New CAIR Report: $105-Million Donated by Major US Foundations to Islamophobic Groups Jewish pro-Israel donors gave 20% of overall funding
The American Muslim defense organization, CAIR, published a new account of Islamophobia in America, Islamophobia in the Mainstream. It reports that wealthy US foundations gave $105-million between 2017-2019 to hate groups with an Islamophobic agenda. It examined the 50 largest US foundations and focussed on 35 which gave the funds to 26 organizations. Among the foundations were ones founded by noted far-right fixtures: the late gambling magnate, Sheldon Adelson, Irving Moskowitz, who earned his wealth through a Southern California bingo empire, and Bernie Marcus, founder of Home Depot. The Jewish Communal Fund and Jewish federations in Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco also donated large sums to these groups via donor-advised funds.
The non-profits who received the donations included the American Freedom Defense Initiative ( (founded by Pamela Geller), American Freedom Law Center (founded by David Yerushalmi), the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (founded by Cliff May, former vice-chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition), Middle East Forum (founded by Daniel Pipes) and the David Horowitz Freedom Center. A number of them are listed as anti-Muslim hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
A large number of the funders are far-right Jewish supporters of Israeli settlers and right-wing Israeli political parties. There is a nexus between Islamophobia and Israeli ultra-nationalist ideology. The Israeli far-right has fueled the career of political leaders like Bibi Netanyahu, who made alliances with Islamophobic, anti-immigrant European nations like Poland and Hungary,
20% of the overall US Islamophobia funding was attributed to Jewish family or communal foundations. Pro-Israel groups espousing Islamophobic views received 30% of the overall funding.
If Jews Fund Islamophobia, How Can They be Muslim Allies?
This information confirms controversial remarks (within Israel Lobby circles) delivered by CAIR Bay Area director, Zahra Billoo (30-minute mark in video), at a recent American Muslims for Palestine conference. She accused “polite Zionists” seeking to “break bread” with American Muslims, of not being true friends of the American Muslim community. She warned that they were almost as dangerous as far-right white supremacists who harbor explicitly Islamophobic views.
Her remarks were first reported by far-right blogger, David Lange, who engages in serial hoaxes designed to embarrass pro-Palestinian groups and media outlets. (disclosure: Lange maintained his blog under the pseudonym, Aussie Dave, until I revealed his real identity). Lange often serves as the initiator of pro-Israel media frenzies as he did in this case. The backlash against Billoo was ferocious. She was savagely attacked by ADL director, Jonathan Greenblatt, who called her accusations “awful, unapologetic bigotry” and “vile, antisemitic, conspiracy-laden garbage.” Several Jewish publications also launched attacks against her which were so vituperative that she took a month-long sabbatical from her job in order to heal from their impact.
I note that male speakers at the AMP conference who delivered similar remarks were not attacked. Clearly, Jewish communal leaders have focused on Billoo as a purportedly Jew-hating figure with a national reputation. She was also driven off the national board of the Women’s March after a similar set of attacks against her pro-Palestinian views. Thus far, no one has noted the misogynist nature of these attacks, which focus on female Muslim leaders like Billoo.
The verbal assaults by Israel Lobby groups like the ADL are similar to those of the Israeli government against Palestinian human rights groups, which the defense minister accused of “terrorism.” He falsely linked them to a Palestinian militant group, the Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The common thread linking the groups was their support for the ICC investigation of Israeli war crimes.
The attacks on CAIR are part of a campaign to silence criticism of Israel in the US. Among the tactics have been the passage of anti-BDS legislation in 17 states, and anti-Sharia laws in six states and proposed legislation in 43.
At the same time, Jewish groups have sought to co-opt American Muslims by forming Jewish-Muslim dialogue, and partnerships which advance a common domestic political agenda. These efforts noticeably avoid discussion of Palestine. Among the initiatives is the Muslim Leadership Institute of the Shalom Hartman Institute. MLI recruits young Muslim leaders and offers them an all-expense-paid week-long seminar on Zionism and Israeli life. There is little effort to educate Israeli Jews about Islam or the interests of American Muslims.
Among those who have attended are media personalities Wahajat Ali and Pakistani-American “civil rights advocate,” Rabia Choudry. One participant dropped out of the program and penned an account of his disillusion with MLI. Another MLI participant, Harun Mogul offered a profoundly cynical account of his involvement:
Of course [Shalom Hartman] has used us and will continue to use us, but my intention is to use [Shalom Hartman] too. . . as a way to get access to certain spaces and [important political] people and to introduce my point of view on the conflict. That is the nature of politics, you use each other and try to push your agenda and that’s the arena in which I think I can most effectively support Palestinians.
I have been involved in politics for over 50 years and I have never used anyone to push my agenda.
Similarly, the American Jewish Committee created the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council together with the Islamic Society of North America. Its mission was to:
… Develop and advocate a domestic policy agenda to protect and expand the rights of religious minorities. [It is] a tangible result of our commitment to work with the American Muslim community for the benefit of all citizens. This values-driven partnership sets a new standard for interreligious cooperation.”
These efforts amount to an attempt to suppress the issue of Palestine from the Muslim agenda. They sabotage a consensus developed over decades to support Palestinian rights. They also divert attention from the issue and weaken the resolve of the Muslim community. The Hartman Institute highlighted in promotional materials for its anti-BDS work, this Muslim-American participants response to the MLI seminar:
“I think the breakthrough for me was coming here [to Israel, to the Hartman Institute] as someone who has always been very careful to frame herself as an anti-Zionist but not an anti-Semite and now not quite sure if I am an anti-Zionist anymore. I am not saying I am a Zionist. I am saying I do not know what I am anymore.”
The hope is that the partnership will come to be so vital to American Muslims that they will sacrifice Palestine to maintain it.
American Jews, who have suffered discrimination in this country must not succumb to this ugly scourge. No communal institution should fund groups promoting hate against anyone–whether Muslim, African-American or Asian-American. Jewish federations and the Jewish Communal Fund must stop catering to their wealthy donors and recognize the damage funding racism does to American Jewry. We must stop funding Islamophobia and cut off the spigot to hate.
Funding of Islamophobia by Jewish communal and family foundations ($21-million):
Adelson Family Foundation $4-million
Jewish Communal Fund $3-million
Diana Davis Spencer Foundation $2-million
Arie and Ida Crown Memorial $500,000
Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston I $500,000
Hochberg Family Foundation $250,000
Irving Moskowitz Foundation $750,000
Jewish Community Federation of SF, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties $250,000
Kovner Foundation $250,000
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $1.5-million
Marcus Foundation $5.75-million
Helen Diller Family Foundation $500,000
Allan S Gordon Foundation $500,000
Newton D and Rochelle F Becker Foundation $1-million
Donations to Islamophobic Jewish/Pro-Israel Groups ($30-million):
American Freedom Law Center (David Yerushalmi) $1.2-million (from Fidelity Fund)
MEMRI $9-million ($3-million from Adelson)
American Freedom Defense Initiative (Pam Geller) $100,000 ($50,000 from Jewish Communal Fund)
Gatestone Institute $700,000 ($50,000 from Spencer Foundation)
Middle East Forum (Daniel Pipes) $2-million
Foundation for the Defense of Democracies $10-million
Clarion Project $2-million
David Horowitz Freedom Center $3-million
Endowment for Middle East Truth $560,000
Investigative Project on Terrorism (Steve Emerson) $1.4-million
Lawfare Project $1-million
American Freedom Alliance $350,000
Americans for Peace and Tolerance (Charles Jacobs) $80,000
18 thoughts on “New CAIR Report: $105-Million Donated by Major US Foundations to Islamophobic Groups – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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That vile man, David Lange, went after dear Mary Hughes Thompson, your long-time friend and was delighted that she died. May he rot in hell. https://www.israellycool.com/2021/02/07/free-gaza-co-founder-and-antisemite-mary-hughes-thompson-dies/
That reminds me of another monster, Steven Plaut, who was in the same rancid category as Lange. When Chomsky student, Tanya Reinhardt, died of cancer, Plaut celebrated with the Wizard of Oz song, “Ding dong the witch is dead.” Later, Plaut himself died of cancer. What goes around comes around. To turn the old Jewish saying on its head: there is a judge and there is justice!
Lange is a particularly odious form of humanity.
<i>’The attacks on CAIR are part of a campaign to silence criticism of Israel in the US.'</i>
It’s certainly been an effective campaign. If one has any aspirations to be in the mainstream at all, one never says anything critical about Israel. About the most one can hope for is a failure to praise it.
It’s comic surveying the titles of the various Islamophobic/pro-Israel groups.
‘Freedom,’ ‘Freedom,’ ‘Defense of Democracies,’ ‘Freedom,”Truth,’ ‘Investigative Project on Terrorism,’ ‘Freedom,’ ‘Americans for Peace and Tolerance.’
Now aren’t we all for freedom? Who could possibly be against peace and tolerance?
@ Colin: Ah, but it’s “freedom” FROM…you name it: Blacks, Muslims, women, etc.
Jews are the biggest donors to charity in the USA.
It stands to reason that some of the biggest donors to all causes will be Jews. This is not news, it is mere propaganda. Case in point: Even if you study the list of ‘islamophobe’ funders, the biggest funders are not Jewish but Christian Republicans.
@ Tiff: This is a nonsense deflection. Jews give the same amount to charity that non-Jews do. They tend to give to a narrower set of charities than non-Jews. But they are no more or less generous than the rest of Americans. Yes, we have many billionaires whose giving gets a lot of attention. And American Jews tend to be wealthy than the average. But there are also many poor or elderly Jews who cannot give.
In 2017, Jews gave $9-billion to charity, while the overall giving for all Americans was $410-billion. That puts Jewish giving at 2% of overall giving, precisely the same percentage as the number of Jews in America.
Do not published more than one comment at a time in the same thread.
The Koch brothers are not Jewish, and they are some of the biggest funders of ‘islamophobia’.
It should not be a crime to criticise a religion. Christianity is always attacked, Jesus is called all sorts of names, yet no Christian cries ‘Chrsitianphobia’.
@ Tiff: As usual, you are off the mark:
The best you can say is that the Kochs support GOP pols who themselves are Islamophobic. But there may be many other reasons that they support them having nothing to do with hatred of Islam.
Further, there is no way to tell how much they donate because they give through Donors Trust, which is a financial vehicle allowing donors to maintain anonymity. SO we only know how much overall Donors Trust gives on behalf of Islamophobia. There is no way to isolate the Koch giving within that number.
Between 2014-2018 Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund gave $18-million in support of Islamophobia. That’s about $3.2-million per year. Again, no way of knowing how much of that is from Koch. And that overall number over a 5-year period is far less than the $21-million which Jewish foundations and communal funds gave for that purpose during the 3-year 2017-2019 period.
Again, you’re trying to deflect from the wealthy Jews who support this odious hateful campaign. Quite pitiful if you ask me.
Zahra Billos’s focus on Jews to the exclusion of everyone else who is funding anti Muslim hate, does smack of anti-Semitism. Why didn’t she point to the religious credentials of those on the list who are not Jewish? There are many Christians who fund and propagate the said islamophobia. Walid Phares and Brigette Gabriel are Christians. Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer is a Christian. Frank Gaffney is a Catholic Christian.
Time reports :
CAIR’s research found that the charity group Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism Inc. donated more to special interest groups CAIR identified as Islamophobic than other charities did by a significant margin—the donations were close to $20 million annually between 2017 and 2019. Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism did not respond to a request for comment.
@ Anupam: Utter nonsense. Zahra Billoo is an American Muslim. All Muslims care deeply about Palestine. She is no different. Should she care about the Vatican or France of Germany as much as Palestine? That’s utterly foolish. I am a Jew. I care about Israel. Do I have to care equally about Egypt or Japan?
Nor did Billoo write this report. She did not refer to it. I did. So making her responsible for it as if she did, is either ignorant or bad faith or both.
As a Jew, I am far less interested in non-Jews who are Islamophobic. There are many non-Jews who do care about them and I salute them for it. But my job is to focus on my religion and its impact on Muslims.
Yes, News flash! Christians donate to Islamophobia. But the Christian group gave $20-million while the Jewish foundations gave more ($21-million) over the same period. And there are a s*load more Christians in this country than Jews.
I wonder why an Indian Hindu with a Staten Island IP address is shilling for right-wing Islamophobes? Gee, it couldn’t have anything to do with Hindutva, could it?
“ All Muslims care deeply about Palestine.”
And why is that?
Because Israel is oppressing the Palestinians (many of whom are Christian)?
I don’t see so Muslims expressing great concern over the oppression of the Uighurs in China or the genocidal treatment of the Rohingya of Myanmar. In fact, I see the Islamic Republic of Iran playing footsie with China, while Uighurs languish in Communist Chinese concentration camps.
Maybe Richard can explain this apparent contradiction, and while he’s at it, explain why Gulf States have embraced the Abraham Accords and normalization with the State of Israel.
I can accept that all Muslims care about the Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem, but Palestine?
It looks to me like Hamas and IJ leadership doesn’t even care so much about Palestine.
@ Sasha: Don’t be a dope. Why do Muslims care about Palestine? Why do Jews care about Israel?
If you don’t see Muslim protesting the treatment of Uighurs you are deaf, dumb and blind. There is huge support for the Uighurs and consternation among Muslims about China’s policy. Enes Kanter yesterday made a strong statement attacking China. He’s a major NBA star (and Muslim). The same with the Rohynga. I suggest that you don’t know anything about Muslims, if you’d say these things.
Iran has its own interests and does not represent all of Islam. Iran is under a global siege. If you were in Iran’s shoes you’d look for Allies where ever you could find them. Survival of the state is more important than moral niceties (at least in Iranian eyes).
You can see why Muslims care about Jerusalem, but not why they care about Palestine. Where do you think Palestine is? Up in the air? In Timbuktu? It’s Jerusalem, it’s the Judean desert, it’s Nazareth It’s wherever Jesus trod or Christianity lives in the Holy Land. The fact that you cannot acknowledge that Jerusalem is Palestine tells us volumes about your blindness.
I don’t explain anything to you. It’s not my job. Find someone else to be your tutor.
“Iran has its own interests and does not represent all of Islam”
Gulf States and China solidify economic ties too, despite Uighur genocide.
Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world, yet, in 2020, China was Indonesia’s top export destination, accounting for more than 16% of the nation’s total exports. That year, the total value of Indonesia’s trade with China topped $78.5 billion.
The Muslim oil producing states could easily protest Uighur genocide by restraining oil sales to China, but that’s never happened, has it?
And any Muslim country that allows a few hundred demonstrators to protest against China’s treatment of Uighurs, while also trading billions with China, is being just a little hypocritical too.
Nor do I also don’t see a lot of Muslims protesting the treatment of Kurds, who, like Palestinians, only want to be free in their own State.
All the Islamic States, Shi’a and Sunni, have turned a blind eye to the suffering of Sunni Uighur Muslims, yet Muslims care so deeply about Palestinians.
Why o’ why, Richard?
@ Sasha: You are done in thread.
The Gulf States are kleptocracies, run by dictators. They no more represent all of Islam than Iran’s leaders do. Nor do these corrupt Gulf leaders represent Islam. They make their deals for their own reasons often having little to do with Islam.
I also note you as usual seem to have forgotten your original claim that no “Muslims” care about the Uighurs. Which is of course utterly false.
China, rather cleverly co-opts the leading companies and leaders of Muslim countries precisely in order to buy them off. So of course it encourages trade with them and God only knows how much cash is slipped under the table to these corrupt leaders. That conveniently allows them to abandon the Uighurs. But do Muslims do so? No, of course not.
As for the struggle of the Kurds, it’s far more complicated than you make out. Turkey is a Muslim country, yet it is in the midst of a deadly conflict with its Kurds, who are largely Sunni Muslims. Syrian Kurds are also in conflict with its largely Alawite government. Shiite Iran has a Kurdish minority as well. As does Iraqi Kurdistan (Iraq is majority Shia). Because of this there is no unanimity about what position Muslims should take regarding the Kurdish issue.
NOt only is your analysis biased and Islamophobic, it’s terribly shallow.
I know Billoo did not write this report, what I meant was that she objected to Jewish Americans funding the Islamophobia, but makes no mention ofthe Christians doing so. That is antisemitism. Palestine should not have anything to do with Islam because it is a religion (latter).
Now if she had called out the Christians too, then the ADL and all the others who are attacking her would have no grounds to do so.
I am not shilling for right-wing Islamophobes, and why do you keep linking me to Hinduvta? I am not a political animal. I am a businessman. I am not affiliated with Hinduvta any more than I would be with any other party in India.
When I hear unfair criticism of Israel it sends a shiver up my spine. I love Jews and Israel. That is why I am ‘shilling’ for both. I studied in the USA and have many Jewish friends. In Israel which I visit almost every month I have strong business links. Some of Jewish associates visit India often. We have Chabad houses and I am friendly with the local Chabad Rabbi in India.
I love Jews and Israel. Period. I want Israel to thrive, which thankfully it is.
India and Israel forever.
Richard, you moron, I do not run the Investigative Project on Terrorism. This massive error shows how much you care for the facts.
Robert Spencer: I guess I was confused because all you Islamophobes look so alike. At any rate, I’ve corrected that error.
Now that I have your attention, I should add that as of 2010, your Islamophobic group received a cool million in funding from one of America’s wealthiest and most rabid Islamophobes, Joyce Chernick, through Horowitz’s Freedom Center; and $250,000 directly from Chernick’s Fairbrook Foundation. Not to mention that you’re an extra-special pal of another rabid Islamophobe, Pam Geller.
Maybe you’re just jealous that I left Jihad Watch out of the Islamophobe financial “standings.”