Sheldon Adelson: Palestinians Are Made-up Nation That Exists Only to Destroy Israel

At first conference of Israeli-American Council, casino mogul and Netanyahu backer hints democracy in Israel not a bad thing to lose.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson, left, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Tess Scheflan

Billionaire casino mogul and conservative donor Sheldon Adelson said Sunday that the Palestinians are a made-up nation which exists solely to attempt to destroy Israel.

“The purpose of the existence of Palestinians is to destroy Israel,” Adelson said Sunday at the close of the first conference of the Israeli-American Council, a Los Angeles-based group aimed at serving Israeli Americans and supporting Israel. “Palestinian narrative created the Palestinian narrative.”

At the conference, which also featured top Democratic funder Haim Saban, Adelson also said Israel would not be able to survive as a democracy: "So Israel won't be a democratic state, so what?" he asked Saban, adding that democracy, after all, is not mentioned in the Torah, and recommended that the country build a “big wall” to protect itself, saying, “I would put up a big wall around my property.”

Sounding surprisingly like a supporter of unilateral withdrawal, he said after the wall is built, Palestinians should be granted five years to prove that they have given up on any intent to destroy Israel.

Saban and Adelson should buy The New York Times together in an effort to bring more “balance” to the newspaper’s coverage of Israel and the Middle East, Adelson suggested to wild applause. Adelson already owns Israel Hayom, a free Israeli newspaper widely seen as reflecting the positions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is considered close to Adelson, and, more recently, news website NRG and religious newspaper Makor Rishon.

"I don't like journalism," Adelson said, highlighting what he said was the media’s insistence on focusing on the empty half of the glass.

Though Saban generally expressed more moderate views than Adelson on the Palestinian issue, when talk turned to Iran he said that if he were Israel’s prime minister and a nuclear deal between Iran and the West risked Israel’s existence, “I would bomb the living daylights out of those sons of bitches.” On this issue, Adelson was the more moderate, saying only that he would “take action.”

For all the right-wing comments, Adelson said the Israeli-American Council would not be right-wing but would reflect support for all Israelis and for the values that link Israel and the United States.

“Everyone in this room - whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat or Independent … when it comes to Israel, we’re on the same side,” Adelson said.