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D.C. thinktank pushing Iran war got $19 million in one year from Israel supporters

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Foundation for Defense of Democracies logo

Eli Clifton has a great piece of investigative reporting up at Salon revealing the leading donors to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative outfit that pushes a militant posture on Iran. “The group has risen since its 2001 founding to become Washington’s premiere hawkish think tank.”

And it turns out that five pro-Israel donors gave the thinktank over $19 million in one year, 2011.

Clifton’s list is topped by Home Depot founder Bernard Marcus, contributing $10,745,000.

A public critic of the Obama administration, blasting it as “amateurs in the White House” and “amateurs surrounded by amateurs” in a 2011 Wall Street Journal interview, Marcus maxed out his personal contributions to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. …

FDD’s second largest contributor is hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, a major fundraiser for Romney’s presidential campaign and a significant campaign contributor in his own right. Singer, who gave $3.6 million to FDD, infused $1 million into Restore Our Future and over $1 million into the American Unity PAC, a Republican Party PAC that supports gay marriage.

Singer is a big supporter of Israel. So is Bernard Marcus. So does the third largest donor:

Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson — FDD’s third largest donor — has been far less guarded about his foreign policy views than Singer or Marcus. Adelson, who contributed $1,510,059, is a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a proponent of a hawkish U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

No wonder that FDD supports attacking Iran:

A top FDD scholar and tireless advocate for bombing Iran, Reuel Marc Gerecht, has mirrored exactly Adelson’s brand of disregard for what Iranians might think of an attack.

According to its site, FDD is all about Israel:

“FDD was founded shortly after 9/11 by a group of visionary philanthropists and policymakers to support the defense of democratic societies under assault by terrorism and militant Islamism.”

It pushes a militant position on Iran because Iran has vowed to “destroy” Israel. Its board of advisers includes Bill Kristol, Bret Stephens, Joe Lieberman and Charles Krauthammer.

FDD’s National Security Trip to Israel is a trip for D.C.-area young professionals “interested in careers in U.S. national security.” So, they go to Israel to learn about U.S. security!

And though these Washington-area young professionals are interested in careers in US security, they have to have had experience in Israel:

FDD’s National Security Trip to Israel is an advanced trip for those who have previous experience in Israel….Previous Israel experience is a requisite for application.

The other two Israel-supporters in Clifton’s findings are the Abramson Foundation and Newton and Rochelle Becker. Rochelle Becker epitomizes the Israel lobby: she gives money to Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer and pro-Israel groups. World Alliance for Israel PAC. The Abramsons also epitomize the lobby. They give a ton to Temple University. Madlyn Abramson gives money to Democratic candidates. Her daughter Judith A. Felgoise gives money to Democratic candidates. And then they support neoconservatives.

No wonder Barbara Boxer is a hawk on Israel. Because that’s where the money is. Chris Christie just visited Sheldon Adelson in Vegas. Rick Perry is going to Israel in the fall. And though Liam Hoare in Haaretz says it’s anti-Semitic to point this out, all but one of the 6 major donors to FDD in 2011 are apparently Jewish. Because Zionism is embedded in Jewish life.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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29 Responses

  1. David Nelson on August 6, 2013, 1:54 pm

    What a bunch of liars. Why is there never any accountability on these people? Their lies lead to wars which end up killing thousands and millions of people, and still no accountability. That the neo-cons have any influence beyond the darkest corners of the net is beyond wonder.

    Excerpts from Christiane Ammanpour’s interview of Mohammad Javad Larijani in March of 2012:

    Christiane Amanpour : The Prime Minister of Israel believes that Iran has a nuclear weapons intent, and one that will be aimed at Israel. Therefore, this talk and this feeling of crisis and war is all around.

    Is Iran preparing for war?

    Mohammad Javad Larijani: We are fully prepared to defend ourselves. And everybody knows in the region that Iran is not an aggressor but Iran is a fierce defender. ..Netanyahu should be worried about the policies in the region. They are in real crisis. I think the real, the real bomb is not the atomic bomb of Iran, the real bomb is the great failure of Israel to prove its legitimacy and to define meaningful relation in the region.

    Amanpour: Meantime, everybody talks about what President Ahamdinejad said a few years ago, that Israel should be wiped from the face of the map. People believe that that means militarily. Is that what the President meant? Is that Iran’s intent?

    Larijani: Definitely not. I think neither the president meant that nor is that the policy of Iran.

  2. James Canning on August 6, 2013, 2:37 pm

    Foundation for the “defence” of “democracy”. Cover story for subversion of national security of the American people.

    • justicewillprevail on August 6, 2013, 4:45 pm

      Yes, I thought it was hilarious/deplorable/nauseating that they wrap themselves in a ‘democratic’ banner. They wouldn’t know what the word democracy means, and even less tolerate it if it applied to them at all. These people are subversive traitors.

      • bilal a on August 6, 2013, 5:20 pm

        Is there a way for Americans to sue for enforcement of the espionage laws against these criminals? Where is the ACLU ?

    • piotr on August 6, 2013, 9:21 pm

      Kilgore: I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like… victory. Someday this war’s gonna end…

      • Citizen on August 7, 2013, 4:00 am

        @ piotr
        I read somewhere recently that we dropped way more bombs in Vietnam War than in all of Europe and the Pacific in WW2.

      • just on August 7, 2013, 8:41 am

        We killed and destroyed many and much in Vietnam.

      • James Canning on August 7, 2013, 2:45 pm

        True, and just one indicator of virtual insanity of the entire military adventure.

  3. James Canning on August 6, 2013, 2:42 pm

    I wonder how many of the largest donors to FDD supported Israel’s effort to subvert the outcome of the Palestinian elections in 2006? Because Hamas won.

  4. Philip Munger on August 6, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Keiser Report interview with Greg Palast about Paul Singer’s vulture capitalism, from three days ago or so:

  5. seanmcbride on August 6, 2013, 3:27 pm

    More background:

    article; Eli Clifton; Exclusive: Documents Shed Light On Those Underwriting The Foundation For Defense Of Democracies; Think Progress; July 19, 2011


    # FDD (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies): associated neocon and pro-Israel policy groups (they are all elements of a single network and lobby organized around the Israeli interest):

    1. AEI (American Enterprise Institute)
    2. AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)
    3. CSP (Center for Security Policy)
    4. David Project
    5. ECI (Emergency Committee for Israel)
    6. FPI (Foreign Policy Initiative)
    7. Hudson Institute
    8. Investigative Project
    9. Israel Project
    10. JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs)
    11. MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute)
    12. Middle East Forum
    13. NGO Monitor
    14. PNAC (Project for the New American Century)
    15. Reut Institute
    16. RJC (Republican Jewish Coalition)
    17. Shalem Center
    18. Stand with Us
    19. WINEP (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    The FDD membership and affiliates list largely consists of the same pro-Israel neoconservatives who engineered the disastrous Iraq War — and yet they are still in business after dumping several trillion dollars down the drain in the “Global War on Terror” on behalf of Greater Israelism. What sane American would pay attention to them in 2013? — even Newt Gingrich is backing off.

    • bilal a on August 6, 2013, 5:41 pm

      US sees Israel, tight Mideast ally, as spy threat

      Some CIA officials still bristle over the disappearance of a Syrian scientist who during the Bush administration was the CIA’s only spy inside Syria’s military program to develop chemical and biological weapons. The scientist was providing the agency with extraordinary information about pathogens used in the program, former U.S. officials said about the previously unknown intelligence operation.

      At the time, there was pressure to share information about weapons of mass destruction, and the CIA provided its intelligence to Israel. A former official with direct knowledge of the case said details about Syria’s program were published in the media. Although the CIA never formally concluded that Israel was responsible, CIA officials complained to Israel about their belief that Israelis were leaking the information to pressure Syria to abandon the program. The Syrians pieced together who had access to the sensitive information and eventually identified the scientist as a traitor.

      Before he disappeared and was presumed killed, the scientist told his CIA handler that Syrian Military Intelligence was focusing on him.

    • James Canning on August 6, 2013, 6:59 pm

      Great post. Sean, don’t miss Graydon Carter’s editor’s letter in September 2013 Vanity Fair magazine.

  6. stardust on August 6, 2013, 4:39 pm

    Indeed, FDD neocons are very active lobbying, educating and debriefing US Congress on major national security issues. Most of them are also consultants advising the DOD and security agencies – obviously not for free. This is endemic in D.C. so it’s naive to think that any elected officials and supposedly independent agencies serve the interests of the citizens.

  7. DICKERSON3870 on August 6, 2013, 4:50 pm

    RE: “Its [the FDD’s] board of advisers includes Bill Kristol, Bret Stephens, Joe Lieberman and Charles Krauthammer.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Not to mention my very own “chickenhawk” senator, Saxby Chambliss! Chambliss has been on the Israel Project’s “board of advisors” since he was first elected to the U.S. Senate back in 2002. Then a congressman, Chambliss advanced to the U.S. Senate by defeating the incumbent senator Max Cleland (D-GA), a recipient of both the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for valorous action in combat during the Vietnam War.

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [Saxby Chambliss]:

    (EXCERPTS) Clarence Saxby Chambliss (born November 10, 1943) is the senior United States Senator from Georgia. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a U.S. Representative (1995–2003). . .
    . . . During the Vietnam War, Chambliss received student deferments and was also given a medical deferment (1-Y) for bad knees due to a football injury.[5] . . .
    . . . Upon urging from Karl Rove and the Bush administration who viewed the Democratic party of Georgia as vulnerable, Chambliss ran for the Senate in 2002, facing freshman Democratic incumbent Max Cleland. Chambliss’s political career would have likely ended if he hadn’t run for the Senate; the state legislature had shifted his home in Moultrie (along with most of the southern portion of his district) to the nearby 1st district, represented by fellow Republican and friend Jack Kingston.
    Chambliss focused on the issue of national defense and homeland security during his campaign, and released an ad that included Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, highlighting Cleland’s record on the issues of war and terrorism.[12]
    Chambliss received criticism from Democrats and Republicans for this ad, pointing out that he, who hadn’t served in the Vietnam War due to receiving military deferments, had attacked a Vietnam War veteran who lost three limbs during his service for not being tough enough on issues of war and homeland security.
    [13] Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said of one ad, “It’s worse than disgraceful, it’s reprehensible.”[14] McCain, along with Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, made significant complaints to the Republican National Committee until the ads were taken down.[15] Chambliss supporters disagreed with the criticism, saying the advertisement did not question Cleland’s patriotism, but rather his judgment.[16][17]
    Chambliss won the election, receiving 53 percent of the votes to Cleland’s 46 percent. . .

    SOURCE –

    P.S. ALSO SEE: “Saxby Chambliss Attributes Military Sexual Assault To ‘The Hormone Level Created By Nature'”, By Amanda Terkel,, 6/04/13

    . . . Here is what he [Saxby Chambliss] said at the Senate armed services hearing today:

    “The young folks who are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.”

    I’m not sure what’s more offensive, the boys-will-be-boys “gee whiz”, or describing groping, rape and sexual assault as “these types of things”, or the idea that somehow hormones make this inevitable. .


  8. DICKERSON3870 on August 6, 2013, 5:03 pm

    RE: “Its [the FDD’s] board of advisers includes Bill Kristol, Bret Stephens, Joe Lieberman and Charles Krauthammer.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Surprise, surprise! The Israel Project’s webpage concerning their “board of advisors” seems to have been “dissapeared”.
    This used to be the link. –

  9. DICKERSON3870 on August 6, 2013, 5:16 pm

    ● RE: “Clifton’s list is topped by Home Depot founder Bernard Marcus, contributing $10,745,000.” ~ Weiss

    FOR SOME BACKGROUND, SEE: “A Christmas Message From America’s Rich”, by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 12/24/11

    [EXCERPTS] It seems America’s bankers are tired of all the abuse. They’ve decided to speak out. . .
    . . . Courtesy of a remarkable story by Max Abelson at Bloomberg, we now get to hear some of those choice comments.
    Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, for instance, is not worried about OWS:
    “Who gives a crap about some imbecile?” Marcus said. “Are you kidding me?”

    Former New York gurbernatorial candidate Tom Golisano, the billionaire owner of the billing firm Paychex, offered his wisdom while his half-his-age tennis champion girlfriend hung on his arm . . .


    ● P.S. ALSO SEE & LISTEN TO: “Bailout Recipients Hosted Call To Defeat Key Labor Bill” , By Sam Stein, Huffington Post, 02/27/09

    [EXCERPT] Three days after receiving $25 billion in federal bailout funds, Bank of America Corp. hosted a conference call with conservative activists and business officials to organize opposition to the U.S. labor community’s top legislative priority.
    Participants on the October 17 call — including at least one representative from another bailout recipient, AIG — were urged to persuade their clients to send “large contributions” to groups working against the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), as well as to vulnerable Senate Republicans, who could help block passage of the bill.
    Bernie Marcus, the charismatic co-founder of Home Depot, led the call along with Rick Berman, an aggressive EFCA opponent and founder of the Center for Union Facts. Over the course of an hour, the two framed the legislation as an existential threat to American capitalism, or worse.
    “This is the demise of a civilization,” said Marcus. “This is how a civilization disappears.
    I am sitting here as an elder statesman and I’m watching this happen and I don’t believe it.”
    Donations of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars were needed, it was argued, to prevent America from turning “into France.”
    “If a retailer has not gotten involved in this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to [former Sen.] Norm Coleman and all these other guys, they should be shot. They should be thrown out their goddamn jobs,” Marcus declared. . .


    AUDIO: Anti-union call between Bank of America, Bernie Marcus, et al. and Rick Berman, 17 Oct 2008 –

  10. Shingo on August 6, 2013, 5:23 pm

    I noticed a while ago that any think tank that has the word “democracy” in it either had nothing to do it democracy or seeks to destroy it.

    • James Canning on August 7, 2013, 6:29 pm

      Good point. “Democracy” is a good thing if it gives cover to continuing oppression of the Palestinians, one way or another.

  11. Scott on August 6, 2013, 6:45 pm

    Actually it was originally called “Emet” which I think is a Hebrew word, and was intended to do PR for Israel about the intifada. Then 9/11 happened, and they changed their name.

    • Bumblebye on August 7, 2013, 6:49 pm

      “Emet” also means ant in English, though it’s a fairly archaic term, used mostly by dialect speakers.

      • Tuyzentfloot on August 8, 2013, 3:23 am

        “Emet” also means ant in English, though it’s a fairly archaic term, used mostly by dialect speakers.

        emmet in cornish. Related to the german word ‘ameise’ apparently.

    • Tuyzentfloot on August 8, 2013, 3:10 am

      Not to be confused with the Endowment for Middle East Truth I suppose. That one still exists.

  12. just on August 6, 2013, 8:39 pm

    PNAC all over again………….


  13. Citizen on August 7, 2013, 4:14 am

    This subject is really depressing. Oh well, at least I don’t have to work as a greeter at Home Depot.

    Anybody notice, across the land, from sea to shining sea, for those who still read print newspapers, the paper boy has been replaced by a paper geezer?

  14. Krauss on August 7, 2013, 4:25 am

    Follow the money is today called ‘anti-Semitism’.

  15. Citizen on August 7, 2013, 6:12 am

    What is America’s national interest in the Middle East? There is none. It’s been replaced by Israel’s national interest:

    (Oh, so that’s why our politicians are always telling us there’s no sky between here and there? And Netanyahu told us Americans “We are you, you are we.”)

    This is a great article, short, sweet, and running on all pistons, smooth as can be. Please spread it around.

    • James Canning on August 7, 2013, 2:23 pm

      @Citizen – – A number of rich and powerful Jews in the US profit hugely from Israel’s special status, in American policy-making. Full stop.

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