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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Gingrich-Netanyahu connection

What do Binyamin Netanyahu and Newt Gingrich have in common? More than just that they were leaders in their respective countries in the 1990's who have revived their political careers in the 2010's. They also have the man in the picture in common. His name is Sheldon Adelson and he has become a big fundraiser for both of them. And the Left is fuming And there's more.
Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, one of the wealthiest men in the world and a major donor to Jewish and conservative causes, is widely known as a Netanyahu stalwart. Less well known are his equally close ties to Gingrich, to whom he has been a major giver in recent years.

Adelson’s faith in Gingrich hasn’t been particularly contagious. High-profile Jewish supporters of Gingrich remain tough to find, even as Gingrich has rocketed into the GOP lead in national polling. Still, the former House speaker’s ties to Adelson, his relationship with Netanyahu and a foreign policy team packed with neoconservatives leave him well situated in the competition for pro-Israel voters.

Neither a spokesman for Adelson nor for the Gingrich campaign responded to repeated requests for comment for this story. But the alliance of Adelson and Gingrich is famous in Jewish Republican circles.

“They have been tremendous fans and supporters of Newt from day one,” Fred Zeidman, a Texas oil executive and prominent Republican Jewish supporter of Romney, said of Adelson and his wife, Miriam.


Gingrich also boasts a longstanding relationship with the Israeli prime minister. Ties between Gingrich and Netanyahu date back to the mid 1990s, when both shared a goal of countering a drive by then-president Bill Clinton to advance the peace process. Netanyahu, as leader of the opposition, maintained close relations with Gingrich and the Republican leadership.

“At the time, Bibi used him [Gingrich] to pressure the president when it came to issues relating to the peace process,” recalled Itamar Rabinovich, Israel’s ambassador to Washington from 1993 to 1996.

Rabinovich, who described Gingrich as “very pro-Israel,” said that at times, the Israeli Embassy staff would be busy “doing damage control” when Gingrich and several other Republican lawmakers attempted to pass legislation that would block aid to the newly formed Palestinian Authority or prevent the United States from posting American monitors in the Golan Heights as part of a possible peace accord with Syria.

Retired ambassador Yoram Ettinger, a former Israeli congressional liaison in Washington known for his close ties with Netanyahu, said he could not think of any other lawmaker as knowledgeable about Israel as Gingrich.

During his first 100 days as Speaker of the House, Gingrich refused to meet with any world leader or politician not directly related to the agenda in his “Contract With America.” There was only one exception, Ettinger said. It was Benjamin Netanyahu.

Beyond his relationship with Netanyahu, Gingrich himself has carved out a set of hard-line positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on Iran. In an address to the Republican Jewish Committee in June, Gingrich called for the United States to end talks with the Palestinian Authority and for the dismantling of the United Nations refugee camps that currently hold 1.4 million Palestinian refugees. Gingrich also vowed to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.


Gingrich’s foreign policy team, announced in late November, may also billboard an attempt to appeal to Jews. It includes Middle East hawks like onetime Dick Cheney adviser David Wurmser and Iran expert Ilan Berman, editor of a journal published by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a right-wing Israel-focused think tank.

Gingrich hasn’t cornered the market on right-wing, pro-Israel supporters. Philip Rosen, former national chairman of American Friends of Likud, hosted a $10,000-per-head fundraiser for Romney in September. And Romney’s foreign policy team includes such neoconservative stalwarts as former defense policy advisory board member Eliot Cohen and Dan Senor, former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

Knowledgeable Jewish Republicans could name no other major Jewish Gingrich supporters besides Adelson. A review of the list of donors who had made the maximum individual donation to Gingrich as of December, a few hundred compared with the thousands who have maxed out their giving to Romney, revealed relatively few prominent Jews.
Read the whole thing. The impression I have is that the Republicans who have supported Mitt Romney would go over to Gingrich if he wins the nomination.

By the way, for those of you in Israel who (like me) grew up on New Hampshire being the 'first in the nation' primary in March and who vaguely recall the sleepy Iowa caucuses coming in later years in January or February... the world has changed. The Iowa caucuses are January 3 and the US feels like it's already in a Presidential election. That was a shock to me - I didn't think 2012 started until January 1. It has definitely started already.

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At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

he could not think of any other lawmaker as knowledgeable about Israel as Gingrich. -------------- It isn't just knowledge about Israel, Newt is the MOST knowledgeable among all the candidates on any topic, especially regarding history or how to run a large country.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Hmm... where does this man Sheldon Adelson live? I wonder if he would want to help us in New Mexico... I found somebody who might help me try to get a RJC chapter going here, but we could use more help. That is the New Mexico that has been in the clutches of the Dems since the 1930s and has lurched farther and farther left in the last few decades. Where guns have been distributed by this ugly Left administration to the gangbangers who kill us. Where these leftists have robbed one of the poorest states and made the kids unable to read. And now are shielded by this U.S. Department of Justice, with their crimes standing and them out doing more. We need to get them voted out and it feels impossible. But we are going to try it.


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