closeicon

President Gingrich? Wonderful news for Israel - maybe...

November 24, 2016 23:05

How might the US Presidentials affect Israel? An item just copied to me from the current 'Forward', the Jewish daily paper:-
"Adelson Millions Ensure Gingrich Steers to Far Right on Israel" ( Read on, then rejoice - or despair........

"It is safe to say that without multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson's help the chances of Newt Gingrich becoming the Republican nominee for president would be zero - and consequently the race itself, going into
Florida at the moment, would not be the competitive, drag-out fight it has become. Adelson, the hotel and casino magnate, has kept Gingrich alive, first through an infusion of $5 million into a super PAC, which
allowed the former speaker to defend himself against attacks by Mitt Romney and led to Gingrich's thumping victory in South Carolina. And now we know that Adelson's wife, Miriam, has committed another $5 million to
the cause of Newt.

One of Adelson's passions - and a reason for his desire to play such a big role in American politics - is undoubtedly Israel. And his positions are unambiguously right-wing and hawkish to the extreme. When it comes
to the Palestinians, there is no one to be trusted. The New Yorker quotes him as calling Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister widely respected in the West, as being one of the "terrorists" running the Palestinian Authoriy. Even AIPAC was not far enough to the right for him. After being a diehard supporter - funding a new building in Washington, D.C. - he split with the group in 2007 when it decided to support a congressional initiative, backed by the Israelis, to increase economic aid to the Palestinians. "I don't continue to support organizations that help friends committing suicide just because they want to jump," he said at the time by way of explanation. He had the same reaction when Ehud Olmert, whom Adelson had once befriended, came to the conclusion that he had to pursue negotiations with the Palestinian leadership.

In short, Adelson does not believe in the two-state solution. As he told The Jewish Week last year, "The two-state solution is a stepping stone for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people."

What does it mean to have someone with these views have such an outsized influence on a candidate and the race he is in? Well, for Gingrich it seems this has translated into him tripping over himself to prove his
pro-Israel bona fides, to the point where he was willing to say, this past December in an interview with the Jewish Channel, that the Palestinians were an "invented" people who "had the chance to go many places". No Palestinians, no need to negotiate a state. And Adelson clearly showed his satisfaction with Gingrich's line. As he told a group of Birthright participants at a Hanukkah party a few weeks later, "Read the history of those who call themselves Palestinians, and you will hear why Gingrich said recently that the Palestinians are an invented people."

As Wayne Barrett recently reported in The Daily Beast, there has been a marked turn in Gingrich's positions on Israel since his political life began depending on Adelson. Not that long ago, in a 2005 Middle East Quarterly article, Gingrich urged the "Palestinian diaspora" to invest in "their ancestral lands," and even proposed that Congress "establish a program of economic aid for the Palestinians to match the aid the U.S. government provides Israel."

You will not hear anything like this from Gingrich again any time soon.

But the greater concern is that because of his influence on Gingrich, Adelson has turned the Republican contest into a competition of extreme rhetoric, in which there is no room for compromise or diplomacy, and the
only answer to any international problem is unmitigated toughness. No one wants to be outflanked by the right when it comes to foreign policy (no one, I should say, besides Ron Paul) and so Gingrich's apparent parroting of Adelson's hardline attitudes about Israel - and, I should add, Iran - means that the whole tone of the race is affected......"

Certainly makes you despair at the nature of our democracies, that the elections of our Governments are really decided by the millionaires who happen to back them. We the people elect our Governments.... ho ho ho...

November 24, 2016 23:05

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive