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‘NYT’ story on Seth Klarman abandoning GOP leaves out his prominent role in Israel lobby

Media Analysis
on 17 Comments

Bari Weiss had a big scoop in the New York Times: billionaire investor Seth Klarman is so worried about Trump he’s given up on his traditional favorite, the Republican Party. “Mr. Klarman is now giving almost exclusively to Democrats — and donating far more money than he ever has,” Weiss reports, then quotes him: “We need to turn the House and Senate as a check on Donald Trump and his runaway presidency.”

Trump’s character flaws and “ignorance of history and flawed judgment” are dangerous, Klarman says. “[D]emocratic norms… are being eroded… [Trump] demonizes immigrants and suggests that Muslims, Hispanics and blacks are second-class citizens.”

Weiss identifies Klarman as “hawkish, socially liberal, fiscally conservative.” His and his wife’s family foundation focuses on “pro-democracy initiatives, including supporting organizations that protect journalists, combat bigotry and defend L.G.B.T. rights.”

That’s not the whole story. Israel is never mentioned in the article, but Israel is clearly at the heart of Klarman’s giving. Klarman started a newspaper in Israel, the Times of Israel, and has given to a host of neoconservative Israel lobby organizations, including Trump’s favorite thinktank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the Israel Project, Middle East Forum, WINEP and the David Project, which tried to block construction of mosques in Klarman’s city, Boston.

Klarman is plainly ideological. He also funds CAMERA, a rightwing media outfit that puts out regular critiques of the New York Times. Klarman gave more than $1.5 million to CAMERA through that foundation that works to “protect journalists.”

Haaretz is frank about the Israel angle:

Leslie Wexner [another Republican Party defector] and Seth Klarman have both contributed millions of dollars and are known as supporters of Israel

Shalom Lipner, an Israeli political operative now with Brookings, says the Israel angle may be determinative:

The subtext here is that both Wexner and Klarman have stellar records of support for transformative Israeli and Jewish communal initiatives. That they would break with the GOP over Trump speaks volumes about how they perceive his impact on both Israel and the Jewish community.

What Lipner is saying is that Trump is threatening the pro-Israel consensus in American politics by so politicizing Israel support. This is something that many smart pro-Israel political leaders have emphasized. Chuck Schumer told AIPAC, don’t let Israel become a partisan issue. “If Israel becomes the domain of one party or another, Israel will lose.” Neocon Adam Milstein says so from the right, and Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street says it from the left:

[I]n Netanyahu’s fervent embrace of the Trump administration, he is “sacrificing” historical broad bipartisan American support for Israel to throw in his lot with Republicans, whose share of the voting population is trending downward.

“It is absolutely not in the state of Israel’s interest for Israel itself to become a partisan political football,” Ben-Ami said.

In Haaretz today, Chemi Shalev warns that Israel will go the way of South Africa on the world stage if it continues to alienate a Democratic Party “depleted of its pro-Israeli stalwarts, increasingly beholden to its liberal, left-wing flank.”

The principle of U.S. bipartisan support, long considered a lynchpin and vital component of Israel’s national security, has fallen prey to an ever-rising tide of self-centered arrogance, imperiousness, resentfulness and total lack of self-awareness.

I’m sure Klarman cares a lot about immigrants. But he also cares deeply about Israel, and you’d have to wonder if this is his game– don’t let Israel become a rightwing issue in US politics. Bari Weiss won’t even broach the Israel angle, beyond giving the code word, “hawkish.” Why not?

Because it’s her agenda too. She comes out of pro-Israel activism, starting in college. (Her father is a regular at AIPAC, saluted from the stage this year.) Weiss doesn’t bring up Israel because she’s protective, she doesn’t want to advertise the power of the Israel lobby, doesn’t want to give readers any understanding of how much clout pro-Israel Jews have. The New Yorker did the same thing in its profile of Paul Singer, all but left Israel out. Not wanting to foster anti-Semitic theories about Jewish power is no excuse to lie to readers.

Thanks to Annie Robbins.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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17 Responses

  1. Cliff on September 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

    Bari Weiss worked for The David Project or StandWithUs or some other lunatic pro-Israel group while she was a college student at Columbia to harass and oust Arab and/or Muslims professors.

    She is the same type of lunatic Zionist who wants to censor the Palestinian POV on college campuses and thinks all Palestinians are militants – thus, whenever Israel mows the grass in Gaza, its all Hamas grass.

    I’m puzzled why Annie would think Bari Weiss would mention Israel in relation to this guy. Bari Weiss – like all other fanatical supporters of Israel who are working for the NYT and other Establishment media – is a gate-keeper.

    She was employed because she is a fanatic. She specializes in ONE issue and her opinions on that ONE issue are predictable because she has – since she was a young lady – been a fanatic on that ONE issue.

    The Intercept profiled Bari Weiss’s history of being a lunatic pro-Israel ideologue, hypocrite, and all-around awful person:

    The NYT is Pravda. This is a non-story.

    • Donald on September 18, 2018, 12:28 am

      “The NYT is Pravda. This is a non-story.”

      Then read something else if it bugs you to read something you already know, but that is the story. People here might take it for granted that the NYT is full of crap on some subjects, but many American liberals don’t seem to read anything outside the “ respectable” centrist liberal press. Or they watch MSNBC, which is worse. Look at some of the comments following a NYT story or op ed on foreign policy. You will see some liberal readers who obviously don’t see the NYT and its propaganda the way people here see it.

      “I’m puzzled why Annie would think Bari Weiss would mention Israel in relation to this guy.”

      I doubt Annie or Phil needs you to explain to them that Bari is biased, since that is what the post says right there in the last paragraph.

      • Cliff on September 18, 2018, 9:51 pm


        The conceit of these sort of articles is passive-aggressive. It’s completely useless. Bari Weiss has been profiled here and elsewhere (The Intercept) in previous articles. So pointing out the obvious serves no purpose. It’s redundant and worse – weak and whiny.

        There’s this undercurrent of faux-surprise or maybe delusional optimism @MW. The NYT will never fucking change. It will always be Pravda. And those liberals who you talk about, who don’t see it that way? They’re called idiots.

        I can’t offer solutions as to what to focus content on. But commenting on shitty commentary (from the NYT or the Atlantic or elsewhere) is boring and useless.

        I’m not even ‘insulting’ either Annie or Phil (I didn’t even mention him!) anyways (so chill out). But this sort of MW article is getting so stale (i.e., ‘cite shitty mainstream news article where a Zionist does Zionist things, comment on the obvious shitty nature of said Zionist things’).

      • echinococcus on September 19, 2018, 1:43 am


        You’re giving away the game.

        but many American liberals don’t seem to read anything outside the “ respectable” centrist liberal press. Or they watch MSNBC, which is worse.

        Exactly, and most of MW seems directed at trying to get support from precisely those segments of the population who have always shown that they are incorrigibly always siding with the enemy: the Zionists and the liberals. The formers do so from the start (no matter the you guys’ endless attempts at wooing them), and the latter, after long sleepless nights tossing and turning and wringing hands, at the moment of acting.

        When anyone says it’s time to address the general population directly, instead of keeping in the incestuous pool of liberals, liberal Zionists and War Party “centrist” fascist press, it’s blank stares all over.

      • Donald on September 19, 2018, 7:11 am

        Last I read the majority of Americans disagree with us about the Israel- Palestine issue and it isn’t because they are all idiots, but because all of us can be misled by the press or by the general climate of opinion in the society around us. So it is worthwhile to do media criticism. Even the NYT is not uniformly bad on this or related issues. Some pieces are decent, some are bad and some are terrible and they are somewhat susceptible to pressure. I don’t expect them to be consistently good on this issue, but they have influence and so they should be criticized.

      • Cliff on September 22, 2018, 9:43 pm

        There are a lot of problems with American democracy and political culture. Too many.

        Bari Weiss and others like her are promoted to become the new gate-keepers on the Israel-Palestine conflict. The NYT brain-trust on Israel/Palestine knows this. It’s business as usual.

        So I just don’t give a fuck about appealing to stupid/clueless/complicit/Zionist liberals. We live in a society where information is readily available at your fingertips.

        Spoon-feeding people the truth about this conflict is never going to work. The kind of liberal who reads the NYT has been reading the NYT before Bari Weiss. But before Bari Weiss there was always another form of Bari Weiss.

  2. JLewisDickerson on September 17, 2018, 5:20 pm

    RE: “Klarman started a newspaper in Israel, the Times of Israel, and has given to a host of neoconservative Israel lobby organizations, including Trump’s favorite thinktank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the Israel Project, Middle East Forum, WINEP and the David Project, which tried to block construction of mosques in Klarman’s city, Boston.” ~ Weiss

    “Censored film reveals The Israel Project’s secret Facebook campaign” | By
    Ali Abunimah and Asa Winstanley | The Electronic Intifada | 13 September 2018\

    📹 Censored film reveals The Israel Project’s secret Facebook campaign

  3. Kathleen on September 17, 2018, 5:26 pm

    OTopic…On Sunday Joy Reid did a last segment on the Trump/Kushner administration cutting off all aid to Palestinians. Cannot find the clip but she did so. The only MSM host to even whisper.

    Have noticed that callers into Cspan’s Washington Journal who are both factual about the I/P conflict (and yes there are some anti Jewish calls) have been eliminated by Washington Journal. I know there was a great deal of pressure by CAMERA to shut down that corridor for factual information to get out about the conflict. Camera had kept documented calls into the show. I was one of them. They had me categorized as “anti Israel” not an “anti semite” They categorized anyone who called in with facts about the conflict as “anti”

    One more example of how a group like Camera, Aipac, etc focus on shutting down debates on campus about the conflict and everywhere they can including CSpan’s Washington Journal. Camera’s page is no longer up where they listed all of the calls and links.

    Somehow all of the legitimate calls that were getting onto the program about the issue are no longer getting on.

    Phil hoping you or one of your colleagues does an investigative piece on this issue

    C-SPAN’s Biased Washington Journal Call Handling … –

    • DaBakr on September 18, 2018, 12:38 am


      camera just kept pointing out… Thru use of video and audio archives… How C-span kept violating its own tolerance policy. Any hint of racism or bigotry was almost always immediately cut off by the 7 second delay yet extremely anti Jewish lobby, anti Israel and similar conspiracy theorists were often allowed rant continuously without cut. In fact, it was simple for camera to prove that some callers used multiple identities or broke the thirty day rule with impunity when they were anti-israel yet on all other non related issues were either blocked or cut off on air or nobody cared to check
      Your just pissed that it took FIFTEEN YEARS for Brian Lambs’tolerance’ policy hypocrisy to shift, a little. But you can go onto The Storm and hear the same people your missing so much.

      • Misterioso on September 18, 2018, 10:53 am


        Sigh. Another silly, self defeating rant from Hasbara Central.

      • Kathleen on September 18, 2018, 11:02 am

        Camera wanted the debate and information closed down. Camera does not care about the alleged 30 day rule that Washington Journal never brings attention to. Camera wanted that outlet plugged up.

        Callers would refer to UN resolutions, International Criminal Court decisions, Oslo Accords etc all having to do with the conflict. Callers would state that Israel was committing crimes against humanity with too often unbridled support from the U.S. Callers would bring up Israel’s influence on U.S. foreign policy decisions which are influenced by Israel and the I lobby and undermine U.S. National Security and Israel’s national security based on internationally recognized borders.

        Callers would bring up how the foreign nation of Israel via the I lobby has and continues to influence US elections via I lobby groups like Aipac, Jinsa, Camera. How these groups should be required to sign up under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act). How the I lobby (lobbying for a foreign nation) influenced the change in the Dem platform in 2012 claiming that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.

        Camera’s agenda had nothing to do with the alleged “30 day rule.” Camera wanted to shut down facts about that conflict making it through the well controlled msm when it comes to the I/P conflict.

        Millions listen to Washington Journal daily. I not only encourage people to call into the program asking Washington Journal to have guest like Phil Weiss, Max Blumenthal, Noura Erekat, James Zogby etc etc on their program. They can talk honestly about the conflict. Call, contact Washington Journal and ask them to cover Trump and team shutting down the Palestinian embassy, cutting off aid to the Palestinians etc. Question why callers who ask fact based questions about this conflict are not getting through any more. Ask CSpan about why CAMERA was so successful at shutting down another independent outlet for the free flow of accurate information about this issue?

        DNC 2012: DNC Platform Changes on God, Jerusalem … – YouTube

        Video for 2008 Dem Platform on Jerusalem being the capital of Israel you tube▶ 2:46

      • DaBakr on September 23, 2018, 12:26 pm


        CAMERA is not trying to shut anything down. That is an absurd claim that can be too eadily refuted by the numerous requests for comment by Lamb himself or other editorial responses to camera complaints. You obviously were not listening back in the days when almost any political journal show was inundated with accusations by regular anti-israeli guest strictly top spew their agenda.
        . While I haven’t been able to watch morning journal in s while I have followed camsera reports on cC-span and its adherence to tolerance/political cometary policy. It is basically the same old thing. Certain talking heads seem prove to be more tolerant of hateful Israel screeds while others try and stick with policy. If you want to start monitoring c-span for hosts that allow Zionist Jews frm Israel or elsewhere to call in and start ranting about plots, secret control ana the like, please feel free. I would certainly check it out. But remember, camera has a fairly solid record of extracting apologies, corrections and retraction from the works most prestigious news outlet. That you may believe camera is strictly a creation of what you believe is some imaginary ‘hasbara central” is merely the dedicated work of devoted journalists who certainly have t ties to Israeli and American groups that support them through funding.

        So, while I would agree that camera sought to ‘shut down’ specific Zion/israel haters that repeatedly sneaki on air to get in as many of their bag of zionist hating accusations across as possible camera is not trying to shut down more then that. Remember… You aren’t just talking about I/P or other ME conflict but anti jewish lobby conspiracy theorists believe ANY topic from race retains to global warming is an appropriate context to rant about Israel and/or Jews.

        I’m assuming, your happy with C-span exactly how it is now.

        You do understand that sites like MW and commenters like you have used the hebrew term (not easily translatable) hasbara so much that is become a common reference to any political side spouting off their version of events. So inferring that I’m somehow a ‘professional’ hasbarist is as ridiculous as you working for the Palestinian ministry. ?

      • amigo on September 23, 2018, 5:35 pm

        “CAMERA “duhbakr



        Now here is the hilarious part ??.

        Committee for accuracy in Middle East reporting.


      • Mooser on September 23, 2018, 5:48 pm

        hasbara… is become a common reference to any political side spouting off their version of events.”

        That’s right! “Hasbara” has become an international synonym for ‘arrant bullshit’. That’s quite an accomplishment.

      • RoHa on September 23, 2018, 10:02 pm

        CAMERA must not, under any circumstance, be confused with the wonderful CAMRA, which has brought so much good into the world.

      • DaBakr on October 10, 2018, 11:12 pm


        It is possible that both similar named organizations have accomplished their goals of spreading necessary information to those that might not other know.

  4. Citizen on September 20, 2018, 11:13 am

    Takeaway from Bob Woodward’s book, Fear: Rabid Jewish Zionist Jared Kushner & Helper, Ivanka determine US ForeignPolicy in ME: US blood & treasure devoted to serving #Israel’s expansion & continued hegemony: via @MiddleEastEye

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