"One family stands out as playing exactly that role in the political career of Barack Obama: the Crown family of Chicago. The importance of this relationship in Obama’s career exposes some of the roots of his subservience to the government of Israel, his threats of aggression against Iran, his expansion of the JSOC/CIA targeted killing program, and his unswerving commitment to record military budgets in a time of economic and fiscal crisis."Israel, Big Money and Obama"
The Crowns are the children and grandchildren of Henry Crown, who made a fortune in the building materials business, had reputed links to the Chicago Mafia, and discovered the armaments business as a military procurement officer during the Second World War. Henry Crown bought a controlling interest in General Dynamics in 1959 and developed it into the largest weapons maker in the world, building the Trident submarine, the Atlas rocket, the F-16 fighter, the Abrams tank and much of America’s Cold War arsenal. The General Dynamics board forced him out as CEO in 1966, but he bought back a 20 percent share in the company and regained effective control in 1970.
Henry’s son Lester succeeded him as chair of General Dynamics in 1986 and as president of Henry Crown & Co, the family’s private investment firm. Lester is 86 now, but still takes a keen interest in politics. He is chair of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and founded the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, which also received a $2.5 million grant directly from General Dynamics. He supports the arts in the U.S. and Israel—the Jewish Symphony Orchestra plays in Henry Crown Hall in Jerusalem. The Crown family is worth at least $4 billion, making it one of the richest families in America.
Under Lester Crown’s watchful eye, his children now handle most of the family’s business and political interests. His son James became President of Henry Crown & Co. in 2003 and sits on the board of General Dynamics. Altogether the Crown family gave at least $128,000 to Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign, in which Henry Crown & Co. was also Obama’s third largest institutional donor. In 2008, James Crown and his wife Paula were Obama’s fundraising chairs in Illinois and his fourth largest “bundlers” nationwide, raising millions of dollars for his presidential campaign.
Lester Crown first met Obama when he was a 27-year-old intern at the Sidley Austin law firm in Chicago in the summer of 1989. One of Obama’s law professors at Harvard, Martha Minow, had recommended Obama to her father, Newton Minow, who was a partner at the firm. Minow took Obama under his wing and introduced him to his friend Lester Crown. Crown recalls that Minow called him and “said we have in our office a young man who I think is really going places and I’d like you to meet him.” Crown says he has been a supporter ever since.
Lester Crown was speaking to the Chicago Jewish News in 2008 to allay fears among American Zionists regarding Obama’s views on Israel and Palestine. He stressed that, “knowing him long before he got into politics, I know he is completely supportive, without any question or equivocation, of Israel’s security. He is only interested (in a two-state solution) if Israel’s security is absolutely assured, and that was his position long before he ever went into politics.
His speeches to AIPAC are not new positions, merely the vocalization of what he has always believed.... From the time I met him, the times we talked about Israel, and we talked about it several times, he has been an ardent backer of Israel’s defense position, Israel’s security position. He has been a proponent of the two-state solution, but only on the hopes that you will have a demilitarized peaceful Palestinian entity, which you do not have now.”
If Crown is correct, President Obama only supports a Palestinian state as a “demilitarized...entity,” even as he pours U.S. military aid into Israel. In a world where every other state has a recognized right to arm and defend itself, a “demilitarized entity” would only be a sort of semi-state. In effect, what Crown and Obama favor is a “one-and-half-state solution,” precluding the genuine sovereignty for Palestine that the U.S. government officially supports and that Palestinians are struggling for. If Obama’s views are as close to Lester Crown’s as Crown thinks they are, it is little wonder that he has made no progress toward resolving the conflict."
"Mr. Obama's neighborhood"
"Did billionaire Lester Crown get to Obama on Israel?" "Did top Obama donor carry Israeli message to W.H.?"
A nudge (note how it is all about Israel): "Chicago's Susan Crown, Influential Obama '08 Supporter, Campaigns for Romney '12"
No worries, Dad's still onside: "The Obama gut test"
Early Crown (and Pritzker) support made Barry's political career. The Crown family views on the nature of the Palestinian 'state' - more like a concentration camp than a state - have continued to make it impossible for Obama to play any positive role in the Middle East. He has, however, been able to resist their call for a genocidal war on Iran that would wreck both countries.