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April 8, 2014 12:49 am

“ŽA Response to Thomas Friedman: The Jewish Community Needs More Sheldon Adelsons

avatar by Joshua Nass

Opinion

“Ž

Sheldon Adelson. Photo: Courtesy Sheldon Adelson.

In Sunday’s edition of the New York Times, Thomas Friedman penned a scathing op-ed against Sheldon Adelson, one of Israel’s foremost supporters and lovers.

Friedman’s op-ed was clearly meant to be a hit piece to serve as fodder for some of The Times‘ anti-Israel and left-wing readers. But instead of delving into the author’s motives for writing the piece, I’d like to examine the various claims he makes. The thesis of his op-ed is that Sheldon Adelson’s “loving Israel to death” serves Iran’s interests and makes Sheldon “Iran’s Best Friend.” What a pathetic and fallacious claim.

“ŽI have the great privilege of knowing Sheldon Adelson personally. There is nobody in the philanthropic arm of the Jewish community that has been a more vocal opponent of Khamenei and Iran than Sheldon. We in the Jewish community know that there are few things Khamenei and his ilk hate more than the idea of promoting Jewish continuity and preserving the memory of the Holocaust. On that note, there is nobody who has invested more dollars into both of these initiatives than Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.

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When it comes to promoting Jewish continuity, the Adelsons have served as the principal supporters of Birthright Israel, which has been responsible for sending more than 350,000 young Jews from across the world to experience their birthright firsthand. Surely we can agree that Khamenei and his adherents seek more than just the delegitimization and destruction of Israel; but also the destruction of the Jewish people.

“ŽThen there is of course the Adelsons’ investment of tens of millions of dollars towards preserving the memory of the Holocaust, and also to combat Holocaust deniers. It’s no secret that Rouhani is a Holocaust denier. Perhaps Mr. Friedman could please explain to me how Mr. Adelson’s gift of $25 million to Yad Vashem, the largest in the museum’s history, makes Sheldon “Iran’s best friend.” I would instead posit that these two major philanthropic endeavors that the Adelsons have proudly taken upon themselves make Khamenei and Rouhani cringe.

“ŽIn his piece, Friedman goes on to talk about the so called “occupied territories” and how the continuation of such a policy under the auspices of the Israeli government is what is truly responsible for the BDS campaign and the world’s increased hostility toward Israel. This is utter rubbish, and is evidence that what Mr. Friedman needs, more-so than anything else, is a history lesson.

Perhaps Friedman should reassess which team he belongs to. Is it the Adelson camp? The one that supports and loves Israel to the point of courageously standing against its enemies even when it means being subjected to the wrath of some in the mainstream press. Or does Friedman belong to the camp of the folks supporting the BDS campaign – those working vociferously to delegitimize Israel.

“ŽThomas, as a student of your Alma Mater, I can tell you with full confidence that the BDS campaign has nothing to do with Israel’s occupied territories, and is instead rooted in nothing but Jew hatred. I urge you to visit some college campuses next year during Israel Apartheid Week so that you can witness this first-hand. The folks behind the BDS effort aren’t looking for peace. They are merely anti-semites trying to conceal their genuine motives through a campaign that folks of your stature have deemed credible.

Instead of urging Sheldon to stop vigorously defending Israel against its critics in public and otherwise, you ought to be applauding him for doing so. What the Jewish community needs are more Sheldon Adelsons. Strong men and women with the courage of their convictions to stand up for what is right – even when it might be unpopular.

Josh Nass is the founder of Voices of Conservative Youth, and a political commentator who regularly appears on Fox News, the Fox Business Network, and on MSNBC.

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