Sunday, March 25, 2012

Who is Sheldon Adelson and Why Should You Care?

If the United States of America goes to war with Iran, or becomes embroiled in a war with Iran started by Israel, a man named Sheldon Adelson will have played a significant role in making it happen.
Sheldon Adelson built the world's most expensive hotel-casino, the Marina Bay Sands. With its indoor canal, opulent art, dazzling casino, outdoor plaza, convention centre, theatre, crystal pavilion, lotus flower-shaped museum, and 150-meter long infinity pool at the top of the complex 55 stories up, the Marina Bay Sands is the world’s most expensive paean to indulgence.

Adelson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns and operates the Venetian and Palazzo hotel-casinos in Las Vegas, the Sands Casino-Resort Bethlehem, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, several properties in Macao, including the Macao Sands, and the Mariana Bay Sands in Singapore. Adelson has been listed as anywhere from the 3rd richest to the 16th richest man in America and has been called the “world’s richest Jew” by the Jewish Virtual Library, and at times, by himself.

Adelson’s American success story makes the Horatio Alger fictional success story look meager by comparison. Whereas Alger’s “Ragged Dick” made the climb from poverty to middle-class success through hard work and grit, Adelson worked harder, smarter, and some have claimed fraudulently (he was sued by his adopted sons in 1997 over the COMDEX deal), to rise from abject poverty to astronomical wealth. As his wealth has increased, so has his involvement in and influence over American and world foreign policy. And with the 2010 US Supreme Court Citizen’s United decision, Adelson’s money has become a dominant factor in American and Israeli politics, as well as a factor in China’s exploding capitalism.

Shelley Berkley, who once worked for Adelson, and is now a Democratic congresswoman for Nevada, said, “I have unique personal knowledge of how Mr. Adelson seeks to dominate politics and public policy through the raw power of money.

Most Americans who are paying any attention at all to Republican campaigns for their party's presidential nominee know by now that Sheldon Adelson is to Newt Gingrich as Newt Gingrich is to Tiffany's.

Federal records show that since 1999, Adelson and his wife have made disclosed political contributions of $21.6 million, and 82 percent of it has been for the benefit of Gingrich. Gingrich told NBC News in January 2012 that Adelson, "Knows I'm very pro-Israel, and that's the central value of his life."

The bond between Adelson and Gingrich goes back to the 1990s, when Gingrich was speaker of the House. Adelson wanted Congress to require that the U.S. Embassy in Israel be moved to Jerusalem. Gingrich not only spearheaded the effort; he's campaigning on it now."As president, on my first day in office, I will issue an executive order directing the U.S. Embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem as provided for in the legislation I introduced in Congress in 1995," Gingrich said in a December speech in Beverly Hills, California.

But the key thing to know about Sheldon Adelson is that he is an ultra-conservative, right-wing supporter of all things Israel. Talk to Action (TTA) reports that the Institute for Policy Studies' Right Web has said that Adelson "is an important financial backer of right-wing `pro-Israel' groups in the United States and elsewhere in the world, as well as a prominent supporter of key Likud Party officials," prominently, Netanyahu.

According to The Daily Beast's Aram Roston, Adelson is "a staunch supporter of groups such as the Zionist Organization of America and other such groups, which believe Palestinians have no valid claims. Adelson sponsored a seminar in 2008 provocatively titled the `Islamic Jihad in America: What You Need to Know about Radical Muslim Infiltration of American Culture, Finance, Education, and Life,'" and in November of last year, "Adelson appeared on the stage of the Zionist Organization of America to present ... Glenn Beck with a `Defender of Israel' Award.

Adelson supports a number of ultra-conservative Jewish lobbying groups; groups who are now pushing for "retaliation" against Iran for that nation's refusal to back down on their pursuit of nuclear capabilities that may include nuclear weapons development. These are the same groups that promoted war with Iraq, and managed to seed the Bush Administration with men like Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and David Wurmser. Their mission was described in a policy paper -- A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm -- authored primarily by Wurmser, that advocated pre-emptive strikes against Iran and Syria, the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, and the abandonment of traditional "land for peace" negotiations with Palestinians.

It isn't much of stretch to say that Sheldon Adelson is responsible as much as anyone for Benjamin Netanyahu regaining the office of Prime Minister of Israel.

In his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington DC on March 6, 2012, Netanyahu made it clear that he is perfectly comfortable with and capable of attacking Iran, with or without Washington’s approval. He said, “We are determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons; we leave all options on the table; and containment is definitely not an option.

Netanyahu went on to say, “The Jewish state will not allow those who seek our destruction to possess the means to achieve that goal. A nuclear armed Iran must be stopped.”

In case anyone had any doubts that Netanyahu was ready to go it alone, he elaborated, saying that, “Israel has waited patiently for the international community to resolve this issue. We've waited for diplomacy to work. We've waited for sanctions to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer.”
Sheldon Adelson

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