Do attacks on George Soros inherently constitute anti-Semitism because Soros is Jewish, or because he’s a Democrat? The media’s long-running enthusiasm for attacking conservative donor Sheldon Adelson suggest there just might be a double standard at work in which liberal donors are off limits, while conservative donors are fair game.
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Adelson, however, has also been the target of language that draws on the same themes and is at times indistinguishable from attacks on Soros that do indeed echo with anti-Semitic tropes—though in the case of Adelson, such language comes not from the white supremacist site Storm Front but, usually, Chris Matthews at MSNBC.
Adelson, however, has also been the recipient of language that may call to mind imagery of wealthy Jews controlling events from behind the scenes, or, to some, may just be legitimately critical words of a major political power player.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews has called Adelson a "neocon king," warned about him being one of the "financiers" of Trump's inauguration, fretted about his "frightening influence" on Middle East policy, and called him a "sugar daddy" for Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), who looked at the lawmaker as a "sock puppet." Matthews also referred to a gathering of pro-Israel Republicans for Adelson as the donor's "whore bar," because they'll "say anything for that guy, because he’s a hawk, to get his money."
MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle smirked at the camera and surmised Trump exited the Iran nuclear deal to "please Sheldon Adelson," and then-Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert once joked about Scott Walker wanting the "blessing and fortune of Sheldon Adelson, but they're not greedy. They'll settle for just the fortune."
Tom Steyer, another Democratic megadonor whose father was Jewish, recently said Adelson's transfer of millions to the Republican National Committee was directly tied to the Trump administration's move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal.
"There's something going on here that's very scary and very dangerous," Steyer said.