The Shanda Problem and the Republicans








A recent opinion piece in the Boston Globe elicited many responses in the Jewish community for its assertion that many Jews involved in the alt-right are willing participants in spreading white nationalist and even anti-Semitic propaganda, even if they claim they are not aware of it.

Of course, this has been a lie since then. The Jews in the White House who support right-wing nationalists and anti-immigrant causes know where their paychecks are coming from. The article mentions Steven Miller, Ben Shapiro, former leftist David Horowitz, and Jared Kushner.

This article says “A shocking number of Jews have become willing collaborators in white supremacy.” Still, it fails to mention the critical role of Sheldon Adelson, the biggest donor to Republicans. His money is being given to a highly conservative Republican Party that has connections to the alt-right.  One of the key messages from this segment is anti-semitic, yet Adelson has not made any public statements about this development, nor his efforts to stop it.

Without his money, the funding of Republican hate groups would drop significantly. But as it is today, Adelson’s donations are financing the hate groups. He should publicly say if his money is expressly being denied to Republicans with right-wing policies. If this were the case, he would not be the largest donor to Republicans. It also is laughable to the right-wing groups with anti-Semitic messages that their efforts are being funded by a Jewish billionaire who cares more about his tax rate than his people.

When a Jew disgraces their community, the community calls it a “shanda,” an embarrassment for the community.

The Chabad provides this definition: “In Yiddish, the word shanda is used as “shame”  in English. So after a shanda takes place, the protagonists of the event may feel that they are being put tzu shand, “to shame.”  One may refer to cohorts in shameful activity as shander bander. This rhyme gave rise to another little rhyme: shander bander—einer a kaporah auf an anderer, “a disgraceful bunch—each one worse than the other.” Sound familiar?

The present situation, combined with the news that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is on the verge of being indicted for fraud, only makes the situation worse. Netanyahu is a close friend of Adelson, Jarad Kushner, and Donald Trump.

The Shanda problem exists because American Jews today have less of a community identity than decades earlier. American Jews are less connected to Israeli Jews, polls tell us, and so there is more community disintegration and anomie. This is linked to declining synagogue membership and attendance.

By tradition and law, Jews are told to pray in groups, minions at a minimum, and not alone, if possible. A Jewish prayer is a community event, not individual meditation on a park bench, house, or mountaintop. If Jews pray alone or not at all, it only adds to the community disintegration and the rise of non-role model Jews, like Steven Miller and others.

When the Jewish community has tighter ties, it can keep errant or unknowledgeable members in check. This is how the community regulates itself and maintains a high ethical order and function level. Trust in faith and business is linked. When these links are broken, the community suffers a lapse of community faith and commerce, and the individual responsible for it is the cause of the shanda.

The Adelson Problem

An Oct. 30, 2018 post on this site, Can Sheldon Adelson Make the Republican Party Less Anti-Semitic, said: “One of the largest donors to the Republican Party, 84-year-old billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, is allowing his millions in donations to be used to fund a Republican Party that has spread distinct white nationalist, racist and anti-Semitic messages that have promoted violent actions.”

My personal opinion is that it is miserable that the largest individual donor to the Republic Party during the Trump administration is  Jewish.  That is a big problem. The reason: the Republican Party now espouses values that are anti-humanitarian, anti-environment and anti-democratic. They are devoid of classic conservative thought. It is a new neoliberal policy dominated by the needs, priorities, and values of the wealthiest people in the nation.

It is very unfortunate that the largest individual donor to the Republican Party during the Trump presidency is Jewish. That is a big problem. The reason: the Republican Party now espouses values that are anti-humanitarian, anti-environment and anti-democratic led by a president who some historians consider to be the most corrupt in history.

Adelson must support these Republican policies. As a vast donor and businessman, he has the power to control the spread of anti-Semitic messages from the Republican Party at the state and federal levels. But so far, he has remained publicly silent on this issue. Alternately, Adelson is pro-Israel, and he is very close with Netanyahu. Adelson also probably financed the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

But on the domestic side, the rise in anti-Semitic speech from the Republican Party and all of its grassroots elements is rising.  These events are shocking since Adelson, who is Jewish and a significant donor to Israel and Holocaust memorials and studies, certainly knows about the global history of anti-Semitism. As a billionaire businessman (net worth estimated at $41 billion), he certainly knows his contributions have the power to stop parts of the Republican Party from advancing anti-Semitic and racist messages at the national and state levels.

It also must be said that Adelson and his wife, Miriam, are huge donors to the Jewish community in the U.S. and Israel. He is a very generous man. He also knows the power of his money. He is so powerful that many in the Jewish political and philanthropic world are afraid of criticizing him publicly.

The big question is why does Adelson not say anything publicly about the anti-Semitism in the Republican Party and its many small groups, all of which get money from the national and state Republican parties?

Responsibilities of the Biggest Donor

Is Adelson just another version of a Jewish Trump? Most importantly, will the killings in the Pittsburgh synagogue change Adelson’s political agenda and focus more attention on the anti-Semitic right-wing violence at the risk of endangering his support of the right-wing government in Israel? Or, will he do nothing to stop anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. as long as Trump supports a right-wing government in Israel and preferential tax policies in the U.S.?

This is a complex situation for Adelson. It all revolves around his personal power-broker ambitions and how he wants his political power used for the good of the Jewish community in the U.S., supporting a conservative government in Israel or advancing a conservative Republican political agenda that has a distinct anti-Jewish element. Adelson’s situation also shows the limitations of making political contributions and how that money can be misused to fuel a very different political goal than the donor wants.”

Adelson is a sensitive topic in the Jewish Community. In a June 30, 2008 account in the New Yorker by Connie Bruck, she recounts that “not long after Bush’s encounter with Adelson last October (in which Adelson railed against Condi Rice’s Annapolis agenda regarding the Palestinian-Israeli peace conference), an Israeli government representative said that Bush, describing it to another Israeli official, had remarked wryly, “I had this crazy Jewish billionaire, yelling at me.” The “crazy Jewish billionaire” was Adelson.

In another section of the article, Bruck reports, “According to a guest at a reception in Washington a few years ago, Adelson remarked to President Bush, ‘You know, I am the richest Jew in the world.’ He also introduced himself that way to a former Israeli official recently.”

Numerous sites report that Adelson and his Israeli-born wife, Miriam, have contributed millions to educational and commemorative organizations such as Birthright Israel, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, the Museum of Holocaust Art, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. He also founded the Adelson Family Charitable Trust, expected to donate $200 million to Israeli and Jewish causes worldwide.

In the 1990s’ he became a conservative Republican to support the war on drugs and, as a businessman, to oppose online gambling that would compete with his casinos. Since then, he has given about $100 million in the 2012 elections to Republicans; in 2016, he gave over $82 million.

Most recently, the site Open Secrets found that in the second-quarter 2018 fundraising, Adelson donated $30 million to a conservative super PAC supporting House Republicans. However, as of May 2018, the Adelsons contributed less than $350,000 this cycle but then switched gears and made a $30 million donation to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican PAC that supports House candidates. His contribution accounted for about 80% of that PAC’s contributions.

Adelson’s money is probably finding its way into organized hate fests, such as the recent CPAC conference, where some speakers said that Hitler did a few things right. If any funding for CPAC alone is traced to Adelson, he should be held accountable. He may be a big part of the Shanda problem.


  1. You accuse the Republican party of being anti Semitic,but a Democrat is in the news for being as such? Shame on you for putting down the republicans who are trying to get things done.don’t you understand that we the people elected trump not because he was perfect,but because he at least promised to try to change things in government.sick and tired of him being hammered for trying to do good.I live in texas and can tell you we need the wall and better security to keep drugs and possibly unwanted people out.this is not a racial thing,it’s a security thing.way too easy to slip drugs or even a nuclear bomb into the USA by our porous southern border.due to us being the hub of oilfield work,that makes us a prime target for the use of such a weapon.a overwhelming amount of the people here want a wall built.don’t believe the news,they are just reporting a few people.not the majority.not jewish myself,but have many friends of different ethnic origins and do not see colors,just what the person is.if people would quit being racist and just be american,most of the hate aproblems would go away.I am part Cherokee.but am and will always be american,and proud to say so.instead of propagating hate can’t you at least try to use reason and realise that the whole Republican party is to blame,and neither is the Democratic party either?everyone needs to promote peace if we are to make any changes for the better.there is still enough room in this country for people of different ethics to live in peace.won’t you join me in praying for peace?


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