Sheldon Adelson was a casino tycoon and CEO of Las Vegas Sands. He died on January 11, 2021. Half of the global $14 billion gambling industry, which includes casinos in Las Vegas, Macao, and Singapore belonged to Adelson. He was one of the biggest Trump supporters and sponsored his campaign with $123 million1 , paving the way and lobbying for the implementation of what the Trump administration named the “deal of the century”, a one sided anti-Palestinian plan.
Heavy Investment in US gov
The Adelson Family Foundation has contributed majorly to various organizations and super PACs, creating a stronger pro-Israel influence among them. Adelson has tried to invest in the Senate, the House of Representatives and campaigns related to presidency elections. To achieve this goal, he has funded groups such as the Congressional Leadership Fund, Senate Leadership Fund, and Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign (MAGA). Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have been the leading contributors to the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) since its creation. The Adelsons donated $15 million apiece to the CLF in 2018 and a total of $20 million in 2016. In mid-2020, the Adelsons upped their contribution to the Senate Leadership Fund, the Senate GOP’s main super PAC, to $50 million for the year.
Given Adelson’s heavily pro-Israel position, such contributions largely increase the risk of falling out of grace for any US politician merely critical of Israel.
US Embassy Transfer to Jerusalem
The transmission of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was one of Adelson’s priorities during the Trump administration which ultimately took place on May 2018. Adelson purchased the US ambassador’s residence west of Israel in Herziliya for $67 million to pave way for the transmission. He also wanted the US to support Israel’s settlement construction activities in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.2
The Adelson Family Charitable Foundation
The Adelson Family Charitable Foundation was established in 2007 which donates $200 million annually to Israeli causes. The foundation started its work with a $25 million pledge to Birthright Israel, which is an annual fund. Birthright Israel provides free journeys to Israel for young Zionist Jews around the world. With Adelson’s first fund, Brightright Israel brought 20,000 participants to Israel in the summer of 2007. Adelson contributed $127 million since 2007.
The Adelson Family Charitable Foundation is dedicated to supporting anti-Muslim groups and organizations. The foundation pledged $4.5 million to the Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI) which provides selective, absurd, and intentionally biased translations of Arabic language news. Adelson also sponsored the pro-Israel propaganda group, Committee for Accuracy in the Middle East Reporting in America with $1 million. The Adelson Family Charitable Foundation has also awarded the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) with $300,000. EMET is an Israeli lobby group in D.C. that previously cooperated with the Zionist Organization of America and the American Jewish Congress.5
Interventionist War Hawk
Alongside lobbying for and donating to interventionist causes, lobbies and think tanks such as the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), Adelson’s has also made controversial warmongering claims against countries in the Middle East. In 2003, the casino mogul called for a nuclear strike against Iran. “The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.’”8
Adelson has also lobbied for US strikes on Syria and has even tried to gather congressional votes in favor of a strike.9
In 2017, Adelson pushed the Israeli-American Council (IAC) to be take a more radical position against the two-state approach usually embraced by US pro-Israeli lobbying groups. Many believe that Adelson’s goal at the time was to oppose certain aspects of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) agenda; a two-state solution and giving aid to Palestinians. Israeli journalist Chemi Shalev believed that Adelson hijacked the IAC for his “hidden” purposes.3
PR for Israel
Adelson also largely promotes organizations that work on creating a positive view of Israel. Adelson financed a website called “Rethink Israel” that seeks to promote Israel by neglecting the Palestine-Israel conflict and emphasizing Israel from “beyond the conflict”.4
Drive Against BDS
For the purpose of countering the activities of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the Adelson foundation in 2016 began to fund the, Maccabee Task Force, an organization that seeks to support pro-Israel activities in campus and stifle pro-Palestine activities.
The Zionist casino mogul fears that the Jews who are intermarrying with non-Jews are ruining Jewish heritage.6 Adelson simultaneously downplays the national identity of the Palestinian people.
At Yeshiva University, when Adelson was asked whether he believes in trading land for peace, he stated that “unwise to trade land for peace from a people who are not a people” and claimed, “there’s no such thing as a Palestinian.”He has also denied that Palestinians exist as a distinct Arab people.
Adelson’s hatred of Islam is undeniable. He believes that Muslims “want to kill 100 percent of the Jews.” In 2012 he stated that “You don’t have to worry about using the word Islamo-fascism or Islamo-terrorists. Not all Islamists are terrorists, but all terrorists are Islamist.”7
Adelson’s foundation has also given $250,000 to the Counterterrorism and Security Education and Research Foundation which sponsors Steve Emerson, who is a prominent Islamophobe. Emerson claimed that: “Islam, which has more than 1.4 billion adherents, somehow sanctions genocide, planned genocide, as part of its religious doctrine.”
4.Alan Elsner, “Why Sheldon Adelson’s New ‘Rethink Israel’ Website Is Doomed to Fail,” Daily Beast “Open Zion” blog, October 24, 2013, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/24/adelson-s-new-rethink-israel-website-is-doomed-to-fail.html.
8.Noah Rayman, “GOP Mega Donor Sheldon Adelson Wants To Nuke Iran,” Time Magazine “Swampland” blog, October 23, 2013, http://swampland.time.com/2013/10/23/sheldon-adelson-nuke-iran/#ixzz2j42jAioB.
9.Shane Goldmacher, “Sheldon Adelson to President Obama: ‘I Would Be Willing to Help’ on Syria,” National Journal, September 10, 2013, http://www.nationaljournal.com/national-security/sheldon-adelson-to-president-obama-i-would-be-willing-to-help-on-syria-20130910.