Nina Rosenwald

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Nina Rosenwald
Alma materSarah Lawrence College (B.A.)
New York University (M.A.)
Organization(s)William Rosenwald Family Fund
Gatestone Institute
Sears Roebuck
American Securities Management
ParentWilliam Rosenwald
RelativesJulius Rosenwald
Lessing J. Rosenwald
Edith Rosenwald Stern
Edgar B. Stern
Armand Deutsch

Nina Rosenwald is an American political activist and philanthropist. An heiress to the Sears Roebuck fortune, Rosenwald is vice president of the William Rosenwald Family Fund and co-chair of the board of American Securities Management.[1][2] She is the founder and president of Gatestone Institute,[3] a New York-based right-wing anti-Muslim think tank.[4][5][6][7]

A descendant of philanthropists and Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe, Rosenwald has focused on donating to pro-Israel organizations. She has been described as "an ardent Zionist all her life" as well as the "Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate" by Max Blumenthal.[8][9][10][11]


Born and raised in New York City, Rosenwald is one of three daughters of William Rosenwald and Mary Kurtz Rosenwald.[12] Her sisters are Elizabeth R. Varet and Alice Rosenwald.[12][13]

Rosenwald's grandfather, Julius Rosenwald, was an early investor in Sears, Roebuck & Company, and served as president of the company from 1908-24. Thereafter until his death in January 1932 he served as chairman.[14] In 1912, he partnered with Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University) to build more than 5,000 schoolhouses for African-American children throughout the South.[15]

Rosenwald's father moved from Chicago to New York City in the early 1930s and was chairman of the investment firm American Securities.[13] In 1939, he was one of three founding members of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA).[16] Rosenwald's mother, a professional violinist, was a refugee from both the Russian Revolution and Nazi Germany.[13]


Rosenwald received a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York and her M.A. in English from New York University in New York City.[citation needed]

Political activism

Rosenwald's political activism began in the 1970s in support of Senator Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson. She also supported the campaigns of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, serving for many years on his campaign finance committee.[17] In 1984, Rosenwald was appointed to the Rules Committee of the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, and she served as a delegate from New York at the 1996 Democratic National Convention.[18]

According to the Militarist Monitor website, formerly known as "Right Web", Rosenwald's donations to pro-Israel organizations have "earned her a place of considerable influence in the 'pro-Israel' firmament".[2] She has served on the board of directors of many pro-Israel organizations, including Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Hudson Institute and was vice president of Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).[19] In 2003, she was a recipient of the Louis Brandeis Award, given by the Zionist Organization of America for her pro-Israel advocacy.[20]

Apart from founding the Gatestone Institute and serving as its president, she also serves on the boards of Human Rights in China, the Middle East Forum, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, the Institute for National Security Studies (Israel)[21] and the American Friends of the Open University of Israel,[9] which raises funds to expand access to higher education for all Israelis, including Muslims, Christians and Jews.[22]

She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a founding member of the Board of Regents for the Center for Security Policy, and a former board member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).[citation needed] In 2011, she was a guest member at AIPAC's Gala event.[23]

Her family fund has given financial support to two institutions located in settlements on the West Bank: the Beit El yeshiva, which counsels its students to defy government orders to evacuate illegal outposts, and Ariel University. It also donates to the Central Fund of Israel, a New-York-based NGO which reportedly serves as a major vehicle for the transfer of American donations to "hard-core" settlements on the West Bank.[19]

Rosenwald resigned from the board of Freedom House in 2007, arguing that it had changed radically and was over-reliant on public largesse and government funding. Rather than a "voice for freedom", she maintained, it had become "very little more than a Beltway bandit". In 2007, The Washington Post listed Rosenwald as one of the "people of means and influence" who raised money to lobby President Bush to pardon Scooter Libby.[24]

Allegations of Islamophobia

Some critics have categorized her and the Gatestone Institute as anti-Muslim,[3][25][19][26] while there are Muslims who have disputed this allegation, critics have accused the Gatestone Institute of publishing false articles and being a source of Islamaphobic viral falsehoods.[27][28][29][25][30][31] It is also on the ADL and SPLC's list of "anti-Muslim activists" of funding Islamaphobic groups and peddling anti-Islamic false rhetoric meant to stoke hatred and fear of the Muslim religion and those who practice it.[4][32][33][34][25][8]

Max Blumenthal, writing for The Nation, commented that Rosenwald has donated over $2.8 million to the following organizations since 2000: the Gatestone Institute, the Center for Security Policy, Project ijtihad, the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, the Middle East Forum, the Clarion Fund, Commentary magazine and the Hudson Institute. The Middle East Forum received $2.3 million from Rosenwald over a ten-year period ending in 2012.[19] Rosenwald has also given money to David Horowitz and Brigitte Gabriel. Rosenwald's support of these entities led Blumenthal to label her "The Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate".[19] She has also been described as a counter-jihad "elite".[35]

Some Muslims have disputed the allegation of Islamophobia. When criticized by the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) for making 2013 contributions in excess of $1,000,000 to "Islamophobic groups", prominent Muslims affiliated with the Gatestone Institute, including Zuhdi Jasser, former Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy and founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD),[36][37] came to her defense.[38] Jasser said:[38]

"It goes without saying, but to those who may not know Nina, and having known her now for many years, it is clear to me that she has the highest respect for Muslims who love their faith, love God, and take seriously our Islamic responsibility to defeat the global jihad and its Islamist inspiration."

In response to anti-Muslim allegations made by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) toward Rosenwald, writer and film maker Raheel Raza said, "If Muslims guided by CAIR could take the time to read and reflect on efforts of people like Nina, they would broaden their horizons and gain a lot of insights into the betterment of Muslims."[38]


  1. ^ "Fund Raiser's Guide to Private Fortunes". Taft Group. 1988. ISBN 9780914756590. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Nina Rosenwald – Profile". Militarist Monitor. The Militarist Monitor (previously Right Web). 5 March 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b Marzouki, Nadia (4 April 2017). Islam: An American Religion. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-54392-7.
  4. ^ a b "Don't overlook John Bolton and Mike Pompeo's anti-Muslim ties". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  5. ^ Ramesh, Randeep (30 December 2014). "Rightwing thinktank pulls funds for Commons groups after disclosure row". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  6. ^ Jaffe-Walter, Reva (16 March 2016). Coercive Concern: Nationalism, Liberalism, and the Schooling of Muslim Youth. Stanford University Press. p. 17. ISBN 9780804798426.
  7. ^ Sengupta, Kim (March 14, 2017). Secretive American conservatives are helping bankroll Geert Wilders' Dutch election campaign. The Independent. London. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Fang, Lee (17 February 2017). "Her Father Championed Jewish Refugees. She Finances the Anti-Muslim Refugee Movement". The Intercept. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  9. ^ a b American Friends of the Open University of Israel; retrieved September 24, 2013. Archived 2 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Fear, Inc". Center for American Progress. 26 August 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  11. ^ "The Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate". ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  12. ^ a b Van Gelder, Lawrence (1 November 1996). "William Rosenwald Dies; Benefactor to Many was 93", The New York Times; retrieved September 24, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c "Violinist Mary Kurtz Rosenwald, 79," Chicago Tribune, November 15, 1985; retrieved September 24, 2013.
  14. ^ "Julius Rosenwald (1862–1932)",; retrieved September 24, 2013.
  15. ^ Eckholm, Erik (January 15, 2010). "Historic Black Schools Restored as Landmarks", The New York Times, page A16; retrieved September 24, 2013.
  16. ^ "3 Jewish Groups Unite for Refugees – Combined Appeal to Be Offered to Nation for Fund 3 or 4 Times That Given Last Year". The New York Times. 13 January 1939. Retrieved 8 December 2008.
  17. ^ "Miles to Go: A Personal History of Social Policy". Harvard University Press. 1997. p. 22. ISBN 9780674574403. Archived from the original on 25 April 2021. Retrieved 20 December 2016.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  18. ^ "New York Delegation to the 1996 Democratic National Convention". Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  19. ^ a b c d e Blumenthal, Max (June 13, 2012) "The Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate", The Nation; retrieved September 24, 2013.
  20. ^ Klein, Morton A. (17 November 2003) "House Majority Leader Tom Delay At ZOA Dinner: 'It's Not Occupied Territory, It's Israel'".; retrieved October 8, 2013.
  21. ^ "Institute for National Security Studies – About",; retrieved September 24, 2013.
  22. ^ American Friends of the Open University of Israel – About Us Archived 3 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine,; retrieved September 24, 2013.
  23. ^ "Israel's Open University Hosts New York Gala". 6 November 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  24. ^ Libby Copeland, David Montgomery (3 July 2007). "Scooter Libby's Pals, Trusting In Providence". Washington Post. There are former Cabinet-level officials, including Ed Meese, Jack Kemp and Spencer Abraham. There is conservative thinker Bill Bennett and political philosopher Francis Fukuyama. There's Ron Silver, of "West Wing" fame. There's Mary Matalin, a former Cheney adviser, and Nina Rosenwald, chairwoman of the Middle East Media Research Institute. There is Steve Forbes, who knows a thing or two about writing checks.
  25. ^ a b c Fang, Lee (23 March 2018). "John Bolton Chairs an Actual "Fake News" Publisher Infamous for Spreading Anti-Muslim Hate". The Intercept. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  26. ^ "Meet An Islamophobia Network Funder: The Varet And Rosenwald Family". ThinkProgress. 2 September 2011.
  27. ^ "John Bolton chaired anti-Muslim think tank". NBC News. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  28. ^ Carol Matlack (14 January 2015). "Debunking the Myth of Muslim-Only Zones in Major European Cities".
  29. ^ "False: European Union Gag Order On Revealing Muslim Terrorists' Religion". 18 November 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  30. ^ "Gatestone Institute | Factsheet: Islamophobia | The Bridge Initiative". Bridge Initiative. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  31. ^ "Appendix: Selected List of Interviews". Activists, Alliances, and Anti-U.S. Base Protests: 201–204. 13 June 2011. doi:10.1017/cbo9780511842344.010. ISBN 9780521175562.
  32. ^ "Gatestone Institute | Factsheet: Islamophobia | The Bridge Initiative". Bridge Initiative. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  33. ^ "The Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate". ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  34. ^ "Fear, Inc". Center for American Progress. 26 August 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
  35. ^ Aked, H.; Jones, M.; Miller, D. (2019). "Islamophobia in Europe: How governments are enabling the far-right 'counter-jihad' movement" (PDF). Public Interest Investigations. University of Bristol: 66.
  36. ^ CAIR profiles the AIFD as having past ties with the Center for Security Policy, the Abstraction Fund, and the Alan and Hope Winters Family Foundation, all of which are alleged to promulgate anti-Muslim bias
  37. ^ "Islamophobic Organizations: American Islamic Forum for Democracy". Council on American–Islamic Relations. 24 April 2019. Archived from the original on 10 October 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  38. ^ a b c Miller, Paul (27 May 2015). "Islamic Scholars Blast CAIR for Trapping Muslims Into a 'Trance of Victimhood'". Retrieved 29 May 2015.

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