Forward Thinking

Is Adelson's Money Tainted, or Not?

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images
Sheldon Adelson in April 2012

A Jewish Democratic organization is facing heavy pushback over its effort to make billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson a liability for Mitt Romney among Jewish voters.

Pro-Israel heavy hitters Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League and law professor Alan Dershowitz have lashed out in recent days at the National Jewish Democratic Council for calling on Romney to stop accepting donations from Adelson.

Neither Foxman nor Dershowitz are Republican partisans. But both are influential members of a Jewish community that has benefited heavily from Adelson’s philanthropy. Their reactions to the NJDC campaign could spell trouble for Democratic efforts to turn the provenance of Adelson’s money into an issue for Jews.

Adelson, a casino mogul and one of the richest Jews in the world, has reportedly given $10 million to a pro-Romney super PAC. Adelson is also a major contributor to Jewish and pro-Israel causes. He has been one of the largest single donors to Taglit-Birthright Israel, the program that provides free Israel trips to American Jews. He is also the owner of Israel Hayom, a free Israeli daily with a reputation for backing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a July 5 statement, the NJDC demanded that Romney stop taking Adelson’s money. The NJDC cited allegations by a former employee that Adelson condoned prostitution at his Macau, China casinos. The statement also referenced recent comments by U.S. Senator John McCain suggesting Adelson’s donations include “foreign money” because some of his casinos are located overseas.

“Given these reports, Romney and the rest of the Republican Party must cease accepting Adelson’s tainted money immediately,” said NJDC president and CEO David Harris in a statement. “The integrity of our political system depends on it.”

Dershowitz, a high-profile Harvard Law School professor who has commented frequently on Israel, took to his Huffington Post blog to oppose the NJDC statement.

“I know Sheldon Adelson and I have worked with him on several matters relating to Israel and the Jewish community,” Dershowitz wrote. “…[I] think it’s outrageous for the National Jewish Democratic Council to level unfounded allegations against Adelson.”

In an interview with The Times of Israel, Foxman raised similar concerns. “I think it’s inappropriate to rush to judgment,” Foxman said, “and it’s taking politics to a level that’s inappropriate.”

Foxman’s ADL received a $25,000 donation from Adelson’s family foundation in 2009, a tiny gift relative both to the ADL’s fundraising and Adelson’s philanthropy.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sheldon Adelson, Mitt Romney, Alan Dershowitz, Abe Foxman

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.