Gingrich and Adelson Forge Alliance

GOP Frontrunner Boasts Israel Support and Netanyahu Ties

Front of the Pack: Newt Gingrich is surging to the head of the Republican field. He doesn’t boast a large number of Jewish supporters, but has some big names in his corner.
getty images
Front of the Pack: Newt Gingrich is surging to the head of the Republican field. He doesn’t boast a large number of Jewish supporters, but has some big names in his corner.

By Nathan Guttman and Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published December 08, 2011, issue of December 16, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

In the battle for the Republican pro-Israel vote, Newt Gingrich lacks Mitt Romney’s broad base of prominent Jewish donors. But he has something potentially more powerful: the support of one of Benjamin Netanyahu’s most significant American backers, and a relationship with the Israeli prime minister himself that stretches back decades.

Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, one of the wealthiest men in the world and a major donor to Jewish and conservative causes, is widely known as a Netanyahu stalwart. Less well known are his equally close ties to Gingrich, to whom he has been a major giver in recent years.

BREAKING NEWS: Read the Forward’s coverage of Gingrich’s vow to support Israel more strongly

Adelson’s faith in Gingrich hasn’t been particularly contagious. High-profile Jewish supporters of Gingrich remain tough to find, even as Gingrich has rocketed into the GOP lead in national polling. Still, the former House speaker’s ties to Adelson, his relationship with Netanyahu and a foreign policy team packed with neoconservatives leave him well situated in the competition for pro-Israel voters.

Neither a spokesman for Adelson nor for the Gingrich campaign responded to repeated requests for comment for this story. But the alliance of Adelson and Gingrich is famous in Jewish Republican circles.

“They have been tremendous fans and supporters of Newt from day one,” Fred Zeidman, a Texas oil executive and prominent Republican Jewish supporter of Romney, said of Adelson and his wife, Miriam.

Sheldon Adelson
getty images
Sheldon Adelson

Adelson, who ranked eighth in Forbes’s 2011 list of the richest Americans, is chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., which owns casinos in Las Vegas and Macau, China. He has been a major funder of Taglit-Birthright Israel, which sends young Diaspora Jews on free trips to Israel, and has been among the most significant American supporters of Netanyahu. In 2007 he launched a free right-of-center newspaper in Israel called Israel Hayom.

At the same time, Adelson is among the largest political donors in the United States. Adelson and his wife rank second among individual contributors to federal candidates, parties and political action committees in the current election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Adelson has given particularly heavily to Gingrich-associated organizations. Between 2006 and 2010 he donated $7 million to American Solutions for Winning the Future, one of Gingrich’s political groups, according to a database maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.

American Solutions shut down in July. Around the same time, Gingrich’s campaign nearly came to a halt as staff members in key states resigned en masse. That same month, Tablet magazine suggested that Adelson had become less than full-throated in his support of Gingrich’s presidential run.

Six months later, Gingrich still lags far behind Romney in terms of fundraising. But with the successive polling collapses of Rick Perry and Herman Cain, Gingrich has surged to the top among conservatives seeking an alternative to Romney, who is perceived as a moderate. He now leads the GOP polls nationwide and in Iowa, which will hold caucuses January 3.

In early August, according to federal election filings, Adelson and his wife each donated to the Gingrich campaign $2,500, the federally mandated maximum for individual contributions. Figures on donations to a new Gingrich super PAC, which can raise unlimited amounts from individuals, have yet to be made public.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.