U.S. Jewish group rejects call to ban Sheldon Adelson election funds
National Jewish Democratic Council official says regrets claims that mogul's money represented a Chinese influence on elections
The National Jewish Democratic Council, citing peace among Jewish groups, has taken down a petition calling on Republicans not to accept money from Sheldon Adelson.
"Regarding our recent campaign surrounding Sheldon Adelson, we don't believe we engaged in character assassination," said the statement sent late Wednesday by David Harris, NJDC's president, and Marc Stanley, its chairman. "We stand by everything we said, which was sourced from current, credible news accounts."
The petition based the call on allegations by a former employee suing Adelson for firing him that Adelson agreed to allow prostitution at his casinos in Macau, China; on the claim by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that Adelson, with the tens of millions of dollars he has infused into the Republican side of this year's elections, was effectively introducing Chinese money into the campaign; and on federal investigations into allegations that Adelson has paid bribes in China.
A number of Jewish groups and figures, including the Jewish Federations of North America, the Anti-Defamation League, the Republican Jewish Coalition and Alan Dershowitz called the allegations unconscionable, noting that all had yet to be proven.
Adelson is a major giver to Jewish causes, especially the Birthright program bringing young people to Israel and Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, and has given to causes associated with or favored by those who defended him in this case.
"Accusations against Mr. Adelson were made not by us, but by others, including Senator John McCain (R-AZ)," Harris and Stanley said. "Nonetheless, we regret the concern that this campaign has caused."
And in the interest of shalom bayit (peace in the community), we are going to take down our petition today. Moving forward, we'll continue to work hard to fight against the unique threat posed by the outsized influence of certain individual mega-donors, which rightly concerns most Americans and most American Jew," he added.