Sheldon Adelson is dead

JVL Introduction

“If Israel isn’t going to be a democratic state, so what?” ––Sheldon Adelson

Here is Haaretz’s editorial, following the announcement of the death of Sheldon Adelson, insanely rich casino magnate and fanatic supporter of Israel-right-or-wrong, who did not hesitate to use his wealth to buy political influence.

As the editorial gently chides in superlative understatement: “Adelson will be remembered as someone who used the influence that his money granted him on elected officials in the United States, to advance an aggressive right-wing policy in the White House and in Congress.”

And American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley, never known to pull his punches, long ago weighed in with his own special appreciation. This dates from 2015!

This article was originally published by Haaretz on Tue 12 Jan 2021. Read the original here.

Sheldon Adelson bet on Zionist values 

“Sheldon’s tremendous efforts to strengthen Israel’s status in the United States and to strengthen the ties between Israel and the Diaspora will be remembered for generations,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday, as he paid tribute to American-Jewish tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who died Monday at the age of 87.

Indeed, Adelson contributed generously to Birthright, which works to fortify the connection of young Jews to Israel, as well as to Israeli hospitals, medical research and charities. The Adelson family’s fortune even bought a medical school for the university in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

But along with his philanthropic activity, Adelson will be remembered as someone who used the influence that his money granted him on elected officials in the United States, to advance an aggressive right-wing policy in the White House and in Congress.

Adelson’s involvement went beyond America’s borders, crossed continents and penetrated deeply into Israeli society through the free newspaper he founded, Israel Hayom. Adelson and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, invested hundreds of millions of dollars in order to disseminate their worldview among the Israeli public. This manifested itself in remarks like, “If Israel isn’t going to be a democratic state, so what?” and “There’s no such thing as the Palestinian people.”

Israel Hayom served for years as a platform for glorifying Netanyahu, even as the Adelsons disdained the family’s lust for expensive gifts and rejected Netanyahu’s effort to play on his close relationship with them in his negotiations with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes. The Adelsons even said as much to police when they gave evidence in Case 2000, the Yedioth quid-pro-quo case.

Few elected officials could compete with Adelson in terms of leaving a mark on fateful diplomatic processes in the Israeli-American relationship and even in the Middle East. Adelson’s money gave him access to lobbying groups like AIPAC, that pushed American decision makers and lawmakers to promote extreme right-wing policies. It’s enough to recall the pressure he exerted on U.S. President Donald Trump and on members of Congress to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran and ruin the relationship with the Palestinians by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

Adelson’s death, along with the removal of Trump from office, provides a good opportunity to reexamine the tripartite relationship between Israel, American Jewry and the U.S. government. With a new administration entering the White House and the Democrats controlling both houses of Congress, Israel must cut the umbilical cord connecting it to the conservative wing of the Republican party. It must rehabilitate its relationship with Democrats and with the central stream of the Jewish community, the vast majority of whom have very different positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the injustice of the occupation than those of Sheldon Adelson.


For more on Eli Valley see A graphic account of the moral bankruptcy of US Jewish community leaders and A grotesque look at antisemitism … through comics

The cartoon strip below, on the Birthright movement which Adelson founded and funded, was first published o 14th May 2015 in The New Republic under the heading

Sheldon Adelson Turns Israel Into ‘The Walking Dead’

Behold, the “only zombie democracy in the Middle East”!

Click on the image below to enlarge it.

Comments (4)

  • Roshan Pedder says:

    Sometimes it is a pain being an atheist. Wish I could believe in eternal damnation in hell fire.

  • Hazel Seidel says:

    It’s fine for Haaretz as an Israeli paper to be critical of a rich member of the ‘Israeli lobby’. Maybe not so very fine to circulate it here, where it can be easily used to some to fuel exaggerated and antisemitic myths of the degree of influence of the ‘Israel lobby. In particular, I see too much suggestion that the lobby has as much influence and reach in the UK as it does in the US.

  • Simon Cohen says:

    @Hazel Seidel,

    Criticism of the Israel lobby is perfectly legitimate and should not be silenced because there is a potential risk of it being used as a vehicle for antisemitism.

    If it is used as such a vehicle then this should be called out but we fall into the IHRA trap the Tories are using to silence debate if we withhold genuine critique of undue financial interests in influencing Government foreign policy.

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