A federal court dismissed a defamation lawsuit against the National Jewish Democratic Council brought by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
A lawyer for Adelson, a Republican Party funder, said he would likely appeal Monday’s ruling by the U.S. District Court in New York.
The lawsuit was based on an NJDC news release during the 2012 election campaign that focused on a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by a fired casino employee against Adelson.
The former employee alleged that Adelson allowed prostitutes to ply their trade in his casinos in Macau, China.
In the ruling, Judge Paul Oetken said the NJDC statement was a “fair report” of a judicial hearing that was attributed properly through hyperlinks on the group’s website. He ordered Adelson to pay costs.
Lin Wood, a lawyer for Adelson, indicated an appeal was in the works.
“The Court acknowledged in its opinion that the Las Vegas Sands’ policy is one of ‘no tolerance’ for prostitution and referenced records establishing that there is no evidence that can be found that anyone at the Company supported in any way a different policy on this issue,” Wood said in a statement. “The statement by the National Jewish Democratic Council at issue in this case remains a boldfaced lie. We are reviewing the opinion for a likely appeal on what we believe to be an erroneous decision denying Mr. Adelson the basic right of trial by jury.”
Secretary of State John Kerry met with what the Jewish Telegraph Agency described as “Jewish leaders” to “brief” them on the resumption of Israeli-Arab Palestinian talks on Thursday evening, August 8.
Although the briefing was off the record, the JTA quoted unnamed attendants who said several things.
First, that the meeting was dominated by Kerry’s “enthusiam for the resumed talks, and the serious commitment he said [sic] saw from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.”
And second, that Kerry “repeated his appeal to American Jews to endorse and support the peace process, first made in early June”.
Invited participants at the briefing were: leaders from the Conservative movement, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Conservative movement, the Orthodox Union, American Friends of Lubavitch, B’nai B’rith International, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Jewish Federations of North America, Hadassah, the National Jewish Democratic Council, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
Clearly, for this State Department, as well as the JTA, Jewish “leaders” is synonymous with the entire spectrum from center to center left. Where was the Zionist Organization of America? Where was the Republican Jewish Coalition? Where was Aish HaTorah? Where were any Jewish organizations that might point out the folly of the current talks, or the demand for horrifyingly painful concessions from one side just to start the talks at all, and none from the other side?
Oh, right, those present were the American Jewish CheerLeaders for this Administration and its Middle East efforts all of whom prove an airtight theory usually wrongly attributed to Albert Einstein: the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
In fact, almost exactly four years ago, during Obama’s first term he had his first major sitdown with roughly the same set of Jewish “leaders.” The meeting was called at a time when American Jews who very uneasy about Obama’s interest in being supportive of Israel. At that meeting, one man actually did square his shoulders and dared to make a sideways suggestion to the president.
According to an account in the Washington Post, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein said to the president, “If you want Israel to take risks, then its leaders must know that the United States is right next to them.”
The president’s response did not give Jews or Israelis the assurance they had been seeking. Obama said to Hoenlein, ““Look at the past eight years,” he said, referring to the George W. Bush administration’s relationship with Israel. “During those eight years, there was no space between us and Israel, and what did we get from that? When there is no daylight, Israel just sits on the sidelines, and that erodes our credibility with the Arab states.”
In other words – being such good friends with Israel did nothing for President Bush’s ability to make progress on the peace process. It looks like Obama’s Middle East team holds the same view the president expressed right to the faces of the American “Jewish leaders” back in 2009. And now no one in that group is going to challenge him or his surrogates.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has named Ira Forman, who led President Obama’s reelection campaign in the Jewish community, as his envoy to combat anti-Semitism.
The State Department announced the appointment Monday, the same day it released its 2012 report on religious freedom that recorded a “continued global increase in anti-Semitism.”
Forman replaces Hannah Rosenthal, who was appointed by Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Clinton, and who left last year to direct Milwaukee’s Jewish Federation.
The envoy travels the world to press governments to address institutional and popular manifestations of anti-Semitism.
Forman, a longtime director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, led the Obama campaign’s effort last year to push back against Republican and conservative depictions of Obama as hostile or indifferent to Israel. He was especially active in Florida.
And not only two Jews, but two Jewish organizations, one representing Jewish Democrats and one representing Jewish Republicans, and there is still only one opinion.
Who accomplished this miracle? None other than former US president Jimmy Carter.
In what may be a first, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the National Jewish Democratic Council agree on something, and it is something important. They agree that former US president Jimmy Carter should not be speaking at the upcoming Democratic Convention which will take place September 3 – 6 at the Time-Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Democratic National Committee announced this week that Carter will be appearing via videolink in a prime time slot during the upcoming convention. The announcement included a quote from Carter who expressed his “steadfast” support for President Obama and who looks forward to “the progress he will make in the next four years.”
Given President Obama’s recent outreach efforts to assure Jews they still have a comfortable berth in the Democratic party, it is hard to understand why a platform would be given to Carter. Jimmy Carter is the only Democrat to have garnered fewer than fifty percent of the American Jewish vote in any presidential election since 1924. In 1980, when Carter ran against Ronald Reagan, Carter received only 45 percent of the Jewish vote.
In the press release announcing Carter’s participation in the convention, the 2012 Democratic National Convention Chair, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, described Carter as “one of the greatest humanitarian leaders of our time and a champion of democracy around the globe,” and a “lifelong champion of human rights.” However, not everyone — even within the Democratic party — was quite so enthusiastic.
NJDC chair and CEO David Harris called Carter’s record on Israel and the Middle East an embarrassment. Harris also described former President Carter as “harmful to the peace process.”
Speaking from the same page as his Democrat Party colleague, Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, responded to the news of Carter being headlined at the Democratic convention in only a slightly more hostile tone. In an email to Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post, Brooks described Carter as “openly hostile to Israel,” and having publicly equated the Jewish Homeland to the South African Apartheid regime. In 2006 Carter published a book about the Middle East peace process which largely blamed Israel for the conflict. The title of Carter’s book is Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.
The Jewish Republicans also took the opportunity to blast the Democratic party for showcasing someone who is widely seen as anti-Israel.
But the NJDC’s Harris was still hoping to minimize the fallout from Carter being showcased at the Democratic convention. While clearly distancing himself from Carter, Harris said he was “confident” that the former president would not be using his speech to talk about Middle East policy.
Perhaps Harris has not read the Democratic National Committee press release announcing Carter’s slot at the convention. It promises Carter will be providing “his unique insights about President Obama as a global leader,” and lauds Carter for being “a champion of democracy around the globe.” It is hard to imagine that Carter will not devote at least some air time to promoting his version of peace in the Middle East.
Nonetheless, perhaps Jimmy Carter deserves another peace prize – forget about the enmity between Israel and Egypt, now he is the impetus for two sets of many Jews to have the same opinion. That opinion: Jimmy Carter should not be speaking at the Democratic Convention.
Carter will give his videolinked convention speech on Tuesday night, September 4th.
The election season is heating up early, and the video warfare is already sizzling. The Republican Jewish Coalition has initiated a new campaign in ‘battleground states’ aimed at persuading lifelong Jewish Democrats dissatisfied with President Barack Obama to vote instead for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, titled “My Buyer’s Remorse,” will be aired in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and is slated to begin in the coming weeks.
“For the past three years we’ve been hearing from people who were deeply disappointed and who wish they could have their vote back,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks told The Jewish Press. “It became self-evident to us that we should take those testimonials and share them with everyone.”
Brooks said the people featured in what he said will be a “significant number” of ads were found through the RJC local offices. The ad campaign uses testimonials from Jews who voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign and now express regret over that decision, citing what they see as his poor treatment of Israel, and his ineffective economic policies.
The first ad can be previewed on the RJC website. It features Michael Goldstein, a 40-something community college administrator and lifelong democrat from New Jersey who voted for Obama in 2008 because he “believed in what Obama stood for.” Goldstein became disillusioned when he started hearing and seeing things he did not like from Obama once the election was over. What kind of things?
“That speech about the ’67 borders,” Goldstein explained, “that really changed my mind.” Also very troublesome for Goldstein was the way the president treated the Israeli Prime Minister when Netanyahu visited the White House. “He’s not just the Prime Minister of Israel, he represents all of us, Jews, Israelis, people throughout the world who believe in the State of Israel.” Goldstein was turned off by what he says was Obama’s incredible disrespect towards Netanyahu.
In a motif the RJC clearly wants to emphasize throughout the remainder of the campaign, the ad hones in on the concern that Jewish American voter has about what will be different if President Obama is elected for a second term.
“I think in the second term we’ll see the real Barack Obama,” Goldstein says, as the video pans over Jerusalem, “when he has no voters to deal with, I think he will change the game when it comes to Israel. He’s going to put Israel in a position where they’re in danger.”
The RJC appears convinced that, despite the long and largely monogamous relationship between Jews and the Democratic party, there are certain strategic moves it can make that will be sufficient to have Jewish voters be the decisive factor in electing Mitt Romney.
Recent polls suggest that Jewish support for Obama has diminished, with him receiving 67 percent to Romney’s 25 percent – which would be the highest level of support for a republican candidate since George Bush received 35 percent of the vote in the 1988 contest against Democrat Michael Dukakis.
By following RJC polling calculations and concentrating on Jews in certain areas of three key states – Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, the RJC is banking on Jewish votes determining the outcome in those swing states.
Featured prominently in a New York Times story about the “My Buyer’s Remorse” campaign was the role allegedly played by casino magnate and staunchly pro-Israel Sheldon Adelson’s involvement. When asked about Adelson’s role in this effort, Brooks told The Jewish Press that while Adelson has been an active supporter and member of the RJC board for a number of years, the organization is the form of non-profit that does not have to – and does not – disclose confidential information about donors, so “any stories about Mr. Adelson’s involvement is purely conjecture.” What Brooks was willing to say is that “there is a large number of people involved in this effort.”
Whether or not Adelson was directly involved in this RJC campaign effort, he has been a strong presence in this year’s presidential campaign on behalf of the Republican party. In the Republican primaries earlier this year, he and his family donated $16.5 million to Newt Gingrich’s campaign, and when Romney came out the victor in the primaries, Adelson gave a $10 million donation to a Super PAC that supports Romney.
“Regarding our recent campaign surrounding Sheldon Adelson, we don’t believe we engaged in character assassination; we stand by everything we said, which was sourced from current, credible news accounts. Accusations against Mr. Adelson were made not by us, but by others, including Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Nonetheless, we regret the concern that this campaign has caused. And in the interest of shalom bayit (peace in our home / community), we are going to take down our petition today. Moving forward, we’ll continue to work hard to fight against the unique threat posed by the outsized influence of certain individual megadonors, which rightly concerns most Americans and most American Jews.”
The petition based the call on allegations by a former employee suing Adelson for firing him that Adelson agreed to allow prostituion at his casinos in Macau, China; on the claim by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that Adelson, with the tens of millions of dollars he has infused into the Republican side of this year’s elections, was effectively introducing Chinese money into the campaign; and on federal investigations into allegations that Adelson has paid bribes in China.
A number of Jewish groups and figures, including the Jewish Federations of North America, the Anti-Defamation League, the Republican Jewish Coalition and Alan Dershowitz called the allegations unconscionable, noting that all had yet to be proven.
Adelson is a major giver to Jewish causes, especially the Birthright program bringing young people to Israel and Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, and has given to causes associated with or favored by those who defended him in this case.
“Accusations against Mr. Adelson were made not by us, but by others, including Senator John McCain (R-AZ),” Harris and Stanley said. “Nonetheless, we regret the concern that this campaign has caused. And in the interest of shalom bayit (peace in our home / community), we are going to take down our petition today. Moving forward, we’ll continue to work hard to fight against the unique threat posed by the outsized influence of certain individual megadonors, which rightly concerns most Americans and most American Jews.”
We were struck by a petition drive launched by the National Jewish Democratic Council demanding that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Republican Party reject contributions from billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson.
The NJDC claims Mr. Adelson’s money is tainted, based on unproven allegations in a lawsuit brought by a disgruntled former employee as well as other claims that Mr. Adelson was personally aware of and condoned unsavory conduct in several of his companies. Coming at a time when the media are reporting problems with President Obama’s reelection fund-raising efforts and, in contrast, a flourishing money drive by Mr. Romney, we can’t help but detect a sense of panic. This is especially so since Mr. Adelson has announced plans for huge infusions in contributions to Republican coffers in the run-up to the November election. But the outcry over Mr. Adelson may end up being a Pandora’s Box for the president.
As noted, the NJDC campaign invokes unproven charges against Mr. Adelson. Yet major Democratic contributor George Soros was convicted in 2002 by a French court of insider trading and fined some 2.2 million Euros. No similar calls have been made to reject or return his contributions. The NJDC effort is also likely to resurrect the controversy over President Obama’s refusal to return a million-dollar contribution from comedian Bill Maher following his outrageous derogatory public references to Sarah Palin and other prominent Republican women.
And then there are the very public embraces of the racial arsonist Al Sharpton by the president and his attorney general, Eric Holder. That’s the Reverend Al Sharpton of Tawana Brawley, Crown Heights and Freddie’s Fashion Mart fame. Most recently, Mr. Sharpton stretched to find a racial dimension to the congressional vote holding Mr. Holder in contempt for failure to turn over requested documents:
As I marched this past Sunday with tens of thousands in New York in opposition to the abhorrent practice of stop & frisk, I couldn’t help but think of our attorney general. Tattered down and publicly humiliated, AG Holder has been mishandled just like the young Black and Latino men (and women) who are demonized on our streets everyday….
From the president on down, Democrats have ignored these notorious actions, which are matters of public knowledge. If Mr. Adelson is a fitting target for rebuke, why not those from the Democratic side? And a word or two about the NJDC’s reliance on mere allegations might also be in order.