Adelson Snubs Bannon After Loud Praise and Call for U.S. Jews to Join His 'Insurgency'

'The Adelsons will not be supporting Steve Bannon’s efforts,' a spokesman for the billionaire mega-donor said after he reportedly skipped ZOA dinner to distance himself from Bannon

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson speaks during a keynote presentation session at the 14th CLSA Japan Forum in Tokyo, Japan, February 21, 2017.
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson speaks during a keynote presentation session at the 14th CLSA Japan Forum in Tokyo, Japan, February 21, 2017. Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Republican party mega-donor Sheldon Adelson will not support Steve Bannon's call for U.S. Jews to join his "insurgency" against the Republican establishment. Adelson even opted out of attending the Zionist Organization of America's annual awards dinner to publicly distance himself from Bannon, Politico reported on Monday.

Bannon, U.S. President Donald Trump's former chief strategist, was in attendance and delivered a speech at the event organized by the ZOA, one of an array of right-wing pro-Israel groups sponsored by Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate.

In his speech, Bannon praised Adelson lavishly and appealed to American Jews to "work as partners" in his crusade against Republican leaders he blames for blocking Trump's agenda.

However, "the Adelsons will not be supporting Steve Bannon’s efforts," said Andy Abboud, an Adelson spokesman, referring to Adelson and his wife, Miriam. "They are supporting Mitch McConnell," the Kentucky senator who is the Senate majority leader, "100 percent. For anyone to infer anything otherwise is wrong."

Just last month, however, the Adelson-backed ZOA released a statement in support of Bannon, whom McConnell's political team had accused at the time of harboring anti-Semitic views. 

"We are proud and fortunate to have Steve Bannon on our side fighting for Israel and against anti-Semitism," Politico quoted the statement as saying. "And we’re honored that he will be a speaker at ZOA’s 2017 Gala where he will be introducing Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, the greatest pro-Jewish Zionists on the face of the planet."

But, according to the report, Adelson has recently "grown concerned about a perception that he was closely allied with the bombastic former White House aide." 

After Trump fired him, Bannon has returned to the helm of Breitbart News, an outlet that is popular among some white supremacists, anti-Semites and others who identify with the so-called alt-right movement.

Bannon's participation in the ZOA event has raised criticism from many Jewish leaders, some seeing the political figure as tacitly encouraging alt-right and neo-Nazi supporters.