What would George Washington think of would-be kingmaker Sheldon Adelson’s ambition regarding Israel?
Conor Friedersdorf has an interesting column in The Atlantic in which he claims that, when it comes to Israel, Obama’s actions and sentiments are much more in tune with George Washington’s famous farewell address, which warned Americans against getting entangled in other countries’ business.
I was particularly struck by one of Washington’s comments:
And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.
I thought immediately about Sheldon Adelson, the would-be kingmaker both in the U.S. and in Israel. Adelson is spending huge sums of money in both countries in order to make sure Israel becomes an apartheid state (naturally, this is not the term he would use). Even though he pays his taxes in the U.S. and not in Israel, he gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a great gift, which ought to be considered a registered contribution: the free daily Israel Hayom, which has lowered Israeli journalistic standards to new depths. He is also spending huge funds on Romney, after spending them on Newt Gingrich (remember him?). He openly says he wants Obama out of the White House.
This is where Washington’s comment about “ambitious” and “corrupt citizens” comes in. “Ambitious” in Washington times, was not a laudatory word; it still carried the Latin stink of “someone who is ambitious beyond his station, so ambitious he is a danger to the freedom of his country”; in short, someone who is ambitious enough to overthrow the state.
Given Adelson’s out-of-proportion influence; given the fact that he has basically said he is more loyal to Israel than to his declared homeland (stating that “unfortunately” he served in the U.S. Army and not the IDF), and that all that he cares about is being a good Zionist and a good citizen of Israel, perhaps loyal Americans – those who think of the U.S. first and Israel much later, if at all – should heed their first president’s words, and avoid the ambitious and corrupt Adelson as a man dangerous to the liberty of their country.