Sheldon Adelson Confidant Says He Won’t be Endorsing Christie After Governor Belittled ‘Occupied Territories’ Remark Concerns
by Eytan Sosnovich
The President of the Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein, a confidant of influential Republican donor Sheldon Adelson told The Algemeiner recently that he won’t be endorsing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the 2016 presidential election.
Klein’s comments came in response to a speech Christie gave at last week’s Republican Jewish Coalition annual spring gathering in which Christie referred to Israel’s Judea and Samaria region as “occupied territories.”
Klein approached Christie after the speech to ask him about the comments and inform Christie that the term “occupied territories” is inaccurate and misleading.
“The term occupied territories is a false term used by the enemies of Israel to make it sound like Israel has stolen Arab land,” Klein said he told Christie. “To be occupied you have to have taken over someone’s legal sovereign area … the only two countries that the world recognizes in this area are Jordan and Israel.”
Klein said “the Jewish people have a greater religious, cultural, and historical claim to [that] land than any Arabs and that the term used to refer to the West Bank should be disputed territories.”
When Klein asked Christie if he would instead use the term “disputed territory” in the future, Klein says that Christie dismissed his remarks saying condescendingly “I saw you shaking your head when I used that term.”
The irony of the interaction according to Klein, is that Christie made a point in his speech of claiming that Republicans need to do a better job of listening and respecting those that disagree with them.
Later, Klein said that Christie apologized to Adelson in a private meeting saying that he merely misspoke, but Klein said he doesn’t buy Christie’s apology.
“He is worried about Sheldon supporting him financially, so we can’t trust [what he said to Sheldon] on Israel or what his real beliefs are. You got the real answer with me because there was no ulterior motive there. I don’t believe his apology for one second.”
When asked by The Algemeiner if he would specifically advise Adelson not to support Christie, Klein said that he didn’t see it as appropriate to do so, but said that as ZOA president he would make his views on Christie’s positions known. “Governor Christie either has no understanding of the truth of the issues effecting Israel, or he is hostile to Israel, either way I am very uncomfortable,” Klein, who has led the ZOA for 20 years went on to say, “when I gave him the opportunity to respond to me after I explained to him the truth about Judea and Sumaria, the fact the he was dismissive and even caustic toward me tells me that he has no interest in understanding the truth of what is beneficial for Israel.”
After spending more than $40 million on Republican candidates in the 2012 Adelson is widely considered to be the most sought after Republican donor.