Robert Shillman

From Powerbase
(Redirected from Robert J. Shillman)
Jump to: navigation, search

Robert J. Shillman (born April 6, 1946) is a US-based tech mogul who is the founder and a trustee of the Shillman Foundation. His company Cognex has a market value of over USD$4billion.


Through his foundation Shillman is a major donor to various conservative and pro-Israel causes, most notably the Zionist Organization of America and the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, the US body that sends funds to the Israeli Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers.

He also funds several leading groups in the counterjihad movement, including the David Horowitz Freedom Center, on whose board he sits.


Shillman is founder, chairman and 'chief culture officer' of the Cognex Corporation[1] which describes itself as:

'the world’s leading provider of vision systems, vision software, vision sensors and surface inspection systems used in manufacturing automation. Cognex is also a leader in industrial ID readers.' [2]

He is an emeritus trustee at the Northeastern University in Boston and has given it substantial sums, including USD$3 million for a classroom building that was then named after him. [3]


Shillman was amongst 50 American Jewish leaders invited to join then President George W. Bush's special delegation to Israel's 60th-anniversary celebrations in May 2008. [4]

He has endowed a professorship named the Robert J. Shillman Career Advancement Chair at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.[5]

Shillman has in the past withdrawn support from organisations whose behaviour he disagrees with. In 2002, he pulled funding from WBUR, a National Public Radio station in Boston, for what he perceived as anti-Israel sentiment. [1]

Foundation for Defense of Democracies

In 2010 Shilman was listed as a member of the Host Committee for the 2010 Foundation for Defense of Democracies Washington Forum. That year's forum was titled 'Countering the Iranian Threat'.

FDD's annual Washington Forum brings together diplomats, intelligence and military experts, policymakers, media and stakeholders for expert panels, debates, and discussions. [6]

Other figures on the committee, who like Shillman, have been closely involved with the FIDF include Bernard Marcus (the chair of the committee) and Larry J. Hochberg. [6]

Shillman was again a member of the Host Committee in 2011 and 2012.[7] [8]

Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston

Board member of David Horowitz Freedom Center

Shilman sits on the board of the anti-Muslim think tank the David Horowitz Freedom Center. [10]

Shillman has funded four fellowships for journalists who worked on FrontPage, the centre's 'online journal for news and political commentary'. On its website he is thanked for 'underwriting' the work of various 'Shillman Fellows in Journalism':

'FrontPage Magazine, the Center’s online journal of news and political commentary has 1.5 million visitors and over 870,000 unique visitors a month (65 million hits) and is linked to over 2000 other websites. The magazine’s coverage of and commentary about events has been greatly augmented over the last two years by the presence of four Shillman Fellows in Journalism underwritten by board member Dr Robert Shillman. FrontPage has recently added a blog called “The Point,” run by Shillman Fellow Daniel Greenfield, which has tripled web traffic.' [11]


On Islam

In a 2015 Reuters interview, Shilman declared himself a 'big supporter' of the Prophet Mohammad cartoon contest in Texas that was attacked by two gunmen. Although he does not claim to be anti-Muslim, he said the shooting 'was a terrorist attack on the American way of life', threatening America’s free speech. Such attacks, he said, were making people fearful and prone to self-censorship.[1]

Shillman refused to disclose whether he had helped pay for the event, which was jointly organised by the Horowitz Center’s Jihad website and Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative. [1] He has expressed admiration for Geller and dismissed that she was fuelling anti-Muslim sentiment:

Blaming Pamela Geller for inciting violence is like blaming a victim of rape for wearing high heels,” he said. [1]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Tim McLaughlin and Mark Hosenball, Meet Robert Shillman, the Tech Mogul Who Funds Pamela Geller's Anti-Islam Push, Forward, May 9, 2015. Accessed 12 October 2016.
  2. Cognex Website Cognex Corporate Overview. Accessed 17 February 2015.
  3. Northeastern University Website of Trustees Northeastern Board of Trustees. Accessed 17 February 2015.
  4. Eli Lake, 'Bush Visit May Boost Olmert', New York Sun,13 May 2008, accessed 4 February 2015
  5. Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute Faculty. Accessed 17 February 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 FDD Website Washington Forum 2010: Countering the Iranian Threat. Accessed 4 March 2015.
  7. FDD Website Washington Forum 2011. Accessed 4 March 2015.
  8. FDD Website Washington Forum 2012. Accessed 4 March 2015.
  9. Macarena Munoz, 'Cognex CEO leads community giving by example', Boston Business Journal,1 December 2006, accessed 4 February 2015
  10. 10.0 10.1 David Horowitz Freedom Center Website About David Horowitz Freedom Center. Accessed 17 February 2015.
  11. FrontPage Magazine Website About David Horowitz Freedom Center. Accessed 17 February 2015.