“Miriam Adelson’s Unfinished Business”

New York goes deep:

Money to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Money to the Zionist Organization of America. Money to the Republican Jewish Committee. So much money up and down the ballot and across the globe that a candidate’s position on Israeli foreign policy — that is, a candidate’s position on a tiny country that most voters cared about not at all — determined the size of a campaign war chest. In 2005, trying a new tactic, Adelson gave $250,000 to President George W. Bush’s second inauguration. Sheldon did the same. The $500,000 combined got Adelson enough access to drop off at the White House literature about Islamic Jihad and tell Bush’s chief of staff, “I would like the president to see this.”

“It’s really amazing that we have this influence,” she said at the time. But the $500,000 did not get Adelson all that she wanted. Bush advocated for “two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.” Adelson has never believed in what she called the “useless mold of the so-called peace process.”…

Citizens United, ruled on by the Supreme Court in 2010, was, to Adelson, a matanat el, a “gift from God.” Liberated to give unlimited amounts to super-PACs, Adelson donated $46 million to GOP causes in the 2012 election cycle, more than twice as much as the next 15 women donors combined. The Republican Party platform was not a flawless fit. “I don’t agree with the Republican stance on abortion,” she told Hadassah magazine. “Religion shouldn’t be political. But nothing is perfect.”

The press often reported the Adelsons’ giving as Sheldon’s. But it was not just Sheldon’s. Over the course of their marriage, Sheldon made 848 campaign donations. Miriam made 717. Over his lifetime, Sheldon gave $273 million to political campaigns. Miriam, 12 years younger, has given $284 million to date….

Adelson had learned her lesson from Bush in 2005: $500,000 to an inauguration is useless; $500,000 is chump change. She and Sheldon donated $5 million to Trump’s inauguration. For the swearing-in, they sat up on the dais, a few rows behind Jared Kushner. Sheldon, then 83, looked spectrally pale, his peripheral neuropathy catching up with him. Miriam, 71, looked tanned, radiant, giddy, girlish. She snapped photos on her phone, her platinum-blonde hair glinting against her black camel-wool coat.

In the fourth year of his presidency, Trump announced his Middle East peace plan, which wasn’t really a peace plan at all. Kushner had designed it without any input from Palestinians. Netanyahu called it “the deal of the century.” Trump delivered a few pieces of the plan while still in office: He moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a clear insult to the Palestinians, as they, too, consider Jerusalem their capital. At the ceremony celebrating the Embassy’s move, Adelson beamed from the front row. That same day, at the Gaza border, Israeli soldiers killed 58 Palestinians protesting the Embassy move.

Many political-fundraising experts, including Craig Holman, Public Citizen’s chief ethics lobbyist, believe Adelson will be Trump’s top patron in 2024, as she was in 2020. What will she expect in return? Beyond unconditional support for the Israel-Hamas war, one can assume she’ll press for the unfinished items of Trump’s Israel agenda from last term. Top of that list: Israel annexing the West Bank and the U.S. recognizing its sovereignty there….

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