|Sheldon Adelson (Top - Illustration by DonkeyHotey) and Haim Saban.|
On November 9, the ugly face of America’s money-saturated election process was put on full display.
Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban, two billionaires with right-wing, pro-Israel agendas, took the stage at the Israeli American Council’s inaugural conference in Washington, D.C. They fantasized about bombing Iran and about buying the New York Times because they said it’s biased against Israel. Both are bound to play an outsized role in the 2016 presidential elections by flooding the campaign with money to support their favored candidates. In a post-Citizens United world, Adelson and Saban are kings, and Israel will be the beneficiary of their largesse if the donors have the ear of a future president.
Saban and Adelson are on opposite ends of the mainstream (and narrow) political spectrum. Adelson is a casino mogul who bankrolled the 2012 presidential campaigns of GOP candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. Saban is in the entertainment business and is a major Democratic Party donor. But when it comes to U.S. foreign policy and Israel, Saban and Adelson take many of the the same positions, displaying an eagerness for war with Iran and a desire to keep the U.S. alliance with Israel rock-solid.
“There’s no right or left when it comes to Israel,” Saban said in what news reports called a joking reference to the moguls’ seating positions at the conference where they spoke.But the quip was more than just a joke. It was a nod to how the Democratic and Republican parties are united in singing Israel’s praise, backing its military actions and voting to give the country $3.1 billion in U.S. military aid annually.
If Adelson’s and Saban’s chosen candidates in 2016 get their way, that unity will shine through during the presidential campaign, with the debate being reduced to who would support Israel the most.
Saban, an Israeli-American famous for producing the TV show Power Rangers, is currently the CEO of the Saban Capital Group, which invests in media companies around the world. A 2010 New Yorker profile of Saban by Connie Bruck paints a portrait of a man who is heavily influential, charming and hawkish. “I'm a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel,” he told the New York Times in 2004.