The investigation has established that:
- A Philadelphia-based thinktank, the Middle East Forum (MEF), acknowledges it has spent about $60,000 (£47,000) on Robinson’s legal fees and demonstrations staged in London earlier this year. A senior MEF executive has been closely involved in preparations for this weekend’s march, though the thinktank said she was there in a personal capacity.
- A US tech billionaire, Robert Shillman, financed a fellowship that helped pay for Robinson to be employed in 2017 by a rightwing Canadian media website, the Rebel Media, on a salary of about £5,000 a month.
- A small Australian rightwing group, Australian Liberty Alliance, says it has helped fund Robinson, but did not disclose how much.
A New York City-based thinktank, the Gatestone Institute, has published a succession of articles supporting Robinson’s cause.
- The David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC), a California-based thinktank that describes itself as a “school for political warfare”, has published a series of pieces defending Robinson, and has lobbied for him to address US politicians.
Horowitz, the co-founder of the DHFC, told the Guardian in an email: “Tommy Robinson is a courageous Englishman who has risked his life to expose the rape epidemic of young girls conducted by Muslim gangs and covered up by your shameful government.”
MEF, Gatestone and the DHFC are well funded by influential rightwing donors, according to tax returns scrutinised by the Guardian. In 2014-16, the returns show they received a total of almost $5m from several millionaire donors.
MEF received $792,000 from a foundation led by Nina Rosenwald, the co-chair of American Securities Management, once dubbed “the sugar mama of anti-Muslim hate”.
The DHFC received $1,638,290 from five wealthy benefactors, one of whom is believed to be among the biggest-ever donors to the Republican party.
Gatestone has received more than $2m in donations, including $250,000 from the Mercer Family Foundation, which is funded by Donald Trump’s top donor, Robert Mercer, and run by the billionaire’s daughter Rebekah.
All three thinktanks have been repeatedly accused of stoking anti-Islam sentiment in the west and spreading false information about Muslim refugees in Europe. But all three have consistently denied being anti-Islam.
“Radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution,” the MEF president, Daniel Pipes, said in an email. “MEF fights for the right to discuss Islam and related issues in free, robust, open and public debate.” [Continue reading…]