The ‘right’ to criticize — Adelson’s odd locution


Commentary’s Alana Goodman got to sit down with Sheldon Adelson at his Venetian office and asked him about his role in trying to unseat President Obama (the money wasn’t a big deal), his thoughts on hot button social issues (the Republicans ought to lighten up) and more.

It’s a good get for Goodman — Adelson’s hard to pin down for an interview.

One of his locutions intrigued me, though:


As for the critics, Adelson was dismissive: “What right do they have to criticize me? They don’t know me at all.”

And then:

I asked him what he thought about accusations that he is more loyal to Israel than the U.S., an anti-Semitic smear that proliferated during the election.

“Listen, I live here. I don’t live there,” he said. “My wife is Israeli, my children carry Israeli passports, but I don’t. And what right do critics have to make any comment about who I’m loyal to?”

Adelson is a native speaker, and he repeated the usage twice — what "right" do critics have to criticize?

This is curious, not merely considering America’s founding principles, but because of some of what Adelson is famous for: He just spent upwards of $100 million criticizing others — first Mitt Romney, then Obama. He runs a giveaway paper in Israel that makes it its business (as newspapers legitimately do) to rip apart public figures.

What is Adelson getting at?

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