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Jane Harman, media mogul

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 21 Comments
This Financial Times profile of Jane Harman, the former congresswoman who is CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Int’l Center, doesn’t mention Israel, but there’s a lot about her wealth: her marriage to the late inventor Sidney Harman, her jaw-dropping house in Washington, her Barcelona chair, the picture of her late husband with Bill Clinton.
This glimpse into the Jewish establishment describes Harman as the “owner” of Newsweek/The Daily Beast.
I ask about a sculpture on the coffee table, of a man on a bench. “It was an award for Sidney in honour of [financier] Bernard Baruch,” says Harman, who took over as owner of Newsweek/Daily Beast after her husband’s death.

Well this is confusing. Newsweek/Daily Beast was co-owned by Barry Diller and Harman’s late husband. Sidney Harman died in April 2011 at 92. This obit in the Times said that his estate was assuming his ownership share, but no individual was named.

Soon after that, Adweek said that Jane Harman was taking her late husband’s place on the board. And Adweek raised questions about her editorial influence as a political actor over the magazine and website.

Interestingly, Sidney Harman once said he wasn’t leaving the magazine to his wife. The Washington Post from 2010, Jeff Stein reporting (emphasis mine):

Sidney Harman, the 92-year-old technology titan who recently bought Newsweek from The Washington Post Co., says the future leadership of the weekly could include his children, throwing cold water on speculation that his wife, Jane, the chairman of an important congressional intelligence committee, will leave Capitol Hill to run it…

Responding to an unstated question about his age, the nonagenarian said, “I am obliged to develop a succession plan early — and I will.”

It will not include Jane, he added emphatically Monday.

“She will have no role — none at all — at Newsweek,” he said…

Liberal bloggers have been stirred up by Harman’s purchase of Newsweek, particularly by the prospect that his wife, the veteran Californian Democrat who chairs the House homeland security subcommittee on intelligence, would play an influential role at the magazine.

This confusion is intriguing, of course, because Harman is such a foreign policy hawk and darling of the Israel lobby.
Just a few weeks ago she rushed to the side of Obama assassination czar John Brennan and stifled Medea Benjamin at the Wilson Center.
When she was in Congress, representing a California district, she was famously wiretapped talking to an unnamed Israeli, doing some lobby horse-trading for her own advancement, and evidently involving Haim Saban, the inventor of Power Rangers who is an ardent funder of pro-Israel causes.
The Times, 2009:
One of the leading House Democrats on intelligence matters was overheard on telephone calls intercepted by the National Security Agency agreeing to seek lenient treatment from the Bush administration for two pro-Israel [AIPAC] lobbyists who were under investigation for espionage, current and former government officials say…
In return, the caller promised her that a wealthy California donor — the media mogul Haim Saban — would threaten to withhold campaign contributions to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who was expected to become House speaker after the 2006 election, if she did not select Ms. Harman for the intelligence post.


Wow. I didn’t know that Haim Saban was a media mogul either!

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21 Responses

  1. Graber
    June 11, 2012, 11:43 am

    Great reporting – thanks Phil!

    So perhaps we can all start speaking with Peter Beinart about the financial support that his blog gets from Newsweek. Certainly a conflict of interests there.

  2. Sin Nombre
    Sin Nombre
    June 11, 2012, 12:08 pm

    I’ve said it before and I still don’t understand why folks don’t suspect Israeli involvement in things such as facilitating Ms. Harman to buy Newsweek. Obviously this kind of thing is well within Israel’s ambit of permissibility, so you look at different people in different countries and identify those who are zealously loyal to Israel and you give them a boost up when you can so they give you your hopefully greater, more systemic boosts down the line.

    Always struck me how Saban, of all people, got the gambling concession in Macao from the Chinese gov’t, and I simply didn’t believe that of the original nine or so billionaire oligarchs who popped up so quick in Russia that something like 6 or 7 of them just happened to be jewish. The statistics for something like that are just too mind-boggling, and indeed when this or that one got in some trouble and had to skedaddle if I recall correct the place they skedaddled to was of course Israel.

    Like I say, it clearly isn’t something that Israel would consider out of bounds, we know they use “sayanim” or whatever from Ostrovsky’s book so why shouldn’t they help *create* them, and of course it’s a smart idea, and rather totally in keeping with the intense tribal philosophy of zionist jews, right?

    • June 11, 2012, 4:00 pm

      “Always struck me how Saban, of all people, got the gambling concession in Macao from the Chinese gov’t”

      I think that was Adelson or Wynn that got the gambling concession in Macao.

      • Sin Nombre
        Sin Nombre
        June 12, 2012, 5:55 pm

        @ Charles Barwin:

        You’re right, it was Adelson who got that Macao concession.

    • radii
      June 11, 2012, 4:09 pm

      at some point the core power of the jewish mafia has to be discussed in all this … it was obliquely referenced in the street rallies against the “families” that control most of the economy in israel … they intersect with Hollywood, with israel’s founding, with arms deals, with intelligence-gathering, with influence through and within the lobby … etc.

    • Keith
      June 11, 2012, 7:20 pm

      SIN NOMBRE- You have brought up a topic that is extremely important but rarely discussed. I wouldn’t just limit it to Israel, however. I have long felt that being a member of organized Zionism provides a competitive advantage to its members which may include Israeli supplied funding and intelligence. I’m not sure how unusual this is. I also believe, with no hard evidence to support my belief, that the CIA is much more deeply involved in the US and world economy than recognized, providing money, organization and expertise to assets and potential assets. I would love to see studies by trustworthy researchers on Microsoft, Facebook and Wall Mart, companies whose market performance greatly exceeded what one would expect using traditional criteria. It doesn’t take much. It is very difficult to compete against a CIA of Mafia backed competitor.

  3. DICKERSON3870
    June 11, 2012, 12:49 pm

    RE: “I didn’t know that Haim Saban was a media mogul
    either!” ~ Weiss

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Haim Saban]: Haim Saban (Hebrew: חיים סבן‎) (born 15 October 1944) is an Egyptian born Israeli-American television and media proprietor.[2] With an estimated current net worth of $3.5 billion, he is ranked by Forbes as the 104th richest person in America.[1] . . .

    . . . Media career

    • Saban Entertainment
    In the United States, he became a television producer, founding Saban Entertainment in 1988.[12] During that time, Haim Saban and partner Shuki Levy became known for soundtrack compositions for children’s television programs of the 1980s. Although Levy and Saban composed for their own properties (such as Kidd Video and Maple Town), they scored for other production companies as well (such as Inspector Gadget, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, M.A.S.K., Dinosaucers, Dragon Quest, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra: Princess of Power, and Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors). In 1998, The Hollywood Reporter reported that he did not actually compose all the music (totalling 3,700 works in 2008) he is credited for; ten composers threatened to sue and Saban settled out of court.[13]
    In the 1990s, Saban’s company became best known for the production of Power Rangers, Masked Rider, VR Troopers and Big Bad Beetleborgs, which were Western adaptations of Japanese tokusatsu shows.
    • ABC Family
    On July 23, 2001, Saban announced that he and News Corporation would sell Fox Family Worldwide Inc for $5.3 billion to The Walt Disney Company.[14] and on October 24, 2001, the sale was completed[12] and the network was renamed ABC Family.[5] Saban profited about $1.6 billion from this sale.[5]
    • ProSiebenSat.1
    In August 2003, Saban led a consortium, which acquired a controling stake in the straggling ProSiebenSat.1 Media group from the Kirch Media Group, the then-bankrupt German media conglomerate.[15]
    ProSiebenSat.1, is Germany’s largest commercial television broadcasting company, which owns five German TV channels, including ProSieben and SAT.1, two of the top three stations in Germany. Collectively, ProSiebenSat.1’s channels represented approximately 45% of the German TV advertising market at the time. Saban’s ProSiebenSat.1 acquisition was the first time a foreigner took control of a significant German Media company.[5]
    Saban oversaw a successful business turnaround of ProSiebenSat.1, recruiting former business rivals, ex-BSkyB chief executive Tony Ball and former BBC Director General Greg Dyke to the board of the company.[16]
    In March 2007, Saban Capital Group and the consortium sold its controlling interest in ProSiebenSat.1 to KKR and Permira, for 22.40 euros a share after originally paying 7.5 euros per share in 2003.[17]
    • Univision
    On June 27, 2006, Saban Capital Group led a group of investors bidding for Univision Communications, the largest Spanish-language media company in the United States.[18][19] Other investors in the Saban-led group were Texas Pacific Group of Fort Worth, Texas and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The group was successful in acquiring Univision with a bid valued at $13.7 billion (USD).[18][20] . . . SOURCE –

  4. Steve Macklevore
    Steve Macklevore
    June 11, 2012, 3:49 pm

    Yet another fabulously wealthy and very influential citizen whose primary loyalty is to the state of Israel.

    It’s a wonder we’ve achieved anything at all for the Palestinians when you get a glimpse of the forces aligned against them.

  5. June 11, 2012, 4:12 pm

    Saban: Buy media outlets to protect Israel. Jane Harman no doubt agrees.

    “He remains keenly interested in the world of business, but he is most proud of his role as political power broker. His greatest concern, he says, is to protect Israel, by strengthening the United States-Israel relationship.
    At a conference last fall in Israel, Saban described his formula.His “three ways to be influential in American politics,” he said, were: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets. In 2002, he contributed seven million dollars toward the cost of a new building for the Democratic National Committee—one of the largest known donations ever made to an American political party.”

    “He and his private-equity partners acquired Univision in 2007”
    Univision goes neoconservative
    The Spanish-language TV network recently aired a saber-rattling report on Iran, focussing on its ties to Latin America.

  6. traintosiberia
    June 11, 2012, 5:00 pm

    If Blagoievich belonged to the Tribe through his mother, he would have been occupying something more edifying and rarefied rather than a quiet corner in a jail.

  7. June 11, 2012, 5:23 pm

    Newsweek says the NYPD chief keeps us safe, and if you don’t like his methods, you forgot about 9/11

  8. Kathleen
    June 11, 2012, 6:23 pm

    Have always wondered if Harman was asked to leave. That charges or investigations into her actively undermining U.S. national security…would be dropped

    • Ellen
      June 12, 2012, 8:22 am

      Yes, of course she was asked to leave. Jane became Kyptonite to the US Congress, and especially to the Democrats and to AIPAC.

      An in depth investigation into her working with Israeli reps, or spy’s, agents or whatever we want to call them, would have led to charges and likely conviction of at least attempt to obstruct justice, if not outright treason.

      The fallout would be huge and far reaching.

      Everyone wanted her out. And with that the political will and responsibility to investigate and make charges could be removed.

      So now she is running the Wilson Institute, which says it all.

  9. radii
    June 11, 2012, 8:14 pm

    I made a post a while ago, which has not yet been moderated and published (and may not be) where I suggested the influence of the israeli mafia (jewish mafia) must be openly discussed also … they are an important factor … but like any mafia what is best for business will ultimately win out and if the current leadership posture of zionism and israel (apartheid) screws up business because of BDS and growing economic and cultural isolation of israel, the mafia will want the model to change … everyone who is anyone is scared to name names but nearly everyone with an interest in the overall subject of I/P knows who the big players are and how enmeshed they are with the official government of israel

    • Rizla
      June 13, 2012, 7:34 am

      I would love to read your post. This isn’t an ethnic thing per se; we can all talk about Italian mobsters, right? The topic leads to very interesting areas, where a lot of deals happen: the intersection of organized crime and spook agencies and politics. Ever read “The Politics of Heroin”? It’s not only Italian mob involved, by a long shot. Anyway, I think you’re on an interesting track and I wouldn’t mind seeing more discussion about these topics here, as this site seems to do difficult stuff better than anywhere else I’ve found.

  10. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther
    June 11, 2012, 8:37 pm

    This lady has been bad news for a while – great reporting Phil!!

    • Kathleen
      June 12, 2012, 9:18 am

      What other Rep could directly undermine U.S. National Security by pushing for shutting down a deep investigation and trial into two top Aipac officials illegally accessing highly classified U.S. intelligence allegedly on Iran and walk away from her “waddling” unscathed?

      Major scandal erupts involving Rep. Jane Harman, Alberto Gonzales and AIPAC
      “Here’s one crucial prong of the story:

      Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

      Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,” according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.

      In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.

      Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

      That’s not even the most significant part. Back in October, 2006, Time reported that the DOJ and FBI were investigating whether Harman and AIPAC ”violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee” and “the probe also involves whether, in exchange for the help from AIPAC, Harman agreed to help try to persuade the Administration to go lighter on the AIPAC officials caught up in the ongoing investigation.” So that part has been known since 2006.”

      How did she walk away from this? $ and influence? Was the deal that she would leave quietly?

      • Rizla
        June 13, 2012, 7:44 am

        As usual, thanks for the info and asking the right questions, Kathleen. I only remembered the details after reading your post… so much stuff goes down the memory hole these days. Bravo.

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