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Forbes 100: 35 of Top 100 U.S. Billionaires Are Jewish


There has been much talk recently about the curse of white privilege, as manifested in, for example, the greater wealth of whites than blacks in the United States.

For example, in March 2019, Forbes reported that there were 4 black billionaires in the U.S.: American investor Robert F. Smith with $5 billion [#131 on the October 2019 Forbes 400], American businessman David Steward with $3.5 billion [#239], American media mogul Oprah Winfrey with a net worth of $2.7 billion [#319], … American sports executive Michael Jordan with $2.1 billion [not quite making the Forbes 400]. So, only 0.75% of the Forbes 400 are black.

There has, in contrast, been only a tiny amount of talk about Jewish privilege, as manifested in, for example, the greater wealth of Jews than white gentiles in the United States.

Yet, the two concepts—white privilege and Jewish privilege—would seem to be rather analogous: For example, if you are enraged about white privilege it would be logical to also be concerned about Jewish privilege. In contrast, if you find white privilege to be overblown, then Jewish privilege shouldn’t bother you much either.

Conversely, if you would prefer people not speak about the idea of Jewish privilege, it might make sense not to promote the idea of white privilege quite so assiduously.

We can take a crack at quantifying this by looking at the Forbes 400, a popular ranking of the richest people in America. Here’s the first 100 names listed on the last annual report from October 2019, along with my understanding of each billionaire’s ethnicity, based on Wikipedia, news reports, interviews and the like. Everybody with a “1” under “Jewish?” appears to be at least half Jewish by nature and nurture. The “%” column sums up the percentage of Jewish ethnicity weighting nature and nurture equally. (I’ll explain this below under my note for Larry Ellison of Oracle.)

2019 Forbes 100 Richest in US
RANK NAME NET WORTH AGE JEWISH? % SOURCE
35 33.25
1 Jeff Bezos $114 B 55 Amazon
2 Bill Gates $106 B 64 Microsoft
3 Warren Buffett $80.8 B 89 Berkshire Hathaway
4 Mark Zuckerberg $69.6 B 35 1 100% Facebook
5 Larry Ellison $65 B 75 1 75% software
6 Larry Page $55.5 B 46 1 50% Google
7 Sergey Brin $53.5 B 46 1 100% Google
8 Michael Bloomberg $53.4 B 77 1 100% Bloomberg LP
9 Steve Ballmer $51.7 B 63 1 50% Microsoft
10 Jim Walton $51.6 B 71 Walmart
11 Alice Walton $51.4 B 70 Walmart
12 Rob Walton $51.3 B 75 Walmart
13 Charles Koch $41 B 83 Koch Industries
13 Julia Koch & family $41 B 57 Koch Industries
15 MacKenzie Bezos $36.1 B 49 Amazon.com
16 Phil Knight & family $35.9 B 81 Nike
17 Sheldon Adelson $34.5 B 86 1 100% casinos
18 Michael Dell $32.3 B 54 1 100% Dell computers
19 Jacqueline Mars $29.7 B 80 candy, pet food
19 John Mars $29.7 B 84 candy, pet food
21 Jim Simons $21.6 B 81 1 100% hedge funds
22 Laurene Powell Jobs & family $21.3 B 55 Apple, Disney
23 Elon Musk $19.9 B 48 Tesla Motors, SpaceX
24 Rupert Murdoch & family $19.1 B 88 newspapers, TV network
25 Leonard Lauder $18.8 B 82 1 100% Estee Lauder
26 Ray Dalio $18.7 B 70 hedge funds
27 Len Blavatnik $18.3 B 62 1 100% diversified
28 Lukas Walton $18.1 B 33 Walmart
29 Stephen Schwarzman $17.7 B 72 1 100% investments
30 Carl Icahn $17.6 B 83 1 100% investments
31 Thomas Peterffy $17.5 B 75 discount brokerage
32 Donald Bren $17 B 87 1 50% real estate
33 Eric Schmidt $14.2 B 64 Google
34 Abigail Johnson $14 B 57 money management
35 Steve Cohen $13.6 B 63 1 100% hedge funds
36 Pierre Omidyar $13.1 B 52 eBay, PayPal
37 Donald Newhouse $12.8 B 90 1 100% media
38 Ken Griffin $12.7 B 51 hedge funds
39 David Tepper $12 B 62 1 100% hedge funds
40 Dustin Moskovitz $11.6 B 35 1 100% Facebook
41 Philip Anschutz $11.5 B 79 investments
41 Thomas Frist, Jr. & family $11.5 B 81 hospitals
41 John Menard, Jr. $11.5 B 79 home improvement stores
44 Charles Ergen $10.8 B 66 satellite TV
45 David Duffield $10.7 B 79 business software
46 Gordon Moore $10.3 B 90 Intel
47 Jan Koum $10.1 B 43 1 100% WhatsApp
48 Andrew Beal $9.8 B 66 banks, real estate
49 Carl Cook $9.7 B 57 medical devices
49 Stanley Kroenke $9.7 B 72 sports, real estate
51 Jim Kennedy $9.6 B 71 media, automotive
51 Blair Parry-Okeden $9.6 B 69 media, automotive
53 Hank & Doug Meijer $9.5 B supermarkets
54 Stewart and Lynda Resnick $9 B 1 100% agriculture, water
55 Harold Hamm & family $8.8 B 73 oil & gas
56 Jerry Jones $8.6 B 77 Dallas Cowboys
56 George Soros $8.6 B 89 1 100% hedge funds
58 Christy Walton $8.5 B 70 Walmart
59 Micky Arison $8.1 B 70 1 100% Carnival Cruises
60 David Geffen $7.9 B 76 1 100% movies, record labels
61 Shahid Khan $7.8 B 69 auto parts
61 Tom & Judy Love $7.8 B 82 retail & gas stations
63 Leon Black $7.7 B 68 1 100% private equity
63 Ronald Perelman $7.7 B 76 1 100% leveraged buyouts
63 Charles Schwab $7.7 B 82 discount brokerage
66 Stephen Ross $7.6 B 79 1 100% real estate
67 John Doerr $7.5 B 68 venture capital
67 Richard Kinder $7.5 B 75 pipelines
67 Ann Walton Kroenke $7.5 B 70 Walmart
70 David Green & family $7.4 B 77 retail
70 Marijke Mars $7.4 B 55 candy, pet food
70 Pamela Mars $7.4 B 59 candy, pet food
70 Valerie Mars $7.4 B 60 candy, pet food
70 Victoria Mars $7.4 B 62 candy, pet food
75 John Malone $7.3 B 78 cable television
75 David Shaw $7.3 B 68 1 100% hedge funds
77 James Goodnight $7.2 B 76 software
77 Herbert Kohler, Jr. & family $7.2 B 80 plumbing fixtures
79 Diane Hendricks $7 B 72 roofing
79 Edward Johnson, III. $7 B 89 money management
79 George Kaiser $7 B 77 1 100% oil & gas, banking
82 Robert Kraft $6.9 B 78 1 100% New England Patriots
82 Steven Rales $6.9 B 68 1 100% manufacturing
84 Eli Broad $6.8 B 86 1 100% investments
85 Jim Davis & family $6.7 B 76 New Balance
85 Nancy Walton Laurie $6.7 B 68 Walmart
85 J. Christopher Reyes $6.7 B 65 food distribution
85 Jude Reyes $6.7 B 64 food distribution
85 John A. Sobrato & family $6.7 B 80 real estate
85 Patrick Soon-Shiong $6.7 B 67 pharmaceuticals
91 Israel Englander $6.6 B 71 1 100% hedge funds
91 Reinhold Schmieding $6.6 B 64 medical devices
93 Marc Benioff $6.5 B 55 1 100% business software
93 Daniel Gilbert $6.5 B 57 1 100% Quicken Loans
95 James Chambers $6.4 B 62 media, automotive
95 Bernard Marcus $6.4 B 90 1 100% Home Depot
95 Robert Pera $6.4 B 41 wireless networking gear
95 Katharine Rayner $6.4 B 74 media, automotive
95 Margaretta Taylor $6.4 B 77 media, automotive
100 Dannine Avara $6.3 B 55 pipelines

A few notes:

These are not attempts to discern the personal religious views of these billionaires. Nor do they reflect the logic of Rabbinical Judaism under which the maternal line is decisive in who is Jewish or not.

Instead, I’m simply following the pattern of Wikipedia that typically states something like “[Mark] Zuckerberg was raised in a Reform Jewish household” or, for Michael Bloomberg, “His family is Jewish.”

Most of the time, this isn’t all that complicated.

Here are the 4 of the 35 in the top 100 who appear to be somewhat complicated in their Jewish ethnicity.

Larry Page of Google is the son of a Jewish mother. His father, Carl Victor Page, a computer science professor at Michigan State died in his late 50s from complications from the polio he contracted as a child. My impression is that Professor Page was of Old American stock, but I haven’t seen confirmation one way or another.

Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, is the biological son of an Italian-American military pilot and a Jewish mother. As an infant, he was adopted by his mother’s Jewish aunt and uncle. So, I think of the arithmetic of this as Ellison being half Jewish by nature and all Jewish by nurture. Because I assume that, generally speaking, nature and nurture about equally important, I put Ellison down as 75% Jewish. Admittedly, I’ve never heard of anybody else using this kind of arithmetic, but it strikes me as reasonable. Many people are adamant about accounting solely based on either nature or nurture. I can’t decide between their logic, so I just compromise.

Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft and current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers (it’s a long story), has a Swiss gentile immigrant father and a Jewish-American mother.

Donald Bren, Orange County land baron, appears to have a Jewish father and a gentile mother: “His father Milton was a naval officer, talent agent, and successful movie producer while his mother Marion was a prominent civic leader. His mother was of partial Irish descent while his father was of Jewish descent.”

It’s perhaps interesting that the partial names are concentrated near the top of the list. That could be a fluke, or it could be that there is more information published about the super-billionaires like Ellison. Perhaps somebody lower down on the list was also adopted but is just listed in Wikipedia as “raised in a Jewish family.”

Real estate developer and sports team owner Stan Kroenke is often described as Jewish, but he is described in Wikipedia as “He is of German descent and was raised Lutheran,” which seems plausible: he grew up in rural Missouri. Other than being good at making money, his life seems pretty thoroughly gentile: he owns huge ranches, he’s into hunting, and he married a Walmart heiress.

Note that I got tired of counting after 100 billionaires. Places 100 through 106 are all tied with $6.3 billion, but I only counted the first of the seven with $6.3 billion.

So, 35 of the first 100 on the 2019 Forbes list are, more or less, Jewish. If you sum up my weights, the first 100 make up 33.25% of the Forbes 100, or just about exactly 1/3. This appears to be about the same fraction as when I previously looked into the question in 2013.

Jewish organizations usually report that Jews make up 2.2% of the U.S. population, so being about 1/3rd of the Forbes 100 is impressive.

[Comment at Unz.com]

Originally appeared at: VDare