The Islamophobe Money Machine
By Jerry Haber, Occupied Jerusalem
Why has anti-Islamic hatred flourished in America? Well, of course, the root cause of all prejudice, as my father, of blessed memory would say, is ignorance. And when there was anti-Semitism in the US, and Jews suffered from it, it was born of ignorance. And fear of the other. But when prejudice becomes widespread, as anti-Semitism did in the US in the 1930s, you cannot blame just ignorance. You need the machinery that distributes prejudice, the mass media, the prominent "experts," the publicists. And, of course, you need money.
Big Money. How big?
The Center for American Progress published today a 130-page report detailing how $42 million dollars from seven foundations has fueled over the past decade. the spread of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim feelings in this country.
Read the full report below. The foundations are: The Donors Capital Fund, the Richard Scaife Foundations, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Russel Berrie Foundation, the Anchorage Charitable Fund and William Rosenwald Family Fund, the Fairbook Foundation, and the Newton and Rochelle Becker.
The money has flowed into the hands of five key “experts” and “scholars” who comprise the central nervous system of anti-Muslim propaganda:Frank Gafney, David Yerushalmi, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, and Steven Emerson
These five “scholars” are assisted in their outreach efforts by Brigitte Gabriel (founder, ACT! for America), Pamela Geller (co-founder, Stop Islamization of America), and David Horowitz (supporter of Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch). As the report details, information is then disseminated through conservative organizations like the Eagle Forum, the religious right, Fox News, and politicians such as Allen West and Newt Gingrich.So what is the big deal?
Has there been any violation of laws? Don't we have freedom of speech in this country. After all, these are not hate crimes. Yes we do. And funding hatred of Muslims is, in principal no worse than, say, funding hatred of other minority groups. (Although in practice, it is worse than, say anti-Semitism, because the Jews are a highly successful minority that has ample organizations and other means to defend themselves.) But the Islamophobia that ends up in state legistlation, such as the one pushed by David Yerushalmi (he contrasts sharia with halahka here, but, as I hope to show elsewhere, he is a complete am-haaretz when it comes to halakha) and Frank Gaffney, or pushed on college campuses by loud-mouth ignoramuses like David Horowitz -- has no peer in America today. We are not talking about a few hate websites.
We are talking about a well-orchestrated campaign funding "scholars" who, like the scholarly anti-Semites of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, spew their poison in the American mainstream. The fact that at least three of these scholars are Jewish, and one presents himself as an orthodox Jew, has to pain serious Jews everywhere. To think that only within several decades since the demise of organized anti-Semitism in this country, American Judaism has produced bigots of the sort mentioned above speaks volume about the success of the Jews in this country -- and, I may mention, the fact that the State of Israel is unnecessary for these folks. I mean, if you can be a well-paid Jewish bigot with impunity here, why bother to go to Israel?
The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America