Starting in 2008, we began writing about the films produced and distributed by the mysterious Clarion Fund, as well as questioning the money trail. A new page on their RadicalIslam.org website offers a revealing insight into the organization’s web of connections in the Islamophobia and neoconservative echo chamber.
The Clarion’s website “About Page” lists the organization’s Advisory Board, composed of some of the most high-profile and established propagators of Islamophobic rhetoric.
- Frank Gaffney– A prominent neoconservative who has helped found the Center for Security Policy and the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Gaffney is an outspoken advocate of battling “Islamofascism,” which he says is in a “death struggle with us” and is directly or indirectly supported by China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Syria, and Venezuela.
- Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser– Founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) and narrator of the Clarion Fund’s Third Jihad documentary. (Back in 2008, I wrote about the similarities between the Third Jihad and the anti-Semitic trope, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.)
- Clare M. Lopez– A Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy and Executive Director of the Iran Policy Committee. (Our reporting on the Iran Policy Committee can be found here and here.) The Iran Policy Committee has pushed for greater U.S. engagement with Mujahedin-e Khalq, a group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
- Daniel Pipes– The Director of Middle East Forum and a well known propagator of Islmophobic rhetoric. Pipes has defended the Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders, who has been attacked for his inflammatory comments that include referring to Mohammed as a “devil” and demanding that Dutch Muslims “tear out half of the Koran if they wish to stay in the Netherlands.” Pipes called Wilders “a charismatic, savvy, principled and outspoken leader who has rapidly become the most dynamic force in the Netherlands.”
- Dr. Harold Rhode– A foreign affairs specialist who worked in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment. According to a Mother Jones article by Robert Dreyfuss and Jason Vest, “Rhode worked with [Douglas Feith] to purge career Defense officials who weren’t sufficiently enthusiastic about the muscular anti-Iraq crusade that Paul D. Wolfowitz and Feith wanted.” “Rhode accosted and harangued a visiting senior Arab diplomat, telling him that there would be no ‘bartering in the bazaar anymore…. You’re going to have to sit up and pay attention when we say so.’”
- Ilan Sharon- The Executive Director of Minnesotans Against Terrorism. Clarion describes Sharon as, “A son of Jewish refugees from Libya and Egypt, Sharon lectures frequently on the issue of terrorism, the threat of Radical Islam, and the struggle for Peace in the Middle East. He aided in the production and distribution of Obsession, The Third Jihad, and Iranium.”
- Sarah Stern– The Founder and President of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). In September, 2008, EMET’s spokesperson confirmed to IPS that the organization organized and oversaw the distribution of Obsession DVDs.
The Clarion Fund’s advisory board represents a whose-who of the Islamophobia industry and the neoconservative far-right.
Clarion writes that their latest film, Iranium, will:
…[T]target influential U.S. interest groups and policy makers while remaining both straightforward and down-to-earth. After viewing the film, the general public will be able to understand the critical nature of the threats and encourage a movement aimed at preventing the further advancement of the Iranian regime and its nuclear arsenal.
Given its list of advisers with their long history of propagating Islamophobic rhetoric and advocating for a militant U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, it remains to be seen how the Clarion Fund can present a balanced viewpoint on the complexities of U.S.-Iran relations.