The Zionist Organization of America has been the only pro-Israel organization to join calls made by right-wing Republicans demanding the ouster of national security adviser H. R. McMaster, for what they see as his anti-Israel bias.
Now, it turns out that the ZOA’s report criticizing McMaster, has gained the tacit support of Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who is also a ZOA major funder. This development was first reported by Axios on Saturday.
In an email to ZOA’s president Morton Klein, obtained by the Forward, the Las Vegas casino magnate made clear that he supports Klein’s effort, although with the caveat: “not that I am looking to get deeply involved in this debate.”
Adelson reached this decision based on a recent meeting with Safra Catz, an Israeli-born top hi-tech executive who was also considered for a cabinet position in the Trump administration. Catz, according to Adelson, “told me about a dinner she had with [McMaster] recently and it certainly enlightened me quite a bit.” He then added: “Now that I have talked to somebody with personal experience with McMaster, I support your efforts.”
But while Adelson appears to agree with the claim that McMaster is biased against Israel, he will not take up the campaign against the national security adviser or put up cash to fund it.
“I can’t get involved in every campaign and every debate,” he wrote Klein. “Politics is your full time job. It’s not my full time job.”
Adelson’s clarification came in response to a request he received from Klein to explain comments attributed to his spokesman stating Adelson “disavows” the ZOA’s campaign against McMaster. These comments, Klein noted, were “hurtful”. “I am sorry that you feel hurtful but I never used the word ‘disavowed,’” Adelson responded. “What I do know is that Morton Klein is the strongest Zionist I know and carries on campaigns for what he sincerely and profoundly cares about. “
The drive to oust McMaster from the National Security Council was spearheaded by insiders close to Steve Bannon, who was fired Friday from his position as chief White House strategist.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.