First published in Jewish Business News
OK, the world is really changing, and staying the same, and everything in between. That would have to be your conclusion if you added up everything two of the most notorious Jewish power brokers, one on the left, the other most decidedly on the right, said last night in a joint appearance before a new group calling itself the Israeli American Council (IAC), in Washington, DC.
Media mogul Haim Saban, 70, Hillary Clinton’s major sugar daddy, criticized President Obama’s dealings with Iran, saying: “We’ve shown too many carrots and a very small stick.”
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, 81, who put in $400 million to support various Republican presidential candidates in 2014—with nothing to show for it, told IAC that both U.S. political parties are “on the same side” when it comes to supporting Israel.
“Everyone in this room—whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat or Independent… when it comes to Israel, we’re on the same side,” Adelson said Sunday.
But what Sheldon Adelson said on a completely different topic totally caught our attention: he laid out a plan to buy the NY Times. Even though it’s not for sale.
Mind you, Adelson knows a thing or two about owning the media. Over in Israel, he created a daily newspaper, Yisrael Hayom, so powerfully-enlisted in support of PM Benjamin Netanyahu — that the Knesset is now working on special anti-democratic legislation to kill his paper.
So how would he buy the Times? Simple – by throwing too much money at it.
“There’s only one way to buy it,” Adelson said. “Money.”
It started when Shawn Evenhaim, the national chairman of the Israeli American Council, asked the two men if they thought the news media are biased against Israel.
Saban said they were, except for both of Rupert Murdoch’s children, Fox News Channel and the Wall Street Journal.
He didn’t mention the NY Post. but he did tell Adelson they should have bought The Washington Post together.
“I wish that [Amazon.com founder] Jeff Bezos hadn’t bought The Washington Post,” Saban said. “For $250 million — bupkis — he stole it.”
So Adelson suggested, “Why don’t you and I go after the New York Times?”
Saban admitted that he had “tried over and over to buy it” but the family-owned Times is not for sale.
So Adelson laid down a familiar strategy: “You pay significantly more than it’s worth, then the non-family shareholders have the right to bring a suit between the real value and what’s been offered.”
One day we’ll come home to discover that Sheldon Adelson bought our children and is putting them inside his U-Haul — and we won’t even put up a fight, because he paid way more than we could get for them on the market.
Both Adelson and Saban called for unity when it comes to supporting Israel, reminding all prospective presidential candidates who are brandishing their swords this winter of the supreme value of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
They also agreed that President Obama has not done enough to protect Israel.
You don’t have to like what these two men said last night, but you do have to acknowledge that their merged notions are going to carry tons of weight in the next two years, regardless of what Obama is doing or planning to do or planning to sit out.
Or, as Evenhaim told both men: “After the election in 2016, one of you will get me a private tour of the White House.”
And the Lincoln bedroom.