Adelson, Saban: ‘Anti-Semitic Tsunami’ on the Way

At anti-BDS donor summit in Las Vegas, casino billionaire and Hollywood mogul stress need for U.S. Jewish groups to unite to defeat growing boycott Israel movement.

Businessmen Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban warned Saturday night of an “anti-Israeli tsunami” and the growing strength of the BDS movement.

Saban, the controlling shareholder of Partner Communications, said he would evaluate responses to Orange SA CEO Stephane Richard’s remarks last week about wanting to end the French company’s brand licensing deal with the Israeli carrier.

Saban and Adelson spoke to Israel Channel 2 News at a donor conference they organized in Las Vegas against boycott, divestment and sanctions activities on U.S.  campuses.

“BDS and ... all the other anti-Israel and anti-Semitic organizations are making a lot of headway on the campuses in the United States” and in industry, Adelson said.

He said that Jewish organizations must cooperate to fight BDS, while admitting that “it’s a challenge to get Jewish groups to work together ... it was the arguments between Jews that brought down the Temple.”

Adelson and Saban were asked about Richard’s statement to the effect that he acted on business rather than political considerations.

“It’s blatant lie,” Saban said. “Therefore, we’re gonna weigh all of our options, and one thing is for sure, this isn’t over. It’s the beginning, and for one thing, any company that chooses to boycott business in Israel, is gonna look at this case, and once we’re done, they’re gonna think twice whether they wanna take on Israel or not.”

Asked if the protest in U.S. campuses is associated with the Israeli government’s policy, Saban said: I don’t want to get into what Israel’s policy is or is not. One thing is for sure: We do have an anti-Semitic tsunami that’s coming at us. 

“Maybe the Israeli audience is not aware of, that based on pure research, only 10 percent of Americans are anti-Semites. Just to be mathematically accurate, that’s 33 million people. So, we have to be aware of the fact that it our duty to put Israel’s right image forth to the people, so they see what the real Israel is.”

Adelson added: “Today, there’s little or no sign that in ...  American society that anti-Semitism is even 10 percent, but I’m absolutely positive that there’s a lot of anti-Semitism on campus. Now, the people that are buying it, I don’t believe are intentionally bigots, but they’re buying the arguments that are only reacted to by the various groups that are here [at the summit] today.”

Saban is one of the Democratic Party’s largest donors and fundraisers and is close to the Clintons. Asked about his own political differences with Adelson, Saban said, “When it comes to Israel, we are absolutely on the same page. Our interest is to take care of Israel’s interests in the U.S. ... when it comes to [BDS] there is no light between us at all.”

Adelson: “We can use our influence ... with anybody we know in the administration and in Congress for the betterment of the relations between the U.S. and Israel.”