Meet the Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate
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Pipes occupies a central position at the nexus of the pro-Israel lobby and the Islamophophic fringe. In 2001 he neatly encapsulated the zero-sum mentality that defines his view of the alliance, declaring, “I worry very much, from the Jewish point of view, that the presence, and increased stature, and affluence, and enfranchisement of American Muslims, because they are so much led by an Islamist leadership, that this will present true dangers to American Jews.”
To his shame, Pipes earned eighteen citations in the manifesto of Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, the self-proclaimed “counter-jihadist” standing trial for the murder of seventy-seven people, mostly teenagers. Drawing heavily on sources like Pipes to justify his actions, Breivik said he carried out the slaughter to punish Europe for succumbing to “Islamicization” and multiculturalism. Ranking just behind Pipes in Breivik’s thought was the Middle East Monitoring and Research Institute (MEMRI), with sixteen citations from the right-wing terrorist. Founded by a former Israeli intelligence officer to monitor and selectively disseminate Arabic-language media, MEMRI has become a key source for organizations in the Islamophobic network. MEMRI provided much of the translated material in the anti-Muslim Clarion Fund’s mass-distributed propaganda film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. The Clarion Fund and MEMRI have received handsome donations from the Rosenwald family, earning Nina Rosenwald her position as chair of MEMRI’s board of directors.
“We can give Nina Rosenwald the benefit of the doubt and say that in the past she didn’t know the poisonous ideological agenda of her beneficiaries,” Wajahat Ali, principal author of the “Fear Inc.” report, told me. “But at this point, she has no excuse for ignoring their extreme activities. So the question is why she continues to support them.”
Birth of a Benefactor
Who is this benefactor of Islamophobia? According to those familiar with Rosenwald, she is anything but a sophisticated Machiavellian operator—“a babe in the woods,” as one of her longtime acquaintances described her to me. (Rosenwald did not respond to interview requests sent to the Gatestone Institute and her personal e-mail.) According to another acquaintance, Rosenwald has a penchant for launching into anti-Arab anti-Palestinian tirades at public forums, leaping up like “a jack in the box” to denounce the evildoers. Despite her zealotry, Rosenwald maintains a reputation as a Manhattan socialite who travels in some of New York City’s most elite financial and political circles. Her wealthy friends gather for salons at upscale restaurants and in the living room of her Upper West Side apartment to meet major league political personalities, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, neoconservative former UN Ambassador John Bolton (an associate of the Gatestone Institute) and the late right-wing media provocateur Andrew Breitbart.
Rosenwald counts among her closest friends Norman Podhoretz, the octogenarian neoconservative activist and former Commentary magazine editor who argues that Jewish Democrats are heretics betraying their religious duty to support the Jewish state. Rosenwald, according to one friend, is also close to Podhoretz’s daughter, Ruthie Blum, a right-wing columnist who lives in the illegal West Bank settlement of Har Adar and writes a column for Israel Hayom, a newspaper published by far-right billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a chief financial supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benajamin Netanyahu. Father and daughter echo the line of Likudnik Greater Israel ideology and anti-Muslim fanaticism, with Podhoretz urging the Western world to wage “World War IV” (the title of his post-9/11 polemic) against what he and Blum call “Islamofascism.” Blum has called for an Israeli war against Iran on the grounds that “Iran is soon to have atomic bombs with which it will attempt to impose Shariah law on the rest of the world—after wiping out the Jewish state.” Rosenwald has sustained Commentary (now edited by Podhoretz’s son John) with regular donations of up to $15,000—a modest but important sum for a right-wing Israel-centric magazine with an increasingly minuscule readership.