Haaretz's Barak Ravid, whose expertise is Israeli politics, wrote that Romney's Jerusalem speech this weekend was meant to placate and parrot Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyanu.
It was not.
Instead, the speech had one primary target, Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who is becoming Romney's largest monetary donor and whose extremist political views with regard to Israel is the primary reason for Adelson's funding of Romney.
Which is why, as many noted, he was the most noticeable attendee at Romney's speech:
The most unusual sighting at Romney’s speech was Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who could become the biggest spender of the 2012 campaign. Adelson and his family have directed $36.5 million toward Republican "super PACs" this election cycle — $10 million of which has gone toward the pro-Romney PAC Restore Our Future.——–§——–
Though Adelson’s first choice for president was Newt Gingrich, his relationship with Romney seems to have warmed considerably. After shaking hands with many other attendees after his speech, Romney leaned in for what amounted to a half handshake and half hug with Adelson, who told reporters Romney had delivered "a great speech."
Adelson will also attend a Monday morning campaign fundraiser at the King David, but he declined Sunday to reveal his strategy for helping Romney over the next few months. When asked what he planned to contribute to the super PAC backing Romney, he replied: "A kosher dinner."
As I wrote in Tikkun Daily recently, The New York Times agrees that Adelson's right-wing views with regard to Israel are fueling his funding of Romney, and is why Romney has suddenly begun to parrot Adelson's extremist views.
It's also why he had funded Newt Gingrich's campaign, and why Gingrich, at the time, had some bizarre, extremist utterances with regard to the Palestinians.
Specifically, during the height of Newt Gingrich's 2012 presidential campaign, the Sheldon-Adelson-backed Republican candidate caused waves when he called the Palestinians an "invented people" and declared that the Palestinian Authority was only interested in Israel's destruction.
Why did Gingrich express such extreme views late last year on a matter that, at the time, was not central to his campaign? Simple: those are not Gingrich's views, but the views of Sheldon Adelson, who at the time was writing ten-million-dollar checks to prop up the Gingrich candidacy.
Recently, a New York Times editorial wondered aloud why Adelson is now pumping staggering sums of money into the campaign of his second choice, Mitt Romney.
The answer is, itself, staggering:
The first answer is clearly his disgust for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, supported by President Obama and most Israelis. He considers a Palestinian state “a steppingstone for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people,” and has called the Palestinian prime minister a terrorist. He is even further to the right than the main pro-Israeli lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which he broke with in 2007 when it supported economic aid to the Palestinians.What we have currently is a situation in which one man's ideological extremism relating to a foreign policy position (which runs counter to American interests) may end up affecting the course of the 2012 election.
Mr. Romney is only slightly better, saying the Israelis want a two-state solution but the Palestinians do not, accusing them of wanting to eliminate Israel. The eight-figure checks are not paying for a more enlightened answer.
And make no mistake: while Adelson's political donations are also motivated by his own wallet, a primary interest in Romney is to buy a presidential position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is to the right of AIPAC and most Israelis. He wants an eternal occupation of the Palestinian territories and a subjugation of the Palestinian people, and he's willing to spend untold amounts to make that happen.
Listen to Romney: the Palestinians want to eliminate Israel. Does Romney actually believe this? Likely not, for his campaign literature (written before the emergence of Adelson) actually supports a two-state solution.
Yes, Adelson's money is having its desired effect.
As the Times notes, that ideology (along with his massive wealth) has made him the country's largest single political contributor:
No American is dedicating as much of his money to defeat President Obama as Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who also happens to have made more money in the last three years than any other American. He is the perfect illustration of the squalid state of political money, spending sums greater than any political donation in history to advance his personal, ideological and financial agenda, which is wildly at odds with the nation’s needs.——–§——–
Wildly at odds with America's needs, yes -- but also the needs of Palestinians and Israelis who continue to grasp the two-state-solution thread that remains.
And this was ever so transparent with Romney's Jerusalem speech, in which he not only damaged U.S. policy and interests by proclaiming (among other things) Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but further damaged Palestinian regard for the U.S. as a potential mediator, if the chance for mediation still exists.
Has Citizens United created a scenario in which an extremist Billionaire will buy an election based not upon American interests, but interests in a foreign nation that run counter to the needs of all involved?
The answer is yes.
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