IAC, Campus Maccabees Confirm Saban Bowed Out of Adelson Partnerships

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Haim Saban, July 7 2010Credit: Bloomberg

The Campus Maccabees and the Israeli American Council have confirmed that U.S. billionaire Haim Saban is no longer involved in the groups, the Jewish Journal reported Wednesday.

Saban had been supporting the pro-Israel groups alongside gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson, an unlikely partnership between two top donors to opposing American political parties.

“He’s a Democrat and I’m a Republican," said Adelson in a side by side interview with Saban on Israel's Channel 2 News, "We can use our influence, to the extent that both of us have any, with anybody that we know in the [presidential] administration or in Congress for the betterment of the relations between the U.S. and Israel.”

"When it comes to Israel, we are absolutely on the same page," added Saban. "Our interest is to take care of Israel’s interests in the United States. Period, over and out. So when it comes to this, there is no light between us at all.”

Both billionaires had been deeply involved in funding and relaunching the Israeli American Council, whose mission is to "build an engaged and united Israeli-American community," as a national organization. Although Saban helped found the organization, his donations have recently been overshadowed by Adelson, who donated more than $10 million to the IAC last year.

“The IAC is very proud that Haim Saban has been a champion and major supporter of our organization since its inception," said IAC board member and former chairman Shawn Evenhaim in a statement to the Jewish Journal. "In the near term, Mr. Saban is focusing all his efforts on the FIDF [Friends of the Israel Defense Forces] and the Saban Forum. We look forward to continuing our work with him.”

Adelson and Saban also launched the Campus Maccabees, a group which hopes to combat initiatives of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement on American college campuses, together in June.  

Campus Maccabees director David Brog said last week that he was confident that Saban's departure from the Campus Maccabees was not because of its political direction, which is likely to be more right wing now that Adelson is its primary benefactor.

“I can state 100 percent, Saban did not leave us because he had any problem with our plans or our direction,” Brog said. “They have expressed no concerns whatsoever about the direction of Campus Maccabees. They were very much involved in setting that direction.”