Rupert as Humanitarian

News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch’s recent sparring partners, Time Warner chairman Gerald Levin and vice chairman Ted Turner, were noticeably absent from Gotham’s Waldorf-Astoria during the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York’s annual entertainment and music industries dinner Thursday, at which Murdoch was named Humanitarian of the Year.

But just about everyone else was there, including Sony Corp. president Nobuyuki Idei, Sony Corp. of America president Howard Stringer, Metromedia Intl. Group chairman John Kluge, former CBS Inc. chairman Larry Tisch, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and Intl. Family Entertainment chairman Pat Robertson, as well as Murdoch’s immediate family.

Emceed by New York Post columnist Liz Smith, the evening’s featured speakers were Viacom Inc. chairman Sumner Redstone, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (on tape). Redstone told the gathering it is “better to have (Murdoch) as a friend than as an adversary. If you don’t believe that, ask Jerry or Ted. They’re not here tonight, and that tells a story.”

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