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.
RE: “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?” ~ R.S.
MY COMMENT: “Some people” might say so!
SEE: Dershowitz says Jewish Democrats love Adelson, who ‘has helped repair the world’”, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 7/07/12
ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/dershowitz-says-jewish-democrats-love-adelson-who-has-helped-repair-the-world.html
I’m a Jewish Democrat and don’t like Adelstein…
Fred Plester says
Since you speak of turning a blind eye:
Perhaps glasses of this kind could also be issued to senior Israeli policemen, politicians, Shin Bet officers…
Bravo! you NAILED it..Adelson and Dershbag in one essay. As for the NJDC….this is the first good piece of news I’ve read about Democrats doing ANYTHING in YEARS. When you look at the cases Dersh has taken its been about the money….Pollard, Von Bulow and O J Simpson…..not to forget he personally went after Norm Finkelstein’s publisher (U of C Press) when NF exposed his ‘whole cloth’ plagiarisms from long discredited Joan Peters farshtunkena FTI. Thanks Richard. A thoroughly good read.
Not to nitpick, but by definition lashon hora refers to factual but unflattering information. If it’s actually false and slanderous, that falls under another category, Motzi shem ra. Certain circumstances permit the disclosure of hearsay or rumor, particularly when an individual may be associating with the subject forfinancial or social means. In this cast, since the issue is relatively public and it directly pertains to each citizen as a participant in this democracy, it may be reasonable to assume that the information is pertinent and relevant to reveal to the general public, and therefore not forbidden under Jewish law.
But I’m not exactly a rabbi…
Richard Silverstein says
I’m not a rabbi either. But I’ll buy your general analysis especially your conclusion.
Yes, Dershowitz takes moola from MEK and then announces a “humanitarian crisis” that is “urgent” namely to free MEK terrorists held somewhere (in Iran?.) And MEK is still on the State Dept list of terrorist organizations, though Israel is not, but launched nearly 7,000 terrorist raids into Lebanon in a twelve year period according to Human Rights Watch. To get the measure of this guy, try imagining Dersh talking up the urgent humanitarian crisis in Gaza (under Hamas) and the need for intervention! Adelson and Dersh, the anti-Christ and his lawyer. How do you run a casino empire without prostitution in the bars, on the premises?
Did anyone catch the red-white-blue USA “Romny” pin printed in Hebrew on Mondoweiss?! Is there no end to the conflation of Israel with the US, the mixing up of interests and identities? Dual citizenship? Is this allowed any other country? I get physically ill contemplating this irrational stuff.
Bob Mann says
You are opposed to presidential candidates’ names being printed in Hebrew on campaign pins?
I am opposed to candidates for the American Presidency campaigning in another country. I am opposed to foreign interests impacting an election in the US. I am opposed to the overt involvement of the Israeli government, and Israeli foreign nationals, in US government and US government decisions, the effort of that government to influence American voters of all stripes.
Bob Mann says
Why are you opposed to presidential candidates campaigning in other countries? Aren’t the votes of Americans living abroad worth campaigning for? The Obama and Romney campaigns have held events in several countries in attempt to woo these American voters (and donors). Not sure why anyone would have a problem with that.
Also, not sure why you would equate campaign buttons in Hebrew with “the overt involvement of the Israeli government” – which you seem to be doing here. If this is not your point, please clarify why you raised opposition to the use of Hebrew lettering. I’ve known Jewish-American supporters of Obama who thought it was neat to have an Obama t-shirt with his name written in Hebrew transliteration.
Romney, that is.
Reg Vernon says
“farshtunkena” – definition please. This sounds like a word I should learn to use!
Richard Silverstein says
What does it sound like? Stinky!
in german language sound exactly the same: Verstunkener! (a stinky person)
Dershowitz is a joke of an attorney. F Lee Bailey was even the one who actually got OJ off, and that’s Dershowitz only “achievement”. This is a frivolous law suit and should be challenged as such. It’s probably true as well.
Richard Silverstein says
F Lee Bailey had nothing to do with the OJ trial. In fact, I think he’d already died by then. You’re thinking of Johnnie Cochran.
Bob Mann says
F Lee Bailey was part of OJ Simpson’s defense team. He cross-examined Mark Fuhrman and basically tore his credibility to shreds.
Also, he is still alive.
Richard Silverstein says
My error. But Johnny Cochran was lead defense attorney in the case.
marc b. says
this is familiar territory for the unctuous dershowitz (who has long ago become a parody of the sean penn shyster character in ‘carlito’s way’, penn being threatened with a libel suit by the superhero defender of the 1st amendment), ‘friend’ and counsel for that human piece of waste, jeffrey epstein. i don’t have time to go through it all, but here is a tidbit:
“Epstein mounted an aggressive counterinvestigation [against charges of soliciting underage prostitutes – my nutshell summary]. Epstein’s friend Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor, provided the police and the state attorney’s office with a dossier on a couple of the victims gleaned from their MySpace sites—showing alcohol and drug use and lewd comments. The police complained that private investigators were harassing the family of the 14-year-old girl before she was to appear before the grand jury in spring 2006. The police said that one girl had called another to say, “Those who help [Epstein] will be compensated and those who hurt him will be dealt with.”
of course epstein ultimately headed down the well worn path of . . . yes, you guessed it:
“One of Epstein’s friends told me, “He thinks there’s an anti-Semitic conspiracy against him in Palm Beach. He’s convinced of that. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism.”
maybe it’s a defense mechanism. or maybe he’s a liar. or insane. (i believe one of the defense proposals for sentencing, or as a defense itself, included a psychiatric evaluation.)
These conspiracies are everywhere, aren’t they? All you have to do is look and see!
How can you have a successful gambling empire without providing tacit approval for prostitutes to work the rooms? That tacit approval — a business decision — could make the decider a “pimp.” The word would not be misused in this context.
Zhu Bajie says
You sure can’t have hotels in China without prostitutes! Likewise, any kind of business empire in China means bribing officials with banquets and harlots as well as with money.
Kevin Herbert says
Dershowitz……Norman Finkelstein’s bitch…..