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New Israeli English Language Rightist News Site

seth klarman

Seth Klarman, billionaire hedge fund manager and staunch pro- Israel advocate

I’ll bet if I asked you what Israeli journalism needed more than anything, the first thing out of your mouth would be: we need yet another English language clone of the Jerusalem Post (Hebrew). I knew we’d see eye to eye on that one.

Yes, Israel already has one English language Likudist daily, one English language pro-settler news portal, and one Hebrew language Bibiphilic daily funded by an American Jewish billionaire. Israelis just can’t get enough of the neocon media brand. And everybody knows that there’s way too much truly independent or, God forbid, liberal-progressive journalism in Israel.

So to fill this gaping need into the breach steps David Horowitz with the rather shamefacedly titled, The Times of Israel. No, not the far-right firebrand ranter David Horowitz, but the soft-right former Jerusalem Post editor, David Horowitz. I tell ya, can’t tell your right- wing David Horowitzes without a scorecard.

Like any self-respecting right-wing editor starting a new media venture, you need a suitable billionaire with loads of pro-Israel baggage. Horowitz has found his Rothschild in Seth Klarman, owner of the Boston-based Baupost hedge fund family.

In terms of his domestic politics, Klarman seems to be a soft-core Republican who spend about $100,000 every election cycle on mostly Republican candidates (though he does know on which side his bread’s buttered and he does throw some money the Democrats’ way).

But on Israel, Klarman is a fierce pro-Israel advocate with no subtlety or nuance to his views. As Phil Weiss made clear in a November profile, Klarman is a major funder of the David Project, Friends of the IDF, the pro-settler Central Fund of Israel, and Ir David, a settler enterprise attempting to Judaize East Jerusalem under the guise of historic Jewish archaeological claims. He drops a cool mill a year on Birthright Israel as well.

Laughably, Horowitz claims that he will maintain strict editorial control of the new enterprise. To emphasize that point, Mr. Klarman felt the need to have his say with a personal editorial statement of his own. So much for editorial independence. The new venture will supposedly be free of political affiliation and have no allegiance to any politician. Horowitz claims it will feature a broad spectrum of opinion: all the way from Benny Morris on the “left” to Alan Dershowitz on the “left” (that’s a joke).

We now have Sheldon Adelson sinking $40 million a year into Yisrael HaYom. A few years ago, we had a Levi Strauss heir drop $7 million to fund Pajamas Media. Now we have Seth Klarman. Israel needs these far-right pro-Israel billionaires like it needs a hole in the head.

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{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Robert Soran February 15, 2012, 2:38 PM

    I’m all you may think of, but not a rightist. From this position I dislike the tone and content of the above op-an (opinion-analysis),
    Respect for the 1st amendment also means welcoming each new voice added to the free expression market. Diversity of thoughts, opinions, attitudes, visions and “Weltanschauungen” is one of the goals the 1st amendment was intended to facilitate.

    Let’s welcome the new rightist Israeli voice in English with American-Jewish funding. And let’s fight it where it deserves to be attacked and defended. And let’s leave out of the political and ideological game the personality of the funders and founders. Or do you want to imitate the government coalition’s initiatives against what they perceive as enemies: NGOs. bloggers, left-wing journalists, post-Zionists, etc. ?
    Calm down, leave the emotional anger, irony and sarcasm in favor of an effective and efficient use of brains when letting fingers hit the keyboard.
    Kind regards to the writer whose name I couldn’t identify :-)

    • Richard Silverstein February 15, 2012, 11:43 PM

      Of course you’re right wing. You just won’t admit it.

      Control of the Israeli media by far right corporate interests has nothing to do with the First Amendment unless you believe that money buying speech is honky dory. There is no “diversity of thought” in the Israel media. There’s right wing & farther right. Yes, there’s a little Haaretz in there somewhere, but it places a distant 4th or 5th among major publishing properties there.

      You’re either incredibly naive or a rightist in sheep’s clothing. You want to omit Seth Klarman’s political & ideological convictions fr a discussion about his involvement in this new venture? Are you daft? As for comparing my criticism to Bibi’s witch hunt against “enemy” journalists, again you jest. I have this blog and that is all. Bibi has all the levers of political power to use against his enemies & does so willingly. Please don’t insult my intelligence with such feeble attempts at argument.

      And stop giving me advice. If I needed it I’d ask for it.

      • Robert Soran - Schwarz February 18, 2012, 12:26 AM

        Don’t confuse advice and opinion, at least when it comes from outside. Second, you are in no position of knowing who I am, what I am, think or do. BTW I was one of the Shalom Ahshav’s co-founders 1978-79, at a time you probably were much to the right compared to me :-)
        I can compare – from an animosity POV – you and Bibi, of course I can. It’s not about the real power behind the words, it’s about the degree of adversity and the wish hidden behind of silencing the political adversary. And this is what is as much a threat to humanist democracy as the same purpose originating from the other political fighting corner.
        The Israeli media is pretty similar to the media in all other Western democracies, except for two areas: ethnicity/religion and national security, which you apparently consider being exclusively in “rightist” and far-rightist hands, while I’d rather speak of hawkish views throughout the political spectrum from the leftist to the rightist.
        And just let me set this clear: you’re not a iota more intelligent than I am. And I would never consider myself for intelligent than you’re. But there is a gross difference between us: I respect you and your thoughts, opinions, acts and “Weltanschauung”. You dismiss mines in an agit-prop manner that I learned to know during my personal experience with dictatorships, something you had the luck to don’t be directly confronted with, but use some of their confrontational methodologies.
        Now I’ll stop with my criticism, which rather touches the surface, because – when digging a few inches deeper – the similarity of our fundamental views is much tighter than any formal and style differences. Kind regards

        • Richard Silverstein February 18, 2012, 2:25 AM

          I don’t care if you founded the United States & sat in the Continental Congress. Your views in 1978 are of no interest to me. But the nonsense you spout today is.

          BTW, would you care to produce any evidence that you were a co-founder of Peace Now? Not that it would change my views. But I’m curious whether you can document yr claims.

          The Israeli media is not like western media. It is under a much graver threat, something I’ve been writing about here for almost a year. What is the difference between “hawkish” and “rightist?” It’s a distinction without a meaning. As for respecting my views…you don’t. You can say the opposite till the cows come home, but it means very little.

          I don’t know whether I’m more, less or of the same intelligence as you. But one thing I do know, I can articulate my views more coherently than you.

          One of my comment rules insists on claims to be supported by evidence. The claim that my methods remind you of those used by dictatorships is repugnant & ludicrous. You can’t support such a claim because it’s borderline lunacy. So support what you say and claim here or your stay may be short.

          • Robert Soran - Schwarz February 20, 2012, 5:13 AM

            You make me laugh, dear couch potato hero. It’s easy to claim being a defender of democracy from a warm and safe nest. Willy Brandt, certainly a great left-wing democrat once said what then became his probably most famous statement about moral apostles professing “journalism”. He called them in one of his major speeches “writing desk culprits” who often become “writing desk murderers”. He certainly knew what he was talking about :-)
            If you want evidence in regard to Peace Now than just take a look at the 1977-1979 documents from Kibbutz Artzi Hashomer Hatzair (archived by the Kibbutz Movement) …
            And where were and what did you do those days? Hmm …
            Probably learning how to spite in the monetarily most advantageous way much nonsense mixed with little sense :-)
            Have a nice day on the couch and at the writing desk.

          • Richard Silverstein February 20, 2012, 11:52 PM

            I asked for proof that you were a co-founder of Peace Now & you send me to an undisclosed archive? Is that the only “proof” you can offer?

  • PersianAdvocate February 15, 2012, 8:42 PM

    Information management is the key to peoples’ perceptions. As you can see, a simple blog from a lefty goes a long way. Now if you only had a Shel Adelson with the mind of a Rabin to understand that Israeli’s longevity hinges on re-centering its politics from the far right to fund you… I’d hope you’d cut me in for 2-3% just for the suggestion. C’mon…Tikun O’lam a lil ;)

    • Richard Silverstein February 15, 2012, 11:44 PM

      Dream on my friend!

    • Nimrod February 16, 2012, 6:43 AM

      “mind of a Rabin”?
      Yitzhak “bone breaker” Rabin ?

      Its funny how after one’s death, he becomes a sweetheart to those who slandered him when he was alive.

      • PersianAdvocate February 16, 2012, 1:29 PM

        I’m sure I have, but compared to Ariel Sharon, he was a Martin Luther King, Jr. I’m no absolutist, and I think it’s important to examine nuances. Can I compliment Netanyahu on doing something good-natured? I’m still waiting; but yes, it’s possible.

      • Richard Silverstein February 16, 2012, 5:36 PM

        I’ll take “bone breaker” Rabin over Bibi, Bark or Peres any day.

        • bar_kochba132 February 16, 2012, 9:42 PM

          In Rabin’s last speech in the Knesset given a few weeks before he was murdered he stated that the Oslo Agreements would NOT lead to an independent Palestinian state, only some sort of autonomy (sort of the existing situation), Jerusalem would NOT be divided, but would remain united under Israeli rule and settlements would not be removed. Needless to say there would be no right of return.
          You still like him better than the others?

          • Richard Silverstein February 16, 2012, 9:55 PM

            In 1995, I held views I don’t hold today. So yes, I’m confident that Rabin, like some other sensible, pragmatic prior Israeli leaders could’ve adapted to the changing political times & circumstances. Contrary to you & yr far right friends, who will likely go down with the Israeli ship if you’re give half a chance.

          • PersianAdvocate February 16, 2012, 10:17 PM

            Can you find me a rich person who is to the left of Rabin? ;) lol I think I was tending to what Israelis would consider a “liberal”. I mean, the man did get shot in the face for appearing to extend an unprecedented olive branch, no? I’d put him on par with a JFK of Israel. JFK was no angel. He was Arch Angel Gabriel compared to every President and the powers-that-be that downed him and compel them ever since, however. Anyhow, don’t latch on to my sentence. I do not know Rabin well. I know him to be someone who got shot for extending a peace offering. If this is true, he falls under the ultimate pantheon of good. To give your life as a sacrifice of peace (willingly/unwillingly) is on par with any notion of good in all civilized societies.

        • Robert Soran - Schwarz February 18, 2012, 1:16 AM

          Too late. Where were you as he was still alive and needed all support he could get? I didn’t see you there. But it’s great that you changed some of your views. Despite my suspicion that Arik was at the end further on the path to peace than Rabin 1995.

  • Piotr Berman February 16, 2012, 10:24 PM

    Message of the principal owner: “I am a firm believer that the more people learn about Israel, the more they will understand how she responds with imperfect but exemplary morality and decency to life in the most difficult of neighborhoods”.

    In other words, a propaganda rag for people who should not read Jerusalem Post which is openly fascistic and may mar the impression of “imperfect but exemplary morality”. For example, war mongering is done with a dash of humor. Glick of Jerusalem Post tries her hand at humor, LATMA videos, but the videos are funny only to dedicated Muslim haters.

    Sadly, I was hoping for something more “centrist”.

  • Michael Brenner February 17, 2012, 8:48 AM

    Have you read the Jerusalem Report? David Horovitz is certainly not a right-winger.

    • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2012, 12:32 PM

      Have u read the Jerusalem Post which he used to edit? He certainly is a right winger. The fact that you call him otherwised betrays yr own partisan views.

  • Michael Brenner February 17, 2012, 12:52 PM

    I don’t appreciate that, Richard. I know him primarily through the Jerusalem Report and his columns. The Report is certainly not a right-wing publication, and he’s not a right-wing commentator. Citing Klarman’s investment in his online newspaper is not proof of the guy’s politics.

    • Richard Silverstein February 17, 2012, 6:02 PM

      I don’t care what you “appreciate.”. He’s a Right wing editor of Israel’s farthest right English language daily, now starting a perhaps farther right wing new media enterprise. No pro Israel fat cat would invest in an Israeli media property unless it reflected his right wing Likudist politics. Look at Adelson & YisraelHaYom.

      • Robert Soran - Schwarz February 18, 2012, 12:37 AM

        This is one of the traits that kill discussions, debates or conversations: not caring about the the others’ standpoints. Monologuing always was the first step to dictatorships of the extremes. You drastically dismiss Michaels opinion based on automatic political reflexes, but with zero arguments.
        “Not good”

  • Piotr Berman February 19, 2012, 10:42 AM

    If your mission is to explain that Israel behaves with most exemplary morality, to quote the owner, then this is a propaganda mission.

    From my look at The Times of Israel, the idea is to present a gentler picture than Jerusalem Post. From the perspective of Israel right/center, this means that they plan to be “moderate”. From perspective that status quo is Jewish supremacism and war mongering, a more clever defense of the status quo is nothing to cheer.

  • Piotr Berman February 20, 2012, 9:16 AM

    So sprache Gerald Steinberg in The Times of Israel op-ed:
    http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/israels-vibrant-democracy/

    “By any objective standard, Israeli democracy is as robust and pluralistic as any in the world. There are no restrictions on any form of protest or advocacy, including very fierce and unpopular criticism of the government and military.”

    Actually, I recall a few restrictions. First, it is against the law to dress like concentration camp inmates while defending the right to spit at immodest little girls. (Spitting itself seems to be OK.) Second, bicycling as a form of protest is prohibited to anarchists. Third, putting posters in your shop window can be ticketed. Fourth, boycots are forbidden not on the basis of form, but content.

    Then, beating up unpopular and fierce critics is by itself a form of protest, but it would actually be good to restrict it.

    Some restrictions are strange. On TV what you say is not restricted, but you have to say it in Jerusalem.

    Anyway, the first half of Steinberg piece can be OK, the second — a bit less. Most worrying is the final note: “This column is a summary of NGO Monitor’s presentation to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom.” It is very clear that Steinberg did not ask himself the most salient question: whom are we kidding? For domestic audience the piece is OK, to convince UN officials, it can have the opposite effect.

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