I read that the Adelsons (as in Sheldon and his wife, Miriam) have given Newt
Gingrich another $5 million for his campaign, a drop in the bucket of what a
person apparently needs to run for US president now days, but a huge help in
keeping the right-ofright former Speaker of the House on center stage in the bid
for the Republican Party’s nomination.
I don’t know if it’s money well
spent or not. The Adelsons are known to be extremely generous, and have given
institutions such as Yad Vashem and programs like Birthright hundreds of
millions of dollars. They also fund Israel HaYom, a give-away daily that sings
the praises of Binyamin Netanyahu and his government, as well as the President’s
Conference, which allows Shimon Peres to fly in several hundred of his best
friends for a meaningless, but well-catered, annual meeting.
As we all
know, Adelson’s money is primarily from gambling, flowing into his worldwide
network of casinos as fast as I can type. It is one of the few industries that
seems to remain unaffected by economic realities. If anything, people seem to
gamble more when there is little left to lose.
Now don’t get me wrong;
little will divert me from my Thursday night poker game.
My problem is
not with the gambling aspect of it. I ask myself, however, how Gingrich, who is
running on the “puritan” ticket, can take this tainted silver, but more
important, what happens when someone, who has seemingly endless amounts of
money, can buy endless amounts of political influence, for what could be all the
wrong reasons? We don’t know who the Adelsons are or fully understand what they
We don’t know their real political agenda, only through
hear-say. They shun publicity, are quick to sue when exposed in any way not to
their liking, and can be quite viperous when crossed, as the people over at
Channel 10 can tell you vividly.
Conversely, it seems that Gingrich is a
man of no integrity who has shown no compunction about selling himself before,
as in the fees received in private for representing the very interests he so
vociferously opposed in public.
He demonstrated hypocrisy of gigantic
proportions when impeaching president Bill Clinton for inappropriate sexual
conduct, while having an extramartial affair at the same time.
these alone is not so terrible. One wishes everyone had endless money, we
respect privacy and politicians often leave much to be desired morally. When all
three come together, however, the mix has the potential to be potent, and
something Israel would do well to stay away from.
Adelson is free to do
what he wants to do on the American political playing field, as long as the
Americans tolerate it.
The problem is, however, that Israel seems to have
become the ball, and whether true or not, most people are interpreting the flow
of Adelson money to Gingrich as coming because Gingrich is better for Israel’s
security than Barack Obama.
Do me a favor, leave me out of it. Strategic
relations between Israel and the US have seldom, if ever, been stronger than
now. Israel and the US are more on the same page on Iran than in the
There is nothing I can think of that Gingrich could offer Israel
more in strategic terms than what Israel has going for it right now, other
perhaps, than a change in the American policy restricting Israeli arms sales to
China, something Gingrich would certainly not change and, if anything, would
Despite economic realities in the US, the administration has
just agreed to additional loan guarantees for Israel and not touched the
military aid package.
Also, occasional tensions notwithstanding, Obama is
not pushing Israel on the Palestinian issue, has forcefully left a military
option against Iran on the table, established a strong deterrent presence in the
Gulf, kept the price of fuel stable, pulled troops out of Iraq and consolidated
the battle against Islamic radicals in Afghanistan, Yemen and the four corners
of the earth. How much more could Gingrich do? I say this not to get involved in
the American presidential election, but rather as a plea to leave Israel out of
it. There is something sinister and scary about having Israel’s survival
ostensibly being navigated into the hands of Newt Gingrich by Sheldon and Miriam
Adelson, who have every right in the world to support their presidential
candidate of choice, but not to play games with Israel’s security in their
pursuit of political happiness.
Israel and America share fundamental
values that go across the political board. The two countries also share common
strategic objectives. They rely on each other in many ways, and respect each
Security, confidentiality, secrecy and discretion are
all part of the same lexicon.
Also, one doesn’t force medicine down the
throat of a healthy baby.
America has enough issues of its own. Israel,
at the moment, is not major among them. I judge neither Gingrich, though I know
I could never vote for him, nor Adelson, though what I know, admittedly, does
not seem to indicate I would be invited to his poker table.
But when it
comes to American- Israel strategic relations at this very sensitive time, I
would beg both men to tread softly: The stakes involved are too high for games