This posting has these items:
1) Gatestone Institute: UK Government to Hold Pro-Terrorism Expo in London?, the headline, less the ?, tells you how the Institute has fangled its argument;
2) AlterNet : Is Notorious Islamophobic Think Tank Inspiring More Far-Right Terrorism?, Hilary Aked probes the Gatestone Institute;
3)The Nation: The Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate, Max Blumenthal’s 2012 article on the wealthy propagandists of impending ‘Islamisation’;
4) Powerbase: Nina Rosenwald;
By Denis MacEoin, Gatestone Institute
May 30, 2017 at 4:30 am
“‘Friends of Al-Aqsa’ is one of the more extremist Islamist organizations at work in Britain today. It supports the Muslim Brotherhood-linked charity ‘Interpal’ (proscribed by the US Treasury) and advertises it on its website. It collaborates with the Khomenist Iranian-funded faux human rights organization known as the Islamic Human Rights Commission in organizing events such as Al Quds day at which public support is expressed for the Iranian proxy militia Hizbollah.” — UK Media Watch.
Under these definitions, Hamas is exposed as a terrorist organization both by its repeated use of indiscriminate killing and the contents of its two Charters from 1988 and 2017.
“There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except through jihad…” — Hamas Charters of 1988 and 2017, Articles 18 and 21.
Hamas is not the only extremist organization to which Friends of Al-Aqsa has lent its support.
Mere weeks after the terrorist attacks in Britain — on May 22 in Manchester and earlier in Westminster — there is planned in London, on July 8-9, a major event which its organizers describe as:
Palestine Expo: the biggest social, cultural and entertainment event on Palestine to ever take place in Europe. In a year of immense significance for Palestine, we are pleased to announce, Palestine Expo 2017
The “biggest ever in Europe”: heady stuff. In a major coup, the exposition will take place, not in a scruffy hall on the outskirts of the city, but in the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster, near the Houses of Parliament, in the shadow of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. The prestigious centre is owned by the UK Government and its operation is conducted by an executive agency of the Department for Communities and Local Government. It has 2,000 square metres of exhibition space, four main auditoria, seven conference rooms and many smaller rooms, and specialises in events for more than 1,000 delegates. Palexpo will occupy five of its six levels.
Events listed include:
Academic Workshop (“will be run by a group of academics from leading UK universities”)
On the surface, it might appear that this is merely a cultural event designed to give the British public a taste of Palestinian cooking, music, art, in particular, history (starting in 1948!). A closer examination, however, reveals something less pleasant. Underneath the surface, this exposition is dedicated to a presentation of Palestinian victimhood and “resistance” (read terrorism), the same “resistance” as in Israel, and on similar false pretexts.
In Israel, the false pretext is that Jews — who have lived in Canaan and Judea for 3,000 years, as is substantiated by enough documentary and archaeological evidence to sink a supertanker — are supposedly occupying “Palestinian land”. In Europe, the false pretext is “revenge for colonialism”, which has historically existed under the Muslims, in their conquests of Iran, the Byzantine Empire, North Africa and the Middle East, northern Cyprus, Spain and most of Eastern Europe. This expansion has continued in the present day to Lebanon, northern Cyprus, Indonesia, the Philippines and is working its way through Europe, Canada and Australia. The Europeans are evidently gullible enough, it seems, to swallow all pretexts without bothering to check any facts.
The Queen Elizabeth II Centre is the venue for the upcoming “Palestine Expo 2017”, organized by the antisemitic pro-Hamas activist group, “Friends of Al-Aqsa”.
Who has organized this massive upcoming London event? One might have expected it to be the Palestinian Mission of the UK (often treated erroneously as an embassy, as it claims to represent the “State of Palestine”, which does not exist). However, although the Mission will probably be a participant in the exposition, a direct link for it cannot be found. The same is true for the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority.
The organizers of the event are, in fact, a relatively small British organization, Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA), founded in 1997 by a British optician, Ismail Patel, closely involved in several Islamic organizations such as the British Muslim Initiative (BMI). The BMI is a front group for Hamas, and has been for many years “the most active organization in the U.K Muslim Brotherhood”. Patel was a spokesman for the BMI. And the BMI was the chief organizer of London’s 2008 IslamExpo, which Britain’s Minister of Communities and Local Government at the time, Hazel Blears, strongly criticized:
“It was clear that because of the views of some of the organisers, and because of the nature of some of the exhibitors, this was an event that no Minister should attend. Organisers like Anas al-Tikriti, who believes in boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day. Or speakers like Azzam Tamimi, who has sought to justify suicide bombing. Or exhibitors like the Government of Iran.”
Friends of Al-Aqsa is, itself, an antisemitic pro-Hamas activist group. It helped establish in London the anti-Israel al-Quds Day events, in which extremists march to support the terror group Hizbullah and the theocratic Iranian regime that calls for England, Israel and America to be wiped from the pages of time.
Patel himself is an outspoken upholder of these values. In 2009, he addressed a Stop the Gaza Massacre demonstration in support of Hamas:
“Hamas is no terrorist organization. The reason they hate Hamas is because they refuse to be subjugated, occupied by the Israeli state, and we salute Hamas for standing up to Israel […] to the state of Israel: you no longer represent the Jewish people.”
Hamas has, in fact, been condemned as a terrorist group by the US, the UK, the EU countries, Egypt, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. Terrorism itself has been difficult to define legally, mostly because the countries that use it do not wish to define it; nevertheless, several countries have matching definitions. The British 2006 Terrorism Act provides a basic list of activities that constitute terrorism:
(1) In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where-
(a) the action falls within subsection (2),
(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
(c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.
(2) Action falls within this subsection if it-
(a) involves serious violence against a person,
(b) involves serious damage to property,
(c) endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
Section 1(3) to (5) goes on to expand on the effect and extent of this definition.
The Canadian Department of Justice definition reads in similar terms. Another definition also attributed to Canada reads:
“A terrorist is a man who murders indiscriminately, distinguishing neither between civilian and innocent and guilty nor soldier and civilian.”
Under these definitions, Hamas is exposed as a terrorist organization both by its repeated use of indiscriminate killing and the contents of its two Charters from 1988: (“la hall li’l-qadiyya al-Filastiniyya illa bi’l-jihad — There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except through jihad.” Article 13) and 2017:
“Hamas confirms that no peace in Palestine should be agreed on, based on injustice to the Palestinians or their land. Any arrangements based on that will not lead to peace, and the resistance and Jihad will remain as a legal right, a project and an honor for all our nation’s people.” — Article 21. (Emphasis added.)
Hamas is not the only extremist organization to which Friends of Al-Aqsa has lent its support. The outlawed Northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, which has close Hamas affiliations, is led by Shaykh Raed Salah. Salah has aided organizations that fund Hamas, and claims that Jews were behind the 9/11 attacks (and that 4,000 Jews stayed away from work at the World Trade Centre that day). Salah has also called Osama Bin Laden a martyr, and has said that honour killings of young women are acceptable.
According to Tamar Pileggi:
“In late 2015, Israel banned the radical Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, accusing it of maintaining links to terror groups and of stoking a wave of violence that saw dozens of deaths in a spate of stabbing, car-ramming and shooting attacks.”
Before that, in 2011, FOA along with other extremist groups brought Salah to the UK, despite a travel ban. When Salah was arrested and to be deported, Patel spoke out in support for him. But Salah had well before that delivered bloodcurdling sermons calling on Palestinians to become martyrs while attacking Israeli soldiers.
According to UK Media Watch:
“Friends of Al Aqsa” is one of the more extremist (sic) Islamist organizations at work in Britain today. It supports the Muslim Brotherhood-linked charity “Interpal” (proscribed by the US Treasury) and advertises it on its website. It collaborates with the Khomenist Iranian-funded faux human rights organization known as the Islamic Human Rights Commission in organizing events such as Al Quds day at which public support is expressed for the Iranian proxy militia Hizbollah.
For the Jewish community of the UK, Friends of Al-Aqsa and Patel represent a real threat. The group has published anti-Semitic authors. One, the journalist Khalid Amayreh, claimed that Jews control America, and that the Iraq war “was conceived in and planned by Israel through the mostly Jewish neocons in Washington”. Another was the Jewish British self-declared Holocaust denier Paul Eisen, who runs the anti-Israel organization Deir Yassin Remembered. Friends of Al-Aqsa has also published material by Gilad Atzmon, who has accused the Jews of Germany of waging war against Hitler and has said of the Holocaust:
“The Holocaust became the new Western religion. Unfortunately, it [the Holocaust] is the most sinister religion known to man. It is a license to kill, to flatten, no nuke, to wipe, to rape, to loot and to ethnically cleanse. It made vengeance and revenge into a Western value.”
Of the speakers listed for Palexpo, several are well-known for their pro-Hamas, anti-Israel and antisemitic views. Ilan Pappé of Exeter University is a highly radical and much-criticized historian who has called for the elimination of Israel and its replacement by a single Arab state.
John Pilger is an Australian journalist and film-maker, one of whose documentaries has been described as “a veritable encyclopedia of every anti-Israel canard in existence today”. He has suggested that terrorist group Hezbollah represented “humanity at its noblest”; approvingly cited the arguments of the above-mentioned anti-Semite and Holocaust denier Gilad Atzmon; has suggested that “influential” Jews around the world are culpable in “Israeli crimes” and has likened Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazi’s treatment of the Jews. According to Pilger , “the Zionist state remains the cause of more regional grievance and sheer terror than all the Muslim states combined.”
Pilger has also asserted that “killing children seems like sport for the IDF [Israel Defence Forces]”. His distortions are breathtaking. He has defended Hamas strenuously. Here, for example, he accuses his most hated countries, American and Israel, of distorting the truth:
“The majority [of Gazans] voted for the ‘wrong’ party, Hamas, which the U.S. and Israel, with their inimitable penchant for pot-calling-the-kettle-black, describe as terrorist.”
He added the astonishing comment that, “Indeed, the vote for Hamas was actually a vote for peace” — about an organization whose Charter declares that, as mentioned, “The only solution to the Palestinian question is through jihad”.
Ben White is one of the UK’s most extreme anti-Israel speakers and writers. In his eyes, Israel can do no right; the Palestinians, including Hamas, no wrong. He “writes extensively about what he terms ‘Palestine/Israel’ to the point of near obsession and was a regular contributor to [the Guardian’s] ‘Comment is Free’ and the virulently anti-Israel ‘Electronic Intifada'”. Here is a list of quotations from his writings. He is a supporter of the anti-Jewish one-state solution and an ardent promoter of the fiction that Israel is an “apartheid state”. He regularly downplays Hamas and Palestinian terrorism, and instead places all blame for violence on Israel.
Among other speakers with reputations for extremist views are Miko Peled, who regards the Israeli army as terrorists (despite international recognition [sic] of it as “the most moral army in the world” ]). His antisemitism became clear when, commenting on a US-Israel aid deal, he said:
“Then theyr [sic] surprised Jews have reputation 4being sleazy thieves. #apartheidisrael doesn’t need or deserve these $$.”
Peled has compared Israel to Nazi Germany and called for a Palestinian state to replace Israel.
Tariq Ramadan is a famous Egyptian-Swiss Muslim scholar, philosopher and writer closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood (he is the grandson of the Brotherhood’s founder, Hasan al-Banna’). He is famous for duplicity and use of doublespeak. He has donated money to the terrorist group Hamas, which is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and he has been denied a visa to the United States for his links to Hamas. He “was barred under a section of the Patriot Act, which bars entry to foreigners who have used a ‘position of prominence … to endorse or espouse terrorist activity.'” He “has often been accused of being an Islamist, anti-Semitic, and sexist. He has drawn severe criticism from numerous Western public figures, ranging from scholars and journalists to political, religious, and community leaders”.
The other speakers listed fall into similar categories as supporters of trying to destroy Israel through economic means, Palestinian “resistance” to Israel, and antisemitism.
Currently, Friends of Al-Aqsa and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign are planning to sue Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW) for libel, forcing the rights group to instruct lawyers to act in their defence. From the evidence presented here, JHRW could scarcely have a better case. Its appeal to the management of the Queen Elizabeth II Centre for the cancellation of a terror-linked event is entirely in line with British concerns about radical and terrorist ideologies, anti-Semitism, and international terrorism. Friends of Al-Aqsa, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, their supporters, and the various organizations to which they are linked, have never changed their beliefs regarding Israel, the Jewish people, or the West.
Dr Denis MacEoin PhD (Cambridge 1979) is a scholar of Islam and Persia, a former lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies and currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.
 Not to be confused with Geneva’s Palexpo: Palais des Expositions et des Congrès
 See Caroline Fourest, Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan, New York, London, 2008 and Paul Berman Flight of the Intellectuals, NY and London, 2011, Chapter One.
More worrying is the prestige that the Gatestone Institute seems to be able to flaunt along with its considerable resources.
By Hilary Aked / AlterNet
August 26, 2015
Islamophobic policies and rhetoric increasingly permeate everyday life in North America and Western Europe. Helping to shape this reality is a well-resourced and organised network of anti-Muslim think tanks, activists and journalists. At the heart of this constellation is an American think tank called the Gatestone Institute. A relative newcomer on the anti-Muslim hatemongers scene, it did not rate a mention in the Centre for American Progress’s (CAP) ground-breaking 2011 study, Fear Inc. But, backed by big money, it has rapidly since become a central player in what Nathan Lean has called the ‘Islamophobia industry’.
A counterjihad echo chamber
The family of Gatestone’s founder and president, Nina Rosenwald has long pumped millions of dollars into this anti-Muslim network, through various trusts and foundations including the Abstraction Fund, discussed shortly. For this reason, Rosenwald herself has been dubbed, by journalist Max Blumenthal, ‘the sugar mama of anti-Muslim hate’.
Blumenthal notes that Gatestone emerged in 2011 as an offshoot of the right wing Hudson Institute. Since then it has become a hub for anti-Muslim ideologues of all hues; neoconservative, ultra-Zionist and so-called ‘counterjihad’. It has acted as a clearing-house, for example, for claims about Muslim ‘no-go zones’ (the likes of which ‘terrorism expert’ Steven Emerson was widely ridiculed for, including by UK Prime Minister David Cameron). Its articles carry fear-mongering titles such as: ‘‘Spain: Soon the Muslims will be kings of the world’, ‘Britain’s Islamic future’, ’The Islamization of France’, ‘The Islamization of Germany’ and ‘The Islamization of Belgium and the Netherlands’.
The theme of so-called ‘Islamisation’ is fundamental to the paranoid political imaginary of the counterjihad movement, combining anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment. It is the notion that animates a network of groups under the banner ‘Stop the Islamisation of Nations’ (SION), and underpins street movements like Germany’s PEGIDA (an acronym of the German for ‘Patriot Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West’) and the English Defence League (EDL) – and their respective copycat movements.
It is a favourite topic of many right-wing populist politicians like the infamous Geert Wilders, anti-Islam leader of the Dutch ‘Party for Freedom’, who, according to Blumenthal, calls Gatestone founder Nina Rosenwald a ‘good friend’ (perhaps why Gatestone recently published an article defending his call for ‘fewer Moroccans’ in the Netherlands, comments for which he is facing hate speech charges). ‘Islamisation’ was also, of course, the major preoccupation of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. In July 2011 he killed 77 people in an attack he called ‘gruesome but necessary’ and saw as a precursor to the civil war he believed was inevitable – that he hoped would drive Islam and Muslims out of Europe.
Eurabia conspiracy theorists and the Abstraction Fund
Breivik detailed his views – typical of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant counterjihad movement – on the ‘threat’ posed to Europe by Islam in a 1,518 page ‘manifesto’. Given that virtually every article that Gatestone publishes is suffused with the same assumptions (for instance ‘How Islam Conquers Europe’, ‘UK Islamic takeover plot’) it is no surprise to learn that the institute’s authors include many of the writers cited by Breivik in his notorious tract. Gatestone author Robert Spencer and his Jihad Watch website were mentioned 116 times, while Daniel Pipes and his Middle East Forum (MEF) got 18 citations. Other Gatestone authors mentioned in Breivik’s lengthy screed include David Horowitz and the aforementioned Steven Emerson.
More importantly, Nina Rosenwald’s mega-foundation, the Abstraction Fund, provides funding to many of these organisations: the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism, Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy (CSP), Pipes MEF, and many other Islamophobia industry groups besides. (Abstraction also gives to a host of pro-Israel organisations like CAMERA, MEMRI and the Zionist Organization of America, illustrating the increasingly common funding overlap between many anti-Muslim and some pro-Israel groups, observed in the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network’s recent report ‘The Business of Backlash’.) Interestingly, as well as presiding over the Gatestone Institute, Rosenwald is also financing it with money from the Abstraction Fund, albeit indirectly: as with other groups, the money is being channelled via a third party (MEF).
The Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum has some significant European links. Most notably, its ‘Legal Project’ has provided financial support to Geert Wilders during court cases related to hate speech laws. Other ‘critics’ of Islam it has helped with legal costs include France’s Christine Tasin, president of the counterjihad group Résistance Républicaine and Peder Jensen aka ‘Fjordman’, the prolific but little-known Norwegian blogger who was perhaps the greatest individuals influence on Brievik (cited at least 114 times in his manifesto). Fjordman, in turn, is a protégé of Swiss-British ‘historian’ Bat Ye’or (real name Gisele Littman), the grandmother of contemporary anti-Muslim pseudo-intellectualism, who developed the Eurabia conspiracy theory which lies behind concepts like ‘Islamisation’ and Muslim ‘no-go areas’. She too has been published by Gatestone and was cited in Breivik’s manifesto.
Mainstreaming Breivik’s ideology
While today relegated to the status of mere author, Fjordman’s central importance to Gatestone is clear from the fact that he was one of just a handful of people originally listed (in January 2013) as ‘distinguished scholars’ when the institute was setting up. Given his apparent influence of his ideas of Breivik, the importance he was afforded in Gatestone’s early stages and continued presence at the think tank, is alarming. After the attacks, some claimed it was ridiculous to say Fjordman bore any responsibility for the massacre. This is, notably, the precise opposite of what we are told in relation to so-called ‘Islamic extremist’ thinkers.
Furthermore, though the relationship between ideas and actions is indeed complex, the over-played distinction between ‘criticising an ideology’ and attacking Muslims as people is not so clear cut. As Sindre Bangstad has pointed out, visceral ‘fighting talk’ against Islam can very easily serve as incitement to attack against Muslims (or, as was the case in Norway, in 2011, against anyone who supports multiculturalism and is therefore perceived as a handmaiden of ‘Islamisation’.)
It is reasonable, then, to ask whether the Gatestone Institute, by creating an echo chamber fearmongering about Islam and demonising Muslims (see for example: ‘Islamic cannibalism’ and ‘Child Sex Slavery, Multicultualism and Islam’) is inspiring another Breivik?
Perhaps more worrying still is the prestige that Gatestone seems to be able to flaunt along with its considerable resources. Next to names like Fjordman are those of former U.S. ambassador John Bolton (chairman of Gatestone) and James Woolsey, former director of the C.I.A. (Gatestone advisory board member). The presence of such individuals – who have the ability to lend mainstream respectability to vehemently Islamophobic ideas – is something few counterjihad think tanks can boast. Besides Gatestone, the Centre for Security Policy which recently hosted a conference called ‘Defeating Jihad’ that three of the Republican nominees for presidential candidate attended, can also demonstrate an alarming degree of mainstream influence.
In this sense, while the danger posed by lone far-right terrorists like Breivik has long been clear, the establishment kudos and faux-respectability of bodies like the Gatestone Institute arguably gives us more to fear.
Hilary Aked is a London-based freelance writer and a PhD student at the University of Bath researching the pro-Israel lobby in the UK.
Nina Rosenberg, centre and two unnamed relatives. ‘The most hideous bigotry in society today is being financed by Manhattan socialites, not some basement dwelling message board warrior” Tweeted by journalist Lee Fang.
See also: Her father championed Jewish refugees. She finances the Anti-MuslimRefugee movement. By Lee Fang, The Intercept
February 17 2017
Philanthropist Nina Rosenwald has used her millions to cement the alliance between the pro-Israel lobby and the Islamophobic fringe.
By Max Blumenthal, The Nation
June 14, 2012
In late April, Geert Wilders arrived in New York City to tell his quixotic tale to a rapt American audience. The far-right Dutch Party of Freedom leader—perhaps the world’s most prominent anti-Muslim populist—was poised to release Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me, a memoir just out from Regnery, the right-wing US publishing house, in which he recounts his courageous efforts to stop the “Islamicization” of Europe.
On his US tour, Wilders proudly portrayed himself as a man on the run—a round-the-clock security detail guarding him against radical Muslims whose violent passions he had supposedly inflamed by his truth-telling—and as a man on the rise: the exodus of his party from the governing coalition had forced new elections in the Netherlands, throwing the country’s ossified establishment into chaos.
“This charade that happened in the Netherlands for the last few years could not have happened in your great country,” Wilders said in his speech. Then he cut to the heart of his appeal: “Islam is primarily a dangerous ideology rather than a religion. This is the truth. This violent ideology wants to impose Islamic Sharia law on the whole world, including us—the Kafirs, the non-Muslims…. Islam is the largest threat to freedom which the world is currently facing.”
Some Dutch liberals have branded him a demagogue who summons the ghosts of Europe’s dark past, but Wilders counters the accusation by assiduously cultivating Jewish support. He quotes Zionist forefather Theodor Herzl and boasts of his more than forty trips to Israel, where he once toiled on a rural kibbutz.
Wilders, in fact, has made a special friend of right-wing Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. In Wilders’s world, the Jewish state represents Fort Apache on the frontiers of the war against the barbarians threatening Western civilization. “Mothers in the West can sleep safely because Israeli mothers at night worry about their sons in the army,” he told the Gatestone Institute. “Their fight is our fight. We should support it.”
At the April event, Wilders’s seamless fusion of anti-Muslim bombast and pro-Israel cant was gratefully received by the Gatestone Institute’s founder and director, Nina Rosenwald, whom he acknowledged at the top of his jeremiad as another of his good friends. An heiress to the Sears Roebuck fortune, Rosenwald spreads her millions through the William Rosenwald Family Fund, a nonprofit foundation named for her father, a famed Jewish philanthropist who created the United Jewish Appeal in 1939. His daughter’s focus is more explicitly political. According to a report by the Center for American Progress titled “Fear Inc.,” Rosenwald and her sister Elizabeth Varet, who also directs the family foundation, have donated more than $2.8 million since 2000 to “organizations that fan the flames of Islamophobia.”
Besides funding a Who’s Who of anti-Muslim outfits, Rosenwald has served on the board of AIPAC, the central arm of America’s Israel lobby, and holds leadership roles in a host of mainstream pro-Israel organizations. As groups like AIPAC lead the charge for a US military strike on the Islamic Republic of Iran, threatening to turn apocalyptic visions of civilizational warfare into catastrophic reality, Rosenwald’s wealth has fueled a rapidly emerging alliance between the pro-Israel mainstream and the Islamophobic fringe. (In 2003 alone the Rosenwald Family Fund donated well over half of its $1.6 million in total contributions to pro-Israel and Islamophobic organizations.)
This alliance serves to sanitize and legitimize professional anti-Muslim bigots like Wilders, allowing their ideas to mingle easily with those of neoconservative foreign policy heavyweights intent on promoting the appearance of a convergence between US and Israeli interests by invoking the spectre of a common “Islamofascist” enemy. With Gatestone—which publicizes the writings of figures ranging from pro-Israel super-lawyer Alan Dershowitz to “counter-jihad” propagandist Robert Spencer, and boasts Harold Rhode, a neoconservative former Pentagon official credited, as a senior fellow, with helping to try to push the Bush administration to invade Iraq—Rosenwald has attempted to shift the alliance into overdrive.
Conspiracies, Witch Hunts and “Moderate Muslims”
Over the past decade, Rosenwald’s generosity has helped sustain the pet projects of “Islamofascism Awareness Week” organizer and Stalinist apostate David Horowitz. Her largesse has also supported former Lebanese Maronite TV anchor Brigitte Gabriel, who told an evangelical audience in 2006 that Muslims “have no souls—they are dead set on killing and destruction.” The Center for Security Policy (CSP), a Washington-based think tank directed by neoconservative former Pentagon official Frank Gaffney, has also thrived as a result of Rosenwald’s beneficence.
The $437,000 in donations Gaffney reaped from the Rosenwald family enabled him to churn out conspiratorial pamphlets like his 2010 “Shariah: The Threat to America,” in which he warned that American Muslims were engaged in a “stealth jihad” to place the country under the control of Sharia, or Islamic law. At the Conservative Political Action Conference the following year, Gaffney sent his cadres to distribute fliers accusing top Republican anti-tax activists Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan of organizing a secret campaign dedicated to “the replacement of our constitutional republic…with a theocratic Islamic caliphate governing according to Shari’ah.” (David Steinmann, president of the Fund, sits on the board of Gaffney’s CSP.) Norquist is married to an Arab-American, and Khan, a former Republican Party official, is a fellow for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Institute for Global Engagement. The American Conservative Union investigated Gaffney’s charges and declared them “reprehensible.”
Rosenwald has also used her money to support a seemingly sober set of self-proclaimed “dissident” Muslims who have seized the post-9/11 media spotlight to defend pro-Israel positions, Western military intervention in the Arab world and police spying on Muslim Americans. These beneficiaries include Irshad Manji, an openly gay Canadian TV personality and self-described “Muslim refusenik” who argued in her 2005 book, The Trouble With Islam Today, that “desert Arabs” and “Arab cultural imperialists” were imposing an anti-democratic, sexist and endemically antisemitic mindset on the rest of the world’s Muslims. In 2007 Rosenwald provided $10,000 in seed money for Manji’s new nonprofit, Project Ijtihad, which she founded to “help build the world’s most inclusive network of reform-minded Muslims and non-Muslim allies.”
Two years later Rosenwald pumped $10,000 into a similar but markedly more aggressive venture called the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. The group was founded by Zuhdi Jasser, an Arizona physician hailed by Glenn Beck as “the one Muslim we were all searching for after 9/11.” Despite his lack of academic or theological credentials, Jasser provided expert testimony last year before the Congressional hearing on Muslim American radicalization conducted by Representative Peter King of New York, widely criticized as a witch hunt. In early March, after the Associated Press exposed a secret NYPD unit monitoring Muslims throughout New York City and far beyond, Jasser issued a press release declaring, “We thank God every day for the NYPD.” That same day, he surfaced at a pro-NYPD rally in New York with King by his side. Then, only days later, over vehement objections from a coalition of Muslim groups, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell installed Jasser as a member of the Commission on International Religious Freedom.
But no single anti-Muslim activist has benefited more from his relationship with Rosenwald than Middle East Forum founder Daniel Pipes, bankrolled to the tune of $2.3 million over the past ten years by the Rosenwald family’s philanthropies. Pipes thanked Rosenwald for “[taking] on a leadership role when the [Middle East] Forum was yet fledgling, helping us through some tough spots.” A former scholar at the Rosenwald-backed pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), Pipes has made a career of advocating aggressive US and Israeli military action in the Middle East, including the razing of entire Palestinian villages. Expressing his solidarity with Wilders, Pipes echoed the Dutch politician’s racial views on Muslim immigrants, describing them as “brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and not exactly maintaining Germanic standards of hygiene.”
Pipes occupies a central position at the nexus of the pro-Israel lobby and the Islamophophic fringe. In 2001 he neatly encapsulated the zero-sum mentality that defines his view of the alliance, declaring, “I worry very much, from the Jewish point of view, that the presence, and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims, because they are so much led by an Islamist leadership, that this will present true dangers to American Jews.”
To his shame, Pipes earned eighteen citations in the manifesto of Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, the self-proclaimed “counter-jihadist” standing trial for the murder of seventy-seven people, mostly teenagers. Drawing heavily on sources like Pipes to justify his actions, Breivik said he carried out the slaughter to punish Europe for succumbing to “Islamicization” and multiculturalism. Ranking just behind Pipes in Breivik’s thought was the Middle East Monitoring and Research Institute (MEMRI), with sixteen citations from the right-wing terrorist. Founded by a former Israeli intelligence officer to monitor and selectively disseminate Arabic-language media, MEMRI has become a key source for organizations in the Islamophobic network. MEMRI provided much of the translated material in the anti-Muslim Clarion Fund’s mass-distributed propaganda film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. The Clarion Fund and MEMRI have received handsome donations from the Rosenwald family.
“We can give Nina Rosenwald the benefit of the doubt and say that in the past she didn’t know the poisonous ideological agenda of her beneficiaries,” Wajahat Ali, principal author of the “Fear Inc.” report, told me. “But at this point, she has no excuse for ignoring their extreme activities. So the question is why she continues to support them.”
Birth of a Benefactor
Who is this benefactor of Islamophobia? According to those familiar with Rosenwald, she is anything but a sophisticated Machiavellian operator—“a babe in the woods,” as one of her longtime acquaintances described her to me. (Rosenwald did not respond to interview requests sent to the Gatestone Institute and her personal e-mail.) According to another acquaintance, Rosenwald has a penchant for launching into anti-Arab anti-Palestinian tirades at public forums, leaping up like “a jack in the box” to denounce the evildoers. Despite her zealotry, Rosenwald maintains a reputation as a Manhattan socialite who travels in some of New York City’s most elite financial and political circles. Her wealthy friends gather for salons at upscale restaurants and in the living room of her Upper West Side apartment to meet major league political personalities, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, neoconservative former UN Ambassador John Bolton (an associate of the Gatestone Institute) and the late right-wing media provocateur Andrew Breitbart.
Rosenwald counts among her closest friends Norman Podhoretz, the octogenarian neoconservative activist and former Commentary magazine editor who argues that Jewish Democrats are heretics betraying their religious duty to support the Jewish state. Rosenwald, according to one friend, is also close to Podhoretz’s daughter, Ruthie Blum, a right-wing columnist who lives in the illegal West Bank settlement of Har Adar and writes a column for Israel Hayom, a newspaper published by far-right billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a chief financial supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benajamin Netanyahu. Father and daughter echo the line of Likudnik Greater Israel ideology and anti-Muslim fanaticism, with Podhoretz urging the Western world to wage “World War IV” (the title of his post-9/11 polemic) against what he and Blum call “Islamofascism.” Blum has called for an Israeli war against Iran on the grounds that “Iran is soon to have atomic bombs with which it will attempt to impose Shariah law on the rest of the world—after wiping out the Jewish state.” Rosenwald has sustained Commentary (now edited by Podhoretz’s son John) with regular donations of up to $15,000—a modest but important sum for a right-wing Israel-centric magazine with an increasingly minuscule readership.
Through her affiliation with the Washington-based Hudson Institute, where Norman Podhoretz is an adjunct fellow, Rosenwald established a branch of the think tank in New York City. Operating under the Hudson banner, Rosenwald brought Wilders to town in 2008 to warn against the Muslim plot to “rule the world by the sword.” Wilders’s tirade during that visit against the prophet Muhammad, whom he described as “a warlord, a mass murderer, a pedophile,” was strident even by the standards of the hawkish Hudson Institute. By 2011, well before Wilders’s return visit this year, Rosenwald separated Hudson New York City from Hudson’s national branch, changing her organization’s name to the Gatestone Institute. Today, Rosenwald maintains a seat on Hudson’s board of directors.
Nina Rosenwald’s influence is based on the fortune her grandfather Julius earned at the turn of the century as co-owner of Sears, Roebuck & Company. Julius Rosenwald, renowned for his liberal philanthropy, used his fortune to nurture the careers of African-American leaders from Booker T. Washington to W.E.B. Du Bois and writers Langston Hughes and Claude McKay. Like many Reform Jews of his time, Rosenwald kept a cautious distance from Zionism, which organizations like the American Jewish Committee treated as a potential threat to Jewish assimilation in America.
Julius’s son, William, continued the philanthropic tradition his father inaugurated. With rabbis Abba Hillel Silver and Jonah Wise, two early leaders of the American Zionist movement, William Rosenwald helped form the United Jewish Appeal for Refugees and Overseas Needs to “fortify the Jews of all countries against anti-Semitic onslaughts.” Rosenwald’s efforts to resettle imperilled European Jews vaulted him into a lifetime of leadership of major Jewish organizations. In the aftermath of the 1967 war, when Israel began its illegal military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights, Rosenwald, like most Jewish institutional leaders, intensified his commitment to the cause of Zionism.
Following their father, Nina Rosenwald and her siblings became active in the pro-Israel community. While her sister Elizabeth has assumed a lower profile, there is hardly a single major pro-Israel organization that does not provide Rosenwald with a seat on its board of directors. Thanks to her financial generosity, Rosenwald sits on the board of influential neoconservative groups from WINEP and AIPAC as well as Hudson. She is the vice president of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, which has provided training to thousands of American law enforcement and military officials from Israeli intelligence and police officers.
While entrenched in the pro-Israel establishment in the United States, Rosenwald has funnelled hundreds of thousands of dollars into some of the Jewish state’s more unpleasant—and legally dubious—ventures. The Rosenwald Family Fund has provided at least $100,000, for example, to the Golan Fund, an initiative of the Israel Land Fund that aims to increase the “Jewish presence” in Israel’s Galilee region and the occupied Golan Heights by “obtain[ing] more of that [Arab] land for agricultural use,” according to its website.
Extending its influence across the Green Line, the Rosenwald Family Fund has also provided financial support to the College of Judea (now Ariel University Center of Samaria) in the Israeli mega-settlement of Ariel; the Beit El yeshiva, a religious nationalist school situated in a West Bank settlement that instructs students to disobey government orders to abandon illegal settlement outposts; and to the Central Fund for Israel, a New York City–based nonprofit that serves as a major funding artery between American-based donors and the hardcore settlements of the West Bank.
According to Henry Siegman, a former executive director of the American Jewish Congress who serves as president of the US/Middle East Project, the Rosenwald family’s rightward trajectory reflects a generational shift within the Jewish American establishment. “The trend is not something that just emerged recently,” Siegman told me. “Over the last few decades, the Jewish Federations and AIPAC have played a significant role in shaping this reactionary move by advancing the notion that we should support any government in Israel and any policy that the government espouses. The Jewish organizations that opposed this line and took the opposite position were punished financially by the wealthy donors AIPAC was able to put together.”
As Islamophobia consumes broad sectors of America’s pro-Israel community, leading Israel advocacy groups are dispatching anti-Muslim speakers to college campuses across the country. Chief among them is StandWithUs, an organization that Danny Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, says his government uses to “amplify our power.” In May StandWithUs sent Rosenwald beneficiary Jasser to appear beside a cast of neoconservative activists at a University of California, San Diego, event dedicated to condemning established human rights groups. Earlier in the year, StandWithUs dispatched Nonie Darwish, an ex-Muslim convert to evangelical Christianity who calls Islam “a poison to our society,” to speak at the University of New Mexico.
According to Siegman, the Jewish establishment’s loyalty to an Israeli government drifting irrevocably toward the far shores of the right has taken a terrible toll. “Islamophobia has gained many followers in the Jewish establishment and at this point has infected American Jewish life,” he commented. “The neocons are to a large extent responsible for that. And they did this at the price of alienating the younger generation, which is falling away.”
Nina Rosenwald is an influential neocon and operator in many activities of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States. Rosenwald was a delegate to the 1996 Democratic National Convention.
A biography posted on the American Center for Democracy website circa 2006 included the following affiliations:
Nina Rosenwald is co-chair of the Board of American Securities Holding Corporation, a private company overseeing investment activities in publicly-traded securities, as well as traditional investment and merchant banking. She is chairman of the Board of the Middle East Media and Research Institute and Vice President of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Human Rights in China, and Washington Institute for Near East Policy. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Regents for the Center for Security Policy, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, New York Academy of Sciences, United Jewish Appeal/Federation, New York Psychoanalytic Research and Development, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and the Founders Association.
An ‘editor’s note’ to Max Blumenthal’s 2012 article in the Nation magazine however states that another biography on the Hudson Institute’s website had listed ‘several apparently false and out-of-date affiliations, among them a MEMRI chairmanship that never happened’ and apologised for this error.
Abstraction Fund – Director.
American Center for Democracy, former board member [dates tbc]
American Friends of the Open University of Israel – board member 
American Friends Of Natal Inc Attn Esther Cohen, director 2010, 2011 and 2012 
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Board of directors (former)
American Securities Holding Corporation; co-Chair
Center for Security Policy, Board of Regents
Coalition for a Democratic Majority
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA) – Board of Regents
Committee on the Present Danger
Council on Foreign Relations, member
Democracy & Security International Conference, Participant
Foundation For The Defense Of Democracies, director 2012
Freedom House; Board of Trustees
Gatestone Institute – Founder and president
Hudson Institute, Board member  2009f
Human Rights in China, board of directors
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Vice President
Just Journalism, advisory board
Libby Legal Defense Trust — Advisory Committee (fund set up to assist Scooter Libby pertaining the Palme affair
Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI); chairman circa 2006/7 (NB this was disputed in 2012 as never having happened)
Research – Eval – Promoting Org Respon & Transparency – Report – Inc
United Jewish Appeal
United States Committee for a Free Lebanon
Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), board of directors