George and Amal Clooney Co-Hosting $34,300-A-Person Clinton Fundraiser With Pro-Israel Mega-Donor

Haim Saban has called for Muslim Americans to be deprived of key civil rights protections and for the United States to consider ruthlessly bombing Iran.

Haim Saban, Amal Clooney and George Clooney pictured from left to right.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Hollywood A-lister George Clooney and his lawyer-activist wife Amal have cultivated a reputation for defending human rights.

But on April 16, they will hold a high-priced, pro-Hillary Clinton fundraiser at their mansion alongside co-host Haim Saban—a fervent Israel supporter who has called for Muslim Americans to be deprived of key civil rights protections and for the United States to consider ruthlessly bombing Iran

This is not the first time that the media mogul Haim Saban, and his wife Cheryl, have raised large sums for the Clinton campaign. As AlterNet previously reported, the couple together directly contributed $5 million to the Hillary Clinton Super PAC—Priorities USA Action—between 2015 and 2016.

Three million of those dollars came in after Clinton wrote a letter to Haim Saban in which she pledged to “work together” to defeat the growing BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement to win human rights and self-determination for Palestinians. Clinton has repeatedly vowed to make a close relationship with the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a centerpiece of her presidency if she is elected.

Clinton shares this pro-Israel focus with Haim Saban, who told the New Yorker in 2010, “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.” In the lead-up to the nuclear accord between world powers and Iran, Saban declared: “If the government of Israel comes to the conclusion that the deal signed puts Israel’s security at risk, I would bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches."

Saban and his wife Cheryl must pay $100,000 to co-host the Clinton fundraiser at the Clooney mansion, where tickets cost $33,400 per person. The Clooneys will also be featured at an April 15th fundraiser at Bay Area venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar’s home, where the price of sitting at the head table is a stunning $353,000.

While the maximum donation for the presidential primary is $2,700, the money raised will be funneled to the “Hillary Victory Fund” which can accept much bigger donations. That fund includes Hillary for America, the Democratic National Committee and more than 30 state party committees.

The huge price tag for these events has attracted considerable criticism, with presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders slamming the fundraisers as examples of “big money dominating our political system.”

But the role of Haim Saban is also notable—precisely because of the Clooneys’ reputations for human rights advocacy. Amal Clooney took on the high-profile case of Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohammed Fahmy, who was unjustly imprisoned by the Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Egyptian dictatorship (interestingly, the Egyptian dictatorship’s lobbying firm has close ties to the Clintons).

Amal Clooney recently turned down an offer from the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate Israeli war crimes in Gaza during its summer 2014 military assault—but urged a meaningful probe. “I am horrified by the situation in the occupied Gaza Strip, particularly the civilian casualties that have been caused, and strongly believe that there should be an independent investigation and accountability for crimes that have been committed,” she said.

George Clooney, meanwhile, was described by one reporter as “one of the most charitable hearts in Hollywood.” He is involved in numerous initiatives to bring an end to mass atrocities and human rights violations, including the organization Not On Our Watch.

In his invitation to the fundraiser at his home, George Clooney declared: "If you listen to the loudest voices out there today, you'd think we're a country that hates Mexicans, hates Muslims, and thinks that committing war crimes is the best way to make America great again.” He continued, “The truth is that the only thing that would prevent America from being great would be to empower these voices.”

Sarah Lazare is a staff writer for AlterNet. A former staff writer for Common Dreams, she coedited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahlazare.

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