Is this Jewish podcaster the progressive answer to Ben Shapiro?

Howard Stern loves him. Donald Trump Jr. hates him. David Pakman takes a balanced view on Israel, weighing each case on its merits, and briefly got the better of Ben Shapiro.

 DAVID PAKMAN holds a challah – and his daughter. (photo credit: Courtesy David Pakman)
DAVID PAKMAN holds a challah – and his daughter.
(photo credit: Courtesy David Pakman)

In a world where a clip of a political pundit yelling is more likely to make something go viral, David Pakman has garnered more than 1.5 billion views and 1.8 million subscribers – at the helm of a political show in which he has likely not raised his voice, even once.

The 39-year-old host of The David Pakman Show looks like a choir boy, but some don’t sing his praises after he calmly exposes people’s ignorance. He is a gifted debater who is snarky and humorous; his stock is on the rise after two impressive podcast appearances and a profile on

Whether or not one agrees with him on political matters (he often mocks former US president Donald Trump), Pakman can easily chop up political talking points of people who offer nothing but window dressing.

Pakman has some followers who want him to engage in Israel bashing. Others want him to take the country’s side, no matter what. Instead, he views each situation on its merits, defending Israel when he thinks the attacks are unfair – calling it as he sees it, most specifically, being highly critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said he was not surprised to see Netanyahu return to lead Israel in the last election.

Pakman, who was born in Argentina, is Jewish.

 COMMENTATORS BEN SHAPIRO (R) and Jordan Peterson tour Jerusalem in October.  (credit: Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)
COMMENTATORS BEN SHAPIRO (R) and Jordan Peterson tour Jerusalem in October. (credit: Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

“It is common for me to be the target of antisemitism,” Pakman told the Magazine. “Every single day, you could find dozens of comments on my channel that are antisemitic. It bothers me that my Judaism becomes a target for things that I say, whereas if someone else on the Left says them, and happens not to be Jewish, Judaism isn’t actually the issue – it’s sort of a catch-all for people who don’t like what I am saying. It’s sad and disappointing this exists in society.”

Online trolls have referred to the host as “David-A-Pakman” in an attempt to assert that he is a tool of AIPAC, a “Zionist Jew-pig,” and the strangest of all, a “Yerushalmi Bavli.”

Pakman, whose mother has taught collegiate Judaic studies, said he is secular and doesn’t at this time believe in God, but wouldn’t rule out the possibility.

Comparsions to, and getting the better of, Ben Shapiro

Despite being on the opposite political spectrum, Pakman has drawn comparisons to Ben Shapiro, the Orthodox Jew who founded The Daily Wire and hosts The Ben Shapiro Show, because of their ability to debate. Shapiro, widely viewed as the most prominent pro-Israel commentator in America, famously gave a rousing movie-like speech against a BDS proposal at his alma mater, UCLA. When the two squared off many years ago, Pakman may have gotten the better of Shapiro momentarily, in an argument over US gun laws. Pakman pointed out that the constitution would not preclude a citizen from having a warship.

While some online wondered if Shapiro was avoiding Pakman, he said he doesn’t believe that’s the case and knows Shapiro is busy.

“I have no reason to believe he is afraid,” Pakman said of Shapiro. “I think he has such a big platform… I’d be happy to chat with him any time.”

PAKMAN HAS attracted impressive numbers recently through his appearances on the podcast of Jewish interviewer Lex Fridman, with 482,000 hits on YouTube, and Patrick Bet-David’s PBD podcast, with 323,00 views. 

During the latter, a heated argument about taxes and how Trump is viewed across the globe, ensued. Bet-David confused the Abraham Accords with possibly the American embassy move to Jerusalem, but managed to perturb Packman by calling US Joe President Biden “the greatest hide-and-go-seek champion of all time.” Pakman countered that high numbers of Covid in the run-up to the 2020 election caused Biden to refrain from large rallies, and counterpunched: to argue that Biden was hiding is even more insulting to Trump, because he lost the election. 

On Fridman’s podcast, Pakman spoke about a tongue-in-cheek tweet he deleted (something he later regretted) that caused controversy after the March 27 shooting at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, in which three children and three adults were murdered.

Pakman tweeted: “Very surprising that there would be a mass shooting at a Christian school, given, that lack of prayer if often blamed for these horrible events. Is it possible they weren’t praying enough, or correctly, despite being in a Christian school?”

Some who are not familiar with his show may have taken his comment literally. For many years, he has been a leading voice advocating for stricter gun regulations in America, and told me he’s always believed, even prior to this particular shooting, that prayer is fine, but should not be used a replacement for a responsible approach: stricter gun regulations. 

Multiple reforms are needed, Pakman said, including one which prevents those under 25 from having an AR-15, which many classify as an assault rifle. He also believes background checks should be mandatory for all, as should reference letters from community members for younger gun owners.

“If we couldn’t even get universal background checks after Sandy Hook, it’s sort of deflating,” Pakman said, referring to the 2012 mass shooting perpetrated by a 20-year-old at a Connecticut elementary school, where 26 were murdered (20 of them young children).

In response to his tweet, Donald Trump Jr. called Pakman a “piece of excrement” on Twitter while Candace Owens of The Daily Wire said on her show that Pakman “has no soul” and went after his advertisers.

Pakman told the Magazine he would be willing to have Trump Jr. on his show, as well as Owens.

Pakman also made an informative video criticizing Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) for his appearance on the Drink Champs podcast.

“I was not surprised by Kanye’s comments,” Pakman said. “He seems to harbor just about every antisemitic trope and stereotype…”

Ye eventually told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that he likes Hitler and loves Nazis. Owens, who originally said on her show that Ye’s tweet was not antisemitic, told Vanity Fair in April that she doesn’t need to publicly criticize a friend and has said on her show she is not Ye’s spokesperson.

Pakman once interviewed former Mossad case officer Victor Ostrovsky, who joked that James Bond would not last a day in the real world of espionage, and the idea of spies getting beautiful women is “a nice fantasy.” Pakman said if he could have any Israeli guest on his show, it would be Gal Gadot, or Fauda creators Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff.

PAKMAN VISITED Jerusalem with his girlfriend and his brother Natan about seven years ago, a trip they all enjoyed – they even set foot on the Temple Mount.

Although he’d be the first to admit he’s not an expert on Middle East affairs, he believes a two-state solution would be pragmatic if a viable peace deal ever came about, Israel would have to control jewish Holy sites, he believes, even if a segment of Jerusalem would be handed over to form part of a Palestinian state.

He also thinks Hamas is an obstacle to peace, but added that elements of the Israeli government benefit from maintaining the status quo. He hopes for peace, security, and prosperity for both sides.

Pakman has appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience, America’s top podcast, where they spoke about the power of social media.

In February, Rogan said, “The idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous. That’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza…”

Pakman has been critical of Rogan on a number of issues, including this one, where Rogan was wrong to make the statement. But he said he didn’t believe Rogan was antisemitic and may not have realized the extent of the historical conspiratorial underpinnings of the stereotype of Jews and money.

Pakman has said he believes in giving people a fair shot if he criticizes them. That’s why Christopher Key, a man who claims drinking his own urine has improved his health, was a guest.

 Pakman was empathetic toward him, telling Key he believes he is obsessed with urine due to his children suffering from PKU (Phenylketonuria), which can make one’s urine musty, as well as cause neurological problems and seizures.

Meanwhile, scientist and researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky recently told Pakman he believes that AI, left unfettered, will kill humanity – and the host did not dismiss the possibility.

Why is Pakman able to keep his cool?

“If I want to seriously engage with the people I’m talking to, and not only show the audience that hopefully I have the better ideas, but I’m engaging in a better faith, it’s better if I remain calm no matter what happens,” Pakman clarified. “I actively tried to do that initially and it comes naturally now.”

PAKMAN STARTED interviewing for fun, but now it makes him a good living. While CNN might be smart to hire him and Pakman said he would listen to any offer, he’s comfortable being his own boss and likes his position. On his Sirius XM show, Howard Stern said he loved the way Pakman describes things, urged people to watch his show and said MSNBC should hire him.

Pakman said he would not rule out a political run in his future, though he had no current plans to do so.

He said he has benefited from the rise of social media, but knows there are adverse results for others.

“Any new technology inevitably has good and bad things,” he said. “You’re not going to put any of these technologies back in the bottle… We just have to figure out what’s the right way to manage the technology.”

When asked if he was surprised to see violence against Jews in New York City and Los Angeles, he lamented he was not.

“It did not surprise me that there was that level of scapegoating and anger toward the Jewish people. I don’t believe that Trump created the xenophobia and racism, but I think it became more acceptable to publicly espouse them.”

One controversial Jewish-related case to have emerged in his home country, Argentina, is that of Jewish prosecutor Alberto Nisman, which was been made into a Netflix documentary. Nisman asserted that the highest levels of government there had worked with Iran to cover up information regarding the 1994 terrorist attack on the AMIA building that killed 85 people. Nisman was subsequently found shot dead, the day before proceedings. Some said it was suicide, although later it was thought to be murder. Pakman said he must use logic.

“I don’t want to go into conspiracy territory, but it’s extremely difficult,” he said. “It would seem to be too much of a coincidence that he took his own life; the explanation that has been given is that the pressure of what he was about to do got to him, so he took his own life before he was going to present this evidence. It doesn’t pass the sniff test for me.”

Pakman concluded by advising that on an individual level, people can work against racism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia.

“If people don’t spend time around different types of people it’s very easy to see them as ‘other’ or ‘different.’ Spending time around people of different identities is the best inoculator against this type of behavior.” 