Gatestone Institute

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Gatestone Institute Logo, screengrab from http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/

The Gatestone Institute publishes articles by a number of prominent right wing, neoconservative, Zionist and counter-jihad individuals and organisations and promotes them at exclusive speaking events, often in New York City.

History

The Gatestone Institute has been publishing articles on its website since October 2008.[1] It has been hosting events since June 2010.

Activities

The Gatestone Institute describes itself as a think tank ‘dedicated to educating the public about what the mainstream media fails to report in promoting: institutions of democracy and the rule of law; human rights; a free and strong economy; a military capable of ensuring peace at home and in the free world; energy independence; ensuring the public stay informed of threats to our individual liberty, sovereignty and free speech’. [2]

Its website also states that it ‘will be publishing books’ and currently conducts ‘national and international conferences, briefings and events for its members and others, with world leaders, journalists and experts -- analyzing, strategizing, and keeping them informed on current issues, and where possible recommending solutions’.

Themes include ‘military and diplomatic threats to the United States and our allies; events in the Middle East and their possible consequences, and the transparency and accountability of international organizations’. [2]

Promoting anti-Muslim writers

Gatestone publishes a number of prominent writers from the anti-Muslim counterjihad movement. These include Fjordman, a far-right blogger ‘idolised’ by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik,[3] Bat Ye’or whose ‘Eurabia’ conspiracy theory is advocated by Fjordman, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer and Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Spencer and his Jihad Watch were cited 116 times by Breivik, Pipes and his Middle East Watch 18 times.[4]

Gatestone has also published a defence of Wilders' call for there to be 'fewer Moroccans' in the Netherlands and articles attempting to demonise Islam by linking it to cannibalism (eg. ‘Islamic cannibalism’ by Ali Salim) and to child abuse (eg. ‘child sex slavery, multiculturalism and Islam’ by Soeren Kern.[4] The relationship with Wilders is a close one, as reporter Max Blumenthal noted in 2012:

At the April event, Wilders's seamless fusion of anti-Muslim bombast and pro-Israel cant was gratefully received by the Gatestone Institute’s founder and director, Nina Rosenwald, whom he acknowledged at the top of his jeremiad as another of his good friends. An heiress to the Sears Roebuck fortune, Rosenwald spreads her millions through the William Rosenwald Family Fund, a nonprofit foundation named for her father, a famed Jewish philanthropist who created the United Jewish Appeal in 1939. His daughter’s focus is more explicitly political. According to a report by the Center for American Progress titled “Fear Inc.,” Rosenwald and her sister Elizabeth Varet, who also directs the family foundation, have donated more than $2.8 million since 2000 to “organizations that fan the flames of Islamophobia.”
Besides funding a Who’s Who of anti-Muslim outfits, Rosenwald has served on the board of AIPAC, the central arm of America’s Israel lobby, and holds leadership roles in a host of mainstream pro-Israel organizations. As groups like AIPAC lead the charge for a US military strike on the Islamic Republic of Iran, threatening to turn apocalyptic visions of civilizational warfare into catastrophic reality, Rosenwald's wealth has fueled a rapidly emerging alliance between the pro-Israel mainstream and the Islamophobic fringe. (In 2003 alone the Rosenwald Family Fund donated well over half of its $1.6 million in total contributions to pro-Israel and Islamophobic organizations.) This alliance serves to sanitize and legitimize professional anti-Muslim bigots like Wilders, allowing their ideas to mingle easily with those of neoconservative foreign policy heavyweights intent on promoting the appearance of a convergence between US and Israeli interests by invoking the specter of a common “Islamofascist” enemy. With Gatestone—which publicizes the writings of figures ranging from pro-Israel super-lawyer Alan Dershowitz to “counter-jihad” propagandist Robert Spencer, and boasts Harold Rhode, a neoconservative former Pentagon official credited, as a senior fellow, with helping to try to push the Bush administration to invade Iraq—Rosenwald has attempted to shift the alliance into overdrive.[5]

Fees

A UK-based policy analyst, interviewed on condition of anonymity, claimed that a separate UK-based Muslim writer on Gatestone’s books was being paid $65,000 a year in return for producing articles 'on demand'.[6]

Gatestone's 2015 tax filings reveal that it paid its 'head writer' Soeren Kern $125,859 for the year. [7]

Promoting Eurabia conspiracy theory

Gatestone serves as a 'a clearing house...for claims about Muslim "no-go zones" (the likes of which "terrorism expert" Steven Emerson was ridiculed for)' and has published articles promoting the idea of 'Islamisation' and in particular the Eurabia conspiracy of an Islamic takeover of Europe. It has published articles with titles like:

  • ‘The Islamization of France’
  • ‘The Islamization of Germany’
  • ‘The Islamization of Belgium and the Netherlands’
  • ‘Spain: Soon the Muslims will be Kings of the World’
  • ‘Britain’s Islamic Future’
  • ‘UK Islamic takeover plot’
  • ‘How Islam Conquers Europe’.[4]

Events

Events organised by the ‘Gatestone Institute Briefing Council’ are ‘by invitation only’ and exclusively for members. According to its website, Gatestone events ‘often take place at The Four Seasons Restaurant, The '21' Club, The Knickerbocker Club, The River Club and select private residences in New York City’.

It was previously advertised that a minimum donation of $10,000 is ‘required for participation’.[6]

Previous speakers have included Daniel Pipes, Henry Kissinger, John Bolton, Frank Luntz, Bruce Bawer, Alan Dershowitz, Geert Wilders, Douglas Murray and M. Zuhdi Jasser.

The 2015 accounts show that John Bolton was paid $100,000 as an event speaker, though it is unclear whether this was for a single or multiple events. [8]

Gatestone Europe

Gatestone has a European 'advisory board' run by journalist Amir Taheri and Elisabeth-Ann Moutet . The Institute declares in its accounts that the majority of its overseas expenditure on 'programme services' occurs in Europe.

In January 2017 Gatestone set up a new Twitter account, 'Gatestone Europe', with the description: Gatestone Europe 'Daily European news from a decent right wing perspective'. The account remains protected and is therefore only accessible by approved followers. The twitter account also provides a link to gatestone.eu, however this defaults to

British links

Quilliam Foundation

Hilary Aked writes:

In January 2015, just days after the Paris attacks targeting magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, Gatestone spent approximately $100,000 taking out a full page advert in the New York Times. To drive home its implicit message that a 'good Muslim' supports US power, two out of the three Muslims pictured in the Gatestone advert were posing next to the American flag. Mentioning violence in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Egypt – and, 'Africa' - the text of the advertisement effortlessly ignored all other violence in the world not involving any of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims and simultaneously glossed over the context-specific political factors at play in each conflict. The subtext was very clear: Gatestone was advocating a mono-causal explanation for this violence and put the spotlight firmly on Islam.
Ostensibly a 'counter-extremism' initiative, this advert was typical of how contemporary anti-Muslim racism is articulated: by generalizing specific behaviours and attributing them deterministically to religious ideology. This fundamental problem of collectively imputing blame is not negated by the fact that all 23 signatories were Muslims. Though the statement calls on 'all people of conscience' to sign up, since the word 'duty' is twice used in relation to Muslims it is clear that they, far more than others, are expected to prove they reject violence. Thus the Gatestone declaration serves the same function as the so-called 'Charter of Muslim Understanding', which similarly called for Muslims to be required to make special denunciations. Commissioned by UKIP’s Gerard Batten, that document was called 'frightening' even by pro-Israel Tory MP Robert Halfon, who compared it to a first step towards wearing a yellow star, as Jews were required to do under Nazi rule.[6]

Usama Hasan and Maajid Nawaz of the UK-based Quilliam Foundation were among the signatories to this statement.

Henry Jackson Society

In 2011, the British neoconservative think tank the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) received $10,000 from the Abstraction Fund, the private mega-foundation of Nina Rosenwald who set up the Gatestone Institute. In addition, HJS associate director Douglas Murray writes regularly for Gatestone and at the time was listed as a 'distinguished senior fellow'.

The connection between HJS and Rosenwald also means that Student Rights, the campus-monitoring arm of the HJS, may be receiving funding from the same financial sources as Campus Watch - part of the Middle East Forum also funded by Rosenwald's Abstraction Fund - a group that pioneered the McCarthyist blacklisting tactics it employs.[6]

Grants and Expenditures

2015

Grants/gifts received: $2,190,242 Total programme service expenses: $1,788,828 Overseas expenditures included:

  • Europe: $397,072 (32 employees): cited purpose was Program Services
  • ME and North Africa: $193,358 (9 employees): cited purpose was Program Services
  • East Asia and the Pacific: $5270 (1 employee): cited purpose was Program Services
  • South America: $13,255 (3 employees): cited purpose was Program Services
  • South Asia: $2700 (3 employee): cited purpose was Program Services

The Institute's 2015 tax filings state that no overseas grants were made in this period.

Writers' total fees: $240,249 Other fees: $29,313 Article translation fees: $145,282 Speakers fees: $278816 Media consulting fees: 25,250

2014

Grants/gifts received: $2,142,026 Overseas expenditures included:

  • Europe: $325,528 (23 employees): cited purpose was Program Services
  • ME and North Africa: $121,530 (6 employees): cited purpose was Program Services
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: $21,000 (4 employees): cited purpose was Program Services
  • North America: $17,977 (1 employee): cited purpose was Program Services
  • South America: $1,090 (0 employee): cited purpose was Program Services
  • South Asia: $600 (1 employee): cited purpose was Program Services

Gatestone grant expenditures amounted to $20,000, distributed as follows:

  • European region: $10,000 (overseas grants do not have to be registered in detail)
  • The Humanitarian Aid Relief Fund: $10,000 - purpose cited was 'to support Its charitable aId work In the spheres of education & human rights' [9]

2013

Funding

The Gatestone Institute states that it is funded by ‘private donors and foundations’ but does not appear to publish any further details on its website. [2] As of early March 2017 the most recent details gleaned from a range of sources are as outlined below:

2015

2014

Gatestone's revenue was $2,154,147 in 2014, a significant increase on the previous year. [10]. A review of various affiliated organisations' tax filings revealed grants from:

2013

Middle East Forum

In its 2013 tax filing Gatestone declared a total of US $1,387,104 in income[16], which appears to have come from one source according to IRS filings for the anti-Muslim Middle East Forum (MEF). In fact MEF has given over USD$2.3 million to Gatestone in recent years. The 2013 filing shows it gave one single grant of USD$1,383,471 to Gatestone, an increase on the previous year's USD $1,098,878 grant.[17][18]

Abstraction Fund

According to IRS filings from 2014, the Abstraction Fund also donated a total of USD $1,015,000 to the Gatestone Institute, in 9 separate donations. [19]

Others

In 2013 the Svetlana and Herbert M Wachtell Foundation gave Gatestone USD$5,000. [20]

2012

Gatestone’s revenue was reportedly $1.1 million in 2012.[6]

People

As well as considerable resources, people associated with Gatestone include a combination of far-right bloggers like Fjordman alongside prestigious names like former U.S. ambassador John Bolton (chairman of Gatestone) and James Woolsey, former director of the CIA (Gatestone advisory board member). The presence of such individuals – who have the ability to lend mainstream respectability to vehemently Islamophobic ideas – is something few counterjihad think tanks can boast.

It has been argued that this combination lends it 'faux respectability' and 'establishment kudos' that translates into the potential for 'an alarming degree of mainstream influence' that should give 'more to fear' than 'the danger posed by lone far-right terrorists like Breivik'.[4]

Chairman

Ambassador John R. Bolton[21]

Directors

Nina Rosenwald - director/ president | Georgette Gelbard - director | Grayson Levy - director | Erik Telford - director | Naomi Perlman - secretary/PR manager| Joel Zbar [22]

Board of governors

2015

Viscountess Bearsted | Baroness Caroline Cox | Alan Dershowitz | Lawrence Kadish | Lord Finkelstein | Jack Fowler | Ingeborg Rennert | Rebecca Sugar | Professor Robert Immerman | Meryl Tisch [23]

2014-15

R. James Woolsey – Chairman | Georgette Gelbard | M. Zuhdi Jasser | Lawrence Kadish | Douglas Murray | Naomi Perlman | Ingeborg Rennert | Rebecca Sugar | Amir Taheri | Professor Elie Wiesel | Christine Williams

Board of Governors Gatestone Europe

Amir Taheri - Chairman | Anne-Elisabeth Moutet

Distinguished scholars and senior advisers

Soeren Kern | Guy Milliere | Harold Rhode | Khaled Abu Toameh | Samuel Westrop

Prominent early role for Fjordman

In the institute's early days, mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik's blogger-idol Fjordman was listed as a 'distinguished scholar' (in January 2013), indicating the importance of his ideas.[4] His name was later removed from this list.

Other former distinguished fellows

Columnists

Writers listed as columnists include:

Irfan Al-Alawi Sami Alrabaa Benny Avni Shmuel Bar
Zeyno Baran Bruce Bawer Anne Bayefsky Elias Bejjani
Paul Belien Anat Berko Claire Berlinski Sushantha Kumar Bhattacharya
John R. Bolton Andrew Bostom Joseph Bottum Shoshana Bryen
Stephen Bryen Yigal Carmon Aidan Clay Marc Cogen
Alexandra Colen Valentina Colombo Irwin Cotler Nonie Darwish
Simon Deng Alan M. Dershowitz Dan Diker Arieh Eldad
Steve Emerson Manda Zand Ervin Douglas Feith Oleksandr Feldman
Fjordman Lawrence Anthony Franklin Ronnie Fraser Farid Ghadry
Dore Gold Brooke Goldstein Daniel Greenfield Lars Hedegaard
Tarek Heggy Gunnar Heinsohn Eli E. Hertz David Horowitz
Peter Huessy Raymond Ibrahim Youssef Ibrahim Amil Imani
Jeffrey Imm M. Zuhdi Jasser Avi Jorisch Lee Kaplan
Philippe Karsenty Efraim Karsh Joe Kaufman Mordechai Kedar
Soeren Kern David Keyes Mehdi Khalaji M. A. Khan
Martin Kramer Rita Kramer Bernard Lewis Herbert I. London
Denis MacEoin Shiraz Maher Itamar Marcus Evelyn Markus
Ryan Mauro Andrew McCarthy Betsy McCaughey Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens
Alan Mendoza Morten Messerschmidt Aaron Eitan Meyer Guy Milliere
Anne-Elisabeth Moutet Douglas Murray Taslima Nasreen Fiamma Nirenstein
Daniel Pipes Center for Islamic Pluralism Justin Polin Noah Pollak
Nidra Poller Raheel Raza Kamal Richa Asaf Romirowsky
Steven J. Rosen Barry Rubin Michael Rubin Jonathan Schanzer
Steve Schippert Stephen Schwartz Roger Scruton Natan Sharansky
Nina Shea Mark Silverberg Henry Jackson Society Robert Spencer
Gerald M. Steinberg Cinnamon Stillwell Amir Taheri Tiberge
Khaled Abu Toameh Michael J. Totten Diana West Sam Westrop
Geert Wilders Moshe Ya'alon Bat Ye'or Ben-Dror Yemini

Contact

Website: www.gatestoneinstitute.org
Email: info@gatestoneinstitute.org
Twitter:
Twitter: @GatestoneEurope - a protected account set up January 2017 with 587 followers as of 16 March 2017.

Resources

Notes

  1. Archives, Gatestone Institute, accessed 6 February 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 About, Gatestone Institute, accessed 6 February 2013
  3. Jerome Taylor, Unmasked: the far right blogger idolised by Breivik, The Independent, 6 August 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Hilary Aked, Is Notorious Islamophobic Think Tanks Inspiring More Far-Right Terrorism?, Alternet, 26 August 2015.
  5. Max Blumenthal, The Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate, The Nation, 13 June 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Hilary Aked, One of America's Most Dangerous Think Tanks is Spreading Hate Across the Atlantic, Alternet, 23 November 2015
  7. Gatestone Form 990, 2015
  8. Gatestone Institute, Form 990, 2015, reviewed by Spinwatch
  9. Gatestone Institute, Form 990, 2014
  10. Gatestone Institute, Form 990, 2014
  11. Abstraction Fund, 990 Form, 2014
  12. Chisholm Foundation, 990 Form, 2014
  13. Jewish Communal Fund, 990 Form, 2014
  14. Mercer Family Foundation Form 990, 2014, reviewed by Spinwatch
  15. Middle East Forum, Form 990, 2014
  16. Gatestone Institute 2013 Tax return, accessed 27 February 2015
  17. MEF, Form 990, 2013, reviewed by Spinwatch
  18. Gatestone Institute, Conservative Transparency database, accessed 3 March 2015
  19. Form 990 2014, Foundation Center, accessed 21 January 2016
  20. Svetlana and Herbert M Wachtell Foundation, 990 Form, 2013
  21. About, Gatestone Institute, accessed 17 December 2015
  22. Gatestone Institute 2013 Tax return, accessed 27 February 2015
  23. Gatestone Institute website, accessed 2 December 2015