Billionaire patrons of Democratic and Republican parties united by fanaticism for Israel

The Israeli American Council, a right-wing Israel advocacy organization, kicked off its first ever national conference in Washington, DC this weekend. 

Big name speakers included Republican hot shots like former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney as well as hawkish neoconservative warmonger Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. As was predicted, the mostly rightwing speakers capitalized on the event, using it as an opportunity to mock Obama, brag about the GOP’s midterm victory and pander to the right wing of the Israel lobby

Billionaire kingpins

The most illuminating spectacle of the conference appears to have been the highly anticipated public conversation between Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Hollywood billionaire Haim Saban.

On the surface the pair could be easily mistaken as ideological rivals.

Adelson, the tenth richest person in the world who bankrolls the far right wing of the Republican Party, spent $150 million trying to defeat Obama and unseat Democrats in 2012.

Conversely, Saban is a top donor to the Democratic Party, earning favors and groveling from Obama. In 2002, Saban doled out $7 million to the Democratic National Committee’s construction of the party’s headquarters. It was believed to be the largest single donation in Democratic Party history up to that time. 

But when it comes to Israel they share a hawkish obsession with maintaining the state’s settler colonial regime, making the elderly power duo practically indistinguishable. 

And they make no secret of their motives. 

Saban, who made his fortune building the Power Rangers empire, freely admits that his number one priority is to influence US foreign policy in Israel’s favor through a three-pronged approach that entails donating to political parties, establishing think tanks and controlling media outlets.  

“I’m a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel,” he once told The New York Times

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed explaining his transformation from a Democrat to a Republican, Adelson revealed that the main driver was greater Republican sympathy for Israel. 

Having expressed regret for serving in the US military instead of the Israeli army, Adelson has said he hopes to see his son “be a sniper for the IDF,” referring to the Israeli military. Adelson’s sectarian zealotry is matched only by his deep-seated hatred for Palestinians, who he routinely labels an invented people.

Meanwhile, Adelson donates more than $30 million annually to Birthright Israel, a program that sends young American Jews on a free ten-day trip to Israel in an attempt to radicalize them into immigrating to bolster the Jewish majority and participate in the dispossesion and ethnic cleansing of the land’s indigenous inhabitants. 

Extremists with power

I had hoped to attend the Adelson-Saban event but was denied entry to the conference even though I applied for and was granted press access beforehand. The woman at the registration desk insisted my name wasn’t on the press list and refused to budge even after I pulled up my confirmation email from the Israeli American Council’s press contact.

However, the live tweets from the event candidly show the lust for extremism and violence espoused by the influential speakers. 

Speaking about a potential US nuclear deal with Iran, Saban, who is prepared to contribute “as much as needed” to get Hillary Clinton elected president in 2016, told the crowd: “If the government of Israel comes to the conclusion that the deal signed [with Iran] puts Israel’s security at risk, I would bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches.”

The men then moved on to spewing anti-Palestinian bigotry:

Just say no to democracy

The conversation eventually shifted to the “demographic threat” posed by six million Palestinians between the river and the sea, an ironic number given the subject matter. 

Saban stressed that a two-state solution is necessary for “securing the future of a democratic Israel.” Adelson fired back, saying “You are committing demographic suicide,” a reference to dangerously racist anxieties that Palestinians could soon outnumber the Jewish majority because they have a higher birth rate. “Israel can no longer live if you say we want to live as a democracy,” argued Adelson.

According to Haaretz’s summary of the event, Adelson invoked the Torah to justify his vision for an undemocratic Israel walled off from its neighbors (a vision that closely resembles the reality on the ground, though few will admit it):

Adelson also said Israel would not be able to survive as a democracy: “So Israel won’t be a democratic state, so what?” he asked Saban, adding that democracy, after all, is not mentioned in the Torah, and recommended that the country build a “big wall” to protect itself, saying, “I would put up a big wall around my property.”

He then went on to expel more anti-Palestinian hate:

I couldn’t help myself:

Next the men complained about the media’s mythical anti-Israel and left-wing bias:

Even the New York Times, which bends reality to whitewash Israel’s crimes, is not sufficiently pro-Israel for this crowd, so the two joked about buying it and The Washington Post, eliciting cheers from the audience. 

“Why don’t you and I go after the New York Times?” asked Adelson, adding, “There’s only one way to fight it. Money.”

At one point Saban casually admitted to issuing threats to stifle reporting that makes Israel look bad, saying of the Los Angeles Times, “I meet with the editors, I write them letters, I threaten them.”

Attacking BDS

The two billionaires revealed upcoming plans to suppress the increasingly popular Palestinian-led call for boycott, divest and sanctions against Israel, a movement known in shorthand as BDS, until it complies with international law. 

It remains to be seen how Adelson and Saban plan to go after the BDS movement, but Israeli American Council conference organizers were nervous enough about the rising popularity of the tactic to devote two panels to strategizing against it.  

Warning that BDS is spreading from college campuses “into the corporate and government spheres,” one of the panels set out to explore ways for Israeli Americans to “leverage our unique identity” to “stop this movement in its tracks.”

A second anti-BDS panel aimed to conflate student-led BDS organizations and designated terrorist groups. “Israel faces existential threats from terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East,” declared the program’s description of the panel, which sought to answer the question, “Is the BDS movement on US campuses related to these threats?” 

One of the panelists to help answer this absurd question was Adam Milstein, a rightwing philanthropist and unabashed Islamophobe who is no stranger to using his power to influence campus politics.

Milstein was recently exposed for donating money to a student government candidate at the University of California in exchange for the student’s loyalty to Israel and a commitment to fight measures to divest student funds from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

And the Milstein Foundation, Milstein’s philanthropic front, underwrites the entire budget of the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange for California university students. The program sends student leaders on free propaganda trips to Israel to recruit their support for Zionism and turn them against BDS.

Another anti-BDS panelist was Michael Dickson, the Israel Director of StandWithUs, a rightwing Zionist group that works closely with the Israeli government to monitor and suppress Palestine solidarity efforts in the United States, often through smear campaigns

This matrix of rightwing hate groups is the future of Israel advocacy, thanks to the full backing of Adelson and Saban, the same hawkish sectarian extremists who wield enormous power and influence over the US political process.  

Moderator and Israeli American Council national chairman Shawn Evenhaim ended the conversation by telling the two patrons of America’s political duopoly: “After the election in 2016, one of you will get me a private tour of the White House.”

In other words, regardless of which US party wins or loses, the State of Israel comes out on top.




Your comments about the IAC are as wrong headed as the AIPAC logo you put above your article.


Well hello, Sheldon. Great to hear from you in this forum, and to know you're paying your own peculiar form of attention to the struggle for (by your own account, non-existent) Palestinian rights. It's also encouraging to note that you're devoting more and more of your rotten fortune to futile efforts aimed at silencing the rising movement on American campuses against Zionist apartheid. You're worried. You're frightened. And you should be.

By the way, if you were a little more familiar with this site, you'd know that the masthead photo of AIPAC's logo accompanies each article here on the theme of Israel's propaganda offensives in the US.


Yeah, 'they' tried to close down Professor Jake Lynch., head of peace and conflict studies at Sydney University.

They not only lost in court, they were the direct cause of of the formation of the BDS group on staff, who had previously remained neutral.

The only principled position is to oppose Israel on all issues, at every opposition.


My irritation for a long time has been with those who understand the Palestine issue and yet vote for candidates from one of the two old parties. This includes people very active in the solidarity movement and even Palestinian Americans. They accept that they have to vote for a Zionist and then choose who might be the lesser of two evils on other issues. It is high time that both these old parties be subject to BDS. There are other parties to vote for, the Libertarians (my preference) and the Greens. The Libertarians as a party do not take a position on the conflict, but would cut off all the welfare checks, baksheesh, arms transfers, military aid, and US armed interventions to all regimes and entities abroad unconditionally and without exception.


On many occasions I have written another "Jewish advocacy organization"
(anonymity) that they should find a way to organize opponents of present
AIPAC/ISRAELI/ US policies and to WITHOLD OUR VOTES from any
and all candidates or political entities which fail to act against Israel/ US.
Usually I get no reply. Recently, I got a one-line reply that "we are
working on other means of action".

In other words, for all the advocacy, claims, dissent, those very same
"liberal" Jews here in the US will vote for the Democratic Party just
as they have for decades. As the political saying goes, "They have
nowhere else to go..."

Those we decry know this very well. They may throw a few crumbs to
us who advocate but in the end nothing comes of it at all. For they know
that we advocates don't have the guts to deprive them of our votes(support)..
We support them over and over again.

Organizing vote opposition is an enormous task. I am not sure of all the details,legalisms.

It is, by the way, the way AIPAC works. Also other major lobbies
(such as The National Riffle Association---NRA---The Weapons lobby
and more.) Their position is vote our way---or we will oppose you.

Our position is "Change and support us. But if you don't, you will have
our votes all the same."

I propose we begin small and grow.

Without this ultimate threat, our moral points mean little to nothing.


I am glad BDS continues. Our opponents understand money and all
that leads to making profit (eg PR etc.) Thanks for your continued
efforts. We need much more information on how the weapons lobby
works in detail. Much has been done but much more needs to be done.
Facts, figures, up-to-date knowledge of corporations etc.

(Eg. Directorates, mergers, profits etc.)

Thanks for all you have done so far.

----Peter Loeb, Boston, MA , USA


I have no compunction about supporting the idea that Israel should
indeed be "wiped off the map".

With their history from the start they never had any legitimate reason
for being "on the map".

I fully realize that Palestinians have no chance of doing this. But
remember that the evils of Zionism are the
products of Israel's past, a past which has never thought
twice about wiping Palestinians off the map. ("Kill an Arab a Day" boasted
T-shirts in Gaza only weeks ago.)

----Peter Loeb, Boston, MA USA


The ability to buy political support in the US, as boasted about by the two above-mentioned billionaires, is the source of corruption of the American body politic. With the neo-cons in charge is the American Constitution still worth the paper it's written on?

Rania Khalek

Rania Khalek's picture

Rania Khalek is an independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized.