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Chernick Funds Horowitz-Spencer Attacks on Park51 Mosque

aubrey chernick

Aubrey Chernick, with his wife, funder of Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch and campaign against Park51 mosque

Pajama Media’s alum Pam Geller struck gold when she discovered a Sufi group intended to building a mosque and Muslim community center two blocks from Ground Zero.  Now, her cause has been embraced by more powerful rightist pro-Israel forces, Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and his patron, David Horowitz.  Even more importantly, Politico has revealed that the source of all of the financial support for Jihad Watch over the past three years comes from L.A. technology magnate, Aubrey Chernick and his wife, Joyce.  Aubrey funded Pajamas Media with a few-million of the $750-million he earned from sale of his software company to IBM in 2004.

Aubrey Chernik's home

Aubrey Chernick's 'modest' L.A. home

Several years ago, when I wrote intensively about Chernick and Pajamas Media there was very little money trail from Chernick’s Israel philanthropy.  I noted he was the honoree at a Stand With Us dinner, which made clear his ideological proclivities.  I also noted he was a trustee of the pro-Israel think-tank, WINEP (originally affiliated with Aipac).  But I didn’t feel I had the full picture.  Chernick’s $900,000 gift to Horowitz, used to support Spencer and Jihad Watch, now fleshes out the picture of the Chernicks’ far-right political views.

Laura Rozen has discovered that Chernick’s charity-giving is done through the Fairbrook Foundation ($66-million in assets).  According to its 2008 IRS 990 report, among the far-right pro-Israel groups he’s funding are Ateret Cohanim ($30,000), involved in the Judaization of East Jerusalem through “appropriation” of Arab homes; Muslim-basher Bridgette Gabriel’s American Congress for Truth ($50,000); Aish HaTorah, funders of the anti-Muslim films Obsessed and Third Jihad ($14,000); the anti-Palestinian media advocacy group MEMRI ($100,000); American Freedom Alliance, another Muslim-bashing group, founded by Avi Davis, which defends western civilization from the unwashed hordes ($120,000); Gary Bauer’s American Values ($80,000); Horowitz’s Center for the Study of Popular Culture ($160,000); the anti-Arab media advocacy group CAMERA ($25,000); the Council for Democracy and Tolerance, an Arab-bashing group established by a Pakistani neocon ($160,000); Defend the West, yet another Muslim-turncoat group founded by Ibn Warraq ($130,000); Hudson Institute ($50,000); Heritage Foundation ($50,000); the Jewish neo-con security think tank JINSA ($15,000); the anti-Arab media advocacy group Second Draft ($40,000); Stand With Us ($20,000); and Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum ($180,000).  In 2005, Chernick gave $60,000 to the Central Fund of Israel, one of the largest pro-settler ‘philanthropic’ advocacy groups.

Since Aubrey Chernick sold his business, he has bought into a new one, National Center for Crisis and Continuity Coordination (NC4), which consults for businesses, law enforcement and government on emergency preparedness, risk management, and homeland security-related matters.  Is it any accident that Chernick’s philanthropy supports Muslim-bashing and provokes fear in the minds of New Yorkers and Americans that Muslims will harm American security and sully the memories of the 9/11 victims?  This is a nice example of someone’s political ideology, business interests and philanthropy all catalyzing each other.

Rozen also reveals that Joyce Chernick sat on the board of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.  I hate to say it but in the Chernicks, we have yet another prospect for the mystery funder of the $20-million promotion of the anti-Muslim film, Obsession, during the last presidential campaign.  Not to mention a prospect for funding the entire roster of three films produced by the Aish HaTorah offshoot, the Clarion Fund.

Horowitz, Spencer, et al. are angry that Politico is examining their financial support feeling the media should be focussing attention on the true evil, the Sufis intending to taint the hallowed ground of Ground Zero.  Horowitz, never known for humility or adherence to commonly accepted notions of truth or reality, made this wonderfully ironic statement about his own remuneration:

The Freedom Center had a budget of $4.5 million last year, according to its tax filings…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.

But, Horowitz said, “Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, Pam Geller — we don’t do this for the money — we do this because we believe in it.”

Let’s face it: the Park51 mosque project is a gravy train for the Islam-bashing three.  They will parlay their efforts into huge personal financial rewards from wealthy ideologues like the Chernicks, and other Republican-leaning groups who have already piled on to the effort to uproot the project from its intended lower Manhattan location.

Let’s not make the mistakes that were made in the Debbie Almontaser-Khalil Gibran Academy scandal, when New York political leaders caved to loony Jewish right-wingers like Daniel Pipes and David Yerushalmi, attempting to paint her as a jihadist.  This time, let’s realize there are powerful right-wing pro-Israel financial and political interests seeking to torpedo the mosque project.  The memory of 9/11 victims is an excuse, a convenient stepping-stone toward their real interests which are bashing Muslims for political gain.

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • uncle joe mccarthy September 7, 2010, 2:33 AM

    nothing illegal in the donations, so i dont know what the big deal is

    and richard…i love watching the right and left fight over this non issue

    the cordoba house will cost somewhere between 100-200 million to build

    the foundation has 29k in its bank account

    they dont have an architect, they dont have plans, they dont have an environmental impact study (even with the commission’s ok, you gotta have one of those), they dont have any unions signed on to work the project (ny…union town)

    what they have is an idea…and a building

    so you are all fighting over an empty building and an idea

    its great theater…but thats it

    • mary September 8, 2010, 7:22 AM

      Not quite, unclejoe:

      “The Cordoba Initiative estimates that the community center and mosque at Ground Zero will cost about $100 million. The building would be funded by the Initiative, the American Society for Muslim Advancement and donations. The land for the Cordoba House is already owned by the Cordoba Initiative and does not involve any zoning changes. Even though the building does not require approval by the Community Board, the Initiative chose to discuss the plans at the Community Board Meeting voluntarily. The Cordoba House would be open to all and would aim to help promote Muslim-American understanding through offering needed community services.”

      link to personalmoneystore.com

  • medawar September 7, 2010, 7:02 AM

    Can you confirm that the Robert Spencer mentioned here is not the assistant Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police? Otherwise, it reads as if you’re making a much more startling revelation than usual.

    This is the day your supposed Israeli Intelligence sources had fingered for the start of Ragnorak, isn’t it? Seems fairly quiet, so far…

    • mary September 7, 2010, 7:41 AM

      Medawar, this is Robert Spencer…I’m astonished that you don’t know who this guy is.

      link to loonwatch.com

      • medawar September 7, 2010, 7:55 AM

        Never actually mentioned in any UK, UAE or South African media that I’ve read, up till now.

        Interesting, though. Spencer is the second most definitively Norman surname around, after Norman.

        • medawar September 7, 2010, 8:07 AM

          Ah, I see:
          Anyone repeating Robert Spencer’s current views in print in the UK, or South Africa, would be at some risk of prosecution for incitement to racial hatred, which may explain why I’ve got this far without hearing about him.

          You’d be amazed how little coverage American extremists get in the Gulf Times, too.

          I suppose he’d take that as proof that he was right…

  • Robin September 7, 2010, 7:29 AM

    Medawar, what are you talking about on Robert Spencer? This Robert Spencer that Richard is writing about is an American. To make it simple for you here is the Wiki on this Robert Spencer.

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Now if you could explain to me how he could possibly be the assistant Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police in Great Britain I would be most interested.

  • medawar September 7, 2010, 7:46 AM

    It’s a Sufi mosque.
    There are large parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan where anyone opening one of THOSE would be taking his life in his hands. That they should encounter similar dangers in New York is testament to the truly stunning ignorance of America, about friend and foe alike.

    Osama bin Laden is not a Sufi, he’s not even really a Wahhabi like his father, because the creed he was preaching in the illiterate backwaters of Afghanistan, sounded to UAE soldiers on peacekeeping duties there like pure Manichaeism. (They weren’t too happy when they read through the “Korans” he’d distributed, either.)

    If America was wise enough to give Muslims space enough to realize that neither Osama bin Laden nor Ali Khamenei are actually preaching from the Koran, the terrorists would soon be gone, probably in a wisp of smoke.

    But if America indulges in psychotic idiocy, such as this weekend’s proposed public burnings of Korans, then it will drive Muslims into the hands of men whom they would in any other circumstances perceive as heretics.

    It is up to New Yorkers, and nobody else, what is built in their city, but let them make their own minds up in possession of the facts and not hysterical propaganda.

  • Yosef September 7, 2010, 8:11 AM

    Medawar, It’s a mosque – simple as that – not sufi, not wahhabi.

    What makes you such an authority on Islam so as to split such esoteric hairs?

    If anything its pitched as a community centre open to all, which is indicative of the egalitarian ethic underpinning it as it does Islam.

    For the avoidance of any doubt, it’s construction was already approved according to the relevant zoning laws – it’s up to the people there in the immediate vicinity and no-one else – and they approved it, virtually unanimously!!!

    That’s up until the pajamas brigade et al jumped on the bandwagon claiming the whole thing as a political hot potato then milking it for events transpiring two blocks away – aaah gotta love it – psychotic idiocy indeed, as befits a Land of the Freak, Home of the Depraved!!

    • Shirin September 7, 2010, 11:49 AM

      Medawar, It’s a mosque – simple as that…

      No, it is not a mosque. Nor is it at so-called “ground zero” or even visible from there.

      And by the way, it does not take an authority on Islam to know the difference between Sufi and Wahhabi, nor is it splitting hairs to note the difference.

      As for the rest of your comment, we agree completely.

  • External September 7, 2010, 8:20 AM

    Don’t tell me that Medawar who is spewing Islamophobic “truths” about Muslims and Islam has never read the trash being published by Jihad Watch whose founder is Robert Spencer, which is not a unique name. May be he has never heard of Cassandra being impersonated these days by Pamela Geller who has taken over when Orianna Fallaci died. Sounds to me those modern Cassandras must have been jilted by some Muslims boyfriends and found revenge in Islam bashing :(

  • Robin September 7, 2010, 8:21 AM

    FYI bin Ladin follows the Qutbism school, NOT Wahhabi

    Read the Wahhabi Myth available free online as an ebook and also Karen Armstrong’s explanation.

    • mary September 7, 2010, 8:57 AM

      Robin, there is no such thing as the Qutbism school; Qutb was a poet and teacher who wrote several good books and one or two bad ones. Some so-called radical Muslims follow some of Qutb’s teachings but there is no School per se.

  • Itai M September 7, 2010, 9:09 AM

    i fail to see the big deal, all non profit organizations are getting contributions, in Israel that includes Taayoush, Betzelem, Gush Shalom, Adalla, The Association for civil rights, Agenda, The association of forty, Bezchut, Arab Association for Human rights and many others.
    it is an orchestrated effort to change the inner structure from a Jewish state to something else.
    so what’s the difference ?

  • Robin September 7, 2010, 10:20 AM

    Mary, please read at least the short version of the Wahhabi Myth to understand that bin Ladin is not following Wahhabi Islam. This misinformation is critical to understanding where he is coming from because it leads to such MISINFORMATION concerning Saudi Arabia. I am not here to defend Saudi Arabia, but I certainly will point people in the right academic direction concerning misinformation. Bin Ladin is NOT Wahhabi in his actions. Hearing over and over again from nut-cases that Saudi Arabia should have been attacked because Bin Ladin is Saudi and 11 of the hijackers were as well is just plain nonsense. (on the other hand this is off topic from Richard’s post so I apologize-but again, read the Wahhabi Myth for better understanding on this subject-and NO I am not defending Wahhabism! Just pointing to academic understanding of this pure misinformation held by so many)

    • mary September 7, 2010, 10:22 AM

      Robin, I did not say he is Wahhabi. I was telling you that there is no “school of Islam” called Qutbism.

      • Medawar September 7, 2010, 12:01 PM

        There was an article in the Guardian, just after 9/11, which analyzed Osama bin Laden’s teachings at some length, and the convincing conclusion was that not only were these not Wahhabism, but they bore far more resemblance to the pre-islamic Manichee religion than anything else.

        Since when, even The Guardian has proceeded to ignore all this and present the man as an Islamist.

        The UAE military detachment in Afghanistan spent several years teaching Afghan Imans to read Arabic, because this hadn’t been done during the Russian occupation, and Osama had exploited this, because he realized he could teach them almost ANYTHING by rote and they’d pass it on to the next generation. Life expectancy is not high there, and what look like old men to us are actually in their forties. There are very few people left who can remember before the Russian invasion. The culture became almost entirely oral during the occupation. Osama deliberately corrupted it. This was very important, but American policy makers completely ignored the UAE army when they said this was very important and key to turning the population’s loyalties. In the past few months they have sort of realized, but they were told seven years ago.

        It is key to why the Taliban subsequently fell out with Osama; they had trusted him to look after the villages near his training camps and it never crossed their minds that he would do this.

        It’s not the “Wahhabe myth” really, it’s the Islam myth, because Osama was teaching against the religion of most of those who now follow him. Identifying this is not “splitting hairs” it’s paying attention to a key part of everything.

        There’s a similar split between Shia leaders in Iraq and Ali Khamenei in Iran, because some of his ideas sound dodgy to them. The Ayatollahs in Sadr city cannot plausibly be accused of being pro-western, but they have expressed grave doubts about what is being taught by their Shia co-religionists across the border.

        As for your Robert Spencer: he appears to be a committed communist who has become an equally committed capitalist and virulent islamophobe. Exactly the same political and spiritual journey that has been made by practically all of Russia’s political and business leaders in the past twenty years. His master’s voice?

  • Dave Boxthorn September 7, 2010, 2:14 PM

    Just out of curiosity-have there been any Muslim funders of absolutely anything who have used proceeds from the sale of their technology business(es)?

    • mary September 7, 2010, 5:45 PM

      What the hell are you talking about? There are 1.5 billion Muslims on the planet. Do you think someone distributed a questionnaire?

      • Dave Boxthorn September 7, 2010, 6:09 PM

        Richard Silverstein, without a questionaire, did a little digging and found one Jew who used the proceeeds of the sale of his technology business to fund a whole lot of groups.

        With so many Muslims, as you point out, it should be easier to find at least a few who have done the same.

        • mary September 7, 2010, 7:17 PM

          You’re appalling, Boxthorn. What’s your problem, really? With you is everything Jews and Muslims?

        • Richard Silverstein September 7, 2010, 9:20 PM

          Your comments aren’t even intelligent let alone communicating a serious point of view. You have not read my blog if you think that Aubrey Chernick is the only right wing American Jewish extremist who uses his wealth to fund groups hostile to Islam and supportive of settlers. I’ve written literally scores of such blog posts, maybe even 100 or more about such people.

          “Philanthropic” or didn’t you notice the quotes around the word every time I used it except perhaps the last one? Let me put you on notice that if I ever use the word associated with him it’s meant in quotes even if I don’t use them. This isn’t philanthropy, it’s anti-Muslim racism drenched in dollar bills.

          • Dave Boxthorn September 8, 2010, 4:11 AM

            1/ I asked a simple question asking the name of a single Muslim anywhere who sold his (or her) tech company and used the proceeds for anything, and look at the abuse I get.

            2/ I don’t write Richard’s comments. He does. Don’t blame me for his lack of quotation marks.

  • uncle joe mccarthy September 7, 2010, 5:24 PM

    today, george soros pledged 100 mil to hrw…and the right is up in arms

    guess what…when you are rich, you have earned the right to do anything with your money you want

    • Richard Silverstein September 7, 2010, 5:57 PM

      Not really. But if you want to support dreck like Chernick you can certainly expect exposure of your racist views & philanthropic giving here.

      • Dave Boxthorn September 7, 2010, 6:11 PM

        Glad to see you agree that his giving was philanthropic.

    • mary September 7, 2010, 7:16 PM

      For that reason alone, George Soros rocks.

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