The president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, gave more than $1 million during the 2016 US presidential campaign to a right-wing group that targeted voters with anti-Muslim advertisements.
The Center for Responsive Politics revealed on Thursday that Lauder, who’s also been a longtime donor to pro-Israel causes, was among the largest contributors to an ad campaign waged by Secure America Now.
Throughout the election, the right-wing neoconservative group released three mock advertisements that stoked fears of Muslim influence in the United States. They were designed as mock-travel ads promoting countries supposedly invaded by the ISIS.
One ad portrays the “Islamic States of America” with the famed Hollywood sign changed to read “Allahu Akbar” and the Statue of Liberty wearing a burqa.
A spokesman for Lauder said he began contributing to Secure America Now to “support their work in opposition to the nuclear Iran deal,” but was unaware of its anti-Muslim advertisement campaign.
“He had nothing to do with any of the group’s other activities,” the spokesman told The Times of Israel. “Mr. Lauder has consistently supported interfaith respect and dialogue. He would never be involved with insulting people of faith.”