New report: HJS, neo-conservatism and Islamophobia
Categories: Latest News
Saturday June 13 2015
The research team at Spinwatch have followed up their seminal report on the Cold War on British Muslims, investigating the role of and money behind the Centre for Social Cohesion and Policy Exchange, with a new report on another centre-right think tank whose output and activities have contributed to “the promotion of increasingly Islamophobic policies”; the Henry Jackson Society.
The society’s absorption of the Centre for Social Cohesion and its naming of Douglas “conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board” Murray as an Associate Director in 2011 is one of the contributing variables behind the HJS’s “increasingly Islamophobic policies”.
The report by Spinwatch traces the trajectory of the HJS from a student society based at a Cambridge college to a registered charity whose questionable adherence to the rules governing charities and political activities is but one dimension of a troubling turn toward a transatlantic alliance of actors and donors with “a strong track record of funding hardline pro-Israel/Zionist and Islamophobic causes.”
The report uncovers the association of journalists among the founding signatories of the HJS to The Times and The Sunday Times publications. The report also uncovers the association between the HJS’s “international patrons” of American background and the “campaign for war in Iraq”. The report looks at the strident move towards pro-Israeli activism by the HJS and its equally strident Islamophobic output in recent years.
The report includes detailed information about the exponential growth in the HJS’s finances. “In 2007, the first year that the HJS reported as a charity, the society received £37,742 in funds. This rose to £86,128 the following year. By 2009, its total income was a steady £97,531, increasing to £320,694 in 2010 before jumping to £814,977 in 2011, and reaching a high of £1,313,126 in 2013.”
It further details the crossover of donors to the Centre for Social Cohesion, Stanley Kalms Foundation, Philips and Rubens Charitable Trust and two foundations associated with the family of River Island founder, Bernard Lewis, to the HJS.
Kalms, whose support for the Centre for Social Cohesion is uncovered in the earlier report, is noted in the HJS report as follows “One of HJS largest donors in 2013, Lord Kalms, emerged as a strong defender of Israeli policies during the 2006 Lebanon War. He rebuked William Hague as an ‘ignorant armchair critic’ after the then shadow foreign secretary criticised Israeli actions as disproportionate. The former head of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research Anthony Lerman has claimed that Kalms told him in 2008 that the only issue that European Jews needed to pursue was Islam and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.”
The report also shows that “there has been a large overlap between funders of the HJS and other pro-Israel causes in recent years. Secondly, HJS’s largest-known donors include a number of prominent Conservative Party donors.”
The Spinwatch report highlights the neo-conservative direction of the HJS and its focus of its activities as:
- Promoting a strongly pro-Israel agenda;
- Organising anti-Islam activities, focusing particularly on British Muslim students;
- Advocating a transatlantic military and security regime.
The report notes the HJS’s secrecy over its donor base, something that saw the society relinquish its secretariat role to two APPGs late last year.
Nevertheless, from documentation sourced and analysed by Spinwatch’s researchers what we find is “Far from promoting democracy both domestically and abroad, like the original founders intended, the society has joined the ranks of the transatlantic Islamophobia network by relying on the financial support of strident pro-Israel elites and their grant-making foundations.”
The report is a highly commendable addition to the earlier Spinwatch offering and the reports by the Center for American Progress which too have highlighted the financial and ideological links that exist between pro-Israeli actors and donors active in the “Islamophobia industry”.
The Spinwatch report, ‘The Henry Jackson Society and the degeneration of British Neo-conservatism: Liberal interventionism, Islamophobia and the War on Terror’, can be found here.