The Jewish Federation of San Francisco and the Helen Diller Family Foundation fund far-right and anti-Muslim groups… and I can prove it.

2017 Form 990 excerpt for the Helen Diller Family Foundation, detailing donations to far-right organizations “Tea Party Patriots Foundation” and “Turning Point USA”.

The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, The Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties, also known as the JCF, has been consistently funding far-right and anti-Muslim hate groups across the country as far back as 2003, documents uncovered last week have revealed. The JCF, which was exposed last Wednesday morning in the American Jewish newspaper The Forward as funding the notorious Canary Mission blacklist through its supporting foundation, The Helen Diller Family Foundation, has in fact been contributing millions of dollars to anti-Muslim, far-right, and right-wing campus-based groups for the past fifteen years.

With a 2017 budget of over $240 million, and assets totaling over $1 billion, the JCF is one of the largest Jewish philanthropy organizations in the world. Describing their mission as “a philanthropic catalyst, connecting Jewish people in the Bay Area — of all ages, backgrounds, and perspectives — to the power we have as a community to improve the world,” one would be hard pressed to find an aspect of Jewish life in the Bay Area that is not partially funded by the JCF or its auxiliaries. Giving money to everything from synagogues, hospitals, and elder care centers, summer camps, education causes, and arts programming, the JCF bills itself as a significant force for good for all people in the Bay. However, closer examination of the organization’s financial documents also reveals a bevy of donations given to right-wing groups.

Among the beneficiaries of the JCF’s far-right funding include notorious organizations such as Turning Point USA, and the Tea Party Patriots Foundation, anti-gay groups such as The Heritage Foundation, and Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-Muslim groups such as ACT! for America and the Center for Security Policy. These organizations, and additional right-wing groups, are lavishly funded by the JCF, to the tune of over $18.7 million over the course of the years investigated.

The donations are truly disturbing, not only because of the causes they contribute to, nor solely because the distributions are so vast and repetitive that they cannot possibly have been by accident, but because the JCF also funds many organizations on the other side of the proverbial aisle. Many liberal and progressive organizations also populate the JCF’s 990 form grantee section, organizations who would likely be shocked to learn their longtime donors also give extensively to their political opponents.

The JCF has funded both Planned Parenthood, and the anti-abortion Independent Women’s Forum. ProPublica, and pro-censorship HonestReporting, as well as the Middle East Media Research Institute have all received money. JCF grants have gone to numerous LGBTQ non-profits across California, and also to the Heritage Foundation, an organization which still opposes an issue as simple as marriage equality. Outright fascists such as Geert Wilders, described by Time Magazine as “the Dutch Trump,” and Turning Point USA, a group regularly aligned with White Supremacists, feature prominently in the JCF’s 990 forms. Bizarrely, even organizations with deep ties to antisemitism benefited from the JCF’s funding, such as the Tea Party Patriot’s Foundation, and the Zionist Organization of America, which invited notorious Jew-hater Steve Bannon to speak at their annual gathering… TWICE.

Groups that contribute to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which are illegal under international law and have been repeatedly condemned by the United Nations, appear repeatedly as JCF grantees. Organizations such as the Central Fund of Israel (which also serves as a passthrough for funding Canary Mission, according to the aforementioned Forward article), Friends of the Chabad of Hebron (which serves only IDF soldiers and the notoriously violent Hebron settlers), Friends of Ir David, the Hebron Fund, and the Israel Independence Fund have all received JCF money.

Perhaps the largest beneficiaries of the JCF’s questionable funding are virulent anti-Muslim groups, and far-right pro-Israel campus organizations working closely with Canary Mission. While the JCF’s donors, supporters, and community partners are likely largely unaware of this pattern of giving, these donations fiercely undermine any publicly stated commitments to interfaith outreach, freedom of speech, open dialogue, and standing against hate. Even more alarmingly, rather than decreasing over time, the JCF’s giving to anti-Muslim groups appears to be growing more frequent, and when a group loses funding, a new hate-based organization quickly takes their place. For example, when the JCF ceased funding to ACT! for America in 2015, they began funding the Tea Party Patriots Foundation the following year, and added the Clarion Project in 2017.

The JCF and its supporting foundation, the Helen Diller Family Foundation, have given to a slew of groups that either the Southern Poverty Law Center (ironically, also a multiple-year grantee of the JCF’s) or the groups themselves have described as anti-Muslim. Each of these groups is egregious in its own way. According to the Center for American Progress’s “Fear, Inc.” report on the Islamophobia Network, many of the organizations appearing in the JCF’s tax returns are key players in the spread of Islamophobia in the United States, and, in some cases, in Europe, as well.

Logo of the far-right, anti-Muslim hate group, and JCF grantee, the Clarion Project

Based in NYC, The Clarion Project (formerly the Clarion Fund, as it appears in the 990 screenshots below) is a major player in the spread of US-based Islamophobia, and a recipient of $160,000 in funding from the JCF. The organization describes itself as seeking to “expose the dangers of Islamic extremism,” and is best known for the virulently anti-Muslim films it has repeatedly distributed. Most notably, the Clarion Project distributed their film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West to over 28 million swing state voters in 2008, in an attempt to stoke anti-Muslim fears about then-candidate Barack Obama.

Middle East Forum head Daniel Pipes, giving an interview at UC Berkeley’s Institute for International Studies.

The Middle East Forum, a recipient of $509,600 from the JCF and Diller Foundation over the course of 15 years, stands as one of the most prominent anti-Muslim organizations in the United States. Run and founded by anti-Muslim and anti-trans bigot Daniel Pipes, the Middle East Forum is a major recipient and distributor of anti-Muslim funding. Noted by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the longest-standing anti-Muslim bigots in the US, Pipes believes “Islam is an imperialist faith,” and has used his platform to stoke anti-Muslim bigotry through official and governmental channels since 1990. Most recently, Pipes praised President Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban” executive order, and called for even more strict surveillance of Muslims around the world.

An advertisement by the anti-Muslim Center for Security Policy

Similarly, the Center for Security Policy, a recipient of $435,000 in Jewish communal funding through the JCF and Diller Foundation, is also closely linked to Pipes and his acolytes. Designated as an anti-Muslim hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Security Policy was founded by Frank Gaffney Jr, after his tenure in the Reagan Administration. The Center for Security Policy is described by the Center for American Progress as a “main driver of the ‘creeping Sharia’ conspiracy”.

Logo of the Investigative Project on Terrorism

Yet another anti-Muslim group funded by the JCF and Diller Foundation is the Investigative Project on Terrorism, headed by noted fearmonger Steven Emerson. Over the course of 15 years, the Investigative Project on Terrorism received $667,500 from the JCF and Diller Foundation, an amount exceeding 25% of the organization’s total 2017 budget. The Investigative Project on Terrorism portrays Muslims as inherently dangerous, and advances theories saying that Islam advocates genocide.

American Freedom Law Center associates David Yerushalmi and Pamela Gellar, holding a sign with anti-Muslim messaging.

The American Freedom Law Center, closely linked to Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-Muslim extremists David Yerushalmi and Pamela Gellar has also received $375,000 from the Helen Diller Family Foundation. Yerushalmi has stated that Muslims are at war with Judeo-Christian civilization, has proposed outlawing Islam, and is the original model author of the widespread anti-Sharia legislation. Meanwhile, Gellar rose to prominence through her opposition to the Park 51 Islamic Center project in Manhattan, and is a frequent contributor to the oft-antisemitic Breitbart News.

Logo of ACT! for America, the nation’s largest anti-Muslim group

ACT! for America, a group known widely as the largest anti-Muslim group in the United States, was yet another recipient of JCF funding, to the tune of $75,000 from 2012–2014. While a small amount compared to other donations to anti-Muslim groups, a contribution to ACT! for America can be seen as nothing but an intentional donation to anti-Muslim causes, and three consecutive years of funding for such an organization indicates the JCF’s intent to fund the most inflammatory and outlandish hate speech against Muslims in the United States. ACT! for America has conducted illegal private surveillance against Muslims, and their events have promoted “creeping Sharia” conspiracies, and attracted the attendance of neo-Nazis.

Official logo of the Tea Party

Most notable among the JCF’s right-wing, anti-Muslim grantees is the Tea Party Patriots Foundation, a PAC that serves as one of the political funding arms of the far-right Tea Party of America. The Tea Party Patriots Foundation received $350,000 over a two year period from the Helen Diller Family Foundation, including the election year of 2016. The Tea Party is widely known for stoking anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-LGBTQ sentiments, and is closely aligned with politicians such as Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, and Donald Trump. These donations represented the most explicitly political contributions from the JCF and its supporting foundations, as they contributed directly to the farthest-right part of the Republican Party during an election year, while being located in the deeply liberal Bay Area. The grants to the Tea Party Patriots Foundation, earmarked for “General Support,” were not offset by any contributions to a Democratic Party-aligned PAC or candidate.

Other right-wing groups that received contribution from the JCF and Diller Foundation were a right-wing think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which received grants totaling $809,000 over several years, and Geert Wilders-linked International Freedom Alliance Foundation, which received $50,000 from the Helen Diller Family Foundation in 2016.

In addition to funding the anti-Muslim far-right in mainstream US political discourse, the JCF and Diller Foundation have also contributed significant amounts of money to organizations that seek to control the conversation around Israel on college campuses. As revealed by their donation to Canary Mission through the Helen Diller Family Foundation, the JCF has long sought to push campus-based Israel discourse to the right, and funds a wide range of bigoted, harassment-prone, and otherwise questionable organizations to do so.

David Horowitz, founder and head of the David Horowitz Freedom Center

The David Horowitz Freedom Center, recipients of $1,586,300 since 2003, epitomizes the intersection of the JCF and Diller Foundation’s prioritizing Islamophobic and censorship-based organizations in their funding. In 1988, David Horowitz, founded the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, the purpose of pushing and protecting conservative viewpoints in academia. In 2006, the Center changed into the eponymous David Horowitz Freedom Center, and their stated goals became monitoring and fighting “ the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values”. Both the Freedom Center and its “Jihad Watch” blog have been described as Islamophobic. Horowitz himself is designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim extremist.

In many ways, Horowitz served as an antecedent to, and blueprint for, the work of Canary Mission, and much of the work of the contemporary far right. Because of his organization’s particular focus on college campuses, Horowitz has established a number of McCarthyite campaigns to “expose” Left-leaning academics on college campuses, which more recently have morphed into flyering and advertising campaigns that harass Muslim student organizations, or in some cases individual students or professors, and accuse them of “Jew hatred”. Horowitz has espoused virtually every possible type of hatred toward oppressed groups in the United States, in the name of his pro-Israel, pro-right-wing views. Entire books could be written about David Horowitz’s right-wing tactics, college smear campaigns, and proto-fascist blacklists. For the purposes of this article, however, we must look instead at the organizations who followed Horowitz’s legacy, and who share a major funding source with him, as well.

Pro-Israel students at NYU protest Israeli Apartheid Week on campus, photo from JNS

These organizations, which are the AMCHA Initiative ($327,500), American Israel Education Foundation ($3,559,282), Hasbara Fellowships ($361,800), Israel on Campus Coalition($130,000), StandWithUs ($1,280,560), The Israel Project ($1,995,500), the Israel on Campus Coalition ($130,000), and Turning Point USA ($100,000), all share a common commitment to re-framing the fight against antisemitism on campuses into a fight against BDS and anti-Zionism. Their connections aren’t minor, either.

The AMCHA Initiative says it exists to document antisemitic incidents on college campuses, but actively and successfully campaigned the University of California system to adopt a definition of antisemitism that included anti-Zionism. The American Israel Education Foundation is a “sister organization” of the powerful AIPAC lobbying group, and conducts extensive outreach on college campuses nationwide. Hasbara Fellowships are a program connected directly with the Israeli Government, which trains students to advocate for Israel on campuses. StandWithUS, The Israel Project, and The Israel on Campus Coalition (of which StandWithUS and The Israel Project are members) all share another major funder, and are closely associated with Canary Mission. Turning Point USA was specifically funded by the Diller Foundation “for US campus efforts against BDS” according to their 990 forms (which can be found below).

JCF logo

The JCF has committed a serious breach of trust in its community, and seriously breached the trust of all Jews in the US. While it, and many other Jewish Federations claim to stand for pluralism, diversity, and Jewish community building, the JCF has been revealed as a major funder of anti-Muslim hate, and McCarthyite campus surveillance. The JCF has already claimed it will stop funding Canary Mission, and now the question becomes whether or not it will cease all funding to right-wing, anti-Muslim, and variously bigoted organizations.

It is right to wonder whether we should question trusting the Jewish Federations, and the JCF in particular, with Jewish Communal money. The JCF is far from the first Federation to fund anti-Muslim organizations. Just last year, the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago was discovered to have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-Muslim groups between 2011 and 2014, many of which were the same ones the JCF has given to several times over the past year. Serious consideration should be given to a boycott of Jewish Federations, given the deep history of bigoted giving, and wary Jews should give thought to donating directly to Jewish communal organizations, rather than risk trusting the Federations in the future.


Below are links to the 990 forms for 15 fiscal years of tax returns for the Helen Diller Family Foundation (back to FY 2003) and 8 years of tax returns for the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, The Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties. The links to each year of tax returns are in a hyperlink in the years themselves, for each respective year. A summary of that year’s donations to right-wing groups are below each year listed.

The Helen Diller Family Foundation:

2017:

Amcha Initiative: $10,000, American Freedom Law Center $100,000, American Israel Education Foundation $150,000, American Media Institute $50,000, Central Fund $100,000 (Designated for IDF reservists on duty), Central Fund $100,000 (designated for Canary Mission), Central Fund $25,000 (supports Regavim, a pro-settler org), The David Horowitz Freedom Center: $175,000, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies $150,000, Investigative Project on Terrorism: $25,000, Jewish Institute for National Security of America: $100,000 (designated for military exchange trips to Israel), Judicial Watch: $100,000, Middle East Media Research Institute: $100,000, Philos Project: $100,000 (Christian Zionist org), Project Veritas: $100,000, Tea Party Patriots Foundation: $150,000, Turning Point USA: $25,000

2016:

Amcha Initiative: $10,000, American Freedom Law Center: $25,000, American Freedom Law Center: $150,000 (designated to support the work of David Yerushami), American Israel Education Foundation: $150,000, Center for Security Policy $150,000, Central Fund of Israel: $150,000 (to support Shurat HaDin, a lawfare org), Christians United for Israel: $150,000, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies: $175,000, International Freedom Alliance Foundation $25,000 (earmarked specifically for Geert Wilders), International Freedom Alliance Foundation: $25,000, Investigative Project on Terrorism: $10,000, The Israel Project: $1,975,000, Middle East Media Research Institute: $100,000, Philos Project: $100,000, Tea Party Patriots Foundation: $250,000, Turning Point USA: $25,000

2015:

American Freedom Defense Initiative: $150,000, American Freedom Law Center: $100,000, American Israel Education Foundation: $150,000, American Society for Technion: $100,000 (designated for the Iron Dome Project), Committee for Accuracy on Middle East Reporting (CAMERA): $25,000, Center for Security Policy: $50,000, David Horowitz Freedom Center: $225,000

2014:

American Freedom Defense Initiative: $10,000, American Friends of NGO Monitor: $10,000, Center for Security Policy: $25,000, David Horowitz Freedom Center: $150,000, Middle East Forum: $25,000, The Heritage Foundation: $50,000

2013:

Middle East Forum: $10,00, CAMERA: $10,000, Independent Women’s Forum $10,000, Middle East Forum: $15,000, David Horowitz Freedom Center: $150,000, Amcha Initiative: $10,000

2012:

David Horowitz Freedom Center: $150,000, Middle East Forum: $10,000, Middle East Forum: $10,000, Center for Security Policy: $10,000, PEF for Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center: $100,000, Central Fund: $80,000, Zionist Organization of America, $25,000

2011:

David Horowitz Freedom Center: $125,000, Investigative Project on Terrorism: $25,000, Middle East Forum: $10,000

2010:

Center for Security Policy: $50,000, American Friends of NGO Monitor: $50,000

2009:

Investigative Project on Terrorism: $25,000, Middle East Forum: $10,500, David Horowitz Freedom Center: $100,000

2008:

Middle East Forum: $11,000, David Horowitz Freedom Center: $100,000

2007:

Center for Study of Popular Culture$200,000, Middle East Forum: $11,000

2006:

Center for Study of Popular Culture: $50,000, Middle East Forum: $10,000

2005:

Center for Study of Popular Culture: $50,000, Middle East Forum: $10,000, The Israel Project: $15,000

2004:

Center for Study of Popular Culture: $10,000

2003:

Center for Study of Popular Culture: $25,100, Media Watch International (AKA HonestReporting): $10,000, Middle East Forum: $10,000, Western Center for Journalism: $10,000

Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, The Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties:

2017:

American Israel Education Foundation: $559,300, Clarion Fund: $50,000, CAMERA: $5,520, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies: $50,000, Hasbara Fellowships: $10,000, Investigative Project on Terror: $32,500, Jewish Institute for National Security of America: $55,250, Jewish National Fund: $163,880, Middle East Forum: $45,000, Middle East Media Research Institute: $44,910, HonestReporting: $11,060, American Friends of NGO Monitor: $55,000

2016:

American Israel Education Foundation: $463,300, Autism Speaks: $10,000 (Considered a hate group by many Autistic people), Foundation for the Defense of Democracies: $40,000, Friends of Ir David: $10,000, Jewish National Fund: $583,140, Lawfare Project: $15,000, Middle East Forum: $46,550, Simon Wiesenthal Center: $5,110, Students Supporting Israel: $80,000, Turning Point USA: $50,000, Zionist Organization of America: $325,300

2015:

Amcha Initiative: $106,500, American Israel Education Foundation: $210,000, Central Fund: $275,300, Friends of Ir David: $10,000, Hasbara Fellowships: $110,000, Hebron Fund: $25,000, Investigative Project on Terrorism: $150,000, Israel Independence Fund: $100,000, Jewish National Fund: $164,800, Middle East Forum: $25,250, Middle East Media Research Institute: $150,450, HonestReporting: $22,700, American Friends of NGO Monitor: $75100, Simon Wiesenthal Center: $5,830, Students Supporting Israel: $50,000

2014:

Amcha Initiative: $101,000, ACT! for America: $25,000, American Israel Education Foundation: $218,750, Center for Security Policy: $50,000, Central Fund: $252,350, Friends of Chabad of Hebron: $12,000, Friends of Israel Initiative: $322,000, Hasbara Fellowships: $125,000, Investigative Project on Terror: $150,000, StandWithUS: $799,390, Israel Independence Fund: $100,000, Jewish National Fund: $29,271, Middle East Forum: $98,300, Middle East Media Research Institute: $150,560, HonestReporting: $12,500, American Friends of NGO Monitor: $91,100, Simon Wiesenthal Center: $7,080, UN Watch: $105,250

2013:

Amcha Initiative: $100,000, ACT! for America: $25,000, American Foreign Policy Council: $25,000, American Friends of NGO Monitor: $75,100, American Israel Education Foundation: $533,932, Autism Speaks: $20,000, CAMERA: $50,760, Center for Security Policy: $75,000, Central Fund: $150,100, Clarion Fund: $85,000, David Horowitz Freedom Center: $25,800, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies: $250,000, Friends of the Chabad of Hebron: $12,000, Friends of the Israel Initiative: $100,000, Hasbara Fellowships: $110,000, Investigative Project on Terrorism: $150,000, Israel Independence Fund: $100,000, The Israel Project: $5,500, Jewish National Fund: $54,786, Lawfare Project: $40,000, Middle East Forum: $50,250, Middle East Media Research Institute: $150,560, HonestReporting: $56,100, National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel: $40,000, Simon Wiesenthal Center: $6,580, UN Watch: $100,100, Zionist Organization of America: $210,000

2012:

ACT! for America: $25,000, American Friends of NGO Monitor: $76,100, American Israel Education Foundation: $408,000, Autism Speaks: $35,750, CAMERA: $6,640, Center for Security Policy: $25,000, David Horowitz Freedom Center: $25,300, Hasbara Fellowships: $6,800, Investigative Project on Terror: $100,000, Israel Emergency Alliance (StandWithUs): $329,300, Israel on Campus Coalition: $130,000, Jewish National Fund: $27,908, Middle East Forum: $101,750, Middle East Media Research Institute: $151,300, HonestReporting: $17,550, Simon Wiesenthal Center: $8,860, UN Watch: $78,700, Zionist Organization of America: $118,155

2011:

American Israel Education Foundation: $383,000, Autism Speaks: $20,280, David Horowitz Freedom Center: $25,100, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies: $144,000, Friends of the Chabad of Hebron: $13,000, Israel Emergency Alliance: $51,270, Jewish National Fund: $51,530, Middle East Media Research Institute: $102,710, HonestReporting: $8,950, Simon Wiesenthal Center: $12,764

2010:

American Israel Education Foundation: $333,000, Clarion Fund: $25,000, Israel Emergency Alliance: $100,600, Jewish National Fund: $20,900, Middle East Media Research Institute: $101,710, Simon Wiesenthal Center: $7,443, Zionist Organization of America: $50,350