Repeated assaults on Sheldon Adelson claim he finances a neocon conspiracy to oust President Obama to ensure a Republican takeover of the White House, Congress, and therefore the State Department. Adelson and his Israeli born wife generously support Jewish education and social welfare through their charities. They have taken up the cause of protecting Israel’s interests with unabashed support for political candidates who unequivocally hold pro-Israel positions.
Most people believe Mr. Adelson amassed his $25 billion wealth from his ownership of casinos in Las Vegas and Macao. In fact, he got his start in the computer business as owner and showman of COMDEX in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the largest computer trade show company that he and his partners sold for $800 million. He entered the murky world of campaign financing as an alternative to the left’s anti-Israel George Soros and MoveOn.org who finance Democrats with an agenda antithetical to his own. The Adelson’s make good news copy, because of their ties to the shady world of gambling. Their upfront, no holds barred donations anger opponents who think of themselves as the clean money people: hard working union members, entertainment industry celebrities, and “the little people” who make donations from their phones and over the internet. Here is a look at how one relatively new anti-Israel media outlet secures its financing and gravitas from intellectual elitists.
The Daily Beast web site covers breaking news, sex, celebrities, economics, and politics. The Beast is a beast to Israel. The keeper of the Beast is Newsweek, the iconic magazine read the world over; their web site sports Vox Box, a collection of themed packages from as many as nine authors. Only one, Peter Beinart and contributors post daily under the masthead Open Zion/Zion Square, focus on Israel. Eleanor Clift posts about the Clintons; Howard Kurtz on “Huckabee’s Chicken Dance,” Tom Sykes about Kate’s wave to the Olympic British hockey team. Leslie Gelb, Michael Tomasky, Dan Gross, and David Frum, post on current events. Beinart and his claque post about the terrible treatment of Palestinian children, and how the right threatens the future of Israel and the fate of the Jews.
Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, kvelled signing Andrew Sullivan as her leading opinion maker despite his death wish for the little State. In January, 2010, Sullivan writes, “I too am sick of the Israelis for their contempt for the interests of their most important ally, their continuation of brutalizing colonization of the West Bank, their shameless ethnic engineering in East Jerusalem, their pulverization ofGaza, the direct manipulation of domestic American politics by their ambassador, and on and on…. I’m sick of having a great power like the US being dictated to in the conduct of its own foreign policy by an ally that provides almost no real benefit to the US, and more and more costs.”
Sullivan is a contributor not a journalist. The Internet is not journalism, a match for in-depth newspaper stories; it is a soapbox for people who might otherwise be found at Bug House Square in Chicago. Speed is its standout character, but also its Achilles heel. Winston Churchill warned, “In the time that it takes a lie to get halfway around the world, the truth is still getting its pants on.”
Beinart edits Zion Square (recently renamed Open Zion). Lara Friedman, Director of Policy and Government Relations for Americans for Peace Now, Hussein Ibish, a Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, and a blogger who moved to the States so her boys will not serve in the IDF-and she’s not even Charedi, always take a hard stance against Jewish pro-Israel groups, the Israel lobby, and the Netanyahu government. Open Zion purports to be the repository of all intellectual capital on the Israeli-Palestinian denouement. Beinart’s religion and intellectual status add gravitas to Israel haters with whom he has joined in a call to boycott Israeli goods.
Emily Hauser posts and tweets regularly for Open Zion defending against groups “attacking individuals dedicated to building a better, safer Israel, such as former Member of Knesset Naomi Chazan and J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami, and they’ve attacked venerable and highly-respected institutions, such as Israeli human rights watchdog B’tselem and American pro-democracy non-profit the New Israel Fund—organizations and people committed to the kinds of values expressed not only in our heritage, but in Israel’s own Declaration of Independence.”
In a September 2011 post on Commentary, Noah Pollack cites Wikileaks summarizing meetings between American officials and leaders from New Israel Fund (NIF), B’tselem, and others, characterizing Israel as an occupier, neighborhood bully, warmonger, and the cause of America’s security problems. Pollack cites NIF Associate Director in Israel Hedva Radovanitz from the cables telling U. S. officials, “She commented that she believed that in 100 years Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic. [Emphasis added].” Pollak reports, “The reasoning behind NIF’s multi-million dollar donations to Arab groups such as Adalah and Mada al-Carmel that seek the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State suddenly becomes clear: In the words of a high-ranking NIF official, the group believes Zionism itself — that is, Jewish national self-determination — is anti-democratic and should eventually yield to an Arab state where Jews will once again live as a minority.”
Only Israel is to blame, according to Lara Friedman: “For their part, the Palestinian Authority leadership remains committed to two states and to a rejection of violence; indeed, such a commitment was implicit in their appeal to the United Nations last fall. On the other hand, successive Israeli governments have, over the years since Oslo, acted unilaterally without pause, in close collaboration with the settlers, to change the facts on the ground in a manner that seeks to pre-judge or even foreclose the possibility of any negotiated two-state solution in the future.”
“Why ZionSquare?” writes Beinart, “Because every day, official Jewish discourse about Israel grows more disconnected from reality, and that disconnect endangers Palestinian dignity, American security and the Jewish future.” They ignore the abrogation of human rights to Palestinians living in Jordan, their expulsions from other Arab states, and the murders of Palestinian artists and journalists by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority; the 400 deadly rockets shot into civilian Israel since January, Israel’s need for Iron Dome (God’s kippa); the gas masks my wife and I got from the government more easily than a driver’s license; Iranian President warnings, “Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of Islamic nation’s fury;” and, not a word about Hamas “to liberate any inch of Palestinian land, and to establish a state on it. Our ultimate plan is [to have]Palestine in its entirety.” Beinart sits at a desk at City University of New York where he hasn’t seen a rocket’s red glare through the night in 200 years.
Open Zion is financed from philanthropy in collaboration with New America Foundation. Beinart is a paid Senior Research Fellow along with Daniel Levy who is co-Director of The Middle East Task Force at the Foundation. Levy is a founder of J Street and a board member of The New Israel Fund.
The Moriah Fund and Dorot Fund give to Open Zion directly or through NIF. Moriah gives nearly one million dollars to NIF and $40,000 to Americans for Peace Now. It supports B’tselem, Yesh Din, the Mossawa Center to protect Palestinian rights, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel to protect against the threats to Israel’s democracy. Dorot’s web site states: “The Foundation’s support for Social Change in Israel takes place through a partnership with the New Israel Fund. The New Israel Fund identifies its grantees through its usual due diligence process. The Foundation then considers for support those NIF Grantees whose work equips adults with the knowledge, skills and attitudes for active civic participation inIsrael’s democratic society. The Foundation’s grant making in this area places an emphasis on the use of community organizing principles and practices.”
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund gives $30,000 to the New America Foundation for its Open Zion project to promote “peace building.” Soros family members contribute to Open Zion never missing an opportunity at depicting Israel the obstacle to peace and democracy in the Middle East. Simon Greer, President/CEO of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, is the former CEO of Jewish Funds for Justice, and a benefactor of Open Zion. A tenacious web of political and financial mendacity props up Open Zion. They do not even mean to offer meaningful discourse.
Be aware, Newsweek/The Daily Beast/Open Zion is a monomaniac multi-media combine pounding away at Israel’s legitimacy, invigorating those who want Israel to disappear, and servicing a supply induced demand for hatred of the Jewish state. Rodney Dangerfield once quipped, “I told my psychiatrist everybody hates me. He said I was being ridiculous-everyone hasn’t met me yet,” or read about Israel at Open Zion. Don’t.