Sheldon Adelson announced a $60 million lawsuit against the National Jewish Democratic Council for circulating a petition which contained allegations by a former employee that the gambling magnate allowed prostitution in his Macao hotel properties. As someone who’s been unsuccessfully sued for libel (but who isn’t a lawyer), and knows something about the grounds for such lawsuits, all I can say is that this is a crock of shit. But I’m glad Adelson is suing because he will lose and when he loses he’ll look like even more of a fool than he already is.
Adelson however, is banking on forcing NJDC to rack up millions in legal fees (which they likely will if he can keep the suit going) to defend themselves. That could bankrupt the group unless someone with equally-deep pockets (like Haim Saban?) comes along to bail them out. This suit is a perfect example of a SLAPP lawsuit. If there’s such a law in effect in the jurisdiction Adelson has chosen to file this case, then NJDC perhaps can unload this sucka without too much financial damage. A successful anti-SLAPP decision would also force Adelson to cover NJDC’s legal expenses.
Given how much of a chiseler Adelson is, I’m surprised he didn’t figure out a way to file this in the UK, where libel laws are much more favorable to the plaintiff. Adelson seems perfectly suited as a libel tourist.
Adelson, who’s accused of turning a blind eye to prostitution, enlisted Alan Dershowitz to politely threaten the NJDC prior to filing the lawsuit. Couldn’t that be described as pimping for a (accused) pimp? To be clear, I’m basing these phrases on accusations made by the former director of Adelson’s Macao gambling operation. He wrote an e-mail to his boss on the subject, which JTA reports this way:
…A 2009 email from Jacobs to Michael Leven, Adelson’s chief operating officer, ask[ed] whether Adelson had approved of prostitution. The lawsuit does not quote the email at length or explain why Jacobs would make such a query, but it does quote him as saying that allowing prostitution would “seem at odds with what I know to be Sheldon’s ‘no tolerance’ policy.”
Leven responds the next day, May 12 2009, and says “there is no evidence that can be found that anyone here supported in anyway (sic) a different policy than we have in las vegas (sic),” the lawsuit reports.
Note Leven’s response doesn’t say that there is no prostitution in Macao. Only that no one can find any evidence that Adelson or his executives supported it. In other words, there isn’t an explicit policy allowing prostitution in Macao. Which isn’t saying there isn’t any there.
But note how Dershowitz tortured Jacobs’ statement into saying something directly the opposite of what he did say:
“I had a conversation with David Harris in which I personally told him the same man whom they quote as having made the allegation in an email had said he doesn’t believe the allegation to be true,” Dershowitz said.
Jacobs’ email, at least as quoted in the lawsuit, does not address the veracity of the prostitution allegation; it only notes that the allegation would seem at odds with Adelson’s stated policies. Harris would not comment on his conversation with Dershowitz.
As JTA notes, Jacobs said nothing of what Dershowitz claims, and in fact the accusations of prostitution are in Jacobs lawsuit against Adelson. If the accuser had said he didn’t believe the charges, they wouldn’t be in his lawsuit. That makes Dershowitz a liar, at least by any reasonable standard I know.
Dershowitz also professes to have a whole lot more knowledge of Jewish tradition than he really possesses when he accuses NJDC of engaging in lashon hara:
Dershowitz…said Harris’ refusal to apologize disqualifies him to represent Democrats or Jews.
“He is now doing more harm to Democrats and the Jewish community than good,” he said. “They are willfully spreading a lashon hora that they know to be false,” Dershowitz said, using the Hebrew term for malicious gossip.
Lashon hara is a false rumor or accusation leveled against someone that harms their reputation. Repeating a credible claim offered by a credible source is not lashon hara. Also, lashon hara is not used in situations involving political disputes, but rather matters that are personal or involve purely business. But that shouldn’t stop Dershowitz from mangling Jewish tradition as he does so much else.
Since when does Alan Dershowitz determine who is a suitable representative for Jewish Democrats? He’s pimping for a billionaire who wants to buy a presidential election for the Republicans and a war against Iran (“Shelmageddon?”) to boot. And this guy wants to tell us who’s a good Democrat and who isn’t? Puh-leeze. Anyone with eyes in their head knows that Dershowitz sees dollar signs every time he hears Adelson’s name. Just as Dersh took tens of thousands in blood money from MEK terrorists to pimp on their behalf as they seek to remove themselves from the U.S. terror list, he’ll gladly take even more to represent Adelson’s interests. Oh he’ll bitch and moan about not taking a penny from Adelson in this matter. I didn’t say Adelson paid him for this intervention. That’s not the way these things work. Shelly will find plenty of work and favors to do for Dersh down the line.
In fact, JTA notes that he already has. He took a speaking fee for addressing a fundraiser for Adelson’s Las Vegas Jewish day school. And Dersh did some union-busting legal work for the Venetian when it was being harassed by pickets. There’s a rich payday there for the Dersh and he knows it.
Adelson’s lawyers have noted in his defense that he and his wife have donated oodles of shekels to restore Israeli prostitutes to their human dignity. Which of course must mean that when faced with the prospect of Chinese oligarchs bringing their millions to his casino, that he would absolutely prohibit them from entertaining prostitutes there. Right? Stands to reason.
I’m not a friend of the NJDC. I think they’re a Democratic tool of Aipac. But in this case, they’re on the side of the angels and I wish them well. Give ’em hell.