Netanyahu Inserts Himself in US Elections as Adelson Stands to Reap Millions if Romney Wins


PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network.
I’m Paul Jay in Baltimore. Now joining us from New York City is Danny
Schechter the “News Dissector”. And he’s going to be a regular contributor to The Real News
Network. Thanks for joining us, Danny. What have you got for us this week? DANNY SCHECHTER: Well, you know, I’ve been
following this whole situation with Obama and Israel, where Obama can’t do enough to
please the Israelis. The Israelis want basically what they call red lines to be drawn in the
sand to prevent Iran from any further development of its nuclear program, which the Iranians
insist is not bomb-related. And they have insisted that for a long time. JAY: The New York Times reports that Netanyahu,
quote, has inserted himself into the American presidential elections. And you wrote a piece
about this. SCHECHTER: Right. Well, up until now, Israel
has used its influence behind the scenes covertly through the Israeli lobby, through all of
its friends on the hill, through all of its media assets, to really try to shape the media
coverage of the whole Iranian issue, the alarm about Iran stoked by people in Israel. They
have a big department of media and covert action kind of fused together to try to shape
the debate in the world press about Iran, to put Iran on the defensive. And Iran has
been on the defensive, by and large thanks to Israel. Now for the first time, the prime minister
of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, is actively getting involved, personally challenging the
president of the United States, and in a way he’s gone beyond the lines here. He’s actually
created some new lines which are kind of a violation of ordinary protocol, where the
president of an allied country doesn’t step in, or the leader of that country, and attack
the president of the United States. But because he has so much support among Republicans,
not only big donors to the Republican Party, but Mr. Romney himself basically acting as
a one-man echo chamber for whatever Israel wants, Netanyahu feels emboldened and has
actually called Obama out on this whole issue and is challenging him. Obama has tried to
talk to him, but is refusing to meet with him. So this issue has intruded itself in
the American election in a way that we’ve never quite seen before, because it’s so public
and it’s so acrimonious. JAY: And one of Netanyahu’s biggest backers,
who’s also one of Romney’s biggest backers, Sheldon Adelson, in your piece you refer to
some new—some research that shows Adelson’s not just with political motives here. His
economic motives are pretty strong. What was that about? SCHECHTER: Well, Adelson, the so-called casino
mogul who’s made a fortune in Macau thanks to the Chinese, and also in Vegas, has promised
$100 million dollars for the Republican Party. He’s been very close to the right-wing settlers
in Israel. He supported the Gingrich campaign with millions of dollars. And now he’s supporting
the Romney campaign. But according to the American progress report, they’re saying that
he’s not un-self-interested in doing so, that he wants Romney to win so Romney can cut taxes,
his taxes, and that he stands to benefit to the tune of $2 billion if Romney is elected
and if Romney goes forward with the tax cuts that he’s promised. So this is another case
where somebody appears to be acting either for ideological reasons or idealistic reasons
[incompr.] actually acting on behalf of his own agenda, an economic agenda. JAY: Yeah, let me just read from—I’m reading
from your piece, and you quote this report that was done by Seth Hanlon at the Center
for American Progress. And according to this report, Adelson gains in this way: number
one, cutting the top tax rates saves Adelson about $1.5 million from his own compensation
as CEO of the casino company; maintaining special low rates on dividends, potentially
saving Adelson about $120 million on a singles year’s worth of dividends; maintaining special
low rates on capital gains, allowing Adelson to make back his political donations, you
write, in capital gains tax cuts by just selling a fraction of the stock; provide a tax windfall
of an estimated $1.2 billion to Adelson’s company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., on untaxed
profits from its Asian casinos. So this shows there’s a lot more at stake here than just
he believes in some kind of Romney austerity plans. SCHECHTER: It’s so blatant and so, you know,
in your face in a way that we really haven’t seen before, that these political donors are
not just contributing ’cause they believe in democracy or they even believe in the Republican
Party. They believe in themselves, their own needs financially. And that’s what all of
this is about. Sort of money in, tax cuts out. And this is why we have to look carefully
at all of these various donors today. The New York Times reported that the Obama
campaign is now turning to wealthier and wealthier donors. Even though the rhetoric is grassroots
support, the reality increasingly is a handful of very wealthy people who also have reasons
for supporting the Obama campaign that has very little to do with the kinds of changes
he wants people to think of him in terms of. JAY: Thanks very much for joining us, Danny. SCHECHTER: Pleasure. JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real
News Network. Don’t forget there’s a “Donate” button over here. If you don’t click on that,
we can’t do this.

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