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Why is Charlie Rose hugging Seth Klarman?

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An Interview with Seth Klarman and Charlie Rose from Facing History and Ourselves on Vimeo.

Check out this video from November 1 in New York. Seth Klarman is a big hedge fund manager and philanthropist. He’s never been on the actual Charlie Rose show, but Rose interviews him at an event for Klarman’s organization that fights anti-Semitism, called Facing History.

At the end of the interview, Charlie Rose hugs Klarman. And that hug is the heart of the problem in our liberal media culture.

Seth Klarman seems to be a good liberal. Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School, is on Facing History’s board. Klarman’s wife Beth gives money to Barack Obama, Barbara Boxer, and Barney Frank. The Klarman Family Foundation (with an annual budget of about $40 million) gives tons to hospitals and arts organizations, the ballet, Shakespeare, Big Brother, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL. It has also given money to public television. I bet that Charlie Rose’s show is getting support from Klarman– or that Rose is seeking money from him, and that’s why he’s doing this interview.

But being a liberal philanthropist is just one side of Klarman. He is also an Israel lobbyist who is just as rightwing as Sheldon Adelson, the casino owner who supports the Republican Party.

Klarman gives money to settler groups: the Central Fund of Israel,which pays for settlers’ “security needs” in the occupied West Bank, and Ir David, which is digging up East Jerusalem and displacing Palestinians. He gives $1 million in a year to Birthright, the program to send young American Jews to Israel to fall in love with the Jewish state. He supports the rightwing propaganda organization, the Israel Project (he’s on their board), gives big money to the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces, and to top it off, Klarman is chairman of the board of the David Project, the group that has targeted Arab and Muslim intellectuals on college campuses. 

Klarman epitomizes the foreign-policy crisis of the liberal Establishment: he supports every traditional liberal cause at the same time as he is a rightwinger on Middle East policy. And he’s hardly alone. I’ve written about other big liberal philanthropists who swing right on Israel here.

And Charlie Rose knows this. Just ask him! He is dependent on such sources for funding, and the price of that support is not criticizing Israel. Or keeping that criticism faint.  

At Minute 40 or so in the video above, Charlie Rose says “Israel is under siege like it’s never been since 1948” and then flatters Klarman about his commitment to Israel. And Klarman tells Charlie Rose that the rise of criticism of Israel is like the rise of Nazism:

I am scared of this moment in history. When you look at the history of anti-semitism… hatred of Jews has shifted to hatred of the Jewish state… When Israel is singled out like no other country….[it recalls the] slow march of Hitler. [There is a] steady march in the world, from college campuses to the U.N. People would love to dismantle the Jewish state…. When Israel is singled out, when Jews are singled out, it’s absolutely terrifying…

When people ask why Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, is to the right of Mitt Romney and Rick Perry on aid to Israel, it’s because Klarman is not alone, the Democratic Party relies on rich conservatives like Klarman. It is because the heart of liberal east coast philanthropy–the same people who endow halls at Princeton and Yale-– also are paying for 81 Congress people to go to Israel last summer, more than to any other country.

When people ask why Barney Frank is afraid to come out publicly against settlements until 5000 Jews in his district take such a stand, it is because he gets support from the Seth Klarmans of the word.

When people ask why Barack Obama changed his mind about settlements, the Seth Klarmans of the world are the reason. Obama is mobbed up with the same people that Charlie Rose is mobbed up with, people who back Barney Frank and Martha Minow. Obama is good friends of Martha Minow.

Seth Klarman gives lots of money to educational institutions. His brother teaches at Harvard Law School. And here is Klarman paying for Harvard Law students to go to Israel–with support from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a big funder of Israeli hasbara in the west: 

March 19, 2010: A delegation of Harvard Law students is visiting Israel this week as part of a ten-day America-Israel Friendship League (AIFL) educational mission to Israel.

This is the second year AIFL is cooperating with the Harvard Law Jewish Students’ Association and Professor Alan Dershowitz to send future lawyers on a seminar to Israel. The mission was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and contributions from Mr. Robert Kraft and Mr. Seth Klarman.

Here is Klarman in the Boston Herald, saying that Israel has nothing to do with the unending conflict in the Middle East:

In a recent New York Times [NYT] op-ed, Turkish President Abdullah Gul wrote that, “The plight of the Palestinians has been a root cause of unrest and conflict” in the Middle East. This remark brazenly advanced a dogma that has been decisively discredited by recent events in the Arab world. It is now time to relegate it to the dustbin of history.

And here is Klarman writing that Jews are under siege, and there’s a conspiracy afoot to demolish the Jewish state.

In the West, “Palestinianism” — the notion that an innocent, indigenous people suffers a senseless, cruel oppression by the Jews of Israel (who ought to know better) threatens to become the standard view. It is the basis for an attack by Western radicals on Zionism, Jewish national self-determination, and by extension on Jews everywhere.

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I believe we ought to be relieved Charlie just hugged the guy. If you ever watch him interview any of the liberal elites there always seems the danger that he’s going to actually get down on his knees, crawl over behind ’em and start asking how their posteriors acquired such diverse and wonderful characteristics in addition to all their other previously explored greatnesses. And the funny thing is it’s so genuine. I don’t think it’s… Read more »

Thanks, Phil. This is brilliant and goes to the crux of US-Israel politics. Until there is a real and open split within the self-identified Jewish community in our country it is hard to see how the Zionist domination of all levers of US political power will be undermined. Figures like Klarman — and their money — need to be repudiated by people of good will. And the vast majority of US citizens who do not… Read more »

You cannot build an orphanage without money. If you don’t own a bank, perhaps you must rob one to generate sufficient funds. You cannot build an orphanage for all the long-suffering Jews of the world in Palestine unless you own (part of) Palestine or steal it. Israel is (when seen in the most favorable light) a philanthropic enterprise, created to save Jews (“orphans”). Israel is (when seen in the least favorable light) a kleptocracy, created… Read more »

Of course all those donations are tax deductible money that must be replaced by an additional taxes imposed on six-pack Joe that just lost his job and will lose his house soon or did already ,…

“But being a liberal philanthropist is just one side of Klarman. He is also an Israel lobbyist who is just as rightwing as Sheldon Adelson, the casino owner who supports the Republican Party.” Dear Doctor Vet, I love my doberman and he loves me and is such a good watchdog for the children, but he’s attacked and killed two of my neighbors. What should I do? Do I need to lock him up? Yours truly,… Read more »