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Pro-Israel Buttigieg backer Seth Klarman is top funder of group behind Iowa’s disastrous voting app

Behind the app that delayed Iowa’s voting results is a dark money operation funded by anti-Sanders billionaires. Its top donor, Seth Klarman, is a Buttigieg backer who has dumped money into pro-settler Israel lobby groups.

by Max Blumenthal

Part 3 - An Israel lobby moneyman’s path to Mayor Pete’s wine cave

Shadow Inc. was launched by a major Democratic dark money nonprofit called Acronym, which also gave birth to a $7.7 million Super PAC known as Pacronym.

According to Sludge, Pacronym’s largest donor is Seth Klarman. A billionaire hedge funder, Klarman also happens to be a top donor to Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.

Though he has attracted some attention for his role in the campaign, Klarman’s prolific funding of the pro-settler Israel lobby and Islamophobic initiatives has gone almost entirely unmentioned.

Seth Klarman is the founder of the Boston-based Baupost Group hedge fund and a longtime donor to corporate Republican candidates. After Donald Trump called for forgiving Puerto Rico’s debt, Klarman – the owner of $911 million of the island’s bonds – flipped and began funding Trump’s opponents.

The billionaire’s crusade against Trump ultimately led him to Mayor Pete’s wine cave.

By the end of 2019, Klarman had donated $5,600 to Buttigieg and pumped money into the campaigns of Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris as well.

The billionaire’s support for centrist candidates appears to be not only about his own financial interests, but also his deep and abiding ideological commitment to Israel and its expansionist project.

As I reported for Mondoweiss, Klarman has been a top funder for major Israel lobby outfits, including those that support the expansion of illegal settlements and Islamophobic campaigns.

Klarman was the principal financier of The Israel Project, the recently disbanded Israeli government-linked propaganda organization that lobbied against the Iran nuclear deal and backed the Israeli settlement enterprise.

Klarman has heaped hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and the American Jewish Committee. And he funded The David Project, which was established to suppress Palestine solidarity organizing on college campuses across the US and battled to block the establishment of a Muslim community center in Boston.

Through his support for the Friends of Ir David Inc., Klarman directly involved himself in the Israeli settlement enterprise, assisting the US-based tax-exempt arm of the organization that oversaw a wave of Palestinian expulsions in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

Other pro-Israel groups reaping the benefits of Klarman’s generosity include Birthright Israel, the AIPAC-founded Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), a neoconservative think tank that helped devise Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign of economic warfare on Iran.

Klarman is the owner of the Times of Israel, an Israeli media outlet that once published a call for Palestinian genocide. (The op-ed was ultimately removed following public backlash.)

In recent weeks, Buttigieg has sought to distinguish himself from Sanders on the issue of Israel-Palestine. During a testy exchange this January with a self-proclaimed Jewish supporter of Palestinian human rights, the South Bend mayor backtracked on a previous pledge to withhold military aid to Israel if it annexed parts of the West Bank.

Another recipient of Klarman’s funding, Amy Klobuchar, has taken a strongly pro-Israel line, vowing to support Trump’s relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Klarman’s interest in Israel has apparently led him to support regime change in Syria. In 2017, the pro-Israel billionaire’s foundation donated $100,000 to the Syrian American Medical Society, a US-based non-profit that has lobbied aggressively for US intervention in Syria while partnering on the ground with foreign-backed extremists that occupied large swaths of the country.

Back home in the US, Klarman has contributed heavily to funding the CIA Memorial Foundation. He is listed alongside former CIA Director George Tenet as a top individual contributor to the group.

Klarman’s support for Buttigieg, The Grayzone previously reported, has been complimented by a surprisingly long roster of former high-ranking CIA officials, regime-change architects, and global financiers.

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