Obama Must Do More For Israel: Billionaire Entrepreneur
CNBC Chief International Correspondent
The most prominent Israeli-American business leader in the United States, Haim Saban, says President Obama needs to do more to show his support of Israel in light of the President’s comments last week suggesting Israel needs to return to its pre-1967 borders to achieve peace with the Palestinians.
In an exclusive interview with CNBC, Saban, one of the biggest individual supporters to the Democratic Party and chairman of Saban Capital Group, said Obama needs to visit Israel as he has done with other countries in the Middle East.
“I'm very perplexed as to why the president, who's been to Cairo, to Saudi Arabia, to Turkey, has not made a stop in Israel and spoken to the Israeli people, Saban said. "I believe that the president can clarify to the Israeli people what his positions are on Israel and calm them down. Because they are not calm right now.”
President Obama’s announcement last week that Israel would need to return to the “pre-1967 borders” in order to achieve peace with the Palestinians, prompted a huge outcry from Israelis and Israelis-Americans.
Obama has since backtracked on that statement. In a second speech this past weekend, he clarified that what he meant was there needed to be mutually agreed-upon land swaps.
In response to that shift in position Saban said, “The president has clarified what he means, and I believe that with that, you know, we're all good. As an Israeli-American, we're all good.”
Just as prickly an issue, is whether the president’s treatment of Israel will cause Saban to cut donations to Democrats. He has long been one of the largest individual donors, including giving millions of dollars to help the party build a new headquarters.
Right now, Saban doesn’t plan to donate to President Obama as he has other Democrats.
“President Obama has raised so much money and will raise so much money through the Internet, more than anybody before him. And he frankly doesn't, I believe, need any of my donations.
"Will I donate if I am solicited? I will donate. But I can tell you that my staunch support in enlisting people to contribute to the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] and to the [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee] as well as to Democratic senators and congresspeople hasn't weakened in any way, shape or form. I continue to be a very active supporters of Democrats in both the Senate and the Congress.”
Saban is the chairman of Univision Spanish Television. He made his first big money when he brought the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" to the United States from Japan.
He is a musician as well, and wrote the original theme music to the children’s cartoon “Inspector Gadget.” He is a self-made billionaire, worth $3.3 billion, according to the Forbes ranking, where he is 287th on the list.
Look for Michelle Caruso-Cabrera's interview with Saim Haban today on "Power Lunch," 1-2pm ET on CNBC.