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Emergency Committee for Israel bankrolled by pugnacious hedgefund manager (who maybe hit a kid in Cuba)

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Daniel Loeb

Daniel Loeb

The lifestyles of the Israel lobby. Vanity Fair has published a hitpiece on financier Dan Loeb saying that “even in the rough-and-tumble financial world, his tactics—nasty, personal attacks on C.E.O.’s and colleagues—are considered extreme.” Loeb picks fights against teachers unions and is given to “Godfather”-style vulgar threats. The piece turns on a couple of paragraphs to which its url refers: “Dan Loeb’s Skeletons: Did he hit a young Cuban kid in a 2002 accident?” The author is William D. Cohan, and the allegations are vague:

In March 2002 there was a strange blip in Loeb’s biography, when he traveled to Cuba with his friend Alexander von Furstenberg (son of the designer Diane von Furstenberg, a Vanity Fair contributor) for what was supposed to be a long weekend. Things unexpectedly took a dark turn, and according to a lawsuit later filed by Youlia Miteva, a former Third Point analyst who accused Loeb of breach of contract, among other things, “Cuban authorities had refused to allow him to leave.” Asked what had happened in Cuba, Loeb told me earlier this year, for a previous Vanity Fair story, that he had been involved in a car accident, stuck around for a couple more weeks, had a legal hearing, and everything turned out fine.

But, according to Chapman, a desperate and sobbing Loeb had called him from Cuba, where he was confined to his hotel after the accident. “I remember how scared Dan sounded when describing the incident involving his hitting a local Cuban kid with his car,” recalls Chapman. “I truly felt so sorry for him when he told me he had found himself unable to leave the country, curled up in a ball on the floor of his room crying, promising God that he’d do anything if the Almighty got him out of his predicament. It wasn’t as if Dan had done it on purpose, and who really knows what ended up happening to the kid?”

The article doesn’t talk about a demonstrable aspect of Loeb’s extremism, his Israel advocacy. Eli Clifton reported at ThinkProgress two years ago on the financier’s support for the rightwing Emergency Committee for Israel.

The ECI has a thuggish track record. It characterized the Occupy Wall Street movement as anti-Semitic, called for war on Iran throughout the 2012 race, and has lately said that the new Iranian president has American blood on his hands. Clifton:

ThinkProgress reported in June that two-thirds of ECI [Emergency Committee] PAC’s contributions in the past election cycle came from Daniel S. Loeb, CEO of Third Point Management, a New York based hedge fund.

Loeb’s $100,000 in support for ECI follows his track record of falling out of love with Obama after the White House pushed for financial regulatory reforms….

Indeed, in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles, Loeb…  contributed nearly $170,000 to a stable of Republican candidates including radical Islamophobe Rep. Allen West (R-FL).

And last week, the New York Times reported that Loeb had signed on to support Mitt Romney.

While the ECI appears to be in the business of taking any and all opportunities to paint the Obama administration and the Democratic party as anti-Israel, their attempts to smear the Wall Street protests as anti-Semitic closely aligns the right wing pro-Israel group with the domestic political and business interests of its biggest financial backer.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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5 Responses

  1. Krauss on October 31, 2013, 11:54 am

    I remember I watched a speech by the guy given to a Jewish group. He came across as very modest and highly intelligent.

    This was perhaps 2-3 years ago. But I knew back then, too, what he was doing on the sidelines. It was interesting to watch him, because you’d never guess. Some people just ooze racism, even if they try to squelch it from coming out(Abe Foxman, Jeff Goldberg, Alan Dershowitz, Jonathan Chait if you want to pick people in the Israel lobby sphere).

    He, on the other hand, never gave away any such intentions. Reminded me of Bernie Madoff, who relied on his Jewishness to scam off (mostly) Jewish victims.
    I wonder if Loeb is doing the same.

    Nevertheless, as someone who has dabbled, cautiously, in the stock market I do appreciate his stockholder activism. He finally brought some order to Yahoo by installing Merissa Mayer after one failure after another. And he has made the right calls about Sony.

    As for his ‘personal attacks’ stuff, I think that’s more like sour grapes from his enemies spilling their bitter tears to Vanity Fair reporters.

    The only thing that should tie him down, at least of that which is public about him, should be his support for the extremely hard-right groups which pushes ethnic cleansing in Palestine. But it’s telling that Vanity Fair doesn’t want to touch this. Too many among their readers and corporate sponsers have people among their ranks who feel similar to him on this issue. So they go do the low-base stuff. A distraction.

  2. seafoid on October 31, 2013, 5:14 pm

    “Loeb picks fights against teachers unions and is given to “Godfather”-style vulgar threats.”

    It’s like the Gilded age 2.0
    Funny the fundingbots never go after the Histadrut. Israelis get unions and healthcare. Americans can PFO.

  3. Obsidian on November 1, 2013, 6:30 am

    A crude hatchet job on a technocrat nobody. To what end I ask?

    I don’t see any value in publishing this article other than to temporarily calm Phil’s turbulent mind

    • adele on November 1, 2013, 8:24 am

      like attracts like, Obsidian, that is the point. in this case, with regard to settler-state israel, it is, thug attracts thug.

    • traintosiberia on November 1, 2013, 9:42 pm

      It is not a hatchet job. He fights teachers union. He fights financial regulation. He is hedge fund manager. The bak grounds says everything you want to know about the 1 percent . He uses the money made out of shadowy practices to support an organization that is anti people ( occupy Wall Street ) and supports thuggery against Iran.
      There is a pattern .
      The rich with dubious moral standings support the causes that is also supported by equally nefarious organizations.At one time Israel was supported by the common folks with ideas and vision.
      Aside from that role reversal, it is important to know where the financial backing originates for these hydra headed organization. Their name like their main character change but the backers,sponsors,and supporters remain same with same financial resources made on the back of the citizen.
      People would roll their eyes if Perle , Wolfowitz, Libby, Shulksy and Woolsey now come out with anti Iran agenda. So we need new faces like Matk Durvonik or organization like FDD and ECI.New name hides the old but the content and the effects remain same.

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