Billionaire media mogul Haim Saban, one of the Democratic Party’s biggest Hollywood donors, says he is “deeply disturbed” by the Obama administration’s recent actions on Israel, including allowing a “biased” resolution to pass in the United Nations Security Council.
The 72-year-old Israeli-American mogul — who donated more than $10 million to Hillary Clinton’s losing presidential campaign and hosted a fundraiser for her in August — issued a statement through his publicist on Wednesday sharply criticizing the Obama administration for the December move at the UN and for Secretary of State John Kerry’s subsequent speech, which he called “one-sided.”
“As a longstanding Democrat who has supported and defended President Obama on his treatment of Israel throughout his presidency, I am deeply disturbed by the Administration’s decision not to veto UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and Secretary Kerry’s subsequent one sided speech,” Saban said.
“These actions undermine our country’s long-standing support for Israel and harm any long-term prospects for peace, which is in our national interest,” he added. “Further, I urge the Obama Administration to stay true to our decades old policy by vetoing any additional biased UNSC resolutions that may be introduced at the Paris summit later this month, and refrain from issuing any other policy statements that would only make things worse.”
UNSC Resolution 2334 passed in December by a 14-0 vote, with the U.S. departing from longstanding Israel policy by abstaining from the vote. The resolution called for a halt to housing construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas it called “occupied Palestinian territory,” and deemed Israeli building a “major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”
Saban is hardly the only Democrat to have rebuked the Obama administration following the passage of the resolution. A group of six Democratic senators — including Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-VT) and Chris Coons (D-DE) — each issued condemnations of the resolution in the days following the vote.
In his statement Wednesday, Saban called the successful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a “core American interest” and urged the U.S. to “maintain its credibility as an intermediary between the parties.”
Saban has continued his political advocacy in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential election. At a Brookings Institute event in December, the media mogul sharply criticized Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), calling him “clearly an anti-Semite, anti-Israel individual.” Ellison, one of the leading contenders to chair the Democratic National Committee, has previously expressed support for the Nation of Islam and its leader, Louis Farrakhan.
“Words matter and actions matter more,” Saban said then. “Keith Ellison would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.”
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum