MONITORING AND COMBATING ISLAMOPHOBIA

A Project of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

Adelson Family Foundation

What is the Adelson Family Foundation? 

Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson established the tax-exempt private family foundation in 2007 to strengthen and benefit “the State of Israel and the Jewish people.” The Adelson Family Foundation is among the largest private donors to anti-Muslim groups, warding $5.85 million to anti-Muslim groups between 2014 and 2016, and then giving nearly $4 million to these groups between 2017-2019. 

Prior to his passing in 2021, Right Wing Watch labeled him “a committed Islamophobe.”   

The Adelson Family Foundation has provided financial support to Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), and Endowment for Middle East Truth. 

Anti-Muslim Activities  

According to a 2012 New York Times investigation, the Adelson Family Foundation financially supported the marketing of the Clarion Project’s anti-Muslim film Obsession. Writing for The Atlantic on 10/27/2008, Jeffrey Goldberg observed, “[Obsession]…is designed to make naive Americans believe that B-52s filled with radical jihadists are about to carpet-bomb their churches…” The film uses translations from Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). Fox News screened Obsession in 2006.  

At a 2012 conference, Sheldon Adelson told attendees: “You don’t have to worry about using the word ‘Islamo-fascism’ or ‘Islamo-terrorist,’ when that’s what they are. Not all Islamists are terrorists, but all the terrorists are Islamists.” 

Adelson reportedly handed out copies of the film Obsession during Birthright Israel trips. Birthright Israel has been criticized for pushing a pro-apartheid agenda of “an imaginary, propagandized portrayal of Israel, to erase the existence of Palestinian life, and to shore up support for Israel’s occupation, apartheid and denial of the right of Palestinian refugees to return.” The Adelson Family Foundation is a large financial contributor to Birthright Israel, giving more than $500 million to the organization in a 15 year period.  

Influence 

The Adelsons are Republican party mega donors and enjoyed a close relationship with former President Donald Trump. Sheldon Adelson was identified as the largest individual donor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The Adelsons were subsequently appointed as finance vice-chairmen of Trump’s inaugural committee.

Houda Abadi, an associate director at the Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program, identified the Adelson Family Foundation as part of “a well-funded and well-connected network” of actors promoting Islamophobia.  

American Freedom Defense Initiative

The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) is an Islamophobic hate group led by Pamela Geller. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identifies the organization as an anti-Muslim hate group. At one time, SPLC considered Geller “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead.”  

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American Freedom Law Center

The American Freedom Law Center, Inc. (AFLC) is an anti-Muslim law firm co-founded and co-led by David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise.   The center often acts as the Islamophobia Network’s legal counsel and has represented Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy and Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative.  

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Appearing as a key witness supporting Rep. Peter King’s anti-Muslim hearings in March 2011, Jasser criticized Muslim organizations for informing communities of the fundamental constitutional right to have counsel present during interactions with law enforcement.

American Islamic Forum for Democracy

American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is an anti-Muslim lobby group founded by Zhudi Jasser. Under Jasser’s leadership, AIFD has allied itself with institutions and legislative efforts that attempt to limit Muslims’ access to enumerated freedoms in the Bill of Rights.

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Americans for Peace and Tolerance

Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) is a Boston-based lobby group founded by Charles Jacobs that proliferates misinformation and conspiracy theories about Islam and Muslim-Americans. It is dedicated to undermining mainstream Muslim institutions and promoting Islamophobia within the media. 

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Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter, a conservative media personality, has gained notoriety for her unabashed Islamophobia. Her influence extends to the social media platforms, where she boasts over 2 million followers on X (formerly known as Twitter). 

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