Sheldon Adelson, casino mogul, main single donor to Donald Trump and other Republican causes and influential opponent of a two-state solution in the Middle East, has died. He was 87 years old.
In a statement Tuesday, his wife, Dr Miriam Adelson, said the president and CEO of Las Vegas Sands had died “of complications from a long illness.” A Nevada newspaper owned by Adelson reported that the cause of death was non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which Adelson was found to have in 2019.
“It is with unbearable pain that I announce the death of my husband, Sheldon G Adelson,” said Miriam Adelson.
Adelson was born in 1933 and raised in a suburb of Boston, his father a taxi driver of Ukrainian Jewish and Lithuanian Jewish descent.
As the owner of the giant Venetian and palazzo casino complexes in Las Vegas, the Venetian Macau in China and the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, he was among the richest men in the world, with a net worth set by Forbes at over 33 dollars. bn.
In the 2020 election, the Adelsons set a new record for political giveaways from individuals, flooding the Trump campaign and related accounts, and many lesser Republican campaigns, with a total of $ 172.7 million , according to investigative campaign fundraising site Open Secrets.
The Adelsons were the top donors in all major election cycles going back a decade except 2016, and their lifetime political donations amounted to around half a billion dollars, Open Secrets said.
In a statement Tuesday, former President George W Bush said, “Laura and I mourn the passing of a friend. “
An enemy of union organizing in his casinos, Adelson was a veteran of bloody negotiations and criticism from union political machines in Las Vegas and elsewhere, a conflict seen as fueling his support for anti-union Republican politicians.
In 2015, in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit brought by an employee, Adelson spent four days in court defending his gaming empire against charges of corruption and links to organized crime in China.
Initially skeptical of Trump, whom he knew as a failing casino entrepreneur, Adelson was late in running in the 2016 election. Since the early 2000s, he had given priority to candidates who opposed the Palestinian state, and it was not initially known where Trump was on Israel.
But Adelson’s and Trump’s priorities were tied in Trump’s family relationship, through President Jared Kushner’s son-in-law, to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Adelson had long supported.
Adelson was worshiped across much of the political spectrum in Israel for his broad support for many Jewish and Zionist organizations.
In particular, it has been praised by extremist nationalists, in part because of its financial support for Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, which are considered illegal by most of the world powers. A medical school in an occupied West Bank settlement is named after the Adelsons.
The billionaire’s death has been mourned by several far-right Israeli politicians, including Naftali Bennett, a former defense minister, who he told me Adelson would be “forever recorded in the annals of the State of Israel.”
Local media reported that Adelson’s funeral would be held in Israel.
Adelson’s influence over Trump has been seen as a major factor in the president’s assertive foreign policy on Israel, including his decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a deeply controversial move as parts of the city are also claimed by the Palestinians.
The current and longest-serving Israeli prime minister, Netanyahu, has also been a major beneficiary of Adelson, who in 2007 started a free newspaper called Israel Hayom that clearly supported the Israeli leader. The newspaper has since grown into the country’s most widely distributed daily.
Netanyahu he told me he felt “deep sadness and sorrow” upon learning of Adelson’s death. The news will be a blow to the prime minister, who faces an election at the end of March, though Adelson’s wife has long been seen as a figurehead in family decisions about Israel.
“Along with his wife Miri, Sheldon was one of the greatest contributors in history to the Jewish people, Zionism, the settlements and the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said, using the nickname Miriam.
In 2018, Trump gave Miriam Adelson America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom – alongside Elvis Presley and Babe Ruth.
In her statement on Tuesday, she called her husband “an American patriot: a veteran of the United States military who gave generously to wounded warriors and, wherever he could, saw to the advancement of this great United States. “.
“He was the proudest of the Jews,” she said, adding that he “saw in the State of Israel not only the fulfillment of a historic promise to a unique and deserving people, but also a gift. from the Almighty to all mankind.
As Adelson changed American politics with his money, endowing thousands of local Republican campaigns with the resources, messages, and structure to win, his sympathy for Trump ended in the president’s defeat for re-election in last november.
In 2015, Adelson acquired the Las Vegas Review-Journal as part of a secret offer, after the newspaper published papers on his empire. Last November, the newspaper rejected Trump’s efforts to deny his loss to Joe Biden in Nevada, urging Trump to accept the result.