Jewish Republicans and Democrats fight over Adelson donations

A row has broken out between Jewish supporters of America's rival political parties after the president of an umbrella organisation for Jewish Democrats called for Mitt Romney to stop accepting funds from a wealthy Jewish Republican donor.

David A Harris, the president of the National Jewish Democratic Council, urged the Republican presidential hopeful to distance himself from Sheldon Adelson.

Mr Adelson, a staunch Republican and Israel advocate, is a casino mogul who has given an estimated $10 million to a super political action committee that supports Mr Romney, as well as millions more to other Republican candidates.

But last month reports emerged of alleged improprieties at Mr Adelson's Macau casino, including claims made by a former employee that he knew about prostitution, the NJDC said that Romney and other Republicans should "forgo further donations from Adelson until both matters are investigated".

"Until these serious questions are fully resolved, Republicans must immediately stop accepting donations from Mr Adelson, one of their most prolific donors and one of Governor Romney's leading supporters," said Mr Harris.

Mr Adelson's representatives have denied the allegations. Following the NJDC president's comments, Democratic Party supporter and lawyer Alan Dershowitz weighed into the debate.

Criticising Mr Harris for presuming guilt without any evidence, he praised Mr Adelson for his work supporting the Jewish community, including the creation of the Birthright programme.

"I do not agree with many of Adelson's political views, but I think it's outrageous for the NJDC to level unfounded allegations," he wrote in a piece for the Jersualem Post. "They do not speak for me, and for the many other Jews who admire Adelson's contributions to the world, to America, to Israel and to the Jewish community."

He added: "The attack comes with particular ill grace from a Jewish organisation, considering all that Adelson has done for Jewish causes, and considering the fact that there is nothing uniquely 'Jewish' about the questionable allegations against him."

Last updated: 11:13am, July 10 2012