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Courting Adelson and Netanyahu and reviving ‘new American century,’ Rubio positions himself as neocon favorite

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Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has emerged as the last best hope of the neoconservative restoration. In recent days, Rubio has been courting Sheldon Adelson, who wants to nuke Iran, while Rubio’s outside spending group, which tried to kill the Iran deal by promoting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, has undertaken a big ad buy in Iowa. Rubio appears to be favored by neocon kingmaker Bill Kristol, who has defended the Florida senator from attacks, elevated him as “shrewd”–and meantime has trolled Jeb Bush (who made the mistake of naming James Baker as a foreign policy adviser).

AP asks, Can Rubio keep up with Jeb Bush? and says that Rubio dined last week with Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas:

Rubio shared a private dinner Thursday night in Las Vegas with Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who with his wife donated more than $90 million during the last presidential contest. Rubio, like other Republicans, has aggressively sought Adelson’s endorsement.

Adelson cares about one issue, supporting Israel through thick and thin.

Rubio’s big outside spending groups also have a pro-Israel connection; and they’ve raised over $16 million, and are spending a hunk of that money in Iowa. Las Vegas Review Journal:

Two outside spending groups, Conservative Solutions PAC and Conservative Solutions Project, have purchased a combined $2.1 million to air nearly 1,600 pro-Rubio spots on Iowa TV stations in advance of that state’s caucuses, The Des Moines Register reported on its website Saturday night.

The Conservative Solutions Project is a nonprofit that had raised $16 million in undisclosed donations as of last July, per the Times and Politico. The Times also reported that Conservative Solutions PAC and Conservative Solutions Project have raised a total of $39 million this election cycle, an indication that Rubio could take on Jeb Bush. The groups do not have to reveal the names of donors; but one of those donors is surely Rubio’s godfather Norman Braman, who is devoted to Israel’s security and who told the Washington Post last spring:

“If there is a super PAC that’s founded, I will give substantially,” Braman said in an interview, declining to be more specific.

The National Journal calls the Conservative Solutions Project a “secret-money group.”

The only known donor to Con­ser­vat­ive Solu­tions Pro­ject is a polit­ic­al group: Su­per PAC for Amer­ica, an or­gan­iz­a­tion once led by Mi­chael Re­agan and Dick Mor­ris that raised and spent mil­lions of dol­lars in the 2010 and 2012 elec­tions but spent down its re­main­ing money last year. The su­per PAC’s cam­paign fin­ance re­ports in­clude a $10,000 dona­tion to Con­ser­vat­ive Solu­tions Pro­ject in June 2014.

Dick Morris is a giant supporter of Israel who has urged Jewish Democrats to leave the party over the issue and worked against the Iran deal.

Conservative Solutions Project did say it would spend $1 million on ads against the Iran deal last summer, the Washington Post reported. One ad featured Rubio and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

The ad also shows footage of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking. Netanyahu has clashed sharply with Obama over Iran, aligning himself with congressional Republicans.

The narrator of the ad concludes: Tell your senators to join Marco Rubio. Vote against Obama’s deal and stop Iran from getting the bomb.”

Also note that Rubio’s campaign titles itself “A New American Century.” The moniker echoes the most disastrous project of the last generation in American politics, the Project for a New American Century, led by neoconservatives Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, which counseled George Bush in 2002 that we should invade Iraq because Israel’s war is our war.

Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight.… For reasons both moral and strategic, we need to stand with Israel in its fight against terrorism…
If we do not move against Saddam Hussein and his regime, the damage our Israeli friends and we have suffered until now may someday appear but a prelude to much greater horrors.

So these are the folks Rubio is auditioning for. Does America really want Bill Kristol (of the Emergency Committee for Israel) and friends back in business, influencing Middle East policy? I thought we had ushered these folks off stage after the Iran Deal, but Rubio’s campaign is surely their latest vehicle to power.

We reported on Rubio’s godfather, Norman Braman, last spring. The octagenarian and self-made billionaire has said that he would spend $10 million on the talented politician. Days after Rubio was elected to the Senate in 2010, he went out to Israel to meet Braman there. Braman has given over $300,000 to an illegal West Bank settlement. I know, I keep bringing Israel into this post, when the connection is not always explicit. But it ought to be the business of our press, and of Democrats, to make these connections clear. As Peter Beinart wrote in Haaretz last week:

Rubio is an articulate spokesperson for the view that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deserves complete freedom of action, backed by American weaponry, money and diplomatic cover, and that the Palestinians don’t deserve basic rights. Democrats deserve spokespeople able, and willing, to explain why he’s wrong.

This is an ideological agenda, and it ought to be front and center in US coverage.

PS. Eli Clifton reports at Lobelog that Rubio will be coming to Manhattan this week to suck up to Republican Jewish Coalition stalwart Phil Rosen, who has said that President Obama feels “entitled to screw Israel.”

[Rubio] has said that he would “absolutely” revoke the Iran nuclear deal, even in defiance of Washington’s NATO allies, and has blasted the Obama administration for criticizing Israeli construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Here’s the Phil Rosen tweet that Clifton refers to:

So many of my good friends are Jewish!!! I’m entitled to screw Israel. Trust me


Philip Weiss

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

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16 Responses

  1. Atlantaiconoclast on October 12, 2015, 11:37 am

    Rubio, quite alarmingly, seems very sincere, if incredibly ignorant. And that is just how the neocons like em. They like puppets. I just don’t understand why those leaders (Rand Paul, Obama, etc.) who aren’t neocon, don’t realize what they are up against. Why do they try to make nice with these people? Why does Obama in particular hire neocon advisers and incorporate neocons into his State Dept? You can’t out neocon a neocon. I just don’t get it.

    • Krauss on October 12, 2015, 12:42 pm

      Because it’s too narrow to just focus on neocons.

      We’re talking about Israel here. There are plenty of Israel Firsters in the democratic party, too, such as Haim Saban. Look at the donor class. Many of them are not Israel Firsters, but Israel is a top 3 issue for them.

      Obama and Rand are forced to kneel before them because they have no other choice. The mark of a leader is how he or she can operate in a hostile environment while slowly, but surely, turning the climate more favourable to his nation.

      Obama has done that with the Iran deal. I can’t say Rand would be as courageous, he has certainly started to pander to the Israel crowd a lot more in the last few years as part of his “mainstreaming”.

      • Citizen on October 12, 2015, 2:43 pm

        Saban & Adelson have both stated Israel is there only agenda.

      • JWalters on October 12, 2015, 7:02 pm

        I share your analysis. If Obama or anyone else (e.g. Rand, Bernie) came out and told the simple truth about Israel they would be IMMEDIATELY vilified by a wall-to-wall MSM chorus of character assassination. At some point the grassroots will be informed enough (through the web) so that would backfire. But judging when that point is reached is difficult. Widespread grassroots knowledge and support is essential. For now the oligarchy is keeping everyone pinned down on the MSM front.

    • Mooser on October 12, 2015, 1:03 pm

      “don’t realize what they are up against. Why do they try to make nice with these people?”

      Use the best example available, Atlantaiconoclast! Like the North realizing that there was no negotiating with the Slave States. Or the US government realizing that civil rights will have to be imposed on the South.

    • JWalters on October 12, 2015, 7:24 pm

      I doubt Rubio is sincere. He looks like the latest candidate cultivated by the war profiteers. Here’s Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, saying that W was a pawn of war profiteers, and the current crop of GOP candidates are also pawns of war profiteers. Wilkerson was a deep insider.

      Another insider, Kay Griggs, ex-wife of a U.S. Army director of assassination training, talked bluntly about the war profiteers’ systematic use of blackmail to control members of Congress. Her key comments are extracted here.

      It seems to me Griggs’ story explains Rubio more than any sincerity on his part. His slavish eagerness to spout glaring stupidities is the giveaway.

  2. wondering jew on October 12, 2015, 12:25 pm

    Phil Weiss states, “I thought we had ushered these folks off stage after the Iran Deal, but Rubio’s campaign is surely their latest vehicle to power.”

    Why would anyone think that neoconservatives would consider one defeat as decisive? Why would anyone think that supporters of Israel (or specifically supporters of Likud Israel) would consider that Israel needs no longer be supported?

    • Mooser on October 12, 2015, 1:06 pm

      “(or specifically supporters of Likud Israel)”

      Yes, an Israel divided against itself cannot stand! Yonah, there’s only one Israel.

    • johneill on October 13, 2015, 3:07 am

      American neoconservatives/Israel-supporters are (or at least could be soon after the first inspection) out on a limb insofar as they’ve invented or exaggerated a threat. They won’t be ‘off-stage’ until there’s a modicum of political awareness in the American mainstream. That’s not likely until the mainstream media stop pretending that America is represented by the recidivists in D.C. As more alternative media disregard or actively bury their lies the sea-change comes closer. Phil is, I believe, practicing this dismissal.

    • ziusudra on October 13, 2015, 4:05 am

      Greetings jonah fredman,
      …why would anyone think…….
      If they think, they think, they only think that they think.
      That Israel need no longer be supported?

      Israel needs no more Support.
      They;ve achieved miracles with the US & Euro support.
      Militarily, they can leave the battle field unilaterally w/o
      fear of reprisals.
      Foreign Investment runs into their arms.
      There is nothing that they lack.
      They could go on milking Germany & the US in perpetuity
      wo ever having to pay the rent.

      It is the Support that they crave that should linger on until they rule
      unilaterally in the Levant.
      Even if they come so far, they won’t be able to hold on to it.
      This will be their downfall.
      PS Ne’er has a puny pariah state achieved so much in so little time.
      Not even Rhodesia or Belgium Congo had it so easy, Mosel Tov.

  3. Krauss on October 12, 2015, 12:45 pm

    The neocons will continue to play a role in American politics so long as the influence of money is so great.

    That being said, demographics trump money. A GOP nominee isn’t going to be elected to the WH for at least a couple of decades if not longer.

    Latino Decisions estimate that the GOP nominee needs 45-47% of the Hispanic vote even if they get 60% of the white vote. Isn’t going to happen. And the number just goes up with each and every election.

    I would focus more on the Democratic establishment as of now; they matter more, and the media(particularly the NYT). Although this site has done a great job on the latter issue.

  4. truthurts on October 12, 2015, 1:58 pm

    Also note that Rubio’s campaign titles itself “A New American Century.” The moniker echoes the most disastrous project of the last generation in American politics, the Project for a New American Century, led by neoconservatives Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, which counseled George Bush in 2002 that we should invade Iraq because Israel’s war is our war ”

    ah, duh, you only left out;
    saudi arabia
    and iran too
    just wanted to make sure you make PNAC’s diabolical list complete!

  5. Citizen on October 12, 2015, 2:48 pm

    On a related issue, pro-Israel fanatics and the conservative GOP are uniting to crush free speech on campus; they’ve decided if they gain control of the student government on each campus (by large doses of campaign cash, just like in the big boy elections), they can control the campus arena; number one agenda is to kill BDS.

    Phil should check into this; the latest details and names involved are crying out for an article here on MW.

  6. PeaceThroughJustice on October 12, 2015, 2:57 pm

    The NYT finds that “Just 158 families have provided nearly half the early money for efforts to capture the White House election.”

    The article examines the list looking for patterns and connections — there’s a lot of Republicans, they live together in wealthy neighborhoods, their money was often self-made, and it often came from finance or real estate. The reporters even looked at ethnicity: “More than a dozen of the elite donors were born outside the United States, immigrating from countries like Cuba, the old Soviet Union, Pakistan, India and Israel.”

    What they didn’t notice was that about one-quarter (23% by my count) were Jewish, which I found remarkable.

    Here’s the list —

    • bryan on October 12, 2015, 5:13 pm

      Presumably to make such a point would be horribly anti-semitic, though its ok to suggest that wealthy Republicans are feathering their own nests. Good to see that Adelson has stayed out of the fray – presumably he is still waiting to decide whether to go for Bernie or Hilary.

  7. James Canning on October 13, 2015, 5:29 pm

    Marco Rubio is pleased to be an Aipac stooge.

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