Sheldon Adelson Expresses Support for Campaign Against McMaster

Republican mega-donor denies reports he disavowed the ZOA campaign, which calls for National Security Adviser McMaster's reassignment, away from issues dealing with Israel and Iran

U.S. casino magnate Sheldon Adelson arrives for U.S. President Donald Trump's address in Jerusalem May 23, 2017.
U.S. casino magnate Sheldon Adelson arrives for U.S. President Donald Trump's address in Jerusalem May 23, 2017. RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS

Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson expressed support recently for the Zionist Organization of American’s campaign against National Security Adviser, General H.R. McMaster. The ZOA, a right-wing group which receives financial support from Adelson, recently announced that it has conducted research showing that McMaster promotes policies harmful to Israel.

Last week, the news website Axios reported that Adelson is "disavowing" the ZOA campaign. In a letter he sent on Friday to the head of the organization, Morton Klein, Adelson wrote that he "never used the word 'disavowal.’" He added that the word "came from the reporter" who filed the story.

Adelson added that he recently discussed McMaster with Safra Catz, the Israeli-born CEO of Oracle, who also recently spoke with McMaster. Adelson said that his conversation with Catz "enlightened me quite a bit." He ended the letter by saying that after speaking to someone who knows McMaster, "I now support your effort," but added that he is "not... looking to get deeply involved in this debate."

He added that "Morton Klein is the strongest Zionist I know and carries on campaigns for what he sincerely and profoundly cares about. Politics is your full time job. It's not my full time job. I can't get involved in every campaign and every debate." He also said that up until recently, he didn't know enough about McMaster or about the ZOA campaign, and thus has not yet taken a stance on it or become personally involved.

A ZOA press release dated August 9 stated that "General McMaster should not maintain a position where he can continue to undermine President Trump's policies on Iran, Israel and the fight against 'radical Islamic terrorism' - a term that General McMaster believes should not even be used." The press release calls for McMaster to be reassigned to an area unrelated to Iran or Israel, and provides a list of "Trump Loyalist" NSC officials who were "pro-Israel and opposed the Iran nuclear deal," but were purged from the council by McMaster. The list continues with a list of McMaster's appointees who are "hostile to Israel, favor the Iran deal, and are weak on, or seek to appease Islamists."

McMaster's credentials on Israel have been supported by senior Israeli defense officials, who told Haaretz earlier this month that labeling him as anti-Israel is false and misleading, and that the National Security Adviser enjoys a strong working relationship with Israel. U.S. President Donald Trump also released a statement saying that McMaster is "very pro-Israel." McMaster hosted a delegation of senior Israeli defense officials last Thursday, led by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, at his private home in the Washington, D.C. area.