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.  


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.  

Spencer has referred to Islam's Prophet Muhammad as a "con man. Someone who is knowing [sic] that what he is saying is false, but is fooling his followers."

Jihad Watch

Jihad Watch is a far-right anti-Muslim conspiracy theory blog that has been identified as a prominent node in the “Islamophobia Industry” in the United States.  

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In an August 2014 Facebook post, Bennett called on Oklahomans to be "wary" of Muslim-Americans and falsely claimed the Quran says non-Muslims "should be killed."

John Bennett

John Bennett is an anti-Muslim public official that has previously served as chair of the Oklahoma Republican Party and as a member of Oklahoma House of Representatives.  

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Jonathan Matusitz

Jonathan Matusitz is a tenured professor at the University of Central Florida who has leveraged his academic credentials to espouse anti-Muslim propaganda and has ties with ACT for America, an anti-Muslim hate group.  

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Straight Way of Grace Ministry

Straight Way of Grace Ministry is an anti-Muslim organization founded by Usama K. Dakdok that demonizes and vilifies Islamic practices and beliefs, and spreads lies about Muslims in America.

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