Imagine, if you will, an Arab-American billionaire dumping scores of millions of dollars into a pro-Palestinian presidential candidate’s coffers. How would you react? How would you expect The Jewish Standard to react?
Now, what about Sheldon Adelson?
Adelson is devoting scores of millions of dollars – perhaps as much as $100 million or more – to defeating President Barack Obama in November. His largesse was the sole reason that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was able to last as long as he did in the GOP presidential sweepstakes. Adelson is now helping to underwrite the efforts of Karl Rove and his superPAC, as well as providing direct funding to the Mitt Romney campaign.
We are all for involvement of Jews in the political life of the United States. We are all for the right to free speech, free association, and all the rest of it. That Adelson chooses to donate money to defeat Obama is his choice and his right, and more power to him for that.
We question the wisdom, however, of Adelson spending the huge amounts of money that he is pouring into the anti-Obama effort – sums that would have been impossible for anyone to spend before the Supreme Court issued its controversial campaign-finance decision in the Citizens United case. That decision left the door open to a single person being able to buy an election. Adelson appears to be doing just that. His doing so is bad for the United States and bad for the Jews.
It is bad for the United States because the inequality that money can buy provides its beneficiary with an unfair advantage over his or her political rival.
It is bad for the Jews because if Obama loses in November in a close election, almost certainly Adelson’s money will be seen as the key. To whole groups of Obama supporters, it will not be Adelson’s money, but Jewish money; it will be the Jews who bought the election for Romney. And it will not matter that the Jewish vote will have gone overwhelmingly for the president, albeit only in the 60 percent range rather than the near 80 percent of 2008. All that people- and especially the Jew-haters among them – will see is the amount of money “the Jews” spent to defeat Obama.
We know that Adelson lives and breathes the advancement of Jewish causes. He should be commended for all that he does, and especially for his support of Birthright Israel. We urge him, however, to consider carefully the consequences of spending such a huge fortune in this particular cause.
Anyone who doubts those consequences needs only to Google his name. “Sheldon Adelson can go to Hell. I know who invented the jewish people. That creature is Satan who is father of all the jews.” “That’s all we need, a United States President bought by Israel.” “A Super-Zionist Jew Billionaire, Donates $5M To Gingrich Campaign.” “‘Israel First’ Jewish neocon Sheldon Adelson.”
Lest anyone argue that we are expressing some kind of pro-Obama liberal bias, let us be clear: We would object just as strenuously, say, to George Soros pouring that kind of money into the president’s campaign, or into a superPAC supporting Obama. The principle is the same, especially as Soros is seen on the World Wide Web (and even by such personalities as Glenn Beck) as living proof that the infamous Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is not a forgery and does threaten peace on earth.