Politics makes strange bedfellows – and, in some cases, strange stage fellows. On center stage at the recent inaugural event of the Israeli American
On center stage at the recent inaugural event of the Israeli American Council were new BFF’s – Republican powerhouse Sheldon Adelson and Democratic mega-donor Haim Saban.
Both of these business titans put their money where their politics is, and both are ardent supporters of the State of Israel. The big difference: whereas Adelson supports a Republican party that is “all in” supporting the Jewish state, Saban bankrolls the political home of Israel’s American enemies.
Since Saban’s pro-Israel sentiments are far closer to the Republican mainstream than those of his own party, it must be immensely frustrating and somewhat embarrassing for him to find himself among those who would sooner see his fellow Jews at the mercy of terrorists than they would see those same Jews living securely.
Haim Saban sprung onto the scene in the mid 1990’s by converting an absurdly bad Japanese television program called Super Sentai into the hit worldwide sensation Might Morphin Power Rangers. A number of other spectacular media ventures followed, and soon Saban was one of the richest men in America. His politics have been a bit more tumultuous.
“I used to be a real leftist,” Saban once remarked. “I remember Arik Sharon [the leader of Israel’s conservative Likud Party] coming here, to my house, a few months before Camp David, when he was still leader of the opposition. He told me there would be no deal because [Yassir] Arafat would not sign. I told myself that there was nothing to be done – these right-wingers were simply insane. I had no doubt that there would be a deal and the problems would be resolved. History proved that Sharon was right and I was wrong. In matters relating to security, that moved me to the right. Very far to the right.”
In fact, Saban has moved considerably beyond his fellow Democrats, especially the one that resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. At the Israeli American Council gathering, Saban joined Adelson in lacing into President Obama’s naiveté on Iran and expressed concern about how this Administration is pressuring Israel.
But that’s as far as it went. When asked about the 2016 race, Saban affirmed that he will spend whatever it takes to foist Hillary Clinton on the American people – my words, not his.
What’s puzzling about this support is that Hillary has already proven to be a fair weather friend of the Jewish state. Does Saban forget that Hillary was Secretary of State while Obama was decimating US ties to Israel? Does he feel Hillary berating Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu – someone Saban purports to admire – is somehow more forgivable because Hillary and Bill let Saban and his wife sleep in the Lincoln bedroom?
Has Saban had a chance to acquire a copy of Hillary’s recent tome, Hard Choices? In this snoozer, Mrs. Clinton derides the Israeli Prime Minister:
“Netanyahu has been deeply skeptical of the Oslo framework of trading land for peace and a two-state solution that would give the Palestinians a country of their own in territory occupied by Israel since 1967.”
If Saban has come to realize the true intentions of the Palestinians – that is, to kill Jews – then shouldn’t he be alarmed that his candidate for 2016 will pursue a suicidal two state solution to the conflict in the Middle East? Suicidal for the Jews, that is. The Palestinians showed what they do with sovereign territory during the recent war in Gaza. They kill Jews – or at least try.
Why would anyone with a brain want a repeat of the terror tunnels and missiles, which is almost guaranteed if Israel is foolish enough to relinquish control of the West Bank? Saban knows this and agrees strongly. His candidate does not.
In her recent book, Hillary slices and dices Saban’s beloved Jewish state: “When we left the city [Jerusalem] and visited Jericho, in the West Bank, I got my first glimpse of life under occupation for Palestinians, who were denied the dignity and self-determination that Americans take for granted.” I wonder if Hillary wrote about the denial of dignity throughout the Arab world? This is the candidate for so-called “very far to the right” Haim Saban?
So, what is Haim Saban to do? He has plighted his trough with the Democrats. Becoming a mini-me Republican to Sheldon Adelson is an ego blow he cannot contemplate. Should he continue to ply with his money cynical and duplicitous politicians such as Hillary Clinton. Perhaps she is offering Saban the same mendacious platitudes that she presented to the Jewish voters in New York, who incomprehensibly sent her to the United States Senate as their representative?
Hillary is at her pro-Israel best when campaigning for office, or sitting in the Senate representing the state with the largest Jewish populace. But when this same soi-disant Israel lover lands in the executive branch – as First Lady, as Secretary of State, or perhaps President – Israel is thrown under the bus.
Isn’t this beyond obvious? Why would someone as intelligent as Haim Saban fall for this Clinton game? Part of the problem is that admitting you were wrong is a hard thing to do. But Saban has already admitted error in the past. Why not now?
Perhaps Saban feels that it’s better for Israel to have someone of influence inside the Hillary camp to mitigate her natural inclinations to smash the Jewish state?
If that is the case, why all the public encomia about how Hillary is going to turn around the perfidious policies of the Obama Administration? In fact, she is likely to be worse. With Obama, even the Democrats among the pro-Israel community are on guard. With Hillary, they will be in deep slumber – at least until her first dozen egregious offenses.
I am the last person whose political advice Haim Saban would solicit, but as a pro-Israel activist, I offer some anyway. Of course, there is no Democrat I would prefer to see elected to any position in the United States. If I had my druthers, the Democratic Party would be relegated to the dustbin. But I don’t get to have my way.
The Democrats are not going anywhere, and they are likely to find a way to gain momentum again in 2016. If this is the case, my advice to Haim Saban is stop wasting your money and time with Hillary. She represents a sinister version of the Democratic past and on the issue that is most important to you, Mr. Saban, she is poison – whether you are willing to admit it or not.
Were I you, and were I unable to extricate myself from involvement with the only major US political party descending into an anti-Israel abyss, I would find a candidate whose politics on Israel more closely resembled my own. They’re out there. Corey Booker comes to mind. There are others. The Democrats used to be solidly pro-Israel. There are still remnants. Find one.
I write this not as someone who wishes the Democratic Party well, but rather as a pro-Israel activist who realizes that the anti-Israel trend in America is very disturbing and is spearheaded by the Democrats.
In the same way that I would want the Democrats to only nominate candidates who, like John F. Kennedy, cut income taxes, I want them only to have pro-Israel candidates. But, instead, for now, they are the party of Israel hatred. Can anyone forget how their most recent presidential convention booed and hissed when the party leaders headed off an anti-Israel resolution from sure passage? Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and the fire the Democrat fund raisers fear the most is the one raging most strongly: a hatred for the Jewish state.
The time has come for Jewish donors to stop funding the Democrats, but, since for most of them the Democratic Party is their real religion, they likely won’t. That is a tragedy. But the tragedy becomes a farce when true pro-Israel supporters like Haim Saban ensure the rise of a venal politician likely to do more Obama-like harm to the Jewish state.
It’s time for Haim Saban to start acting like one of his Power Rangers, and save the day by dumping Hillary before it is too late.