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Richard Silverstein: Jewish Foundations Support Islamophobia at Home, Settler Triumphalism Abroad

7 January 2013 General No Comment Email This Post Email This Post

Jewish Foundations Support Islamophobia at Home, Settler Triumphalism Abroad

by Richard Silverstein (Tikun Olam)

Most Jewish foundations support the equivalent of Bubbeh’s chicken soup: Israel, synagogues, youth groups, Jewish education, Jewish studies programs, etc.  But over the past ten years or so, as the ideological battle within Israel has intensified with a rightward nationalist drift, a number of foundations have led a drive toward the increasing politicization of Jewish philanthropy.  Three of the most radical in their funding objectives are located in the west: the Koret Foundation in San Francisco, which is based on the fortune amassed by a successful Jewish clothing manufacturer, with a reported $473-million in assets and $19-million in grants in its latest IRS filing.  The Fairbrook Foundation, based on the $1-billion technology fortune of Aubrey and Joyce Chernick, is based in Los Angeles and had $50-million in assets and $5-million in grants in its last available 2010 IRS filing. The Irving Moskowitz Foundation, which had assets of $48-million and grants $5-million, supports the radical settler vision of its namesake, whose fortune was made buying and selling hospitals and in running a Southern California bingo-parlor.

These foundations are major funders of the most extreme of Jewish groups and individuals including David Horowitz, Pam Geller, Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, The Israel Project, MEMRI, and many others.  The agenda of these funders is decidedly Islamophobic and contributes enormously to the current hostile atmosphere toward Muslims in the U.S. and Israel.  They funded Geller’s “Ground Zero Mosque” jihad, her NY subway ads. They helped Daniel Pipes create and fund his lawfare campaign called The Legal Project, which provided free legal representation to leading Dutch Islamophobe politician, Geert Wilders; and for MEK official, Hassan Daioeslam, in defense of his libel suit with the National Iranian American Council.

The main problem with Jewish Islamophobia is that it turns the Israeli-Arab conflict into a religious holy war when it’s really a battle over political power.  Injecting religion as these radical ideologues do, makes resolving differences almost impossible.  Finally, in smearing the religion of most of those living in the Middle East, it almost guarantees that no Muslim will be able to tolerate a Jewish presence there as well.

Similarly, these radical philanthropists fund the most extreme of the settler movement.  Those who not just espouse violence and hate against Palestinians, but engage in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

Because so much of the activism of the radical Jewish right is shrouded in obscurity, I like to debunk this periodically by showing you the money: who has it, where it’s going, and what it’s doing.

* The following is a list, by Foundation, of some of the most radical of these groups and how much they’ve received. I last blogged about the Fairbrook Foundation’s 2008 IRS 990. The following is from the 2010 report:

American Freedom Alliance
$80,000

Ateret Cohanim (De-Arabizing East Jerusalem)
$30,000

Kiryat Arba Yeshiva
$110,000

Center for Security Policy (Frank Gaffney’s Sharia-obsessed non-profit)
$100,000

Central Fund for Israel (general support for radical settlers and settlements)
$150,000

CAMERA (right-wing media advocacy)
$25,000

David Horowitz Freedom Center
$160,000

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
$190,000

Heritage Foundation
$50,000

Hudson Institute
$75,000

Middle East Forum (Daniel Pipes)
$270,000

Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE-David Yerushalmi)
$90,000

Zionist Organization of America
$200,000

* While the Koret Foundation has a distinctively more regional focus in a lot of its Jewish grantmaking, it is nonetheless playing a major role funding right-wing pro-Israel groups whose political ambitions are national and international in scope. Here is a list of some of the far-right Jewish groups it funded in 2011. Grants may be paid between 2011-2013:

American Israel Education Foundation (AIPAC Israel junkets)
$20,000 (2012)

American-Israel Cooperative Enterprise (former Aipac staffer, Mitchell Bard)
$50,000 (2012)

Central Fund for Israel
$20,000

Chabad
$80,000

David Horowitz Freedom Center
$45,000

Federalist Society
$180,000

Friends of the IDF
$22,000

Hudson Institute
$25,000

Institute for Jewish and Community Research (funding Ken Marcus’ campus anti-Semitism initiative)
$100,000

The Israel Project
$50,000

Investigative Project on Terrorism
$25,000

Jewish Agency (Natan Sharansky)
$45,000

Middle East Forum (Daniel Pipes)
$50,000

MEMRI
$200,000

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
$70,000

StandWithUs (Bay Area chapter, one of whose members engaged in a physical assault at a Jewish Voice for Peace meeting)
$50,000

Ayn Rand Institute
$13,000

Center for Security Policy
$225,000

* These are the grants listed in the Moskowitz Foundation’s 2011 IRS report:

Central Fund for Israel
$260,000

Ir David (the settler archaeological excavations which are at the heart of the campaign to depopulate Palestinian East Jerusalem)
$1,000,000

Friends of IDF
$40,000

Honenu (legal defense for settlers accused of nationalist violence like Yigal Amir)
$20,000

MEMRI
$100,000

Young Israel
$100,000

Zionist Organization of America
$100,000

Western Wall Foundation
$100,000

Friends of Itamar
$25,000

Center for Security Policy
$100,000

Americans for a Safe Israel
$50,000

Nefesh B’Nefesh (supporting immigration, often to settlements)
$300,000

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