In case you ever needed an example of a wealthy, powerful corporate titan who can thumb his nose at many of the commonly accepted notions in contemporary American political life and get away with it, let’s take Shelly Adelson.
As recently as a year ago or so his entire gambling empire hung in the balance. His Las Vegas property was hurting due to the ailing U.S. economy, China had sharply curtailed visas for its high-roller citizens to lose their wads of cash at his Macao casinos, he put a major development there in the deep freeze. But somehow, with some deft renegotiation of outstanding loans and thanks ironically to the Obama administrations bringing the U.S. economy back from the brink, Shelly is sitting pretty once again.
But the man truly has balls. Think Progress reveals that among the lies the Chamber of Commerce has told about its foreign affiliates is that only American firms are members, when in truth foreign firms belong to them as well. And at least 80 foreign firms are participating in the Chamber’s $75-million blitzkrieg attack on the Democratic Congress. A case in point is the Chinese-American Chamber, which worked closely with the Chinese government and the American Chamber to create a series of business seminars, which taught the basics of outsourcing American jobs to China. Shelly Adelson, no doubt owing many favors and much wealth to his Chinese masters, hosted a series of such workshops in Florida. You remember that sucking sound that Ross Perot noted during a presidential debate? The sound of U.S. jobs leaving this country and going abroad? Well, that’s Shelly Adelson sucking those jobs and sending them off to his pals in China. Can you think of any two issues less popular in the American electorate than outsourcing and China? Yet there’s Shelly standing tall on behalf of things most Americans hate.
Many of the companies donating to the Chamber’s slash and burn ad campaigns are foreign outsourcing companies who will benefit from the continuing job drain from this country. 1.4 million American jobs have been outsourced since 1994 in the nine states in which the Chamber is spendning most heavily in this election cycle.
I’ve just been perusing the Adelson Foundation 2008 990 Report and it contains a few eye-openers. Among the far-right philanthropy which he supported was: $28-million to Birthright (down substantially from previous years); $1.6 million to the Shalem Foundation, his Likudist think tank which also employs/ed Michael Oren and Natan Sharansky; $250,000 to Mort Klein’s pro-settler Zionist Organization of America; $150,000 for Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) which has promoted the Obsession anti-jihadi film; $100,000 to the “American Islamic Conference” (an error, which should read “American Islamic Congress“), a group of anti-jihadi neocon Muslims on whose board sit Zuhdi Jasser and Kahleel Muhammed (both of whom were featured in the Clarion Fund anti-jihadi films), and Hillel Fradkin of the Hudson Institute; $70,000 to CAMERA, a pro-Israel media advocacy group.
It should be noted that Shelly Adelson has many other ways of supporting his far-right pro-Israel goals and this foundation is only one of them. So it doesn’t reflect the millions he’s sinking into Yisrael HaYom, the Likudist tabloid also known as Bibiton. Nor does it reflect the enormous sums (by Israeli standards) he’s investing in Bibi Netanyahu’s election campaigns.
I wanted to return to the libertarian-inspired Donors Capital Fund founded by the Koch family, which is pouring tens of millions into the onslaught against the Democratic Congress this election cycle, which Pam Martens exposed in Counterpunch as the source of an $18-million 2008 donation to Clarion Fund. This, in turn funded the 28-million strong DVD drop during the presidential campaign of the anti-jihad film, Obsession.
I’ve just been reviewing some of the other far-right pro-Israel gifts from DCF that year and it too is eye-opening: $25,000 to self-same American Islamic Congress, $750,000 for Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum, $300,000 for the pro-Israel media advocacy group MEMRI, and $155,000 to the neo-liberal, free-marketeer Friends of the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress.
Clearly, there was at least one major Jewish donor to DCF in 2008 who funded much of this grantmaking. In the past I considered Adelson as a suspect and he still is near the top of the list, but given her recently exposed funding of the Park51 anti-Muslim campaign, Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch, Pam Geller’s Atlas Shrugged, and David Horowitz, I have to consider Joyce Chernick as a very likely possible suspect. She has the means clearly, along with an obsession with funding the anti-jihadi world in grants I’ve listed here. She could easily be our culprit.
- The political line of Israeli papers (a reader’s guide) (promisedlandblog.com)