Geller told me in an e-mail that “many clear-thinking and freedom-loving Jewish groups approve of my work.” 

Who funds Pamela Geller? In 2010, it was a former Israel Project board member
 Alex Kane

Geller at 9/11 Conference
Pamela Geller speaks at a September 11, 2012 conference (AP Photo/David Karp)

The nation’s leading anti-Muslim blogger and activist is back at it again in the New York City subway system. On December 17, Pamela Geller, who runs the blog Atlas Shrugs and is the head of Stop Islamization of America and the American Freedom Defense Initiative, had inflammatory ads put up in 50 subway stations at a cost of over $10,000. The ads picture the World Trade Center burning on September 11 and quote a Qu’ran verse–tying the religion of Islam to the terrorist attacks.

And in September, she put up another round of anti-Muslim advertisements at a cost of thousands of dollars. Many of them were altered and defaced by activists.

All of this begs the question: who is paying for Geller’s antics?

The latest advertisements that went up in the subway December 17.

It remains unclear who exactly is funding the ad buys. In an e-mail to Mondoweiss, Geller said “all the money for the ads comes from supporters’ donations.” On the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s website, a donation button urges readers to “fund the fight.” But the word “supporters” is not exactly revealing. (It’s also worth noting that Geller won a $4 million divorce settlement and $5 million in life insurance.)

Tax records, though, show who partly funded Geller two years ago, when she first made a big name for herself leading the fight against the Park 51 Islamic center in lower Manhattan. These details have not been reported by other media outlets.

A foundation called the Alan and Hope Winters Foundation gave $5,000 to the American Freedom Defense Initiative in 2010, the Geller-led outfit behind the anti-Muslim advertisements. The foundation also gave money to a host of other anti-Muslim outfits that year, including the neoconservative Hudson Institute ($25,000) and David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence ($115,000).

Geller said that the Winters’ money went to her activism around Park 51. But the fact that a big-pocketed foundation gave cash to Geller’s group raises the question as to whether other foundations are likewise funding Geller’s ad buying spree.

Regardless of the answer to that question, the Winters donation is interesting in its own light. Hope Winters was on the board of The Israel Project in 2006 and 2007, according to 990 tax forms reviewed. It is the clearest example yet of how members of the Israel lobby are tied to Geller, a woman who told The New York Times that “a very good guide” to how she sees the world is the “prism of Israel.” Indeed, her last ads read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” And next to those words were the following: “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

The Israel Project (TIP) is a thoroughly-mainstream and well-connected shop that seeks to put “a more positive public face of Israel” out for everyone to see. TIP works with journalists to inform–or spin– the American public about the region. The group’s influence can be seen in the fact that a number of Senators and Representatives from both parties sit on its “board of advisors.”

Currently, TIP is headed by Josh Block, a former spokesperson for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. TIP did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

So what’s a former board member with TIP doing funding Geller’s hateful crusade against an Islamic center? Winters did not respond to inquiries relayed to her through an associate who helps handle her foundation’s finances. But it’s not too hard to guess.

TIP’s and Geller’s goals converge when it comes to Israel. They both support hawkish right-wing Israeli governments bent on colonizing the West Bank. They both want aggressive U.S. or Israeli action against Iran. Geller’s whole shtick is to cast Israel as a Western outpost in a sea of Arab and Islamic barbarism–the first line of defense in the “war on terror.” More subtly, TIP sees the Middle East in that way as well.

And TIP has other links to well-known Islamophobes. As the Institute for Policy Studies’ Right Web project notes, the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney spoke at a 2007 TIP-organized press conference about the “Iranian threat.” When Gaffney is not pushing for aggressive action against Iran, he’s pontificating about the threat of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the U.S. government and how sharia law is slowly taking over. Crazy stuff, but TIP has no problem with it.

The explicit links between Geller and TIP are a sharp contrast to how other mainstream Jewish groups have reacted to her anti-Muslim ad buys. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Jewish Community Relations Council condemned Geller’s September ads, which conflated Muslims and Palestinians with “savages.” But these groups have themselves dabbled in explicit Islamophobia. A Dallas branch of the ADL, for instance, once held a screening for the film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.”

Geller told me in an e-mail that “many clear-thinking and freedom-loving Jewish groups approve of my work.” 

While Geller remains a step too far for some groups, like the ADL, she operates within the larger context of Islamophobia that has been aided by Israel lobby groups. Think of her as the tip of the big spear pushed by more mainstream pro-Israel groups. And her links with The Israel Project bring the Geller tip that much closer to the mainstream establishment.


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  1. CD-Host said,

    December 20, 2012 at 17:18

    I’m not sure what is shocking about that. As we move from extreme left to extreme right you generally see strong ties, on every issue.

    extreme leftists work with far leftists. far leftists work with extreme leftists and the moderate leftists. moderate leftists work with the far left and the left leaning moderates…. That’s the way coalitions always work.

    You would expect to see the right leaning members of AIPAC encouraging and cooperating with Pamela Geller. And I’m sure there are members of Geller’s group who are cooperating with if not active in groups like the JDL (a Jewish terrorists group).


    In general if you care about human rights, the situation we have is more or less the best possible case. You want is people like Pamela Geller being attacked by mainstream Jewish groups and the only association being unofficial channels through a few frustrated individuals. That is what the alternative to open cooperation and endorsement looks like.

  2. robertsgt40 said,

    December 20, 2012 at 17:44

    I would suggest if Gellar’s ex got out with only losing $4m, he made out like a bandit.

  3. Kazz said,

    December 20, 2012 at 23:35

    It seems odd to me that the US government is more concerned about what Muslims might do instead of what the bankers are doing, which is robbing everyone blind. Perhaps that is because the US government works for the bankers!

  4. R Davis said,

    December 25, 2012 at 18:18

    The World Trade Center was riddled with ASBESTOS.
    How many people were there for the duration.
    How many visitors flew in from other countries.
    How many people breathed in the dust & day after day.
    It was in their food & water, on their carpets & their clothing.
    It is not know how much asbestos dust you have to breath in to become a victim of the poison.
    Some say one breath is enough.
    In 20 / 30 / 40 / years from now, how many men, women & children will present with asbestos poisoning.
    Asbestosis / Mesothelioma, is/are a horrible & painful way to die.
    The American knows who did this thing to them, regardless of Pamela Geller.
    Was Pamela Geller there breathing in the dust also ?

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