Just When You Thought You Were Through With Sheldon Adelson

Just When You Thought You Were Through With Sheldon Adelson

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

As is readily apparent, Sheldon Adelson has become not only a key supporter of right wing Republican candidates, he continues to be a leading foreign policy and national security adviser to Bibi Netanyahu; to whose campaigns he previously contributed extensively. There are several aspects to these carryings-on by Adelson which need to be addressed, both from the Israeli as well as the American perspective.

First, Adelson clearly is trying to influence world-wide assessment and reaction to the Iranian- P5+1 negotiations in Geneva. Unlike Warren Buffett, another billionaire–who regularly addresses numerous serious economic issues–Adelson has no recognized expertise in international affairs beyond his own international investments.

Admittedly, the Israelis—and for that matter the Saudis as well—appear to be very afraid that the U.S. and the West will make too many and give-in too fast to any Iranian concessions in the Geneva talks.  They believe that only tighter and persistent sanctions might produce positive diplomatic and strategic results. Whether the Israelis analysis is correct or not, Adelson’s suggestion that the U.S. drop a nuclear bomb on Iran to demonstrate to the Iranians that America is serious about controlling Iranian development of a nuclear weapons is embarrassingly ludicrous. It also should be appalling to his Israeli friends and sycophants. It is extremely puzzling to watch as Adelson blabbers on, that Netanyahu can tolerate having Adelson shooting off ideas; unless Bibi actually wants this voice heard. While Adelson does own an Israeli paper which is his mouthpiece, no responsible head of state should be directly associated with this type of flamboyance.

Adelson and his billions may permit him to buy time and finance political campaigns in the U.S. and in Israel, but negotiating with Iran is not a political campaign. The U.S. and Israel presumably are trying to consider serious policy options and make genuine security assessments.  It would seem that for Israel’s own good, Netanyahu ought to reign in this type of associate, even though he has no official policy role.  Similarly, what possessed Yeshiva University—where he spoke on a panel with serious national security analysts–to include a man like Adelson whose only credentials to participate in such a discussion would be the size of the checks that he can write.

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