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Who funds the Islamophobes?

Over at Politico Ken Vogel examines the controversy over the funding of the Park51 development and comes up with some interesting figures for the financial backing enjoyed by Islamophobic organisations like the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch:

… there’s also big money behind the mosque opposition, as highlighted by the relationship between Horowitz’s Los Angeles-based nonprofit, Jihad Watch – the website run by Spencer “dedicated to bringing public attention to the role that jihad theology and ideology play in the modern world” – and Joyce Chernick, the wife of a wealthy California tech company founder.

Though it was not listed on the public tax reports filed by Horowitz’s Freedom Center, POLITICO has confirmed that the lion’s share of the $920,000 it provided over the past three years to Jihad Watch came from Chernick, whose husband, Aubrey Chernick, has a net worth of $750 million, as a result of his 2004 sale to IBM of a software company he created, and a security consulting firm he now owns.

A onetime trustee of the hawkish Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Aubrey Chernick led the effort to pull together $3.5 million in venture capital to start Pajamas Media, a conservative blog network that made its name partly with hawkish pro-Israel commentary and of late has kept up a steady stream of anti-mosque postings, including one rebutting attacks by CAIR against Spencer – who Pajamas CEO Roger Simon called “one of the ideological point men in the global war on terror.”

The Chernicks did not respond to messages relayed through Horowitz and a spokesman. But according to Horowitz, Joyce Chernick offered four years ago to fund Spencer and Jihad Watch, then functioning as a standalone nonprofit, under the Horowitz Center’s organizational umbrella.

Horowitz said Spencer, who is writing a pamphlet on the mosque for the Horowitz Center, is “part of our small but evidently effective family.”

The David Horowitz Freedom Center had a budget of $4.5 million last year, according to its tax filings, of which $290,000 came from the conservative Bradley Foundation, which also gave $75,000 to the Center for Security Policy last year. Horowitz has received an average of $461,000 a year in salary and benefits over the past three years, while Spencer has pulled in an average of $140,000, according to the center’s IRS filings.

It is only fair to add that, here at the luxuriously appointed headquarters of Islamophobia Watch, we are of course drawing similarly generous salaries.

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