The news late yesterday was that Sheldon and Miriam Adelson poured $75 million in September into a new super PAC that supports Donald Trump. Way more money than other donors, on either side.
Many news outlets have now reported the outsized sum, which is plainly important to Trump’s flailing campaign. Oddly, none of them is reporting the Adelsons’ number one issue, Israel, or the fact that Miriam Adelson is Israeli, or that the Adelsons are close to Netanyahu, or that our transactional president has done just about everything Israel wants. Nope, the big story is still Russian influence.
AP has a sizeable story on the donation with Sheldon Adelson’s name in the headline, but a neutral characterization:
A major funder of Republican causes, Adelson has donated over $250 million to GOP candidates and super PACs since 2015.
CNN has the Adelsons in their headline, but the donation seems to be about Miriam’s Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In 2018, Trump bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the country’s highest civilian honor — on Miriam Adelson, citing her philanthropic work.
Politico’s report, titled “Adelsons pour $75 million into last-ditch effort to save Trump,” says nothing about Israel but counts up all the Adelsons’ largesse:
The money for Preserve America brought the Adelsons’ giving to Republican candidates and committees to a whopping $176 million for the 2020 election cycle, according to FEC data.
In two reports, NPR also failed to say a word about the Adelsons’ agenda, though it also cited the medal and another angle: “in April of this year [Trump] appointed Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands, to his council of business leaders who would advise him on reopening the country.”
As Trump himself said last month, his foreign policy has been “good for Israel.”
I withdrew from the last administration’s disastrous Iran nuclear deal. So good for Israel. So good that we did that.
His list of pro-Israel actions includes moving the embassy to Jerusalem, defunding the UN refugee agency serving Palestinians, closing down the Palestinian mission in Washington, recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, giving legal validity to Israel’s colonization of the West Bank, lately harsh sanctions and belligerent language aimed at Iran, and on and on. It’s obvious that all these actions are what Adelson wants. He helped found the organization One Jerusalem to stop a Palestinian state, says Palestinians are not a people but are actually “southern Syrians”, and called on the last president to nuke Iran. He has been in attendance at major Trump policy announcements on the issue.
When Trump trashed the Iran deal in 2018, Eli Clifton was blunt about his reasons: “three billionaires paved the way,” including Adelson, Bernard Marcus, and Paul Singer, all Israel supporters. A recent NY Times retrospective on the 2016 campaign was also more frank about Adelson’s interest: “gambling magnate, Republican megadonor and strident voice for Israel.”
But today Adelson is in the headlines, at a crunch time in the presidential campaign, when voters are scrutinizing Trump’s record, and alleged Russian influence is in the news every day– and the media avoid the Israel influence like a hot stove.
Adelson himself is brash about his interest. He says he wished he’d have served in the Israeli army not the American one, he owns a leading Israeli newspaper and funds an organization for free Jewish American tourism to Israel so that young Jews will marry Israelis. He calls Trump all the time, per Alan Dershowitz, and has told Trump, “the biggest thing you did for Israel” was breaking the Iran deal, Trump himself said.
We understand why the media are squeamish about the issue. They don’t want to feed the antisemitic claim that rich Jews control politicians. But in the Adelson case, there’s no trope. He’s not working behind the scenes. He openly loves Israel, is married to an Israeli, and Trump has even acknowledged his influence. Adelson has gotten what he paid for. It’s appalling that there’s been no coverage of this angle. At least AP tried to call Adelson.
And we can only imagine what these Israel supporters are giving Trump in October…