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The Shameful Silence of Sheldon Adelson’s Myriad Beneficiaries

August 23, 2012 1:54 pm 20 comments

Dr. Miriam and Mr. Sheldon Edelson at the 2011 AIPAC "Better Together" policy Conference. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

The modern day story of Sheldon Adelson appears to draw parallels from William Shakespeare’s lesser known dark comedy The Life of Timon of Athens.

The character Timon is a wealthy, good natured and overly generous merchant who bestows lavish gifts upon his friends, courtiers and local senators. But when his fortune takes a turn for the worse, and he reaches out to his beneficiaries for support, they firmly and politely excuse themselves, leaving Timon cynical, despondent and withdrawn.

No doubt in some societies, dissipating wealth is a sure way to lose a certain kind of friend, but a faster method it seems, in various Jewish circles is to vocally express support for a Republican political candidate.

Adelson was just another lesser known American billionaire before this election cycle began, but after pledging support for right of center candidates, first Newt Gingrich and now Mitt Romney, he has become somewhat of a household name, and not in a good way. He has been referred to as ‘bad’ and ‘a danger to the republic,’ and I have seen it implied that he is a ‘threat,’ and an ’embarrassment.’ Judging by the pitch of the venomous vitriol, perhaps an outside observer might be forgiven for concluding that this gentleman represents no less than the greatest single threat to this nation.

Sure Adelson is rich, very rich, but in many ways he is the same as you and me. He strives not to pay more taxes then he legally owes, and is passionate about his opinions and beliefs on a number of matters. Unlike most of us however, he gives away a lot of his money in the service of what he believes will make the world a better place for his descendants to live in. Living by Ghandi’s idiom, “be the change you want to see in the world.”

The greatest possibly legitimate argument of Adelson’s detractors, who claim that one man shouldn’t be allowed to exercise such influence, is a challenge primarily to the system that he has fully engaged. Because, as he has made clear, he wishes to counterbalance others on the other side of the political spectrum who have effectively leveraged enhanced clout.  He plays by the rules that he did not make himself.

Adelson also faces some legal challenges and investigations, the legitimacy of which are to be determined in time by judge and jury, but largely he is pilloried for his conservative views.

In truth, none of the above surprises me. It is par for the course for any public figure, especially one who is that politically active. What I fail to fathom however, is why so few have come to his defense, either ideologically or personally. In his hour of need, facing the dock of public opinion, his myriad beneficiaries shamefully stand muted.

Where are the tens of thousands of young Birthright alums petitioning, blogging, creating Facebook groups and opining on his behalf? Reminding the public that they were not asked about their political persuasion before being granted the Israel experience of a lifetime on his dime.

Where is the impassioned testimony to Adelson’s generosity of character and passionate idealism from the Chairman of Yad Vashem? – the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem which had its fortunes revived as a result of his $25 million gift in 2006 according to the JTA.

What of the collaborating Neural Repair and Rehabilitation researchers at 10 universities whose cutting edge research was facilitated by a $7.5 million grant from the Adelson Medical Research Foundation. How about their public statement affirming the positive impact this man has made on their work, and the lives of the patients that have benefited from the research he made possible?

The list goes on, but politics aside, it is Adelson’s person that is now under assault and it his person that is worthy of a thorough defense.  Who better to rally behind him then those whose lives and visions have been directly enhanced by his sweeping generosity?

The author is the editor of The Algemeiner and director of the GJCF and can be e-mailed


  • He’s a big boy. He has smart, aggressive lawyers and friends in high places. I don’t see what distress he’s in.

    Besides, if he’s done no wrong, then he should not have anything to worry about.

  • Michael Koenigsberg

    Mr Adelson shoul consider giving the money he is wasting on Political Ada to Homeless Veterans.starving children.Icould go on and on.A sheer waste of money.

    • “he gives away a lot of his money in the service of what he believes will make the world a better place for his descendants to live in.”

      Jews buy Presidents for foreign interests (Truman for starters) and it is NOT helpful to those of us who are NOT his “descendents”.

  • May G-d bless Mr. and Dr. Adelson. Their personal committment and generosity toward the innovative education of Jewish children is no less than breathtaking.

    We are living under the most anti-Jewish, anti-Israel President this country has known. If Mr. Adelson can use his vision, money, and power to help change this fact, then G-d bless him, again.

    The Algemeiner’s reference to Shakespeare is apt. (Thank you for this editorial.) Read in 2012, the attacks on Mr. Adelson are merely cover for blatant anti-semitism. Adelson is giving his all to fight for the soul and life of the Jewish people. I’m grateful, and I pray he succeeds.


    A Registered Independent

    • I second the Cheers to Mr & Mrs. A! No One has changed the face of how Las Vegas does hospitality more than Adelson, from being the only joint to own the sidewalks to create a conferencing/hollywood party mecca to modifying the cotai strip physically to bring this perfect recipe global!

      Anti-semitism? Nope. Purely everyone is just jealous of little “Timon’s” success through a huge global recession and scurry quickly to snap up his people thinking they can duplicate the magic for themselves.

      I believe in Mr & Mrs A! They have ethics and standards and are not afraid to stand up and speak their minds. A quality favored around the world about Americans as so few in other governments have the ability to do the same. Proud to Call Mr & Mrs Adelson my fellow Americans! I will truly stand by their sides as the rockets red blare & the bombs burst in the air!

  • Simply because Mr. Adelson believes in Conservative Principles and gives to that cause he is flogged with words.Soros gives to causes to downgrade and destroy America. He helps support anarchy through the Occupiers. Mr. Adelson does just the opposite.
    It’s interesting to me how more Americans support the Jewish cause in Israel than the American Jews do. Mr. Adelson has not forgotten his roots and recognizes the dangers the current Administration poses to America AND to Israel. Shame on the American Jews supporting this POTUS and turning their back on Israel.

  • I have nothing but lovefor the Adlesons who give love for the Jewish people and others
    May Hashem keep them well and happy they have not had it easy. But have made it easy for other people. I see their name at so many places from their million dollar donations.. Only jealous people will talk bad about them. Mr Adleson comes from my neighborhood Dorchester Ma. Margie Green.

  • I have nothing but lovefor the Adlesons who give love for the Jewish people and others
    May Hashem keep them well and happy they have not had it easy. But have made it easy for other people. I see their name at so many places from their million dollar donations.. Only jealous people will talk bad about them. Mr Adleson comes from my neighborhood Dorchester Ma. Margie Green.

  • Hear freakin’ hear. Great column, and I hope our people wake up.

  • Fredric M. London

    There is no excuse for not supporting Mr. Adelson as a man, a philanthropist, and someone who, in many ways, sets an example by which we should all live.

    However, this article is disingenuous in the statement that his buying the 2012 election is to offset the extreme support of the other side. Wealthy men, like Adelson, are giving unconscionable amounts of money to buy this election, and the other side is no where near up to the ability to match those funds. An election should turn on the issues, not on an ability to purchase public opinion. As a Jew, I am appalled at those who buy an election for a party which steals from the poor to pay the rich, attempts to force their ideology on everyone, pushes hard, even at the expense of the health of the nation, to keep huge tax benefits for the rich, while removing any assistance for those who cannot help themselves. This heinous party should be anathema to anyone with a conscience, ethics, scruples, and love. It is a short-sighted 100% self-serving party, whose overwhelming greed should be a crime.

    I would say that Adelson is a very good man, who is doing a very bad deed. Anyone who cannot see the corrosive effect of super lobbies owning the country, must be very blind. An example:

    General Motors was once one of the most successful corporations in the US. Unfortunately, its focus was short sighted, and it was not responsive to consumer needs. Its directors acted in the interests of their obscene wage packages to the detriment of the company. So, you might say, time to vote in new directors, right? But, this is not possible. Most of the stock was owned by like minded mutual fund companies, who were happy to leave the ‘leaders’ in control. Year after year after year, proxy ballots would contain stockholder originated motions to change the way GM did business. Year after year, these motions were killed. Not all were positive, to be sure. But some attempted to bring democracy to the voting process, some attempted to change the product base, to compete with the Japanese, who did listen to consumers, and their workers, and did manufacture good products.

    After many years of ‘we know best’ by the directors, the company went into bankruptcy. So, who lost? The directors who ruined the company? Think again. They kept their private jets, their golden parachutes, and their jobs; while the stockholders had the company taken from them. Those who tried to make changes for the better lost, and those who caused the harm to the company, its employees, and the US economy, lost not one thing for their guilty actions.

    The same is happening in the electoral process in this country. Those who have no scruples, no ethics, and certainly no feelings are taking over the entire country, and those of us who would change things for the better are, instead, losing the country.

    For the record, I am a liberal. Not a worshiper at the altar of politically-coerced censorship, but a genuine liberal. If we must pay taxes, they should go to helping people, not disenfranchising them. I am also no follower of the Commander In Chief of Muslim extremists everywhere, who would happily sacrifice Israel to help his radical Muslim friends.

    I am ANGRY. The choices are a blatant anti-Jewish president, or a self-serving, fascist puppet. We know who will win, and he will win because men like Adelson purchased the election for him.

    • And you are a self righteous liberal, never looking at the George Soroses of the world, moron.

    • There are SO many things fundamentally wrong with your statements – and some outright LIES!! – that I don’t know where to begin!

      But I’ll start by saying that although I’m pretty PO’d at the GOP Establishment these days (the RNC is cousin to the DNC is terms of power grabs and doing anything to retain or regain political power – and, of course, the power of the purse!), I still consider myself a Constitutional and Commonsense Conservative Republican – and, Sir, damn proud of it!! Your kind – and your nasty, mendacious remarks – make me puke!

      BTW, I’m the poorest person you’ll probably ever meet, but I still give beyond my means to a number of charitable causes, and I will stand toe to toe with you to defend almost all the Republicans I know who are caring people and who give FAR more generously in proportion to their assets and income than almost any Democrat and Liberal I know!! (And I know too damn many, sad to report!)

      Adelson, of course, is being pilloried for being both rich AND Conservative! Buffet, wisely, has kowtowed to that wretched excuse for a POTUS – so BHO is more than happy to call him his pal. That also helps Buffet fend off the IRS who’re still clamoring for that $5M they claim he owes them…

      Yes, you’re “angry,” alright – and it’s managed to cloud your reason and your vision. To call Romney a “fascist puppet” is despicable in and of itself. I’m no fan of his, but I’d never be foolish enough to hurl such an ignorant slur at him!

      As for General Motors, I’m assuming you mean “obsene wage packages” that went to the top brass – or were you referring to the extremely high (as in over-) paid, benefitted and pensioned union labor force? When BHO had the Gov’t seize control, he made sure that his union buddies got a better than 50 percent share of the company – but that stockholders pretty much got the shaft, and dealerships that were owned primarily by registered Repubs were forced to close down (dealerships that were, for the most part, long-time family businesses, too). So, where’s the good in all that? Besides, the company – now under entirely different ownership & management – still owes Uncle Sam (that’s you & me, the taxpayer) $Billions!

      I could go on & on, but I detested reading your one-sided and extremely myopic rant against millions of Americans that are every bit as good, caring and generous as you’ll ever think of being!!

    • Rubin Margules

      Mr. London’s long soliliquay is such utter nonsense The only reason Mr.Adelson is is being subject to such scrutiny is because he is supporting a conservative candidate.. Have we forgotten Soros and the millions he gave to get Obama started and yet we hear nothing. One man cannot buy an election in which upwards of a billion dollars is being spent by the parties. He should have influence , as does Buffet and Gates.What about the millions that labor unions are contributing en mass to Obama,there political clout has caused wage and pension benefits to go thru the roof to the point that we have a deficit on state and local level that is almost as bad as the federal govts. Mr. Adelson puts his money where his mouth is, in support of our country and our biblical homeland. To bad so few of us do.Russia and China puts their political dissidents under investigation, G-d forbid Obama takes us down that road.

    • Have more faith in Americans. We are rarely duped and always vote how we feel. No money can literally buy votes and everyone is well aware they are being pitched to from every blurb, including this articles pitch. Read, absorb, move on to more analysis.

      And thank you for sharing your opinion. Thankful you can without life threatening reprisal.

  • We admire this great man
    we wish him health

  • Sadly, no good deed goes unpunished

  • Thank you for this article. I had not heard of any of this. I think that is where the true heart of caring and generosity lies.

    The Alleged generous philanthropists that have high profile gatherings or pronouncements always seem to be known.

    In terms of the Gates, Buffet and Ford foundation.
    What they have in common, is the funds are not their own personal wealth per say it is their gains off of millions.

    You would be led to believe they were somehow doing without, so others may have more.

    God Bless and keep you well, Mr Adelson

  • Michal Mendel Galer

    The treatment of Mr. Adelson and his wife is embarrassing. Have we come so far that a family who do Mitzvah after Mitzvah are not recognized and are actually criticized for expressing support for Nationally respected candidates and causes.
    Where are the Jews? We should be ashamed.
    Thank you Mr and Mrs Adelson, for standing up for Israel, Jews and your beliefs. We owe you a great debt.

  • Obviously many of the people and institutions that have benefited from his generosity are liberal…and it is part of liberal DNA to bite the hand that feeds it.

  • What a shame…

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