Jerusalem Post: "Diaspora (evreiască) - LAUDER VS ADELSON: Care dintre cei doi miliardari evrei este urechea lui Trump aplecată spre Israel?"
Foto: Jerusalem Post:
1. Ronald Lauder (stânga voastră, cu o avere de US$3,7 miliarde de dolari în septembrie 2013), moștenitorul imperiului produselor cosmetice "The Estée Lauder Companies Inc"(US$11.26 miliarde de dolari cifră de afaceri în 2016) și președintele Congresului Evreiesc Mondial, prieten cu președintelui Autorității Palestiniene, Mahmoud Abbas.
2. Donald Trump - președintele SUA
3. Sheldon Adelson, magnatul cazinourilor (cu o avere de US$32,2 miliarde de dolari), și adversar al palestienienilor.
Atât Lauder cât și Sheldon îl cunosc bine atât pe președintele SUA; Donald Trump, cât și pe Benjamin Netanyahu, primul ministru al Israelului.
Problema e, scrie Jerusalem Post, că Lauder și Sheldon au păreri diferite când vine vorba de rezolvarea conflictului israeliano-palestinian.
Jerusalem Post "Diaspora (evreiască) - LAUDER VS ADELSON: Care dintre cei doi miliardari evrei este urechea lui Trump aplecată spre Israel?"
Notă: Traducere încă incomplet editată
Bill Clinton s-a consultat cu oameni care au venit cu el din Arkansas, George W. Bush a preferat veteranii texani ai bătălilor politice ale familiei sale, iar Barack Obama a avut oameni aduși peisajele sale familiare din Chicago.
Cui cine se sfătuiește primul președinte miliardar când dorește un sfat real? Bineînțeles, cu alți miliardari.
S-au spus multe lucruri despre modul în care președintele Donald Trump și-a alcătuit cabinetul cu miliardari și despre cum a preluat sfaturile investitorului Carl Icahn, al dezvoltatorului imobiliar Tom Barrack și al mogulilor mass-media Christopher Ruddy și Rupert Murdoch.
Același lucru este valabil și pentru consilierii săi la care le cere sfatul când vine vorba de Israel: Potrivit rapoartelor, Trump abordează chestiunea cu Sheldon Adelson, magnatul cazinourilor, și cu Ronald Lauder, moștenitorul produselor cosmetice și președintele Congresului Evreiesc Mondial.
Ambii sunt susținători majori ai cauzelor evreiești și pro-israeliene.
Problema este că Adelson și Lauder par a fi în contradicție cu privire la ceea ce îi spun președintelui.
Lauder, după părerea sa, face presiuni asupra lui Trumpul, pentru ca acesta să stea să-l asculte pe președintelui Autorității Palestiniene, Mahmoud Abbas.
Adelson, după părerea sa, dorește ca Trumo să se concentreze pe mutarea ambasadei SUA în Ierusalim și să reducă rolul palestinienilor ca parteneri de încredere în discuțiile pentru pace.
Trump, care i-a oferit în această lună lui Abbas, o primire oficială la Casei Albe și și-a scos timpul petrecut alături de el în timpul turneului său programat în Orientul Mijlociu săptămâna viitoare, pare să se încline spre Lauder.
Și asta confundă comunitatea pro-israeliană de dreapta, care tinde să se alinieze cu Adelson.
Iată o prezentare scurtă a actorilor principali (n.r. pe problema israeliano-palestiniană) și a agendelor lor.
Purtătorii de cuvânt ai lui Adelson, Lauder și al premierulului israelian Benjamin Netanyahu au refuzat să comenteze, iar Casa Albă nu a răspuns la solicitarea noastră de a comenta.
Relația cu Trump
Lauder, un coleg New Yorkez al lui Trump, a fost prietenos cu Trump timp de zeci de ani, datând cel puțin de la candidatura lui Lauder la funcția de primar al orașului New York din anul 1989 - o perioadă în care politicienii locali l-au curtat cu aviditate pe dezvoltatorul Trump. (Lauder a pierdut atunci alegerile primare republicane pentru primărie în fața republicanului Rudolph Giuliani, care mai apoi a pierdut și el alegerea la primărie din acel an, dar a câștigat ulterior, în 1993). Atât Lauder, cât și Trump sunt absolvenți ai Școlii de Afaceri Wharton din cadrul Universității din Pennsylvania.
Adelson și Trump s-au cunoscut deja, cel puțin de la mijlocul anilor 2000, când acesta din urmă a deschis o stațiune și un cazinou dublu, pe gazonul din Las Vegas. Ei s-au apropiat anul trecut după ce Adelson - s-a ars în alegerile din 2012, după ce a susținut un concurent primar republican, pe Newt Gingrich. (În 2016) el a așteptat până când "s-a vărsat sânge" în bătăliile primare ale republicanilor, și a început să-l susțină pe Trump târziu în luna mai (când acesta era deja aproape câștigător).
Trump i-a reproșat în glumă lui Adelson, că a așteptat atât de mult până să vină să-l susțină, dar a apreciat, de asemenea, suportul lui Adelson. Adelson este considerat a fi primul donator de campanie care a avut un loc asigurat în timpul inaugurării președintelui Trump.
Care sunt legăturile cu Trump?
Adelson a cheltuit zeci de milioane de dolari în alegerile generale, atât pentru Trump, cât și pentru alți republicani, și apoi cel puțin încă 5 milioane de dolari, un record, la festivitățile inaugurale.
Contribuțiile lui Lauder la cursa lui Trump de a deveni candidatul republicanilor la președinție, nu au depășit, în total, 1 milion de dolari, dar el a făcut ceva ce Trump prețuiește la loialistii săi: el l-a sprijinit pe Trump, atunci când aproape nimeni altcineva nu o făcea.
Două organizații evreiești pe care Adelson le-a finanțat și care de altfel l-au susținut Trump în alegeri, "Coaliția evreiască republicană" și "Organizația sionistă a Americii", au fost foarte critice la adresa declarației lui Trump.
Relația cu Netanyahu
Lauder și Netanyahu s-au bucurat de relații strânse de prietenie de ani de zile - practic atât Lauder, cât și Adelson au fost întrebați de anchetatorii israelieni despre darurile pe care le-au acordat premierului israelian de-a lungul anilor.
În anii 1990, când cariera lui Netanyahu tocmai decola, Lauder a reprezentat un canal esențial în SUA (pentru Netanyahu).
Netanyahu i-a cerut lui Lauder să încerce să ajute la încheierea unui acord de pace cu Siria în timpul primului său mandat, între 1996 și 1999.
Într-o mișcare foarte neobișnuită din anul 1999, când Lauder a prezidat "Conferința președinților marilor organizații evreiești americane", miliardarul a venit în Israel în timpul campaniei electorale și l-a susținut în mod eficient pe Netanyahu într-un discurs.
Relațiile dintre cei doi s-au răcit în urmă cu șase ani, când Lauder a refuzat să-și folosească influența procentului din acțiunile pe care la avea ca proprietar la "Canalul 10" din Israel, pentru a cenzura emisiunile de la tv despre acuzațiilor de corupție aduse la acea vreme lui Netanyahu și soției sale, Sara.
De cealaltă parte, Adelson a trecut de la sprijinul neutru din punct de vedere politic pentru Israel, tipic pentru o mare parte a comunității pro-israeliene (din SUA), la sprijinul direct pentru un partid politic - și-anume pentru Likudul lui Netanyahu - schimbare acrea avut loc în 2007. Declanșarea acestei schimbări - a fost în legătură cu aflarea veștii despre planul de pace
al primului ministru Ehud Olmert cunoscut sub numele de procesul de la Annapolis, plan la care Adelson s-a opus vehement.
Adelson a crezut (și crede) că statalitatea palestiniană, cel puțin sub actuala conducere palestiniană, ar fi catastrofală pentru Israel.
Cea mai cunoscută expresie a sprijinului său (pentru Netanyahu), este proprietatea sa asupra ziarului pro-Netanyahu din Israel, Hayom, o publicație gratuită care a ajuns să joace un rol dominant în mass-media israeliană.
Relația dintre Netanyahu și Adelson rămâne puternică; Ziarul, care conduce în audiența din Israel, a schimbat recent, în mod repetat, editorii, deoarece fostul șef al ziarului nu a fost suficient de pro-Bibi.
Relația cu Abbas
Zvonurile, că Lauder și Abbas sunt apropiați, au fost confirmate în timpul vizitei lui Abbas de la începutul lunii mai, când, în noaptea de dinaintea întâlnirii cu Trump, liderul palestinian a luat masa la casa lui Lauder din cartierul Georgetown din acest oraș.
În mod special au fost prezenți la cină: și reprezentanți ai administrației Trump.
În mod special, a fost absent de la cină, oricine din partea Ambasadei israeliene.
Lauder și Netanyahu, care au evitat comentariile în legătură cu dezacordurile lor, au fost gata să vină la o negociere printr-un alt filantrop bogat: Isi Leibler, magnatul agenției de turism australiene, care s-a retras în Israel și care a devenit un activist proeminent pe aripa dreaptă a politicii isrealiene.
În editorialul său din Jerusalem Post, Leibler a vorbit despre o lungă explicație pe care i-a dat-o lui Lauder, în care Leibler l-a descris pe Abbas drept "un antisemit invizibil", care vorbește "cu o limbă furată, portretizându-se ca om de pace plin de moderație"
În timp ce continuă să încurajeze ura religioasă și antisemitismul în rândul propriului popor.
"Leibler l-a citat pe Lauder spunând că el crede că Abbas este gata să facă mari concesii pentru pace", deși nu a arătat despre ce concesii ar fi vorba.
Leibler a scris de asemenea că Netanyahu i-a spus "că Lauder a fost 'cea mai mare provocare pe care a trebuit să o depășească" din cauza "prieteniei lui Lauder cu Trump".
Pe de altă parte, Adelson nu are nici o relație cu Abbas;
Prelungirile și relațiile lui Olmert către Abbas sunt cele care l-au condus pe Adelson în brațele partidului Likud al lui Netanyahu.
El poate fi cheia pentru a-l ajuta pe Netanyahu să-și depășească 'provocarea':
site-ul de știri Axios a scris în această săptămână, citând surse apropiate lui Adelson, că acesta este "furios" pe administrația Trump pentru că nu-și îndeplinește încă promisiunea din campania republicană de a muta Ambasada SUA la Ierusalim și că palestinienii sunt oameni cu care e "imposibili" să negocieze.
Cine e Ronald Lauder - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Foto: Time of Israel
President of the World Jewish Congress
June 10, 2007
Preceded by Edgar Bronfman, Sr.
United States Ambassador to Austria
April 16, 1986 – October 27, 1987
Preceded by Helene A. von Damm
Succeeded by Henry Anatole Grunwald
Born Ronald Steven Lauder
February 26, 1944 (age 73)
New York City, New York, United States
Nationality United States
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jo Carole Knopf
Children Jane Lauder Warsh
Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer
Parents Estée Lauder
Relatives Leonard Lauder
Alma mater The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (BS)
Occupation Chairman Emeritus of Estée Lauder Companies
Net worth Increase US$3.7 billion (September 2013)
Ronald Steven Lauder (born February 26, 1944) is an American businessman, art collector, philanthropist, and political activist. He is an heir to the Estée Lauder Companies, and the president of the World Jewish Congress.
Life and career
Lauder was born in New York City, the son of Estée Lauder and Joseph Lauder, founders of Estée Lauder Companies. He is the younger brother of Leonard Lauder, chairman of the board of the Estée Lauder Companies. The boys were raised Jewish.
He attended the Bronx High School of Science and holds a bachelor's degree in International Business from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He studied at the University of Paris, and received a Certificate in International Business from the University of Brussels.
He is married to Jo Carole (Knopf) Lauder. They have two children, Aerin and Jane.
Lauder started to work for the Estée Lauder Company in 1964. In 1984, he became a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO policy at The Pentagon.
In 1986, Ronald Reagan named him as the United States Ambassador to Austria, a position he held until 1987. As ambassador, he fired diplomatic officer Felix Bloch, who later became known in connection with the Robert Hanssen espionage case.
As a Republican, he made a bid to become the mayor of New York City in 1989, losing to Rudy Giuliani in the Republican primary.
Michael Massing, writing of this nomination race, notes that politically Lauder 'seemed out of step with most American Jews; ... he ran to the right of Rudolph Giuliani. And, on Israeli issues, he was a vocal supporter of the Likud party, with long-standing ties to Benjamin Netanyahu."
In 1998, Lauder was asked by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to begin Track II negotiations with Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad; these negotiations continued after the election of Ehud Barak to the post. Lauder communicated a new-found willingness on Assad's part to make compromises with the Israelis in an overall land for peace deal, and his draft "Treaty of Peace Between Israel and Syria" formed an important part of the (ultimately fruitless) Israeli-Syrian negotiations that occurred in January 2000 in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
Lauder manages investments in real estate and media, including Central European Media Enterprises and Israeli TV. In 2010, Lauder founded RWL Water, LLC.
His daughter Jane is married to Kevin Warsh, a former member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
Civic and philanthropic activities
Lauder led a movement to introduce term limits in the New York City Council, which were imposed on most NYC elected officials, including the Mayor and City Council, after citywide referendum in 1993. In 1996, voters turned down a council proposal to extend term limits. Lauder spent $4 million on the two referendums. He has been involved in environmental conservation efforts in eastern Long Island and has served on the board of directors of the conservation organization Group for the East End since 2002.
On November 16, 2001, Lauder opened the Neue Galerie in New York, an art museum across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Neue Galerie is dedicated to art from Germany and Austria from the early 20th century. It holds one of the best collections of works by Egon Schiele in the world.
On June 18, 2006, he purchased from Maria Altmann and her family, the painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt for $135 million, the highest price ever paid for a painting at that time. Lauder called the painting "Our Mona Lisa". He reportedly saw Klimt's portrait as a youth in Vienna and had admired it since. The painting, a Nazi-looted art piece which had just been restored to Altmann following years of negotiation and litigation with the Austrian government, now forms the centerpiece of the museum's collection.
Lauder also has the world's largest private collection of medieval and Renaissance armor.
Lauder has been instrumental in a number of cases in recovering "lost" art from the Nazi period. He has been criticized for failure to resolve a case involving the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), which in 1997 exhibited some paintings owned by Rudolph Leopold, a Viennese doctor and art collector.
An investigative article in The New York Times on December 24, 1997 – "A Singular Passion for Amassing Art, One Way or Another" – outlined a case involving Portrait of Wally by Egon Schiele, which was in the MoMA exhibition but was obtained by Leopold soon after the Nazi era. The New York County District Attorney (Manhattan) stepped in to help restore the piece to descendants of its original owner, but ownership of the painting is still in contention, nearly ten years later. Lauder has been accused of a failure to act on the case, despite being MoMA chairman at the time.
Lauder is an honorary trustee of the World Monuments Fund, a New York-based non-profit with the mission of protecting endangered cultural heritage sites around the world.
Ronald S. Lauder Foundation
In 1987, Lauder established the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, a philanthropic organization that is dedicated to rebuild Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe. The foundation also supports student exchange programs between New York and various capitals in Central and Eastern Europe.
Lauder is actively involved in numerous civic organizations, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish National Fund, the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Anti-
Defamation League, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Brandeis University, and the Abraham Fund. With his brother he founded the Lauder Institute at Wharton School. Lauder has also served as a finance chairman of the New York Republican State Committee.
In 2003, Lauder founded and became a president of Lauder Business School in Vienna, Austria.
President of the World Jewish Congress
Foto: Lauder with German leaders at a rally against anti-Semitism in Berlin, September 14, 2014. Left to right: Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Protestant Church leader Nikolaus Schneider, Ronald S. Lauder, German Federal President Joachim Gauck, Central Council of Jews in Germany President Dieter Graumann, German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Lauder was elected president of the World Jewish Congress on June 10, 2007, following the resignation of Edgar Bronfman, Sr..
He beat the South African businessman Mendel Kaplan and Einat Wilf of Israel by a clear margin.
As head of the international Jewish umbrella organization, he has met with a number of heads of state and government, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Pope Benedict XVI, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, Czech President Václav Klaus, Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah of Jordan, Swiss President Pascal Couchepin, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
President George W. Bush appointed him to serve on the honorary delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel in May 2008.
In July 2009, Bernie Ecclestone faced calls from Lauder to resign as Formula One chief after he had praised Adolf Hitler in a newspaper interview and said that Hitler "got things done". Lauder said someone with Ecclestone's views should not be allowed to run such an important and popular racing series. He urged Formula One teams, drivers and host countries to suspend their cooperation with him. In reaction, Ecclestone told the news agency Associated Press that "I think the people who are saying that haven't got the power to say these things." Asked if the World Jewish Congress was influential, Ecclestone said: "It's a pity they didn't sort the banks out" and "They have a lot of influence everywhere". After a public outcry, Ecclestone apologized for his remarks and said he had "been an idiot".
In December 2009, Lauder protested against the Roman Curia's decree recognizing the heroic virtues of Pope Pius XII, asserting that an eventual beatification would be inopportune until the Holy See's historical archives from the 1939–1945 period were opened.
In 2011, writing in the German newspaper Die Welt, Lauder called for Israel to be admitted into the Western defense alliance NATO: “Israel needs real guarantees for its security. European NATO member states – including Turkey – must admit the state of Israel into the Western alliance,” the WJC president wrote. He referred to the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia and said they were reminders of how "unpredictable" developments in the Middle East were. Israeli NATO membership "would send a strong signal to other countries not to take on Israel", Lauder argued.
Lauder has also been outspoken on anti-Semitism. In an opinion article entitled "Sweden's Shame", he attacked the Swedish government, church officials and media for "fanning the flames" of hatred against Jews.
In May 2012, Lauder condemned as "despicable" remarks made by the Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung who had "revived anti-Semitic canards such as Jewish control of the media" and suggested that Israel's Mossad could have been behind the 2011 "massacres in Norway committed by Anders Breivik" in which 77 people died.
Lauder declared: "There is a growing tendency to blame the Jews for all evil that happens under the sun. It is a scandal that a leading academics such as Galtung does not shy away from citing notorious forgeries such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to support his bigoted arguments."
In August 2012, Lauder criticized Austrian politicians for failing to publicly denounce the leader of the third-largest political party in the country, the FPÖ, Heinz-Christian Strache, who had posted an anti-Semitic cartoon on his Facebook page.
"Clearly, and not for the first time, the FPÖ leader is trying to whip up anti-Semitic sentiment. His repeated denials are not credible because his words and actions speak for themselves," Ronald Lauder said in a statement, adding: "This scandal shows that anti-Jewish resentment is still widespread, and unscrupulous politicians are allowed to exploit it for electioneering purposes. That is mind-boggling, and it could have negative repercussions for Austrian Jews."
Lauder has been strongly critical of business deals by European energy firms with Iran and called for stronger UN sanctions because of Tehran's threat against Israel and its nuclear program. In April 2008, he criticized a visit by Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey to Tehran where she met with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to help a Swiss company secure a multibillion-dollar contract to buy natural gas from Iran.
Lauder told a press conference in Bern: "Maybe that money that Switzerland is paying to Iran will some day be used to either buy weapons to kill Israelis, or buy weapons to kill Americans, or buy missiles to be able to deliver nuclear weapons." Lauder also led diplomatic efforts to persuade European businesses to withdraw from Iran. In January 2010, he warmly welcomed the announcement by Siemens CEO Peter Löscher that his company would not seek new business in Iran.
Lauder has repeatedly come to the defense of Israel in public and is seen as an ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In
May 2012, he reacted "with dismay" at a suggestion by Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore to impose a European Union-wide import ban on products made in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which Gilmore said were "illegal" and made peace between Israel and the Palestinians "impossible". Lauder said: "Such boycott calls are cynical and hypocritical. Minister Gilmore is taking aim at the only liberal democracy in the Middle East while keeping quiet about those who really wreak havoc in the region: the Assads, Ahmadinejads and their allies Hezbollah and Hamas." He added that "the West
Bank territories are legally disputed and not illegally occupied."
In remarks to the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians made on June 28, 2011, Lauder reportedly scolded Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a number of missteps, including lacking a diplomatic plan heading into the September UN vote on Palestinian statehood and setting preconditions for negotiations as part of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, according to Haaretz. However, in June 2012, on the third anniversary of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech at Bar-Ilan University, Lauder published a full-page advertisement in The Wall Street Journal and other newspapers in which he called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table. "Accept the offer to talk, President Abbas. It takes two sides to make peace," Lauder wrote.
Lauder has participated in a number of large media deals in Israel, among which was his purchase of part of commercial television Channel 10.
In September 2011, Israeli media published accounts that Lauder had put heavy pressure on the executives of the channel to broadcast a personal apology to the businessman Sheldon Adelson with regards to a profile that the channel had broadcast in
January 2011. The apology read, "After the broadcast of the piece, we checked the accusations. Our checks revealed that the accusations were – and are – completely false... We are very regretful that we did not check these accusations before broadcasting them." Lauder's forcing of the form of the apology led to the resignation of the channel's news chief Reudor Benziman, its news editor Ruti Yuval, and its presenter Guy Zohar (who continues in another post in Channel 10), who criticized
Lauder for the pressure he exerted. Because of the attacks, detailed above, on Lauder (who had been until then the last major funder of the channel), he decided to reconsider his financial support. If the channel lost his funding, it would have difficulty continuing to operate to its current standard past October 2011.
On November 3, 2011, the The Second Authority for Television and Radio reached a decision on the issue in which it decided that the apology to Adelson broadcast by the channel was appropriate and that "no evidence has been presented that there was any intervention by the shareholders of Channel 10 on new content, or even on the text of the apology, which was agreed between the news company and the person injured by the broadcast".
Accusations by Austrian Jewish community leader
The Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien (Vienna Israelite Community) banned Lauder for allegedly interfering in its board elections. IKG President Oskar Deutsch alleged that Lauder had offered incentives to members of the IKG to support another candidate. A Lauder spokesman denied the allegations. In January 2013, it was reported that Deutsch and Lauder had resolved their dispute.
A 2007 profile of Lauder in The New Yorker magazine detailed his residences, including three properties in Manhattan – a townhouse on East 70th Street, a townhouse (designed by Philip Johnson) on East 52nd Street, as well as an apartment at 740 Park Avenue. The profile additionally listed homes in Florida, London, Paris, and Wainscott, Long Island.
Cine este Sheldon Adelson - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sheldon Gary Adelson (pronounced /ˈædəlsən/; born August 4, 1933) is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and is the parent company of Venetian Macao Limited, which operates The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center. He also owns the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Adelson, a lifelong donor and philanthropist to a variety of causes, founded with his wife's initiative the Adelson Foundation.
As of August 2016, Adelson was listed by Forbes as having a fortune of US$32.2 billion. He is a major contributor to Republican Party candidates. He has been the largest donor, of any party, in both the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. He was the largest donor to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign with a total of $25 million.
Early life and education
Sheldon Gary Adelson was born into a low-income family and grew up in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Sarah (née Tonkin) and Arthur Adelson. His father's family was of Ukrainian and Lithuanian Jewish ancestry. His mother immigrated from England, and one of his grandfathers was a Welsh coalminer. His father drove a taxi, and his mother ran a knitting shop.
"An entrepreneur is born with the mentality to take risks, though there are several important characteristics: courage, faith in yourself, and above all, even when you fail, to learn from failure and get up and try again."
-Sheldon Adelson, 2013
He started his business career at the age of 12, when he borrowed $200 from his uncle (or $2,640 in 2015 dollars) and purchased a license to sell newspapers in Boston.
At age 16 in 1948, he then borrowed $10,000 (or $98,500 in 2015 dollars) from his uncle to start a candy-vending-machine business. He attended trade school to become a court reporter and subsequently joined the army.
Adelson attended City College of New York, but decided to drop out to dedicate his full-time to entrepreneurship.
He established a business selling toiletry kits after being discharged from the army then started another business named De-Ice-It, which sold a chemical spray to help clear frozen windshields. In the 1960s, he started a charter tours business.
He had soon become a millionaire, although by his 30s he had built and lost a fortune twice. Over the course of his business career, Adelson has created almost 50 of his own businesses.
In the late 1970s, Adelson and his partners developed the computer trade shows COMDEX, for the computer industry; the first show was in 1979. It was the premier computer trade show through much of the 1980s and 1990s.
In 1995, Adelson and his partners sold the Interface Group Show Division, including the COMDEX shows, to SoftBank Corporation of Japan for $862 million; Adelson's share was over $500 million.
Las Vegas, Nevada
The Palazzo, Las Vegas
In 1988, Adelson and his partners purchased the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the former hangout of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. The following year, Adelson and his partners constructed the Sands Expo and Convention Center, then the only privately owned and operated convention center in the U.S.
“Entrepreneurship is essentially identifying the path that everyone takes; and choosing a different, better way.”
In 1991, while honeymooning in Venice with his second wife, Miriam, Adelson found the inspiration for a mega-resort hotel. He razed the Sands and spent $1.5 billion to construct The Venetian, a Venice-themed resort hotel and casino. The Venetian opened May 3, 1999. In 2003, The Venetian added the 1,013-suite Venezia tower – giving the hotel 4,049 suites; 18 restaurants and a shopping mall with canals, gondolas and singing gondoliers.
The Cotai Jet, providing rapid transit between Macao and Hong Kong
In August 2007, Adelson opened the $2.4-billion Venetian Macao Resort Hotel on Cotai and announced that he planned to create a massive, concentrated resort area he called the Cotai Strip, after its Las Vegas counterpart. Adelson said that he planned to open more hotels under brands such as Four Seasons, Sheraton and St. Regis. His Las Vegas Sands planned to invest $12 billion and build 20,000 hotel rooms on the Cotai Strip by 2010.
In the late 2000s, Adelson and the company decided to build a casino resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It is one of five stand-alone casinos that were awarded a slots license by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in 2006. The casino opened May 22, 2009. Table games began operation on July 18, 2010. The hotel opened May 27, 2011. Adelson said "If we have the opportunity to build an integrated resort, we're going to do it. We think it will attract the customers and the tax revenue to the state of Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley and the cities that are in it."
The Venetian Macau, the sixth-largest building in the world.
In 2010, during the late-2000s global recession, Adelson told The Wall Street Journal "If it were today, we probably wouldn't have started it."
Adelson spearheaded a major project to bring the Sands name to Macau, the Chinese gambling city that had been a Portuguese colony until December 1999. The one-million-square-foot Sands Macao became the People's Republic of China's first Las Vegas-style casino when it opened in May 2004. He recovered his initial $265-million investment in one year and, because he owns 69% of the stock, he increased his wealth when he took the stock public in December 2004. Since the opening of the Sands Macao,
Adelson's personal wealth has multiplied more than fourteen times.
Adelson's company was reportedly under federal investigation over alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act relating to payments made to a Macau lawyer. In 2015, Sands agreed to pay a $9 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission., which included no admission of wrongdoing.
Marina Bay, Singapore
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, the third-most expensive building in the world.
In May 2006, Adelson's Las Vegas Sands was awarded a hotly contested license to construct a casino resort in Singapore's Marina Bay.
The new casino, Marina Bay Sands, opened in 2010 at a rumored cost of $5.5 billion. It includes stores at The Shoppes, convention center for Sands Live concert series, multiple swimming pools, night clubs, and 2,500 luxury hotel rooms.
In 2007, Adelson made an unsuccessful bid to purchase the Israeli newspaper Maariv. When this failed, he proceeded with parallel plans to publish a free daily newspaper to compete with Israeli, a newspaper he had co-founded in 2006 but had left.
The first edition of the new newspaper, Israel Hayom, was published on July 30, 2007. On March 31, 2014, Adelson received the go-ahead from a Jerusalem court to purchase Maariv and the conservative newspaper Makor Rishon. In 2016 Adelson's attorney announced that he does not own Israel Hayom, it is owned by a relative of his.
According to a Target Group Index (TGI) survey published in July 2011, Israel Hayom, which unlike all other Israeli newspapers is distributed for free, became the number-one daily newspaper (on weekdays) four years after its inception.
This survey found that Israel Hayom had a 39.3% weekday readership exposure, Yedioth Ahronoth 37%, Maariv 12.1%, and Haaretz 5.8%.
The Yedioth Ahronoth weekend edition was still leading with a 44.3% readership exposure, compared to 31% for the Israel Hayom weekend edition, 14.9% for Maariv, and 6.8% for Haaretz. This trend was already observed by a TGI survey in July 2010.
In 2011, the Israeli press said that Adelson was unhappy with coverage of him on Israeli Channel 10, which alleged that Adelson had acquired a casino license in Las Vegas inappropriately through political connections. The channel apologized after
Adelson threatened a lawsuit. This led to the resignations of the news chief, Reudor Benziman; the news editor, Ruti Yuval; and the news anchor, Guy Zohar, who objected to the apology. After two months of deliberations, the Israeli Second Authority for Television and Radio ruled that although there were some flaws in the manner in which the apology had been conducted, the decision to apologize had been correct and appropriate.
In a 2012 Wall Street Journal op-ed titled "I Didn't Leave the Democrats. They Left me", Adelson specifies three reasons why he switched political parties. First, he cites foreign policy, pointing to a Gallup poll that suggests Republicans are more supportive of Israel than Democrats. Second, he cites statistics that suggest Republicans are more charitable than Democrats. To support this claim Adelson adduces a report from the Chronicle of Philanthropy, which found, after studying tax data from the IRS, that U.S. states that vote Republican are more generous to charities than those states that vote Democratic.
"My father, who kept a charity box for the poor in our house ... would have frowned on this fact about modern Democrats." This leads him to his third reason—economic policy—for leaving the Democratic Party.
Democrats would reply that taxation and government services are better vehicles for helping the underprivileged. And, yes, government certainly has its role. But when you look at states where Democrats have enjoyed years of one-party dominance—California, Illinois, New York—you find that their liberal policies simply don't deliver on their promises of social justice. Take, for example, President Obama's adopted home state. In October, a nonpartisan study of Illinois's finances by the State Budget Crisis Task Force offered painful evidence that liberal Illinois is suffering from abject economic, demographic and social decline. With the worst credit rating in the country, and with the second-biggest public debt per capita, the Prairie State "has been doing back flips on a high wire, without a net", according to the report.
Adelson then quotes at length political scientist Walter Russell Mead who, Adelson claims, "summed up the sad results of these findings" at The American Interest:
Illinois politicians, including the present president of the United States, have wrecked one of the country's potentially most prosperous and dynamic states, condemned millions of poor children to substandard education, failed to maintain vital infrastructure, choked business development and growth through unsustainable tax and regulatory policies — and still failed to appease the demands of the public sector unions and fee-seeking Wall Street crony capitalists who make billions off the state's distress.
Adelson concluded the article with these words:
Although I don't agree with every Republican position—I'm liberal on several social issues—there is enough common cause with the party for me to know I've made the right choice. It's the choice that, I believe, my old immigrant Jewish neighbors would have made. They would not have let a few disagreements with Republicans void the importance of siding with the political party that better supports liberal democracies like Israel, the party that better exemplifies the spirit of charity, and the party with economic policies that would certainly be better for those Americans now looking for work. The Democratic Party just isn't what it used to be.
Others have attributed different motives for Adelson's party switch. "Why is it fair that I should be paying a higher percentage of taxes than anyone else?" he reportedly said to an associate, according to The New Yorker, which claims Adelson began making major contributions to the Republican National Committee following clashes with labor unions at his Las Vegas properties.
The New Yorker article also quoted Shelley Berkley, a Nevada Democratic Party congresswoman, with whom Adelson has had a long and notable feud, who formerly worked for him in the 1990s as vice-president of legal and governmental affairs, who said Adelson told her that "old Democrats were with the union and he wanted to break the back of the union, consequently he had to break the back of the Democrats". The Boston Globe claims that Adelson has "waged some bitter anti-union battles in Las Vegas". Berkley is further quoted in the New Yorker article as saying that Adelson "seeks to dominate politics and public policy through the raw power of money".
Adelson denies those explanations for his political beliefs and behavior, suggesting such depictions of him are tainted by his critics' own political ideology. He stated, "My critics nowadays like to claim it's because I got wealthy or because I didn't want to pay taxes or because of some other conservative caricature. No, the truth is the Democratic Party has changed in ways that no longer fit with someone of my upbringing."
Adelson questioned the Obama administration in an interview with Forbes:
What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we've been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people's lives.
What scares me is the lack of accountability that people would prefer to experience, just let the government take care of everything. U.S. domestic politics is very important to me because I see that the things that made this country great are now being relegated into duplicating that which is making other countries less great. … I’m afraid of the trend where more and more people have the tendency to want to be given instead of wanting to give.
People are less willing to share. There are fewer philanthropists being grown and there are greater expectations of the government. I believe that people will come to their senses and not extend the current Administration's quest to socialize this country. It won’t be a socialist democracy because it won’t be a democracy.
Support for Donald Trump
Adelson sat out the 2016 Republican primaries, with some early indicators at the beginning of 2016 interpreted as showing that Adelson favored Trump. In May 2016, explaining his reasons for officially endorsing Donald Trump's presidential bid,
Adelson cited the importance of CEO experience in a presidential nominee:
I felt strongly that someone with that level of CEO experience would be well-trained for the job of president. It turns out that is exactly what we are getting in Trump. He is a candidate with actual CEO experience, shaped and molded by the commitment and risk of his own money rather than the public’s.
He is a CEO success story that exemplifies the American spirit of determination, commitment to cause and business stewardship. Despite being the grandson of a Welsh coal miner and the son of a Boston cab driver, I’ve had the remarkable experience of being part of almost 50 different businesses in my more than 70-year business career. So, tell me I’m not a conservative enough Republican or I’m too hawkish on Israel or whatever else you may think, but I think I’ve earned the right to talk about success and leadership.
On September 23, Adelson announced a $25 million donation to Trump's presidential campaign, as part of a $65 million donation to the Republican electoral campaign for 2016. This makes Adelson by far the biggest donor in either party (Republicans or Democrats) in the 2016 election cycle. It also makes him by far the largest donor to Donald Trump's White House bid.
Adelson's newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, was the first and only major newspaper nationwide to endorse Trump.
Adelson was also the largest donor to Trump's inaugural celebrations, with a $5 million donation to the celebrations.
US policy vis-à-vis Iran
In a panel discussion at Yeshiva University on October 22, 2013, Adelson said that the United States must get tougher about Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.
Controversy arose when he said: "You pick up your cell phone and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say 'OK, let it go' and so there’s an atomic weapon goes over, ballistic missiles in the middle of the desert that doesn’t hurt a soul, maybe a couple of rattlesnakes and scorpions or whatever”.
He went on to explain that, after a show of force and a threat to also drop a nuclear bomb on Tehran, the U.S. should then say: if "You [Iran] want to be peaceful, just reverse it all and we will guarantee that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes."
Adelson's spokesman told reporters that Adelson "was obviously not speaking literally" about using an atomic bomb in the desert, and that he was "using hyperbole to make a point that … actions speak louder than words".
During the Suen trial, Bill Weidner, the president of Adelson's Las Vegas Sands company, testified about a telephone conversation between Adelson and his friend then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) about a bill proposed by Representative Tom Lantos (D) that would have prevented the U.S. Olympic Committee from voting in favor of the Chinese bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics.
A few hours later, DeLay called back and told Adelson he could tell the mayor of Beijing "this bill will never see the light of day". The resolution did not pass. Adelson testified in court that the demise of the resolution "...resulted from the press of other legislation, (not from) a deliberate move by DeLay to help his benefactor."
Fighting the "mainstreaming" of cannabis legalization is a personal passion of Adelson, whose son Mitchell died of a drug overdose. Mitchell was said to have used cocaine and heroin from an early age.
Adelson believes cannabis is a gateway drug. Andy Abboud, vice president of Las Vegas Sands, has stated that "Pro-marijuana folks have awoken a sleeping giant in Sheldon and Miriam Adelson".
Adelson has fought increasingly hard against internet based gambling in recent years. Despite the legalization, and acceptance from many Las Vegas Casino CEOs, Adelson has poured money into candidates who want to overturn recent state legislation that legalizes online gambling. In early 2015 Adelson publicly backed a bill introduced in the US House of Representatives. The legislation, named the Restore America's Wire Act, has been met with mixed reviews by the Republican Party.
Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson, were presented with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution on March 25, 2008.
Adelson received the Chairman's Award from the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a think tank in Las Vegas, for his efforts to advance free market principles in Nevada.
Additionally, President George W. Bush appointed the Adelsons to serve on the Honorary Delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel in May 2008.
In 2014, Adelson was named to CNBC's list of 200 people who have transformed business over the last 25 years; those on the list were described as “top leaders, icons and rebels, a definitive list of people who have had the greatest influence, sparked the biggest changes and caused the most disruption in business over the past quarter century.”
In February 2012, Adelson told Forbes magazine that he is "against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections.
But as long as it's doable I'm going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades. And they stay below the radar by creating a network of corporations to funnel their money. I have my own philosophy and I'm not ashamed of it. I gave the money because there is no other legal way to do it. I don't want to go through ten different corporations to hide my name. I'm proud of what I do and I'm not looking to escape recognition."
In 2005, Adelson and his wife each contributed $250,000 to the second inauguration of George W. Bush.
Adelson was the principal financial backer of Freedom's Watch, a now-defunct political advocacy group founded to counter the influence of George Soros and Democratic-leaning lobby groups such as MoveOn.org. "Almost all" of the $30 million Freedom's Watch spent on the 2008 elections came from Adelson.
In 2010, Adelson donated $1 million to American Solutions for Winning the Future, a political action committee (PAC) supporting Republican former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. In December 2011, during Gingrich's bid for the U.S. presidency, Adelson spoke favorably of controversial remarks Gingrich had made about Palestinians, saying "read the history of those who call themselves Palestinians, and you will hear why Gingrich said recently that the Palestinians are an invented people."
Senate candidates he donated to:
Carly Fiorina (R-CA), former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard
Sharron Angle (R-NV), Assemblywoman
Sue Lowden (R-NV), former State Senator
Scott Brown (R-MA), U.S. Senator and former State Senator
Roy Blunt (R-MO), U.S. Congressman
Mark Kirk (R-IL), U.S. Congressman
Pat Toomey (R-PA), former U.S. Congressman
Charlie Crist (R-FL, later D-FL), Governor
Virginia Foxx (R-NC);
Eric Cantor (R-VA);
Joe Heck (R-NV).
During the 2012 Republican Party presidential primaries, Adelson first supported Newt Gingrich and then the eventual nominee Mitt Romney. Altogether he spent $92 million supporting losing candidates during the 2012 United States presidential election cycle.
On January 7, 2012, Adelson bolstered Gingrich's then-faltering campaign with a $5-million donation to the pro-Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future. By the next day, the super PAC had reserved more than $3.4 million in advertising time in the South Carolina primary, which included production and distribution of a half-hour movie that portrayed Gingrich's political rival Mitt Romney as a "predatory corporate raider".
On January 23, Adelson's wife, Miriam, contributed an additional $5 million to the same organization with instructions to use it to advance a "pro-Newt message". Adelson told Forbes that he was willing to donate as much as $100 million to Gingrich.
He also donated $5 million to the right-leaning super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund and over $60,000 to the Republican National Committee.
In June 2012, Adelson donated $10 million to the pro-Romney PAC Restore Our Future. In July, Adelson attended a Romney fundraiser held in Jerusalem. Adelson joined Woody Johnson, John Rakolta, Paul Singer, and several dozen other contributors on the trip. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, as of July Adelson had given Republicans more than $30 million for the 2012 election cycle.
Romney believes that China should be pressured to drop its presumptively low fixed exchange rate policy; according to Bloomberg, Adelson would benefit financially in US dollar terms through his interest in Chinese casinos if the Chinese yuan were to appreciate.
Early in 2014 Adelson donated $2.5 million to the Drug Free Florida Committee, the political committee trying to defeat Florida's Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative which would legalize Medical cannabis in that state.
Later in 2014, Adelson donated an additional $1.5 million to the No On 2 campaign. He believes that cannabis is a gateway drug.
According to a 2014 Washington Post report, Adelson's strategy for the 2016 United States presidential election was to support a mainstream candidate capable of winning the presidency.
In March 2014 Adelson was set to hold one-on-one chats with possible candidates Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and John Kasich during the spring meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition held at Adelson's hotel and casino The Venetian Las Vegas.
During the December 2015 Republican debate held at that same venue, Adelson was reported to have held one-on-one meetings with several of the candidates prior to the start of the debate, including front runner Donald Trump. On May 13, he endorsed Trump for president, and pledged as much as $100 million to support his campaign.
In October 2016 Adelson, whose son died of a drug overdose, donated one million dollars to the campaign against Massachusetts ballot question 4 the Massachusetts Legalization, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Initiative which would legalize marijuana for personal use. Adelson also donated $1,500,000 towards the effort to thwart the 2016 Florida medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative,
Adelson donated over $25 million to The Adelson Educational Campus in Las Vegas to build a high school. In 2006,
Adelson contributed $25 million to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority.
Since 2007, the Adelson Family Foundation has made contributions totalling $140 million to Birthright Israel, which finances Jewish youth trips to Israel. He also donated $5 million to the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces in 2014.
Adelson also has funded the private, Boston-based Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation. This foundation initiated the Adelson Program in Neural Repair and Rehabilitation (APNRR) with $7.5 million donated to collaborating researchers at 10 universities.
Miriam Ochshorn (nėe Farbstein) was born in Mandatory Palestine in 1946. Her parents, Menucha and Simha Farbstein, fled Poland before World War II, settling in Haifa, where she graduated from the Hebrew Reali School in 1964.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Genetics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During her two years of military service, she worked in the Biological Research Department and followed that by earning a medical degree from Tel Aviv University's Sackler Medical School. She went on to become the Chief Internist in an Emergency Room at the Rokach Hospital in Tel Aviv. In 1986, she served as an Associate Physician at Rockefeller University in New York City, where she studied Chemical Dependency and Drug Addiction, with a specific focus on the spread of HIV among drug addicts.
Miriam was married to a Tel Aviv physician, Dr. Ariel Ochshorn, with whom she had two daughters until they divorced.
In the 1970s, Sheldon Adelson lived in Massachusetts with his wife, Sandra, and their three adopted children, Mitchell, Gary and Shelley. They divorced in 1988. Adelson and Miriam met on a blind date the following year and married in 1991.
A June 2008 profile in The New Yorker detailed several controversies involving Adelson. In 2008 Richard Suen, a Hong Kong businessman who had helped Adelson make connections with top Chinese officials in order to obtain the Macau license, took Adelson to court in Las Vegas alleging he had reneged on his agreement to allow Suen to profit from the venture.
Suen won a $43.8 million judgement; in November 2010, the Nevada Supreme Court overturned the judgment and returned the case to the lower court for further consideration. In the 2013 retrial, the jury awarded Suen a verdict for $70 million. The judge added another $31.6 million in interest, bringing the total judgment against Adelson to $101.6 million. Adelson is appealing again. Adelson faces another trial over claims by three alleged "middlemen" in the deal who are suing for at least $450 million.
In February 2013, the Las Vegas Sands, in a regulatory filing, acknowledged that it had likely violated federal law that prohibits the bribing of foreign officials. Allegedly, Chinese officials were bribed to allow Adelson to build his Macau casino.
Adelson successfully sued the Daily Mail of London for libel in 2008. The newspaper had accused him of pursuing "despicable business practices" and having "habitually and corruptly bought political favour". Adelson won the libel case, which was described as "a grave slur on Mr Adelson's personal integrity and business reputation", and he won a judgment of approximately £4 million, which he said he would donate to London's Royal Marsden Hospital.
In August 2012, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), after being threatened with a libel suit, apologized and withdrew two blog posts that claimed Adelson had donated "Chinese prostitution money" to Republicans. Another organization, the National Jewish Democratic Council, posted on their website that Adelson "personally approved” of prostitution at his Macau resorts. Adelson sued for libel, but a federal judge dismissed the suit in September 2013, ordering Adelson to pay the NJDC's legal fees.
In 2007, Adelson's estimated wealth was $26.5 billion, making him the third-richest person in the United States according to Forbes. and $26 billion for 2008.
In 2008, the share prices of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. plunged. In November 2008, Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced it might default on bonds that it had outstanding, signaling the potential bankruptcy of the concern. Adelson lost $4 billion in 2008, more than any other American billionaire. In 2009, his net worth had declined from approximately $30 billion to $2 billion, or 93%. He told ABC News "So I lost $25 billion. I started out with zero...(there is) no such thing as fear, not to an entrepreneur. Concern, yes. Fear, no." In the Forbes 2009 world billionaires list, Adelson's ranking dropped to #178 with a net worth of $3.4 billion, but by 2011, after his business had recovered, he was ranked as the world's 16th-richest man with a net worth of $23.3 billion.
In 2013, Adelson earned a top ranking on Forbes' Annual "Biggest Winner" List, his dramatic growth a result of the success of his casinos in Macau and Singapore, adding an estimated $15 billion to his net worth during the year. In 2013, Adelson was worth $37.2 billion according to Forbes, and as of December 2014, his net worth is $30.4 billion.
Private jet fleet
He mentioned at interviews that he is passionate about private jets and currently owns a fleet of 16 of them through Las Vegas Sands. On January 2, 2017 Adelson's Airbus A340-500 jet set a record for the Ben Gurion International Airport by making the longest flight ever leaving the airport by flying nonstop to Honolulu, Hawaii by way of the Arctic Ocean.
Jerusalem Post "Diaspora - LAUDER VS. ADELSON: WHICH JEWISH BILLIONAIRE HAS TRUMP’S EAR ON ISRAEL?"
Foto: Jerusalem Post
Bill Clinton consulted with folks who came up with him in Arkansas, George W. Bush preferred Texan veterans of his family’s hard-fought political battles and Barack Obama had his Chicago peeps.
Who does the first billionaire president go to when he wants real-deal advice? Other billionaires, naturally.
Much has been made of how President Donald Trump has stacked his cabinet with billionaires, and how he takes off-campus advice from investor Carl Icahn, fellow real estate developer Tom Barrack and media moguls Christopher Ruddy and Rupert Murdoch.
The same goes for his Israel advice: Trump, according to reports, takes calls on the issue from Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate, and Ronald Lauder, the cosmetics heir and the president of the World Jewish Congress. Both are major supporters of Jewish and pro-Israel causes.
The wrinkle is that Adelson and Lauder seem to be at odds on what they’re telling the president. Lauder, reportedly, is pressing Trump to court Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Adelson, reportedly, wants him to focus on moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and discounts the Palestinians as reliable peace partners.
Trump, who this month gave Abbas the White House treatment and has carved out buddy time for him during his scheduled Middle East tour next week, appears to be tilting toward Lauder. And that’s confounding the right-wing pro-Israel community, which tends to line up with Adelson.
Here’s a breakdown of the actors and their agendas. Spokespeople for Adelson, Lauder and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment, and the White House did not return a request for comment.
The relationship with Trump
Lauder, a fellow New Yorker, has been friendly with Trump for decades, dating at least to Lauder’s run for mayor of the city in 1989 — a period when local politicos avidly courted the glitzy developer. (Lauder lost the Republican primary to Rudolph Giuliani, who went on to lose in the general election that year but won in 1993.) Both Lauder and Trump are graduates of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school.
Adelson and Trump have known each other since at least the mid-2000s, when the latter opened an eponymous resort and casino on the former’s Las Vegas turf. They drew closer last year after Adelson – burned in the 2012 election after he backed a losing Republican primary contender, Newt Gingrich – waited until much of the primaries blood was spilled and endorsed Trump in May.
Trump has teased Adelson about waiting so long to come around, but also appreciated the boost. Adelson is believed to be the first campaign donor to secure a seat on the dais during an inauguration.
What are they like in the Trump clinch?
Adelson plowed tens of millions of dollars into the general election, both for Trump and other Republicans, and then at least another $5 million, a record, into the inaugural festivities.
Lauder’s contributions to the bid to elect Trump and Republicans generally topped out at under $1 million, but he did something Trump cherishes in his loyalists: supporting him when no one else does.
In January, when Trump released a statement marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day that omitted any mention of Jews, Lauder was the only Jewish leader to give him a pass – and, indeed, to praise the statement.
Two organizations that Adelson funds and that otherwise had been supportive of Trump, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Zionist Organization of America, were critical.
The relationship with Netanyahu
Lauder and Netanyahu enjoyed friendly relations for years — both Lauder and Adelson have been asked by Israeli investigators about gifts they have given the prime minister over the years. In the 1990s, when Netanyahu’s career took off, Lauder was a key U.S. conduit. Netanyahu asked Lauder to try to help broker a peace deal with Syria during his first term as prime minister, from 1996 to 1999. In a highly unusual move in ’99, when Lauder chaired the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the billionaire came to Israel during campaign season and effectively endorsed Netanyahu in a speech.
The two reportedly fell out six years ago, when Lauder refused to use his ownership stake in Israel’s Channel 10 to censor reporting there into allegations of corruption by Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.
Adelson shifted from the politically neutral support for Israel typical of much of the pro-Israel community to outright support for a political party — Netanyahu’s Likud — in 2007. The trigger was then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s embrace of an aggressive peace plan known as the Annapolis process. Adelson believed (and believes) that Palestinian statehood, at least under the current Palestinian leadership, would be catastrophic for Israel.
His best-known expression of support is his ownership of the pro-Netanyahu newspaper Israel Hayom, a free publication that has come to play a dominant role in the Israeli media. The relationship between Netanyahu and Adelson remains strong; the newspaper, which leads in circulation in Israel, recently changed editors in part, reportedly, because the longtime incumbent was not sufficiently pro-Bibi.
The relationship with Abbas
Rumors that Lauder and Abbas were close were confirmed during Abbas’ visit at the beginning of May when, the night before meeting Trump, the Palestinian leader dined at Lauder’s home in this city’s Georgetown neighborhood. Notably present at the dinner: representatives of the Trump administration. Notably absent: anyone from the Israeli Embassy.
Lauder and Netanyahu, who have dodged on-the-record comment over their disagreements, were ready to dish to another wealthy philanthropist: Isi Leibler, the Australian travel agency magnate who retired to Israel and has become a prominent activist on its right wing. In his column for The Jerusalem Post on their conversations, Leibler related a lengthy harangue he delivered to Lauder in which Leibler described Abbas as “an inveterate antisemite” who speaks “with a forked tongue, portraying himself as a man of peace and moderation to the outside world while continuing to encourage religious hatred and antisemitism among his own people.”
Leibler quoted Lauder as saying that he believes Abbas is ready to make “major concessions” toward peace, although he did not outline what concessions. Leibler also wrote that Netanyahu told him that Lauder was his “biggest challenge to overcome” because of Lauder’s friendship with Trump.
Adelson has no relationship with Abbas; Olmert’s overtures to Abbas are what drove Adelson into the arms of the Likud. He may be key to helping Netanyahu overcome his “challenge,” however: The news site Axios this week quoted sources close to Adelson as saying he is “furious” with the Trump administration for not yet fulfilling the Republican’s campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and that the Palestinians are “impossible” to negotiate with.