2016 – Behind the scenes: Battle of the Billionaires

Adelson-Saban

Notably, both are pro-Israel…

The coming election campaign will be characterized by a behind-the-scenes battle between the two pro-Israel philanthropists…Although they live in the United States their thoughts are with a small country in the Middle East.

The Haaretz journalist starts by highlighting the Democratic heavyweight Haim Saban’s warm relations with the Clintons, whose home he walks around “barefoot and in shorts,” and goes on to outline his Republican opponent Sheldon Adelson’s change in strategy from past elections:

Adelson declared at the start of the present campaign that this time he would focus on the candidate with the best chances (after losing time and money financing Newt Gingrich in the 2012 primaries), and that he would invest far greater sums than in the past if necessary.

[T]he coming election campaign will be characterized by a behind-the-scenes battle between the two pro-Israel philanthropists, controlled by the business-government connections of the puppet masters. Although they live in the United States their thoughts are with a small country in the Middle East, and they are deeply involved in its political and business world out of a desire to influence its government, by acquiring media outlets, among other things. For those who think that Obama was “bad for the Jews” and that the agreement with Iran is a disaster this is good news, but it’s not at all certain that it’s good news for Israel – certainly not over the long term.

U.S. politics have always been drowning in demonic quantities of money, which are only increasing. But due to the stability of the administration, the presidential system, the constitution and other checks and balances, the Americans are able to limit the influence of money. That’s why the $93 million that Adelson contributed to Romney didn’t help him, nor did the tens of millions he invested in other Republicans.

Here [in Israel], on the other hand, there are no such balances, and therefore [Adelson] has much more influence on policymakers than in the United States. Some people even think that the attempts to legislate against his free newspaper were the reason why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved the government. Adelson can only dream of such influence on the U.S. administration, but meanwhile he uses his connections with Netanyahu in order to split the Jewish community in the United States between right and left. Some members of this community are angry that he is using Israel to influence U.S. politics.

Already from the start of the Republican primaries (which some are calling “Adelson’s primaries”) he demonstrated how every one of his candidates will have to pay a price in the form of support for Israel. Adelson is said to have forced Chris Christie to apologize for using the routine term “occupied territories” to describe Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

Saban is less divisive, but the coming election campaign where he is confronting Adelson will force him to prove that Clinton is better for the Jews, for Israel and perhaps even for Netanyahu. After all, both Saban and Adelson are interested in emphasizing the connection between their candidate and Israel, and to obscure past disputes. This may be good for the candidate and for business. But how is Israel supposed to convince the Americans that Israel’s interests, especially its security interests, are beyond any political dispute, if its patrons are so deeply involved in the domestic election campaign of the United States?

Apparently, lost on the author is the more important question of why on earth Americans should consider Israel’s interests first and foremost, above and beyond their own?

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