by Jim Lobe and Eli Clifton
Following on David’s post about Sheldon Adelson’s nuclear strategy for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, it might be useful to recall some of the casino magnate’s favorite Israel-related organizational beneficiaries. Perhaps they should be asked if they, too, believe that Tehran and its inhabitants should be nuked if Iran doesn’t bow to the demands of Bibi Netanyahu (another beneficiary of Adelson’s largesse) after a demonstration bombing in the middle of some Iranian desert. Eli has compiled a list of recent contributions by both the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Charitable Trust, the Adelson Family Foundation, Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Charitable Trust,and Sheldon Adelson himself, based on U.S. government tax records. While these two channels may not be the only ones Adelson uses to supply funding for his favored organizations, they are the most transparent.
It turns out that the biggest beneficiary over the last six or seven years has been the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), which has received a total of $1.704 million, followed closely by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), at $1.510 million between 2008 and 2011.
Next on the list is the American Israel Education Fund, the arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that sponsors tours for U.S. lawmakers and other influential elites to Israel. It received $1.048 million in 2007.
Two organizations received $1 million each: the One Jerusalem Charitable and Educational Fund in 2007, and the Friends of Israel Initiative, which was founded in 2010, is headed by former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and did almost nothing, so far as I can tell, in 2012. John Bolton, however, is one of its charter members.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) received $530,000 between 2001 and 2007, while the Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI) received $500,000 between 2007 and 2012, according to the tax records.
Close behind was the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), which received $400,000 during that same period of time.
Lesser beneficiaries included the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America ($321,000 in 2007-08); the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces ($236,000 between 2007 and 2012); and the American Islamic Congress ($195,500) in 2008-09. These channels also provided token amounts to Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), and the American Friends of UN Watch. Adelson is currently chairman of the board of the RJC, for example, and one has to doubt whether he would have risen to such a position on the strength of his $20,000 contribution in 2001. (Incidentally, the RJC today called on the Senate to move “aggressively to ratchet up economic pressure on Tehran” in advance of the next round of talks which, if we are to believe that Adelson played some role in determining that position, suggests that RJC is much more interested in bombing than negotiations.)
(A spreadsheet detailing all of these grants can be viewed here.)
Again, given the fact that Adelson spent at least $98 million on the 2012 election cycle, and given his oft-stated devotion to Israel, I suspect this represents a fraction of his actual pro-Israel-related philanthropy. But we do know that he has given significant amounts of funding to these groups whose leaders will hopefully clarify whether they share Adelson’s rejection of sincere negotiations with Iran and his possibly genocidal strategy for dealing with its nuclear program.