Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO Sheldon Adelson testifies in Clark County district court in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO Sheldon Adelson testifies in Clark County district court in Las Vegas, April 5, 2013. Photo by AP
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Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Photo by AP

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman says that American Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have one major thing in common: They are both trying to destroy Israel.

In an opinion article published in the New York Times Sunday Review, Friedman calls Adelson, who he characterizes as a "crude right-wing, pro-Israel extremist" to be Iran's best friend. He reasons that the casino magnate and GOP mega-donor is feeding right into Iran's strategy by endorsing policies that include delegitimizing the Palestinians, denying that there is an occupation of the West Bank and opposing U.S. pressure on Israel to give back land for peace.

Friedman writes that such attitudes pave the way for the destruction of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. "The more Israel sinks into the West Bank, the more it is delegitimized and isolated, the more the world focuses on Israel’s colonialism rather than Iran’s nuclear enrichment, the more people call for a single democratic state in all of historic Palestine," he wrote.

According to Friedman, "Adelson personifies everything that is poisoning our democracy and Israel’s today — swaggering oligarchs, using huge sums of money to try to bend each system to their will."

In an article last week, Haaretz columnist Peter Beinart, called Adelson out for his "hate culture," arguing that if anyone said about Jews what Adelson says about Palestinians, "he'd be considered a Jew-hater in the same league as Farrakhan and Ahmadinejad."

Adelson has been in the media spotlight in recent weeks, among other things, after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie apologized to him for referring to the “occupied territories” in a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition.

In addition, Adelson, who owns the pro-Netanyahu free daily Israel Hayom, was approved  last week by the Jerusalem DIstrict Court to to purchase Maariv’s NRG website and Makor Rishon newspaper for 17 million shekels.