Seth A. Klarman
Seth Klarman is a "Boston-based pro-Israel billionaire." The journalist Max Blumenthal describes Klarman as "one of the pro-Israel community’s most prolific financial angels and also one of its most ideologically hardline." He reports:
"Klarman became one of the world’s richest people through the Baupost Group, a Boston-based hedge fund he founded that is now worth upwards of $20 billion. With his philanthropic foundation, Klarman emerged in the past five years as one of the pro-Israel lobby’s most aggressive funders."
Politically, Klarman is reportedly on the hawkish right of the pro-Israel spectrum. In an op-ed co-authored with Charles Jacob of The David Project, Klarman argued that "there is a new assault on the world's Jews," based on "hatred for Israel" and its supporters. It is promoted, he wrote, by "Islamic anti-Semitism" on the one hand, and Western "Palestinianism" -- sympathy for the Palestinians' plight by "Western radicals" -- on the other. In the West today, "hostility to Jews" manifests primarily as criticism of Israel.
Klarman funds many pro-Israel lobby groups, including The David Project (of which he is also co-Chair); The Israel Project; Scholars for Peace in the Middle East; Birthright Israel, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Ir David, Middle East Media Research Institute and the American Jewish Committee.
Klarman funded The Times of Israel, according to The Forward, because of 'his belief that coverage of Israel within Israel itself is unbalanced and unjustifiably hostile — and that he can do something about it.'
The 'Wedge' strategy
Unusually, Klarman also funds American Islamic and Palestinian organisations, with the aim, Max Blumenthal argues, of driving "a wedge through mainstream Muslim-American organizing".
The American Islamic Congress was heavily funded by Klarman; it refused to engage with mainstream Muslim civil rights groups and forbade "members of its student arm, Project Nur, from discussing Palestine-related issues on campus."
Klarman also funded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. It is led by Zuhdi Jasser, "an Arizona-based physician and practicing Muslim who served as the key protagonist of the anti-Muslim propaganda film, The Third Jihad." The Klarman Family Foundation donated $150,000 to the AIFD between 2011 and 2012.
Another recipient of Klarman donations is the American Task Force for Palestine (ATFP), a group that has been widely criticised for lending support to US and Israeli measures that in fact work against Palestinians interests. According to ATFP senior fellow Hussein Ibish, Klarman's financial support for the group amounts to a single donation of $10,000 at the 2011 ATFP Annual Gala.
- The David Project (funder; co-Chair)
- The Israel Project (main funder)
- American Task Force for Palestine (funder)
- American Islamic Congress (funder)
- American Islamic Forum (funder)
- Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (funder)
- Birthright Israel (funder)
- Washington Institute for Near East Policy (funder)
- Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (funder)
- Ir David (funder)
- Middle East Media Research Institute (funder)
- American Jewish Committee (funder)
- Baupost Group (founder)
- Klarman Family Foundation (funding vehicle)
- Max Blumenthal, "Weddady’s Free Arabs, American Islamic Congress and the pro-Israel funders who helped them rise," Electronic Intifada, 7 May 2013
- Max Blumenthal, "American Task Force on Palestine finds funding from anti-Palestinian billionaire and a repressive monarchy," Mondoweiss, 27 Nov 2013
- Charles Jacobs and Seth A. Klarman, "Jews Are Under Siege: A Call For Action," accessed on 28 Nov 2013
- Josh Nathan-Kazis, The Softspoken Man Behind Times of Israel, Forward, 29 February 2012.
- Data retrieved from filings of Form 990s 2011 - 2012.
- Hussein Ibish, Tweet, made at 28 Nov 2013 at 02:37; accessed on 28 Nov 2013 at 16:27; Hussein Ibish, Tweet, made on 28 Nov 2013 at 02:37; accessed on 28 Nov 2013 at 16:29