AIPAC isn’t enough anymore. Or that’s the way Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban, huge political donors to the Republicans and Democrats respectively, seem to think. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has been the one-stop shop of Israeli policy in Washington for so many years, but now Adelson and Saban are mobilizing Israeli ex-pats for the IAC, the Israeli American Council, according to the Nation.
AIPAC was founded in 1963, because the Israeli government decided enlisting Israelis living abroad would not be as effective as starting an American organization that reflects the policies of the Israeli government. AIPAC was nominally independent of the Israeli government, but would serve as a voice for Israel in America.
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“Simply put, ” writes The Nation’s M.J. Rosenberg, Saban and Adelson “want to be the Koch brothers on Israel. And they want to be even more influential than they are, by virtue of having both parties in their pockets and not just one.”
Saban and Adelson found the IAC in Los Angeles in 2007 and hope to gain the support of the 500, 000 to 700, 000 Israelis living in America. The IAC has its Inaugural National Conference in 2012 with keynote speakers Mitt Romney and Senator Joseph Lieberman. With Adelson and Saban as far apart on American politics as two can be—Romney was Adelson’s darling and Saban has made no bones about the fact he wants to see Hilary Clinton back in the White House—they are pretty similar on their views of Israeli politics. The rhetoric of both men on Israeli issues has been a bit “hot” or hariff as they say in Israel. Saban said at a conference in November, that if Iran doesn’t eliminate its nuclear capabilities, he would like to “bomb the living daylights out of the sons of bitches, ” and then the two talked about buying The New York Times.
One wonders if the IAC will ever trump AIPAC. But as long as Saban and Adelson are bankrolling IAC, we are certain to hear more “chariff” talk in future.