Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Major Jewish Leader Spent $1M On Secret Group Pushing Anti-Muslim Campaign Ads

The president of the World Jewish Congress was one of the biggest backers of a secretive group that spent millions of dollars on targeted campaign ads predicting a Muslim takeover of the United States.

Ronald Lauder gave $1.1 million to the group Secure America Now, the watchdog group Open Secrets revealed Thursday, citing IRS forms it had acquired. Secure America Now is not required to disclose its donors.

The organization’s biggest individual backer, at $2 million, was Robert Mercer, the hedge fund investor whose family has bankrolled Breitbart News and the data company Cambridge Analytica, which has been accused of improperly using Facebook data to sway prospective voters.

Secure America Now’s ads featured mock promotional travel ads portraying countries that had been taken over by the Islamic State. In one ad, the Statue of Liberty wears a burka and the Hollywood sign is changed to “Allahu Akbar.”

Secure America Now reported more than $1 million in political spending to the Federal Election Commission in 2016. The group reportedly used targeted advertising on Facebook and Google to reach potential voters in swing states and districts.

“STOP SUPPORT OF TERRORISM. VOTE AGAINST CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO,” one ad said at its conclusion, referring to a Democratic senate candidate in Nevada.

Elliott Broidy, the Republican Jewish megadonor whose efforts to influence President Trump’s Middle East policies, referred to Secure America Now as “one of the groups I am working with” in an email to an advisor to the United Arab Emirates whose activities are under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Contact Aiden Pink at [email protected] or on Twitter, @aidenpink

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.