Thursday, February 19, 2015

Is Sheldon Adelson's Long-Term Goal To Poison The Special Relationship Between Israel And Democrats?


In 2013 the U.S. GDP-- gross national product-- was $16.99 trillion. But somehow, by spreading around some ill-gotten cash, a Vegas Mafia frontman working for red China and with loyalties primarily to Israel has managed to become one of the 3 or 4 most dominant figures in American politics. That would be Sheldon Adelson (and his wife Miriam). But if their wealth has bought them an inordinate amount of power in the U.S., imagine what it has done for them in Israel, which in 2013 had a GDP of just $259 billion.

Last weekend, Israeli writer and peace activist Uri Avery tried explaining the Adelsons' outsized-- and highly destructive-- role in Israeli politics and, particularly, in the career of Benjamin Netanyahu. The real ruler of Israel, he asserts, isn't Netanyahu, but "Sheldon Adelson, 81, American Jew, Casino king, who was rated as the world’s tenth richest person, worth 37.2 billion dollars at the latest count." Among his properties, Avery points to casinos in Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, Macao and Singapore, the US Republican party and, lately, both Houses of the US Congress. And Netanyahu. He says the Israel connection all started with a blind date.
Miriam Farbstein was born in Haifa, attended a prestigious high school, did her army service in the Israeli institute which deals with bacteriological warfare and is a multifaceted scientist. After one of her sons (from her first marriage) died of an overdose, she is devoted to the fight against drugs, especially cannabis.

Both Adelsons are fanatical supporters of Israel. Not just any Israel, but a rightist, supremacist, arrogant, violent, expansionist, annexationist, non-compromising, colonialist Israel.

In “Bibi” Netanyahu they found their man. Through Netanyahu they hope to rule Israel as their private fief.

To assure this, they did an extraordinary thing: they founded an Israeli newspaper, solely devoted to the furthering of the interests of Binyamin Netanyahu. Not of the Likud, not of a specific policy, but of Netanyahu personally.

Years ago I invented a Hebrew word for papers which are distributed for nothing. “Hinamon” translates, roughly, into “ragratis” or “gratissue” and was intended to denigrate. But I did not dream of a monster like Israel Hayom (“Israel Today”)-- a paper with unlimited funds, distributed every day for nothing in the streets and malls all over the country by hundreds, perhaps thousands of paid young persons.

Israelis love getting something for nothing. Israel Hayom is now the daily paper with the widest distribution in Israel. It drains readers and advertising revenue from its only competitor-- Yedioth Ahronoth (“Latest News”), which held this title until then.

Yedioth reacted furiously. It became a ferocious enemy of Netanyahu. Yossi Werter, a commentator of the center-left Haaretz (which has a far lower circulation) even believes that the present election boils down to a contest between the two papers.

That is vastly exaggerated. Judged by political and social content, there is little to differentiate the two. Both are super-patriotic, war-mongering and rightist. That is the journalistic recipe for attracting the masses anywhere in the world.

...In Israel, betting is forbidden by law. We have no casinos, and secret gambling dens are raided by the police. In our early youth we were taught that casino moguls are bad people, almost like arms merchants. They take the money off poor addicted people, throwing them into despair, even suicide. See Dostoyevsky.

Israelis read Israel Hayom (it’s something for nothing, after all), but they don’t necessarily like the man and his methods. So some members of the Knesset were encouraged to enter a bill forbidding gratis newspapers altogether.

Netanyahu and the Likud party did everything to obstruct this bill. But in the preliminary vote (necessary for private members’ bills) they were beaten in an amazing way. Even members of Netanyahu’s governing coalition voted for it. The cameras caught Netanyahu literally running in the Knesset plenum hall to gain his seat before the voting started.

The vote was 43 to 23. Almost half the Likud members absented themselves. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his party voted for the bill. So did ministers Ya’ir Lapid and Tzipi Livni.

From the preliminary vote to the final adoption, such a bill has to pass several stages. There was plenty of time to bury it in one of the committees. But Netanyahu was furious. A few days after the vote, he dismissed Lapid and Livni from the cabinet, causing the government coalition to break up and the Knesset to disperse.

Why did Netanyahu do such a foolish thing less then half way through his (third) term of office? There can be only one logical explanation: he was ordered to do so by Adelson, in order to prevent the adoption of the law.

If so, Adelson is now our chief lawmaker. Perhaps he is also our chief government-maker.

Money plays an ever-increasing role in politics. Election propaganda is made on television, which is very expensive. Both in Israel and the US, legal and illegal funds pour into the campaign, directly and indirectly. Corruption is abetted or tolerated by the courts. The very rich (known euphemistically in America as the “wealthy”) exercise undue influence.

In the last US presidential elections, Adelson poured rivers of dollars into the contest. He supported Newt Gingrich, and then Mitt Romney, with huge sums of money. In vain. Perhaps Americans don’t like to be ruled by captains of casinos.

For the next US presidential elections, Adelson has started early. He has summoned to his Las Vegas casino HQ all leading Republican candidates, to grill them on their allegiance to him-- and to Netanyahu. Nobody dared to refuse the summons. Would a Roman senator refuse the summons of Caesar?

In Israel, such rituals are superfluous. The Adelsons-- both Miri and Sheldon-- know who their man is.

The Israel Hayom newspaper is, of course, a big propaganda machine, totally devoted to the re-election of Netanyahu. All quite legal. In a democracy, who can tell a newspaper whom to support? We are still a democracy, for God’s sake!

It seems to be strange for a country to allow a foreigner, who never lived in the country, to have such enormous power over its future, indeed, over its very existence.

That’s where Zionism comes in. According to the Zionist creed, Israel is the state of the Jews, all the Jews. Every Jew in the world belongs to Israel, even if temporarily residing somewhere else. A few days ago, Netanyahu publicly claimed to represent not just the State of Israel but also the entire “Jewish People.” No need to ask them.

Accordingly, Adelson is not really a foreigner. He is one of us. True, he cannot vote in Israel, though his wife probably can. But many people, including himself, believe that he, being a Jew, has a perfect right to interfere in our affairs and dominate our lives.

For example, the appointment of our ambassador in the US. Ron Dermer is an American, born in Miami, who was active in Republican politics. To appoint an American functionary of the Republican Party as ambassador of Israel to a Democratic administration may seem strange. Not so strange if Netanyahu acted under the orders of Sheldon Adelson.

It was Adelson who prepared the witches’ brew that is now endangering Israel’s lifeline to Washington. His stooge, Dermer, induced the Republicans in Congress-- all of them dependent on Adelson’s largesse or hoping to be so-- to invite Netanyahu to give an anti-Obama speech before both Houses.

While this intrigue was in preparation, Dermer met with John Kerry but did not tell him of Netanyahu’s coming. Neither did Netanyahu inform President Obama, who, in a fury, announced that he would not meet with the Prime Minister.

From the point of view of Israel’s vital interests, it is sheer madness to provoke the President of the United States of America, who controls American’s flow of arms to Israel and the American veto power in the UN. But from the point of view of Adelson, who wants to elect a Republican president in 2016, it makes sense. He has already threatened to invest unlimited sums of money to prevent the reelection of any Senator or Representative who is absent from Netanyahu’s speech.

We are nearing open warfare between the Government of Israel and the President of the United States.

Is someone playing roulette with our future?
Does that put Boehner's bizarre explanation of why he invited Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress without consulting the White House or State Department into context? Historically, traditionally, political support for Israel in the U.S. has been strongest among Democrats. In the late 1940s, when Israel was coming into existence as an independent country, anti-semitism was still relatively common dogma on the political right and plenty of Republican politicians were hostile to Jews in general and to Israel in particular. Nixon went so far as to back a plan to settle Eastern European Nazis in New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan to counter-balance native-born Jews, who were overwhelmingly backers of the Democratic Party! Now that evangelical Republicans have come up with a whole new prism for viewing Israel-- the End of Times scenario-- the GOP has adopted Zionism. Most American Jews are skeptical and Jewish electoral support for Republicans is still tepid. And most American Jews do not see Netanyahu, Adelson or John Boehner as their leader.

By the way, Adelson says he won't announce his pick for the presidency (of the U.S.) until next year
What Adelson does matters. The 81-year-old billionaire casino owner spent more money on the 2012 presidential race than anyone else in the country, and his every move is being closely watched for signs that he has a favorite this time around.

In 2012, Adelson and his family invested more than $15 million in former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's presidential aspirations through a super-PAC, keeping him competitive far longer than he would have been otherwise. The Adelsons backed Mitt Romney after he won the nominating contest. All told, the family put about $93 million into super-PACs and campaigns during the cycle.

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At 11:55 PM, Blogger Ken_L said...

Beginning by confusing GDP with GNP is not a great way to get credibility. And credibility is important if you want people to accept reasoning such as "There can be only one logical explanation: he was ordered to do so by Adelson".

I loathe the Republican Party and everything it stands for, but this kind of creative speculation is not going to help the progressive cause.


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