Facing a nation gripped by fear and bigotry and unwilling to welcome large numbers of Jewish refugees fleeing violence in Europe, the late William Rosenwald, heir to the founder of Sears, Roebuck & Company department store fortune, poured his money and energy into welcoming them, founding the National Refugee Service in 1939.
Today his daughter Nina is a driving force behind another campaign: keeping Muslim fleeing violence in the Middle East from entering the Western world.
Rosenwald is the founder, president, and primary benefactor of the Gatestone Institute, one of the loudest groups agitating against Muslim migration. Her foundation has also generously funded far-right voices that have opposed accepting refugees, including Robert Spencer of the blog Jihad Watch; Frank Gaffney, an anti-Muslim activist known for spreading anti-Muslim conspiracies so far-fetched he was banned from CPAC, the popular conservative convention; and Zuhdi Jasser, a controversial Muslim pundit who argued that President Donald Trump has not done enough in vetting Muslim migrants.
Among the longtime grantees of Rosenwald’s foundations is David Horowitz, the conservative activist who mentored Stephen Miller, the White House aide behind President Donald Trump’s executive order that aimed to temporarily ban refugees and individuals from several majority-Muslim countries.
Rosenwald did not respond to a request for comment.
Gatestone Institute produces a regular drumbeat of articles and punditry. The institute claimed that Obama administration refugee policy “exposes Americans to the jihad.” Muslim refugees in Western countries are depicted in Gatestone Institute posts as rapists and hosts of “highly infectious diseases” that threaten the health of the German people.