The Times’ twin offense on Zionism and Adelson


There’s lots of head-scratching, if not eyebrow-raising, across the blogosphere and social media about how the New York Times designated as "Zionist" Sheldon Adelson’s reasons for backing the Republican Jewish Coailition’s campaign to swing Jewish votes.

From the Thursday paper:

Focused on South Florida, Ohio and Nevada, the Republican Jewish Coalition, backed mostly by the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a Zionist, has begun spending $6.5 million on an air-and-ground strategy to reach Jewish voters who may view Mr. Obama as unreliable on the question of Israel’s security.

The more obvious problem here is identifying Adelson’s motivation as strictly having to do with Israel. He has plenty of reasons to prefer to elect a Republican president — some noted by the Times itself in its editorial pages.

Yes, the RJC campaign has mostly do to with Obama and Israel — but not entirely; about a third of its emphasis is the economy. And it’s par for the course in U.S. politics for an opposition campaign to target a demographic using ammunition that has little or nothing to do with the campaign’s overarching rationale. The Times might have at least noted this.

The more subtle — but, possibly greater — offense might be taken by liberal Zionism: The use of "Zionist" unadorned suggests that Adelson’s brand is all it is. A "backer of Benjamin Netanyahu," a "skeptic of the two-state solution" would have made much better sense. The most sense of all, of course, would have been, "one of the leading Republican donors," period.

There have been no end of published Zionist arguments for voting for Obama, and there have been no end of Zionist arguments for voting against him, and the same goes for Mitt Romney.

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