Jul 10, 2019
Billionaire mega-donor Haim Saban said Wednesday that he loves every 2020 Democratic presidential candidate--before quickly correcting himself.
"No, minus one. I profoundly dislike Bernie Sanders, and you can write it," Saban toldThe Hollywood Reporter. "I don't give a hoot."
Saban, whose net worth is estimated to be around $3 billion, said his disdain for the Vermont senator stems from his frequent denunciations of the "billionaire class," which, said Saban, is "how communists think."
"He's a communist under the cover of being a socialist," Saban said of Sanders. "He thinks that every billionaire is a crook. He calls us 'the billionaire class.' And he attacks us indiscriminately. 'It's the billionaire class, the bad guys.'"
"So, 22 are great," he said of the field of White House hopefuls. "One is a disaster zone."
The Sanders campaign was quick to welcome Saban's hatred. Josh Miller-Lewis, Sanders's digital communications director, tweeted:
"Siri, show me the hatred that we welcome," said Sanders speechwriter David Sirota.
The Hollywood Reporter interview is not the first time Saban has lashed out at Sanders.
Saban--who told the New Yorker in 2010 that he is "a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel"--expressed fury at Sanders last year for spearheading a letter that called for humanitarian aid to the occupied Gaza Strip.
"Senators, for you to listen to Senator Sanders and accuse Israel of being the main culprit is outrageous, misinformed, offensive, and shows a lack of understanding of the region's basic fundamentals," Saban wrote in an email to Democrats who signed Sanders's letter, which urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "act urgently in order to help relieve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip."
As The Intercept reported at the time, Sanders's letter "came amid a deadly Israeli response to a protest movement in the Gaza Strip... Three days after the senators sent the letter, Israel fired on another round of protests, leaving dozens dead and hundreds more wounded."
Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told The Intercept that the tone of Saban's email sounded "less like a sincere attempt to convince anyone and more like the bitter ramblings of a political investor who knows the base of the party he has long supported is uninterested in backing Israel's heinous human rights abuses any more."
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