This is fabulous. Eli Clifton at Think Progress has blown the lid off the funding for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, the neocon shop that helped give us the Iraq war and that “has become one of the the premiere DC organizations promoting more aggressive actions against Iran.” The people who underwrite this stuff have traditionally remained anonymous. Clifton:
While FDD has a 10-year history of engaging in alarmist rhetoric and fear mongering — e.g. in 2002 FDD aired a series of ads conflating Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein — and helped promote the “Bush doctrine” which led to the invasion of Iraq, its donors have, for the most part, hidden behind their anonymous contributions to the organization.
And who’s funding this shop?
Clifton’s exclusive–based on records he obtained that he links in a pdf with his story– says that a lot of the usual suspects in the Israel lobby, Saban, Bronfman, Steinhardt, Mizrahi, Marcus and oh, Doug Feith’s father.
Canadians Edgar M. and Charles Bronfman, heirs to the Seagram liquor company fortune, contributed $1,050,000 to FDD between 2001 and 2004. Edgar M. Bronfman served as president of the World Jewish Congress from 1979 to 2007. Charles Bronfman, along with fellow FDD donor Michael Steinhardt cofounded Taglit Birthright which offers free trips to Israel for young Jewish adults. Steinhardt is a hedge fund mogul who contributed $850,000 to FDD from 2001 to 2004.
Other notable donors included: Home Depot cofounder Bernard Marcus who contributed $600,000 between 2001 and 2003; mortgage backed securities pioneer Lewis Ranieri contributed $350,000 between 2002 and 2004; and Ameriquest owner, and Bush administration ambassador to the Netherlands from 2006 to 2008, Roland Arnall contributed $1,802,000 between 2003 and 2004.
Other notable, but less generous, donors included: media mogul and Democratic Party donor Haim Saban, a surprising donor considering FDD’s Republican bent and Clifford May’s former role as an RNC spokesperson; The Israel Project director Jennifer Mizrahi; and Dalck Feith, father of former Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith.