberg and the Amalekites”, by Daniel Luban,, 17 May 2009

      [EXCERPT] Jeffrey Goldberg‘s latest op-ed in the New York Times contains the following interesting passage:

      I recently asked one of his advisers to gauge for me the depth of Mr. Netanyahu’s anxiety about Iran. His answer: “Think Amalek.”
      “Amalek,” in essence, is Hebrew for “existential threat.” Tradition holds that the Amalekites are the undying enemy of the Jews. They appear in Deuteronomy, attacking the rear columns of the Israelites on their escape from Egypt. The rabbis teach that successive generations of Jews have been forced to confront the Amalekites: Nebuchadnezzar, the Crusaders, Torquemada, Hitler and Stalin are all manifestations of Amalek’s malevolent spirit. If Iran’s nuclear program is, metaphorically, Amalek’s arsenal, then an Israeli prime minister is bound by Jewish history to seek its destruction, regardless of what his allies think.

      Strangely, Goldberg does not mention what is perhaps the most striking and well-known fact about the Amalekites: they were the targets of divinely sanctioned genocide. As related in 1 Samuel 15, God instructed the Israelite king Saul to “go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” Saul “utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword,” but spared their king Agag and the best of Amalek’s livestock, for which he was punished by God. When Saul’s successor David attacked the Amalekites (along with the Geshurites and Gezrites), he “smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive.” (1 Samuel 27:9).

      Unsurprisingly, these passages have been the subject of a great deal of commentary in the millenia since, and a number of rabbis have offered interpretations that seek (with varying degrees of success) to mitigate the apparent brutality of God’s command. But as Christopher Hitchens noted a few months ago, Amalek has also in recent decades become a rhetorical touchstone on the right-wing fringes of Israeli society, as rabbis such as Schmuel Derlich and Israel Hess have promoted the idea that the Palestinians are the new Amalekites and must be dealt with accordingly. Apparently Netanyahu has altered this line of thinking to identify the Amalekites with the Iranians rather than the Palestinians. . .


      • CigarGod
        July 5, 2015, 10:42 am

        I guess it would be helpful to the cause if all casualties of Israeli aggression were listed.
        “Every man, woman, infant, suckling, ox, sheep, camel and ass.”

  7. PeaceThroughJustice
    July 4, 2015, 7:47 pm

    Canadian Jewists (Jewish extremists) harass returning flotilla members at Toronto airport —

    • Kay24
      July 4, 2015, 10:02 pm

      What a mean bunch of rowdies. That woman sure has a high pitched voice. I can see these brave people were calm and collected, and did not get involved in such an ugly scene.
      It was ironic that these zionist thugs were calling them “terrorist supporters” and Hamas supporters. They are not smart enough to fathom who the real terrorists are – the ones that killed over 2000 Palestinians, mostly women and children. Strange they have lost all their sense of reasoning and are unable to count. What a mean and ugly bunch. They must also be members of the hasbara that infest the websites, same meanness. and attitude. I pity these poor Palestinians who have to deal with such wickedness from the illegal settlers.

      • just
        July 5, 2015, 8:41 am

        The guy with “never again” and the Israeli flag is a Canadian???

        I find it curious, as usual. Thank goodness for the Canadian police in this situation~ funny in a way, that it was a black officer that intervened on the behalf of an indigenous human and another human who believes in human rights.

        “Lovelace is a Canadian Indigenous activist and adjunct professor at Queens. He is sailing in the Freedom Flotilla because he sees colonial parallels in how Israel treats Palestinians.

        Neish is a human rights activist from Victoria who sailed to Gaza before on the Mavi Marmara — the Turkish ship that endured a deadly raid by Israeli forces in 2010.”

        “… Some people might say it is really none of my business. Aboriginal Canadians have enough problems of their own. They might say that, like the Palestinians, we should be grateful that we are taken care of as wards of the Canadian state. But this only reinforces the comparisons that can be drawn between settler colonialism in Palestine and settler colonialism in Canada. No wonder Canada supports Israel “right or wrong,” as the methods they use to oppress indigenous populations are similar. That’s why I have said that Gaza is the largest Indian reserve in the world.

        If only Israelis understood the effects that settlements and partitions will have on future generations, they would see that this is not true nation-building. They need to take a hard look at the human degradation that an extractive settler-colonialism has produced in Canada. Modern nation-states must begin the decolonization process or they will become the victims of their own foolish greed. Colonialism causes poverty, multiplies hatred and results in perpetual conflict. To live well at the expense of others is a very short-term strategy.

        In Canada, Aboriginal people know this too well, and settler Canadians who have any moral character are waking up to the human disaster their ancestors have created. Understanding this about Canada, Palestine and Israel, I cannot in good conscience turn my back.

        Taking responsibility for a colonial history can be hard. It shakes the very identity that gives settler privilege its rewards. The Canadian prime minister publicly denied Canada’s colonial history less than a year after his apology for the genocidal policy of Indian Residential Schools. Canada was one of four countries which voted against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples while Israel simply avoided showing up for the vote.

        Denial and avoidance render reconciliation useless. Deferral becomes the default strategy in facing the future. When leaders cannot lead, then ordinary people must use direct action.

        I wonder if I will be safe as our ship nears Palestinian waters. Past Flotillas have been attacked by the Israeli Defense Forces, and some activists have been killed. Our boats have been sabotaged and the Gaza’s Ark, designed and built by Palestinians with Flotilla support to export trade goods, was shelled and burned by the Israeli navy. I have come to understand that my safety cannot be measured by the degree of privilege that I enjoy but rather by the comparative safety of Palestinian people — children, families, the elderly.

        When put in this perspective the logic becomes quite simple. I will not choose to live well on the basis of the suffering of others. As Palestinians and Algonquin people, as human beings, our liberation, after centuries of colonialism, is inseparable.”

    • talknic
      July 5, 2015, 8:00 am

      Strange …. the loudmouthed Israel supporters don’t seem to realize Israel didn’t charge any of them and released them all.

      Ziocaine sure does rot brains

      • Mooser
        July 5, 2015, 2:21 pm

        “Ziocaine sure does rot brains”

        It may be possible that “the Ziocaine syndrome” leads to permanent changes in the emotional and psychological make-up.

  8. Boomer
    July 5, 2015, 6:45 am

    Yes, it is a good report. Currently highlighted by Google News for a wide readership, which will probably regard it as normal business among our leaders.

    It’s worth reflecting on the words of Dan Berger, cited in the report:

    “Dan Berger, a Philadelphia lawyer and major Democratic donor who supports the framework of a deal, cautioned that the interests of the U.S. and Israel, “although close, are not identical. It might not be in the best interest of American Jews, but it’s got to be in the best interest of the majority of the people.” He urged Jewish donors “to take a step back and look at the complexity and judge the agreement based on its merits,” adding: “I’d hope Hillary would judge it based on its merits and not on political support.”

  9. unverified__5ilf90kd
    July 5, 2015, 10:30 am

    Good news. Three quarters of highly educated, high income, publicly active US Democrats — the so-called “opinion elites” — believe Israel has too much influence on US foreign policy, almost half of them consider Israel to be a racist country, and fewer than half of them believe that Israel wants peace with its neighbors. These are among the findings of a new survey carried out by US political consultant and Israel-partisan Frank Luntz.

    Detailing the survey results to The Times of Israel on Sunday, Luntz called the findings “a disaster” for Israel. He summed them up by saying that the Democratic opinion elites are converting to the Palestinians, and “Israel can no longer claim to have the bipartisan support of America.”

    • diasp0ra
      July 5, 2015, 10:50 am

      I saw the report. It seems to me like we’re starting to see some cracks in the wall. If support for Israel falls in the US, their last bastion, there is really nowhere else to turn, as Europe has already been alienated.

  10. bryan
    July 5, 2015, 4:10 pm

    “Last summer, Clinton distanced herself from Obama in her book, saying that she only came out against settlements because she was Obama’s “designated yeller””

    Far short of a convincing manifesto for someone seeking to be elected to the highest (?) office in the world. “Yes I’ve done some stupid things in my life, but believe me – not because I believed they were the right call to make – simply because I wanted to climb up the greasy pole as far as I could.”

  11. JWalters
    July 5, 2015, 8:27 pm

    It’s telling that these Super Donors never want to discuss the issues. They just say, “I’m a one issue guy for Israel”, as if that is enough to justify their position. In any high school essay assignment, that alone would certainly be an F, for both content and effort.

    They have two central arguments, to use alone or in combination, and support with facts and logic.

    (1) Jews are God’s Chosen People, and have been granted permission by God to commit massive crimes against the residents of Palestine.

    (2) Jews have been victims of group persecution in the past, and hence have the right to a Jewish State, even at the cost of massive crimes against the residents of Palestine.

    Since Haim Saban profits from the crimes against the residents of Palestine, while he finances covering up and perpetuating those crimes, it’s reasonable to ask if other one-issue, Israel-supporting Super Donors similarly benefit from those crimes. After all, these guys are experts at hiding their money trails.

    In the photo is Haim explaining to Hillary why he advocates bombing Iranian children too?


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