A new low for Israel. How low can they go?

Nettanel Slyomovics

Haaretz | U.S. News

Analysis |

Trump Is Desperate for Miriam Adelson’s Cash. Her Condition: West Bank Annexation

The former president and convicted felon is holding a fire sale on future presidential authority. Miriam Adelson wants to be his biggest donor, but in return she wants Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank

Nettanel Slyomovics

Jun 3, 2024

Though Donald Trump has been maintaining a lead in the polls over President Joe Biden for seven months, reports are growing of a financial panic that has taken hold of the former Republican president. Trump trails Biden in fundraising, and spending much of the donations on a battery of lawyers in four criminal cases, as well as on compensations in other civil lawsuits, surely isn’t helping. Big donors are finding it hard to open their checkbooks, and insist that the money be directed to the political campaign rather than spent on his personal legal expenses.

Trump has never been known to hold the law, the Constitution or political convention in high regard. He saw the office of president in the same way Israeli Transportation Minister Miri Regev sees her post: as a huge resource for personal gain. He faced a historic impeachment trial in Congress in 2019 over his attempt to blackmail Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – he withheld critical military aid from Kiev in order to force Ukrainian authorities to start an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter in an attempt to influence the 2020 presidential election.

Now Trump is desperate for cash, and he’s holding a fire sale on future presidential authority. Anything goes for the man who believes that a presidential victory will save him from prison – which scares him more than anything else. Even though he’s now a convicted felon, Trump still has people to turn to for donations – and New York Magazine devoted its May 20 issue to an extensive profile of one of these donors, Dr. Miriam Adelson.

Big donors have always had outsize influence on American politics, but thanks to the Supreme Court, in the last 14 years they have become kingmakers. Justices who came up in the Federalist Society and conquered the Supreme Court in the 21st century opened the floodgates with the 2010 Citizens United ruling. Five Republican-appointed justices ruled that corporations enjoy freedom of speech and that money is a form of speech, and therefore no limit could be imposed on campaign donations. The four Democrat-appointed justices dissented.

A few days before the ruling, President Barack Obama warned in his State of the Union address that the Federalist justices had opened up a Pandora’s box. He was criticized by the right for damaging the dignity and independence of the judiciary. Very soon it turned out he had been right. According to a University of Chicago study, $144 million were spent by both Democrats and Republicans in the 2008 presidential election. In the first presidential election after the ruling, in 2012, the combined amount leaped to $1 billion. In the 2020 presidential election, it was $14.4 billion.

First to recognize the potential was Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. In the last decade of his life, he spent an astronomical half-billion dollars supporting politicians. During the 2012 presidential campaign he broke away from big donors’ longtime custom of financing several candidates, thereby hedging their bets, and instead gambled on a single candidate: he gave Newt Gingrich tens of millions of dollars in his failed 2012 Republican primary bid against Mitt Romney.

Adelson may have lost that battle, but he won the war. His willingness to back a candidate with an unprecedented amount of money made him a dominant figure in the GOP almost overnight. Adelson never hid his satisfaction of being in this new position of kingmaker. This is how the “Adelson primaries” were conceived: in the run-up to the 2016 election, no fewer than 17 potential presidential candidates made the pilgrimage to Las Vegas to implore him for funding, leaving their self-respect back home.

The New York Times broke the story that in 2016, after Trump won the Republican primary but was left without donors to face Hillary Clinton, Adelson offered him a deal: $20 million in exchange for moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This was the beginning of a fruitful and rewarding relationship for both men. All in all, Adelson heaped over $90 million on Trump, the embassy moved to Jerusalem (against the advice of Trump’s aides), and Adelson became Trump’s most influential donor.

With Adelson’s death in January 2021, Republicans were wondering what his widow would do. Though she refrains from giving interviews to journalists who aren’t on her payroll, Miriam Adelson confirmed to The New York Times about a year ago that the Adelson primaries won’t return. She has no intention of being as deeply involved in American politics as her husband. But if anybody thought she was shying away from American politics altogether, they were recently proved wrong.

The New York Magazine article on Adelson, written by Elizabeth Weil, doesn’t quote Adelson herself but is full of tidbits of information about the rich widow’s personal life, which makes it hard to believe she didn’t speak with Weil off the record. That’s easy enough to understand: Adelson is using the magazine to send Trump a far from subtle hint: She could be interested in making donations to him and would be happy to be his – and the entire campaign’s – biggest donor, on the condition that he gives her what she wants.

Less than two weeks after this flattering story, which could be read as one woman’s public appeal to one man, Politico reported that Adelson finally decided to donate to Trump. But it wasn’t just any old donation. According to the report, Adelson didn’t name the sum, but is expected “to spend more than [she and her late husband] did four years ago.” This would make her 2024’s biggest campaign donor. Politico’s reporters didn’t give the reason for Adelson’s move, but the New York Magazine story may provide the answer.

An implicit threat

“The press often reported the Adelsons’ giving as Sheldon’s,” while in fact it was also Miriam’s, wrote Weill. “Some Adelson watchers assumed life would be saner once Miriam alone controlled the family fortune. This was wrong. Sheldon was a bully: combative, litigious, blowsy. Miriam is an ideologue.” One former senior executive was quoted as saying, “[Sheldon] was the one who had the bark, but I believe she had the bite. … She was more aggressive. He was more aggressive if she was in the room.”

Open gallery view

Sheldon Adelson.

Sheldon Adelson at the start of the academic school year at Ariel University in the settlement of Ariel, 2019.Credit: Moti Milrod

Adelson tends to be every bit as blunt as her late husband when approaching politicians. After Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, one of the organizations funded by Adelson ran a full-page ad in The New York Times. Against an image of a kippa-wearing Trump visiting the Western Wall, the ad congratulated him: “President Trump: You Promised. You delivered.”

Trump won this year’s primaries easily and quickly in just a few weeks. Having sent away all his contenders, he invited Adelson to Shabbat dinner at Mar-a-Lago in March. According to the New York Magazine article, Trump didn’t come out of the dinner with the check he hoped for, but he seems to have understood how to get it. A few days later, he sat for an interview with Omer Lachmanovitch and Ariel Kahana of the Adelson-owned free daily, Israel Hayom.

“I’m a very loyal person. I’ve been loyal to Israel. I’ve been the best president in history by a factor of 10 to Israel because of all of the things I do, the embassy, Jerusalem being the capital… But then you have the Abraham Accords and then you have the Golan Heights,” Trump told them, referring to American recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the territory. “Nobody even thought that was going to be possible.”

After five months during which he refused to make clear his position on the Israel-Hamas war, instead sniping at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, thanks to Adelson, Trump finally expressed unequivocal support for Israel. However, according to Weil’s article, Trump made a tactical error that distanced him from the money he so desperately wants. “You have to finish up your war,” he said. “You have to finish it up. You got it done. And I’m sure you’ll do that. And we got to get to peace.” Adelson, a resident of Herzliya and a megadonor for settlement development in the West Bank, did not wish to hear Trump yearning for peace. She didn’t want to hear anything that could have been construed as criticism of Israel. According to the report, what she really wants from Trump’s second term is an Israeli annexation of the West Bank and a U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty in all the regions of the land. Under these conditions, there’s no room for the Palestinian Authority, and nobody to sign a peace accord with.

Open gallery view

בנימין ושרה נתניהו עם מרים ושלדון אדלסון

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and wife Sara at Ariel University in the West Bank, 2019.Credit: Moti Milrod

The New York Magazine story ends with an implicit threat to Trump: “The presidential election is five months away. Adelson continues to sit out the race.” Within just 10 days, Politico reported that the former president and Adelson met and spoke on the phone several times since that March dinner. What they talked about remained unreported, but Trump’s give-and-take relationships with his billionaire donors tend to replicate themselves.

Adelson is not the only major donor; others also come with their lists of demands. The Washington Post recently reported about another meeting between Trump and some donors, a group which, Trump said, included “98 percent of my Jewish friends.” During this meeting in New York on May 14, donors asked Trump about students demonstrating against Israel on campuses, and he replied: “Any student that protests, I throw them out of the country. You know, there are a lot of foreign students. As soon as they hear that, they’re going to behave.” When one of the unnamed donors complained that students and professors could one day hold positions of power, Trump called the demonstrators part of a “radical revolution” that he vowed to defeat. “If you get me elected, and you should really be doing this, … we’re going to set that [pro-Palestinian] movement back 25 or 30 years.”

Speaking to the donors, Trump failed to mention Netanyahu, whom he detests since the prime minister recognized Biden’s victory in 2020. Still, referring to Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack, he provided a heavy-handed clue that his opinion of Netanyahu hasn’t changed: “You go back through history, this is like just before the Holocaust. You had a weak president or head of the country. And it just built and built. And then, all of a sudden, you ended up with Hitler. You ended up with a problem like nobody knew.”

Hezbollah get their gear direct from Tehran via Assad. Hamas are lucky to get Provo level tech


Wtf, $320m :joy:

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He assembled the collection of cunts to keep himself out of the way of prosecution.

He is the key cunt cog

What is supposed to have happened to it?

A few pallets filled with aeroboard

BAM must have got the contract.

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That’s the split season for you now.

The US are starting to maneuver their war ships to provide air defense cover for northern Israel in advance of a ground invasion into Lebanon

A very good omen for Italy.

Israel were preparing to invade Lebanon during the 2006 World Cup in Germany and did so a day or two after Italy’s victory.

The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon a few days before that year’s World Cup started was also a harbinger of Italian victory.

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@Cheasty what do you think will happen here?

How low can they go?

He’s going after Shelbourne assistant manager Joey O’Brien now.

Russia bad
Israel good

Israel approves new illegal settlements in largest West Bank land grab in decades - watchdog Israel approves new illegal settlements in largest West Bank land grab in decades - watchdog

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Whoa,I never seen that coming

The only acceptable ceasefire is no ceasefire and continued genocide


Simon Schama won’t bother looking at this.