An open letter to Seth Klarman

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They realize investing is the intersection of economics in psychology.

Image: Andrew Mason, Flickr

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

Dear Mr Klarman,

I heard what you said in your interview with Charlie Rose.

“When you look at the history of anti-semitism… hatred of Jews has shifted to hatred of the Jewish state”

Everyday tragedies happening on the ground in Palestine spin thru my brain weaving a web of horrible realities strung together one by one inter-connecting in a sustained cruel way. This web protects no one. There’s no hiding it anymore. Nor is it simply a branding problem. Images of gay men frolicking on the beach in Tel Aviv won’t save Israel.

Did you see last year’s Herzliya Conference, ‘Winning the Battle of the Narrative’:

The Conference had some very interesting findings:

– That many criticisms of Israel will stop when policy towards Palestinians is changed.

This is not about people’s hatred of Jews. It has everything to do with morals and decency which comes naturally and instinctually to most people when they see others suffer. Have you thought about investing in Israel by advocating it to change its policy towards Palestine? Reading your 12 Brilliant Insights at Business Insider (which has the futuristic pictures above) I was intrigued that you said investment was an intersection of economics and psychology and with time and experiences these things can be learned, but you also have to have the right psychological make up in the first place.

I’m curious what kind of psychological make up it takes to invest in apartheid.

Respectfully, Mr. Klarman, can you hear Palestinians? Can you hear their voices? Can investment in denial ‘guilt trip’ our morals away? Do you think one can “slow the game down”, as in investing, buy Palestine for a huge fraction of what it’s worth, and convince us we’re the problem?

You say there’s a gene for value investing. What about a gene for investing in the suffering of others or a gene for stealing land? Because I don’t believe that. I think it is learned, propagated and nurtured and requires an element of brainwashing, because it is unnatural.

Israel is investing in its own destruction with this continued expansion. And I think you understand this when you say, Good value investors know that greed blows you up, those who are greedy and leverage are those ones that blow up.

Respectfully, Mr. Klarman, do you know about the Palestinian experience? I read this morning: ‘Nearly 100% of all military court cases in West Bank end in conviction’. That is heartbreaking: 99.74 percent. It means that there’s not due process. I thought of Sausan Hamamda, a 21-year old student, and her 17-year old relative, Amal Hamamda, who were arrested last Thursday when bulldozers arrived to demolish the mosque in their little hamlet.

They were arrested for non violently protesting the demolition of a mosque.

Have you seen the lack of respect for the Palestinian right to protest? Have you seen the film ‘The Law In These Parts’ about Israel’s military courts? Best documentary at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

I am seething today, Seth, but what good are my words? I feel that you will dismiss my rage against the world’s most long-lasting state of occupation as ‘hatred of Jews shifting to hatred of the Jewish state’ because I’m not a Jew. But for your edification: It’s the Occupation. Listen to a frustrated (Jewish) Israeli, Assaf, writing yesterday after reading of the recent arrests, demolitions and demolition orders, including the order to demolish a new school he’d helped raise funds for:

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. This is beyond disgusting. This is beyond apartheid and ethnic cleansing and squabbling over terminology…. Israel’s government is trying to murder the soul of a people and wipe it out as a nation – leaving only “human dust” that can be blown hither and thither and molded into whatever shape its rulers feel like.

And you know what I, personally as an Israeli, find MOST insulting? Two things.

1. That all this outrage is carried out mainly in order to safeguard the petty thievery of some scraps of land and property belonging to people far poorer and less privileged than ourselves. While we have more than enough to live on, and enough places to live. A “luxury robbery”, if you will. And
2. That all the while, two generations and counting, mainstream Israel pretends that this kind of stuff is not happening on a daily basis, brushes it off, explains it away, lies about it with a straight face – and continues to maintain the ridiculous charade of cultural and moral “superiority” over the Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular.

If you are Jewish, and/or hold Israel dear, and/or don’t like reading this, WAKE UP. This is not about a specific politician, and certainly not about me or my choice of words. The actions described below are those of a fine-tuned machinery in operation for decades. It is ruthless, it is reckless, it is remorseless and it is soulless – and unless it is stopped, it will eventually leave nothing worth saving in Israel-Palestine, on all sides of whatever lines you choose to draw on that suffering land. So if you read this, you can say many things – but don’t say you haven’t been warned. Multiple times. You still cannot figure out where all this ill wind of strange-and-ugly laws and actions inside “Israel Proper” are coming from? That’s where they are coming from, silly. From the Occupation.

Please, Seth, open the link and read about what’s happened this week. Because events like these happen day in and day out in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that’s being gobbled up by an inhumane Israeli policy while you are concerned with the history of anti-semitism. Do you think things will improve if we have the ‘right psychological make up in the first place’? That acceptance of having one’s homes and mosques demolished is simply a frame of mind or an attitude?

I read what you said about arrogance and humility, about balancing them; and I think there’s wisdom there. Well, there’s no balance in this conflict and the arrogance of Israel seemingly knows no bounds. Nobody is interested in selling Palestine, it’s not for sale, it’s being arrogantly stolen.  You say you hope there is a settlement freeze but you must know they are expanding daily– greed and leverage, greed and leverage.

No amount of ‘balancing’ will ever make the continual theft of Palestinian land okay. And the arrogance is guaranteeing the ruination of Israel. Not us telling the truth about it.

“You need humility to say ‘I might be wrong.'”

I agree. I know it from my own mistakes. Where’s your humility Mr.Klarman? If you are interested in the perpetuation of Israel into the future, please listen to us. Can you have ‘a lens of stepping into’ a Palestinian’s shoes. Because this is what most people see when they look at Israel. Not the Holocaust. They see what is happening today. Can you face the ongoing Nakba?

If, as you say, the lessons of history keep repeating and echoing in ways we can see everyday, then be aware that ordinary people can see Netanyahu’s Web is already in place. It’s history in the making. Israel is the arrogant perpetrator, and apartheid is thriving.

I urge you to find that humility. An investment in the truth is an investment in peace.


Annie Robbins

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hatred of jews has shifted to hatred of the jewish state? except israel isn’t a jewish state, it’s a zionist state and zionism is not judaism how could it be? zionism being a racist ideology with israel its racist enterprise and just as anti-apartheid activists opposed racist south africans not… Read more »


Thank you Annie; a beautiful and thoughtful letter. Hope he reads it. Hope his mother reads it.

Boycott Israel on Campus
Boycott Israel on Campus

This reminds me of the “Boycott Israel” bus advertisement that was just refused by Ann Arbor, Michigan’s bus authority: The ad clearly demands a boycott of Israel, period. Yet it was refused with the excuse that it might “defame” a “group of persons”. Of course the ACLU is suing… Read more »


That is an excellent, excellent letter annie.
Expressed exactly right.


It has everything to do with morals and decency which comes naturally and instinctually to most people when they see others suffer.

Word .

They have to take off those Zionist glasses