Meet the Chernicks

Israel/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
on 46 Comments

A few weeks back Juan Cole created a data point to explain the neocons:

They have more assets than is visible on the surface. They have perhaps half of America’s 400 billionaires on their side.

I am deeply grateful to Cole for that assertion. Even if it’s imprecise, even if it’s off, it’s obviously based on knowledge of how the discourse works and it’s got a large truth in it: it explains the fiendish persistence inside the political establishment of neoconservatism. I wish Chris Matthews would have Cole on and ask him why he believes this, ask him who gives money to Yale and why Yale wouldn’t have Cole but Yale would have a conference that attacked Palestinian identity formation and "self-hating Jews."

Long preamble. Politico follows the money on the Islamic center opposition campaign, though it buries the neoconservative angle, the juicy one, deep in the story, who’s funding the opposition:

there’s also big money behind the mosque opposition, as highlighted by the relationship between Horowitz’s Los Angeles-based nonprofit, Jihad Watch — the website run by Spencer “dedicated to bringing public attention to the role that jihad theology and ideology play in the modern world” — and Joyce Chernick, the wife of a wealthy California tech company founder.

Though it was not listed on the public tax reports filed by Horowitz’s Freedom Center, POLITICO has confirmed that the lion’s share of the $920,000 it provided over the past three years to Jihad Watch came from Chernick, whose husband, Aubrey Chernick, has a net worth of $750 million, as a result of his 2004 sale to IBM of a software company he created, and a security consulting firm he now owns.

A onetime trustee of the hawkish Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Aubrey Chernick led the effort to pull together $3.5 million in venture capital to start Pajamas Media, a conservative blog network that made its name partly with hawkish pro-Israel commentary and of late has kept up a steady stream of anti-mosque postings, including one rebutting attacks by CAIR against Spencer — who Pajamas CEO Roger Simon called “one of the ideological point men in the global war on terror.”..

The David Horowitz Freedom Center had a budget of $4.5 million last year, according to its tax filings, of which $290,000 came from the conservative Bradley Foundation, which also gave $75,000 to the Center for Security Policy last year. Horowitz has received an average of $461,000 a year in salary and benefits over the past three years, while Spencer has pulled in an average of $140,000, according to the center’s IRS filings.

To its credit, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency then followed up that report:

Aubrey and Joyce Chernick, Politico reported, have over the years contributed to, among other groups, the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles; the Anti-Defamation League; the Zionist Organization of America; MEMRI, a group that distributes translations of inflammatory Arabic language material; the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a group that tracks what it depicts as the threat of radical Islam;  the American Jewish Congress; CAMERA, a group that tracks what it says is anti-Israel bias in the media; the Central Fund for Israel, a clearinghouse for moneys directed to pro-settler groups; and a number of conservative think tanks.

Aubrey Chernick, additionally, was at one time a trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Finally, Laura Rozen also follows up on it, showing the Chernicks’ links to the Hudson Institute, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and…. inevitably… the Central Fund of Israel, which funds settlers in the West Bank, including their "urgent security needs," and is administered by a 6th Avenue fabric store. Read Rozen’s list of Chernick contributions for her delicious twist on religiosity and secularism:

Similar donations in 2007 and 2006, including $190k in 2007 to the Hudson Institute; $200k in 2006 to the Zionist Organization of America, and $250k to ZOA in 2005; $60k in 2005 to the Central Fund of Israel, a U.S. nonprofit that funds settler security and other programs in Israel, and on whose board (listed in 2008 as vice president) is Itamar Marcus, who heads Palestinian Media Watch; $25k in 2005 to fund projects by Tariq Ismail at the Council for Secular Humanism (the funding for Islamic secularism contrasting with the foundation’s generous funding of Jewish religiosity, including Aish HaTorah of Los Angeles); $120k in 2005 to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, on whose board Chernick’s wife Joyce Chernick served

Notice that Richard Silverstein has described Aubrey Chernick’s funding for StandWithUs, the Israel lobby group, and the neoconservative website Pajamas Media ($7 million, slightly more than the seed funding for this website) and pointing out that Jim Koshland of the Levi Strauss family was in on the deal– Silverstein speculates so that Koshland could get into the good business graces of the dynamic Chernick. Oh and Alex Kane posts on the Chernicks here.

46 Responses

  1. bob
    September 7, 2010, 12:34 pm

    buries the neoconservative angle

    Same as …
    Iraq war
    Iran scare articles
    2008 Presidential Elections

  2. Inwhosen Ame
    September 7, 2010, 12:41 pm

    it’s not up to Chris Mathews what he gets to pontificate upon.

    nice job Chris, America thanks you for helping to keep her blinders on.

    • Kathleen
      September 7, 2010, 2:01 pm

      People could not have been watching and listening to Hardball before the invasion if you think Matthews was totally in the “groupthink” crowd. He was not. He hammered on Kristol and the other warmongers. Now not as hard as he should have but he was one of the only talking heads doing so.

      Did he go another step and have weapons inspector Scott Ritter, El Baradei (“niger documents forged”) on. No he did not. Did he have other people Ray McGovern and others who were questioning the validity of the pre war intelligence on? No he did not. But he stepped out further than any of the other “group think” knuckleheads.

      • Oscar
        September 7, 2010, 8:20 pm

        Kathleen, doesn’t matter. The litmus test is not that he “stepped out further than any of the other “group think” knuckleheads.” The test is whether he can break free of the corporate-media-imposed blackout of any criticism of the ethnic cleansing in Palestine. And the answer is, no he can’t.

        I thought Chris Matthews was amazing during the Clinton impeachment trials. He was a truth-seeker, a sage in that troubled time. Now? He’s an MSNBC stooge. Don’t be charitable — he’s transmogrified into a compliant sheep, and he must have difficulties sleeping at night knowing that he’s muzzled on I/P by the powers-that-be at MSNBC. My sense of Chris Matthews is that he’s actually a man of conviction, and he’s been censored by the Zionist jerkweeds running the network.

      • Sumud
        September 7, 2010, 11:10 pm

        “He’s an MSNBC stooge.”

        Since NBC is owned by General Electric, he’s therefore a GE stooge – and they are military contractors [war profiteers], profiting directly from the occupation of Palestine. If you recall, the vetoed Berkeley Divestment bill asked that two companies profiting from the occupation were divested from: General Electric and United Technologies.

        link to

        It’s utterly unsurprising Matthews (and Rachel Maddow) are on such tight leashes WRT Palestine/Israel issues. Assuming Maddow has a conscious (I’m not yet convinced), she is choosing to ignore it for the sake of her career. As a lesbian she’s the perfect emblem of how “progressive” NBC is, despite her silence on this substantial issue..

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2010, 11:30 am

        “The test is whether he can break free of the corporate-media-imposed blackout of any criticism of the ethnic cleansing in Palestine. And the answer is, no he can’t.”

        You sure hit the nail on the head on that one. That would also apply to Dylan, Ed, Rachel Maddow, Keith, etc. CCCHHING wins! That big paycheck that they get seals their mouths on the I/P issue.

    • Kathleen
      September 7, 2010, 2:11 pm

      Yeah even Rachel Maddow repeats the horseshit line “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” that Prof Cole debunked. I have heard her say it on her program

  3. Citizen
    September 7, 2010, 12:53 pm

    The ZOA is on the official US list as a registered agent of a foreign government. Do donors to that organization get tax write-offs?

    Here is what the organizations named fund (along with your tax dollars):
    link to

    • Citizen
      September 7, 2010, 1:08 pm

      Wait, now I remember it’s the world zionist organization that is on the FARA list; Bobby Kennedy tried to require the zionist organization of America to register back in 1963 but they stopped him–here’s the timeline of events, which leads to AIPAC’s special place in our world:
      link to

      • Kathleen
        September 7, 2010, 1:47 pm

        Bobby, John, Senator Fulbright were pushing for these agents of influence be required to sign up their organizations under Foreign Agents Registration Act

        link to

  4. Avi
    September 7, 2010, 1:00 pm

    Why they sound like a lovely family. If they lived in the 1930s, they would have been funding Der Angriff among other publications.

    • Avi
      September 7, 2010, 1:42 pm

      What’s wrong with my comment that it’s not getting approval?

      • Avi
        September 7, 2010, 2:49 pm

        September 7, 2010 at 1:00 pm

        September 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm

        September 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm

        Will any of these comment be approved?

      • Avi
        September 7, 2010, 2:50 pm

        Knock, Knock.

      • Eva Smagacz
        September 7, 2010, 4:20 pm


        Philip is probably walking the dog or watering the garden….

      • Avi
        September 7, 2010, 4:51 pm

        I was patient. But, I was seeing posts getting approved bearing a time stamp AFTER my posts.

        Case in point, Kathleen’s 1:44 pm post was approved while my post from 1:00 pm was still pending.

      • potsherd
        September 7, 2010, 5:04 pm

        Apparently so!

      • Avi
        September 7, 2010, 5:13 pm
      • eljay
        September 7, 2010, 5:56 pm

        >> I was patient. But, I was seeing posts getting approved bearing a time stamp AFTER my posts.

        I’ve had similar (at least, I think they’re similar) delays with some of my posts. Although it’s no biggie, it does, admittedly, make the flow of participation a bit awkward…

  5. potsherd
    September 7, 2010, 1:02 pm

    Recently the activities of the billionaire Koch brothers have been getting exposure. These guys don’t seem to be Jewish or Zionist, but their interests converge when it comes to Islamophobia.

    link to

  6. Kathleen
    September 7, 2010, 1:44 pm

    “I wish Chris Matthews would have Cole on and ask him why he believes this, ask him who gives money to Yale and why Yale wouldn’t have Cole but Yale would have a conference that attacked Palestinian identity formation and “self-hating Jews.”

    Thank Goodness for Prof Cole and Informed Comment

    I have asked Chris Matthews three times in person to have Prof Cole on. Met him at the Libby trial went up and approached him about the lack of coverage on MSNBC about Katrina after the first few weeks after the storm. I challenged Matthews by repeating his his own statement to him “Katrina has wiped the scab off of racism in our country” I said to Chris “you guys were looking under the scab for about two weeks and now you are helping put the scab back on” He laughed. Matthews was open and willing to be approached and challenged. I then went onto ask him why he never reported about the I/P conflict (all ready knowing why) His response “I don’t control the programming”

    I saw him again and spoke with him at the Dems convention in Denver (he was the only person from MSNBC to come out and mix it up with the peasant crowd out in front of their stage) I mentioned Cole, Leverett and Scott Ritter to him. He seemed open. I saw him once again in front of the Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver during the convention and had a more lengthy conversation with him. Again mentioning Cole, Flynt Leverett, and Ritter. Folks might want to contact Matthews at the MSNBC site and request that he have Cole on.

    • Philip Weiss
      September 7, 2010, 1:46 pm

      Thank you Kathleen for this vital information. Phil
      Classic line: I don’t control the programming.

      • Kathleen
        September 7, 2010, 1:51 pm

        Matthews handed me his card with his direct info. Lost the card in Denver before transferring info. Matthews is reasonable and open. He hammered on Bill Kristol, Gaffney, Frum before the invasion. He actually asked some tough questions

        Although during the Mavi marmara tragedy he showed the same Israeli released video 9 times in seven or so minutes. He hammered on the Mavi Maramara activist. I was in shock and surprised

      • Kathleen
        September 7, 2010, 1:57 pm

        Also he seemed to be in the dark about Cole, Leverett. I was surprised. Although at the Libby trial in D.c. when I also mentioned Firedoglake and Marcy Wheelers investigative work on the Plame outing he had no idea about blogs, or what was going on. I told him he was missing the boat on how progressive blogs were bringing vital information and people were having important discussions. Sure he has become far more aware now. Had to. He mentions the “netroots” quite often on his program now..

        Matthews had Amy Goodman on once as one of the commentators on a particular subject. Only once. Too bad. Seems like he or his handlers chose Joan Walsh to be their contact into the blog world

        Chris would like Prof Cole. He is so fact based, no nonsense.

      • Citizen
        September 7, 2010, 2:02 pm

        Yeah then Cole could repeat his complete data point, still relied on by folks like Bolton and Kristol who are on Fox News all the time, treated like regular soothsayers:

        “They have more assets than is visible on the surface. They have perhaps half of America’s 400 billionaires on their side. They have the enormous military-industrial complex on their side. They have the Yahoo complex of besieged lower middle class White America on their side. They have the Israel lobbies on their side. They have important segments of the Oil and Gas lobbies on their side. They have the whole American tradition of permanent war on their side. They should not be underestimated.”

      • potsherd
        September 7, 2010, 2:28 pm

        Rod Sterling controls the programming.

      • munro
        September 7, 2010, 2:55 pm

        Chris Matthews has broached the subject and this was the response:
        link to

      • potsherd
        September 7, 2010, 5:06 pm

        I need to bookmark this!

      • Sumud
        September 7, 2010, 11:17 pm

        “I don’t control the programming.”

        These are not the words of a journalist.

      • MRW
        September 8, 2010, 9:21 am

        Samud, but they’re the words of a broadcast pundit. Producers, hidden and powerful, put the shows together, pull the clips, oftentimes write the entire teleprompter copy…altho’ I think Matthews edits his copy to be his own.

    • MRW
      September 7, 2010, 7:10 pm

      Kathleen. I’ve noticed your comments about Matthews here. I, too, was surprised in 2003 or 2004 when he went after Israel and its apologists tooth and tong for one show. He wasn’t singling out Israel, he was asking tough questions. It was Iraq War related. He asked something like Why should America care for Israel’s interests over that of the US? I watched that segment with my mouth open.

      Next time you see him, ask him to open an email or web address for viewer suggestions for guests. Tell him to specify a 140-character or 200-character limit. Or create a form (webpage) with a field for a guest name, another field for a link, or two, justifying or related to the suggestion, and a final field for a short question. Then he should add a Viewer’s Segment to the show. Gives him cover.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2010, 11:26 am

        More than likely not going to happen any time soon. No Dem Conventions or trials that I plan on going to in D.C. (both the places that I happened to be in the same sphere.

        Unless that is our Reps set up a hearing where they started pushing for Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Feith, Libby war thugs to be given a free trip to the Hague. That would take me to D.C. for sure.

  7. seanmcbride
    September 7, 2010, 2:20 pm

    Has anyone assembled all the data about who is funding neoconservative organizations, and in precisely what amounts? This may be the single most important issue in contemporary American politics.

  8. fillmorehagan
    September 7, 2010, 3:15 pm

    It is not only Zionist billionaires who are pushing an Israel-first agenda and striving for an attack on Iran.

    Incredibly the AFL-CIO continues to send huge amounts of money to Israel even when unions and workers in general are under incredible pressure here at home.

    link to

    Who else but the Israel lobby could bring together plutocratic billionaires and what remains of organized labor to fund the continued disposession of the Palestinians and push for war with Iran

    • MRW
      September 7, 2010, 8:11 pm

      Add the Christian Zionists, and in particular the truly demented (IMHO) Dominionist faction within that group. These ChristyZios are people who think preservation of Israel is biblical prophesy, even though Israel was never a country or a nation or a state until 1948, and all biblical references to Israel were to Israel the man. Chuck Carlson at has put together a DVD showing how the King James Bible was changed starting in 1909 under the imprimatur of Oxford University to add Israel as a nation to the Bible. In the last big revision in 1967, (this is called the Scofield Bible in use by all Evangelicals) it stated that any people who did not support Israel as a nation were guilty of being anti-semites. This purported to be the Word of God from Abraham’s time: “anti-semitism.” Carlson is an ex-Evangelical who dug into the history of changes to the Bible in the 20th C. He’s still a devout Christian, but he is leading the way to get devout Christians to see how the Bible was perverted for political reasons.
      Here are youtube trailers for his DVD, one from his site, the other from the kid who made the DVD for him, which has more info:
      link to
      The producer’s trailer (don’t miss this one)
      link to

      This is a portion of Carlson’s AV on his site, lifted and put on YouTube.
      “some background on cyrus scofield and his bible”
      link to

    • Keith
      September 7, 2010, 8:40 pm

      FILLMOREHAGAN- The relationship of the leadership of the AFL-CIO to the American foreign policy establishment and to the CIA, and to the Democratic party, and to organized crime, and, in all of these to American Jewish Zionists is pervasive, complicated, and stretches back many years. Suffice it to say that AFL-CIO leadership are second tier members of the ruling elites who are much more concerned with power accumulation than with the fate of their membership. In effect, the AFL-CIO is part of the Zionist Power Configuration (James Petras’ useful term, although he misconstrues the locus of decision making).

  9. traintosiberia
    September 7, 2010, 3:20 pm

    It was Horowitz along with other who endorsed the view of Ann Coulter on widows of 911 victims , i.e “Jersey Girls”.

  10. lareineblanche
    September 7, 2010, 3:48 pm

    This is good work. I’ve been tracking some of this stuff down recently, but I got sidetracked (translation : I wasn’t getting anywhere).
    I’d been reading Pam Geller’s blog for several weeks (which would better be called “Atlas shrieks” – I stopped after it just got too painful, and I started actually feeling sorry for her), and noticed that she began writing about a Politico guy (Vogel) snooping around asking her about money and contributions. Lo and behold!

  11. Jim Haygood
    September 7, 2010, 6:19 pm

    ‘$7 million, slightly more than the seed funding for this website’

    Am i reading this right — Mondoweiss was seeded with $6 million or so?

    I’m glad it’s financially secure, but would you care to expand on this subject?

    • Keith
      September 7, 2010, 8:24 pm

      JIM- I was going to comment on this but you got there first. I figured that Mondoweiss didn’t come cheap, but I had no idea it was this pricey!

    • James North
      September 7, 2010, 8:53 pm

      Point of information: I just spoke to Phil, who is at the airport about to fly to the Middle East. He told me what I already knew — Mondoweiss started with absolutely no seed money of any kind. Not one cent.

      • Richard Witty
        September 7, 2010, 9:21 pm

        That was obviously a joke on Phil’s part.

      • bob
        September 7, 2010, 9:31 pm

        Mammoth amount of work, too.

        Thanks, Phil

      • Jim Haygood
        September 8, 2010, 6:47 am

        So ‘slightly more’ in this context meant $6.999 million more.

        DOH! Call me irony proof. Thanks, James.

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