NBC News has an article about the Gatestone Institute, headed until he took the job as National Security Adviser by John Bolton for the last four years. Gatestone is one of the lesser-known but best-funded of a web of Islamophobic groups that push white supremacist rhetoric about how Muslims are going to destroy white European hegemony through immigration.
The hook for the story is that stories put out by Gatestone were picked up and spread around by Russian bots, who are pushing the same message. But that’s not the part that I think is important. What is important is how Gatestone and similar groups engage in dishonest fearmongering and demagoguery as a means of gaining power and influence.
From 2013 until last month, Bolton was chairman of the Gatestone Institute, a New York-based advocacy group that warns of a looming “jihadist takeover” of Europe leading to a “Great White Death.”
The group has published numerous stories and headlines on its website with similar themes. “Germany Confiscating Homes to Use for Migrants,” warned one from May 2017, about a single apartment rental property in Hamburg that had gone into temporary trusteeship. Another from February 2015 claimed the immigrants, for instance Somalis, in Sweden were turning that country into the “Rape Capital of the West.”…
Some of the group’s work was widely distributed, including a claim about Muslim-controlled “no-go zones” in France that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz cited in an op-ed article during the 2016 Republican presidential primary campaign.
Gatestone’s president, Sears Roebuck heiress Nina Rosenwald, said in an email that Bolton was not involved in any of the articles and that Gatestone has no knowledge of Russian trolls having promoted its work.
Rosenwald emailed numerous links to support Gatestone’s claims, including a number in French and German. One entry flagged as documenting “warring Muslim gangs” in Marseille, France, when translated into English, says only that the city had deployed specialized police officers to a high-crime area, with no mention of warring Muslims.
This is how such groups operate. They distort and lie about the news, rewrite headlines to mislead people into being far more fearful than they need to be, or just stand reality directly on its head. Bolton wrote the foreword to a book by the vile and bigoted Pam Geller, who heads an allied group, Stop the Islamization of America. Other groups include Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, David Yerushalmi’s American Freedom Law Center (a spinoff of the Thomas More Law Center), and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch.
A textbook example of their work was a “study” called Shariah in American Courts: The Expanding Incursion of Islamic Law in the U.S. Legal System, which purported to show that American courts are routinely applying Sharia law in all kinds of situations, from divorce to custody to business contracts, and that this will lead inexorably to the imposition of beheading and other barbaric practices that are part of the most extreme versions of Sharia (there is no one Sharia law, there are, just like Christians and Jews have, a wide range of interpretations of the legal commands in their holy books).
In reality, as I documented in some detail when it was first published, the “study” shows the exact opposite. Every single case cited did the exact opposite of what the study said, it rejected an attempt by one side or the other to impose Muslim law rather than American law, in situations of custody and divorce. Only in cases involving business contracts where both sides had agreed in a contract that any disputes that arose would be decided by a Muslim arbitrator was there any truth offered, and those situations are utterly routine and irrelevant. Jews and Christians often have similar clauses in their contracts. In a private contract, the sides can agree to any such provisions they want. This has literally nothing to do with imposing Sharia law on the country.
So now we have the head of one of the groups pushing these lies in a position of major influence over the president, a man who is criticized even by conservative foreign policy experts for cherry-picking and distorting the facts to prop up his preferred narrative. Add in the fact that Gatestone is heavily funded by the Mercers, who also funded Breitbart and Cambridge Analytica, and that they are pushing white supremacist themes — if we don’t stop those dirty Muslims, all white people are gonna die! — and we’ve got a serious problem here. You don’t really need to bother connecting the dots, they connect themselves.