Timothy Egan, a New York Times contributing opinion writer, has a column today defending the tradition of rich people having an outsize role in our politics, because that’s just reality. But he slipped in not one but two cracks at Sheldon Adelson.
An 85-year-old casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson, now has more influence on American foreign policy than even the secretary of state, the Koch [Brothers] tool Mike Pompeo.
But the Kochs pay for politicians in order to enrich themselves and to gut regulations affecting the polluting industries that made them billionaires. Adelson got a similar tax windfall for the millions he put into electing Republicans, with the added benefit of controlling the State Department’s view of Israel.
This is a verboten statement that Egan managed to salt away in this column. You aren’t supposed to speak about a Jewish donor having influence or “control” or ranking the country’s top diplomat; but the facts are hard to contest. “Follow the money: Three billionaires paved the way for Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal,” Lobelog reported, demonstrating the influence of Adelson, Bernard Marcus, and Paul Singer. Adelson and his wife Miriam gave $90 million to Republican causes in the 2016 cycle and another $87+ million in the midterms last year. Adelson, who called on Obama to nuke Iran, was paid off by Trump with the destruction of the Iran deal, the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, and the defunding of the UN refugee agency for Palestinians. If that’s not control, give me a better verb.
It seems to me that Egan is emboldened by the new climate of politicization of Israel support: two BDS supporters have entered the House of Representatives, polls show declining regard for Israel among progressives and Democrats along with greater esteem for Palestine, and progressives now like to blame Adelson for the Israel lobby, not the Democrats who also support Israel through thick or thin. If Adelson is the only way journalists can attack the lobby, so be it for now…