Daily Israel Report

Saban Takes Swipe at Adelson in Pro-Obama Article

Billionaire Haim Saban explains why Obama is better for Israel than Romney and his "sweet nothings."
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 9/7/2012, 4:46 PM

Haim Saban (left).
Haim Saban (left).
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Billionaire Haim Saban took a swipe at the even-wealthier Sheldon Adelson in an article he penned for the New York Times this week. The article was devoted to explaining why he sees Barack Obama as being better for Israel than Mitt Romney.

Saban rejected Romney's campaign claim that Obama “thrown allies like Israel under the bus.” He made several points to support his claim that Obama has been a true friend of the Jewish state while Romney and the Republican party are mostly good at whispering "sweet nothings" in Israel's ear:

As president, Obama provided "full financing and technical assistance" for Israel’s Iron Dome short-range anti-rocket defense system, Saban noted. "In July, he provided an additional $70 million to extend the Iron Dome system across southern Israel."

"When the first President Bush had disagreements with Israel over its settlement policy, he threatened to withhold loan guarantees from Israel," the media magnate recalled. Obama has never taken such a step.

The strategic relationship between the United States and Israel has never been stronger than under President Obama, claims Saban, and quotes a statement to this effect by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. That cooperation has included the joint deployment of cyber-weapons to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

George W. Bush "diverted American attention from Iran — the greatest threat to Israel’s existence — to Iraq, even helping to put a pro-Iranian leader in power in Baghdad." In contrast, "through painstaking diplomacy," Obama persuaded Russia and China to support harsh sanctions on Iran.

Obama has made clear he would not just "contain" a nuclear Iran and has directed the military to prepare options for confronting Iran. He has positioned forces in the Persian Gulf.

Obama has assured Netanyahu that he will “always have Israel’s back,” and "Americans who support Israel should take the president at his word."

The Obama administration vetoed a Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements, even though the resolution "mirrored the president’s position and that of every American administration since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war."

Saban conceded that Obama should have visited Israel after his Cairo speech and "should have showered Israelis with more love and affection." However, he added, the facts back up the observation that Obama's is a staunch supporter of Israel — and these are "facts that even $100 million from a casino magnate can’t refute."

Following this reference to Adelson and his contributions to the Romney campaign, Saban added: "Full disclosure: I have contributed to Democratic campaigns this political cycle, though not nearly to that extent."

The reference to Adelson could be an attempt to hint that Adelson is interfering in U.S. politics in order to help the candidate that he and Netanyahu both prefer as president. Adelson is considered to be a supporter of Netanyahu, and some say the two are political allies.