David Horowitz (ex-Marxist)

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David Joel Horowitz is the CEO and Founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, formerly named the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, and the online magazine FrontPageMag.com. Since the late 1980s, Horowitz has been a "driving force of the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black movements" according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).[1]

SPLC has labeled the Freedom Center a hate group as a hate group, and its associated publication. In 2011, SPLC authored an article on Alternet entitled, “10 of Americas Most Dangerous Hatemongers, Meet the firebrands stirring up anger and hate against the 0.6% of Americans who are Muslim” includes Horowitz.[2]

FrontPage Magazine, SPLC has calle Horowitz "one of America's most dangerous hatemongers."[3]

Since the 2016 election, Horowitz has been credited for being a mentor to Trump aide Stephen Miller and for fueling anti-immigrant sentiment and the rise of Trump. Miller helped pen Trump’s “American carnage” inaugural address and has spearheaded Trump’s anti-immigration policies, which have suffered multiple setbacks in federal court. In 2018, the Trump administration policy of separating immigrant families created a public uproar, forcing a full-fledged policy retreat. Miller was called “the man behind family separation” by the Atlantic magazine.[4]

Horowitz's think-tank has received significant funding, over $3.4 million dollars, from the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Additional funders of his projects include the Scaife and Cathrage Foundations.

News and Controversy

History of Controversial Remarks

In 2018, Horowitz criticised “Lynching in America,” a project of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), which shows the known 4,000 cases of African Americans being lynched in the country between 1877 and 1950. "A third of the victims of lynchings were white. How many of them do you think this memorial features…” he tweeted. When pushed on this, Horowitz defended his comments stating “I'm merely exposing the anti-white racism of the lynching project."[5]

In a 2017 interview with J-TV Horowitz said "The faculties of our liberal arts schools in America and in England are dominated by communists and pro-terrorists. And that may sound extreme, but it's actually not.[6]

“[Muslim hatred of Jews] is very open ... the difference between Islamic fanatics, or Jew haters, and Hitler is that Hitler hid the Final Solution, and the Iranians and Hezbollah shout it from the rooftops. And the whole Muslim world accepts it.” Horowitz has Huma Abedin, a former Hillary Clinton staffer, a “Muslim Brotherhood operative” who is “worse than Alger Hiss.”[1]

In a 2016 speech at the University of Southern California, Horowitz said “The difference between Islamic fanatics or Jew haters, and Hitler is that Hitler hid the Final Solution, and the Iranians and Hezbollah shout it from the rooftops. And the whole Muslim world accepts it.”[7]

In 2014, Horowitz spoke of then-President Obama, calling him an "anti-American radical." Horowitz continued "I’m actually sure he’s a Muslim, he certainly isn’t a Christian. He’s a pretend Christian[,] in the same way[,] he’s a pretend American. It really is disgraceful. He’s inviting the terrorists to behead more Americans when he should be attacking them with our military. His whole agenda in office has been to defeat America, he lost the war in Iraq deliberately, he created a vacuum which ISIS has filled.”[1]

“[The Boston bombers] hated us because they were fanatical believers in the idea that Mohammed had desired them to kill infidels and purify the earth for Allah," Horowitz wrote in 2013. This is the face of our enemy and the sooner the delusional liberals among us wake up to this fact, the safer all of us will be.”

In a 2011 speech at Brooklyn College, Horowitz drew criticism from the crowd for the following statements, among others:[9]

  • “All through history people have been oppressed, but no people has [sic] done what the Palestinians have done.”
  • Horowitz called Palestinians “morally sick.”
  • “No other in the world people has[sic] sunk so low, morally, as the Palestine’s[sic] have.”
  • “The arabs they are racist, jew haters, cannot live side by side with another people.”
  • "The problem is when you have a religion which preaches war and violence and hate, rationality is never gonna take over.”
  • "Why are all the major Muslim organizations in America connected to the Muslim Brotherhood?”
  • "Why are 80 percent of the mosques [in America] filled with hate against Jews and against Americans [inaudible] Democrats”

In a speech at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Horowitz said "The Palestinians are Nazis. Every one of their elected officials are terrorists.” [10]

Connections to the Trump Adminstration

Stephen Miller, the far-right senior advisor to President Trump, is a "his friend and protege" of Horowitz. Miller is largely credited with leading the Trump administration to implement the policy of separating migrant children from their parents.[11] That policy created a public uproar, forcing a full-fledged policy retreat. Miller helped pen Trump’s “American carnage” inaugural address and has spearheaded Trump’s anti-immigration policies suffering multiple setbacks in federal court.

The Washington Post documented how groups like Horowitz’s Freedom Center helped fuel Trump’s rise. “Long before Trump promised to build a wall, ban Muslims and abandon the Paris climate accord, Horowitz used his tax-exempt group to rail against illegal immigrants, the spread of Islam and global warming. Center officials described Hillary Clinton as evil, President Barack Obama as a secret communist and the Democratic Party as a front for enemies of the United States.”[12]

CPAC Speaker

David Horowitz was a speaker at the 2003 Conservative Political Action Conference, which reads as a who's-who of the conservative and neo-conservative movement.

Career as a Writer

Horowitz also created a now-defunct nonprofit campaign finance 527 advocacy organization known as PoliticalWar.com Inc. prior to the 2002 election cycle.

He attempted to "expose" the The Leftist Campaign to Control America's Young Minds and is promoting a nationwide boycott of "old" Europe goods as a protest against French, German and Belgian opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq. Horowitz also publishes a regular column in Salon.com, and is a regular pundit on right-wing shows.

In his Marxist days, Horowitz authored several books including Free World Colossus, Corporations and the Cold War, Empire and Revolution, Marx and Modern Economics, Shakespeare: An Existential View and The Fate of Midas, which he has subsequently repudiated. He has subsequently collaborated with Peter Collier on several biographies of famous American families, including The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty, The Kennedys: An American Drama, and The Fords: An American Epic. His recent books include Radical Son (an autobiography), Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes, Why I'm Not a Liberal, The Feminist Assault on the Military, Noam Chomsky's Jihad Against America, Liberal Racism, and How the Left Undermined America's Security.

In a December 10, 2004 article for FrontPage magazine, Horowitz branded SourceWatch a 'smear site'. He included other sites such as Media Matters for America, NameBase, and Southern Poverty Law Center in the accusation. [1]

Horowitz's latest project is Students for Academic Freedom which is trying to make college campuses more conservative. He speaks around the country about "leftist control" of hiring committees and promotes his own Academic Bill of Rights as part of the solution. He has also suggested starting departments of "Conservative Studies", thus allowing students to choose which point of view they'd like to get.

Criticism from the left

Fred Gardner, a contemporary of Horowitz's during his Ramparts days, described his political transition from the left to the right in 1991:

The phone rings and a guy in my office says, "It's David Horowitz." I haven't spoken to David Horowitz since the end of the '60s, when we both worked at Ramparts. Since then, with another former Ramparts editor, Peter Collier, this little creep has written a series of best-selling portraits of ruling class families--The Rockefellers, The Fords, The Kennedys--and boasted in print about voting for Ronald Reagan. Horowitz and Collier say they once believed fervently in left causes and institutions (from the Soviet Union to the Black Panther Party), and when they discovered these institutions to be corrupt and murderous they had to denounce them and come out for the other side.

There are many flaws in this "logic." For openers, there aren't just two sides in this world (the fake left and the cruel right). And sure it's demoralizing to learn that the party that supposedly stands for equality is run by opportunists and actually stands for privilege. But that wouldn't lead a real radical to endorse the all-out pursuit of privilege. It should lead you to call for a movement that's serious about establishing equality. Horowitz and Collier were never radicals for a minute. Their goal was and is personal success. It's no coincidence that they were "left" in the '60s and "right" in the '80s. [13]

See Robert Jensen, "Dangerous" Academics: Right-wing Distortions About Leftist Professors, CommonDreams.org, February 7, 2006; Free Exchange on Campus (in particular, see their report "Facts Count: An Analysis of David Horowitz's The Professors", May 2006).

Slavery "Debate"

David Horowitz’ book Uncivil Wars: The Controversy Over Reparations for Slavery (Encounter Books, 2002) caused a stir when it was first published. The contents of this book were thoroughly rebutted in 2008 by Paul Anthony Dottin, in his article "The Hydra of Horowitzian History: The Mobilization of Scholarship against Black Reparations," Du Bois Review, 5:1 (2008) 161–198.

Confession to Treason

Horowitz has openly admitted he committed treason against the United States. He confessed in an article written by him and published in his own online zine, FrontPage, on October 3, 2000. In the article, titled "The Wen Ho Lee Cover-Up", Horowitz claimed that Wen Ho Lee was guilty of espionage, but the government declined to press charges because of the damage it would do to the intelligence services and William Clinton's presidential legacy. As anecdotal evidence to back-up this claim, he describes his own premeditated actions that violated the U.S. Espionage code in 1972, for which was never prosecuted.

Ramparts, a magazine he was editor of, had acquired classified intelligence information from a former NSA operative and had published it, even though one of their own staffers, who had formerly served in Army Intelligence, had judged the information to be truthful, and refused to work on the story, and Horowitz knew this prior to the publication of the Ramparts story. Horowitz also sought the advice of a prominent Constitutional scholar before publishing it, who had explained to him the best methods of avoiding prosecution for this act of treason.

Discover the Network

On February 15, 2005, Horowitz launched DiscoverTheNetwork, a website dedicated to tracking "leftists". It brings the Campus-Watch formula to the wider political arena. In the About Us section of the new website:

a "Guide to the Political Left." It identifies the individuals and organizations that make up the left and also the institutions that fund and sustain it; it maps the paths through which the left exerts its influence on the larger body politic; it defines the left's (often hidden) programmatic agendas and it provides an understanding of its history and ideas.[2]

Challenging academic freedom in the name of students' rights

Horowitz’s latest crusade is that for so-called "academic freedom." Seeing colleges and universities as the last bastion of "liberal indoctrination," he authored an Academic Bill of Rights that would act to restore "balance" to higher education by eradicating "political indoctrination in the classroom and the exclusion of conservatives from college faculties." The Academic Bill of Rights’ carefully "bipartisan" language is meant to maintain that it does not favor one side over another but aims for the exploration of a plurality of ideas in the classroom. It directly promotes equal treatment of students and consideration of faculty for hiring and tenure "not on the basis of political or religious beliefs." However, mentions of course curriculums, reading lists, and private meetings in which hiring and tenure positions are discussed lead some to wonder how the bill will be enforced and how much state intervention it would entail.

Students for Academic Freedom, an organization founded by Horowitz (not students) in 2003, has become the platform for launching the Academic Freedom campaign as well as ABOR. SAF has set up over 150 chapters on campuses across the country to promote the "intellectual diversity" agenda. Members are encouraged to contact their state legislators petitioning them to advocate for and pass ABOR.

Horowitz says he saw the need for such a bill of rights after he had heard many complaints from students (most of whom were conservative) that they had received unfair treatment from (liberal) professors. The case of a University of Northern Colorado student who had received a failing grade on a paper that reportedly refused to address the question of "Why President Bush is a war criminal?" became the paradigmatic statement on liberal indoctrination in college classrooms. However, [Frontpagemag.com], Horowitz’s online magazine and his own reporting misconstrued the question and the university’s response to the complaint; when his doctoring of the facts came out, he justified the incident stating "some of our facts were wrong; our point was right."[3]

This endeavor has been criticized by Prof. Juan Cole, who warned that college professors would not take kindly to such infringements on academic freedom:

Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, has introduced a Horowitz-inspired so-called Academic Freedom Bill of Rights in the Florida State legislature. In our Orwellian world, this is actually a bill to destroy academic freedom and take away rights of free speech on campus. Baxley is a funeral director, and apparently he wants to bury higher education in this country along with his other clients.

"The bill sets a statewide standard that students cannot be punished for professing beliefs with which their professors disagree. Professors would also be advised to teach alternative “serious academic theories” that may disagree with their personal views.
According to a legislative staff analysis of the bill, the law would give students who think their beliefs are not being respected legal standing to sue professors and universities.
Students who believe their professor is singling them out for “public ridicule” – for instance, when professors use the Socratic method to force students to explain their theories in class – would also be given the right to sue.
“Some professors say, ‘Evolution is a fact. I don’t want to hear about Intelligent Design (a creationist theory), and if you don’t like it, there’s the door,’” Baxley said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue."

Let me explain some things to Representative Baxley, and to do so I suggest we look at how well he is doing his job... I wonder if Baxley has done anything lately for the 18 percent of his constituents who are doomed to live below the poverty line? Or, indeed, has he provided jobs and income to his hardworking constituents. If I were them, I'd find a state representative who would work hard to lift people out of their difficult circumstances, instead of one who seems to want to keep people mired in ignorance and poverty.

So if Baxley, who desperately needed to take Biology 101 at Florida State (which should consider revoking his BA), succeeded in his little ploy, what will likely ensue?

If I were Baxley I wouldn't stand anywhere near I-95 north of Gainesville, since he's likely to get run over by the rush of professors fleeing the state at 95 miles an hour. Post-secondary teachers already suffer from low salaries and poor working conditions compared to their peers who go into the professions. The only trade-off they get is that academics have more control over their lives and the time to research and teach things they are interested in. Given a choice between being made Baxley's slaves and braving hurricanes in Florida or living in a state that respects its thinkers, Florida's educators will pour out of the state faster than a 'gator chasing a fat, balding funeral director through the swamps.

Baxley may be happier without any of those intell-Ec-tu-al riffraff cluttering up his state. But maybe his constituents won't be. Knowledge workers, you see, are the geese that lay the golden eggs. Post-secondary teachers are the ones who train the people who found computer software, biotechnology and other companies key to the twenty-first century economy. They also train society's managers and middle managers. The more high-powered academics you have in your state, the wealthier your state will be...

You wonder if educators should let a thing like this be forgotten, or just lie down and let themselves be walked all over by paleontologically-challenged funeral directors. [14]

Exaggeration of assistance to FBI

Under the banner of his David Horowitz Freedom Center, Horowitz sent out an email in August 2007 claiming:

One strong measurement of the effect we're having (and the need for what we do) came in the form of request from the head the FBI-California Highway Patrol Joint Counter-terrorism Task Force who called this week to ask if their group could use our flash video "What Every American Needs to Know About Jihad" as a training film. [15]

Historian and author Rick Perlstein tracked down a statement by the task force that denied Horowtiz's claim:

I can assure you the California Highway Patrol's head of the FBI-California Highway Patrol, Joint Terrorism Task Force did not request a copy of the video. While an employee of this Department did request a copy, the video was not used nor will it be used for training purposes. [16]

Horowitz responds to "progressive left" critique, naming Sourcewatch

In an article self-published on his FrontPageMag website, January 25, 2008, David Horowitz responded to what he claimed were outrageous and specious personal criticisms from the "progressive left", asserting that this identified political group uses biased tactics for the attack, while he claimed his own moral and rhetorical superiority when arguing against them. Horowitz wrote that the progressive left's modus operandi when attacking himself, and conservatives in general were: "misrepresentation of facts, distortion of motives and general acts of character assassination are the preferred modes of progressive discourse, as any conservative who has acquired a public persona can attest." He further stated that, " raw material for this verbal malice is stored on data sites", singling out the following websites as the primary repositories: SourceWatch, Media Matters for America and Media Transparency, and People for the American Way's, Right Wing Watch. [17]


Horowitz is the son of two Jewish-American Communist Party members, he often speaks of growing up as a leftist. Horowitz was active in the Civil Rights movement. He worked with the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation -- a group dedicated to "peace, human rights and social justice"[18] -- and The Black Panther Party. He was an editor of a left-wing publication.[1]

Horowitz's departure from left-wing politics followed the death of his friend, Betty Van Patter. The event caused historian Hugh Pearson to write that "David [Horowitz] just totally went berserk with regard to the left-liberal community.”[1]

Currently, Horowitz is known to side with corporate interests and conservative ideals and is best described as a neo-con. He is now a "lapsed leftist" [4]. In the 1990s, Horowitz hosted several Second Thinkers conferences where ex-leftists who recanted or underwent epiphanies could network with fellow travelers. Several of these second thinkers are now neo-cons. Christopher Hitchens was a regular participant at these conferences, and today co-organizes events with Horowitz, e.g., tour of the UK where he features as a speaker [5].

Funding & fundraising

Horowitz's Salary as Chief Executive of DHFC

Horowitz has made "a good living" according to the Washington Post as the CEO of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.[19] In 2016, Horowitz was compensated $569,756. In 2015 he made even more, $583,000. Tax records show comparable income for every year since 2011, nearly a half million dollars. Horowitz's group is one of the 33 that the Council on American-Islamic Relations and University of California Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender reported on as having the purpose of promoting "prejudice against, or hatred of, Islam and Muslims." The report says that promoting Islamaphobia has become a multi-million dollar business.[20]


The David Horowitz Freedom Center has received $3,358,750 since 2005 from the Bradley Foundation[21]

In 2016, Mr. Horowitz made $569,756 as the CEO and President of his non-profit.[22]

Media Transparency lists grants to the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.

Fundraising with the Donatelli Group

Horowitz is raising/has raised funds via donations and/or purchases made to the following accounts with the Donatelli Group's DonationReport.com:


Articles and resources


External articles

Articles by Horowitz

General Articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Southern Poverty Law Center DAVID HOROWITZ Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed August 2018
  2. Robert Steinback / SPLC Intelligence Report 10 of Americas Most Dangerous Hatemongers Alternet, July 21, 2011
  3. Robert Steinback, 10 of America's Most Dangerous Hatemongers, Alternet, 21 July 2011.
  4. McKay Coppins The Outrage Over Family Separation Is Exactly What Stephen Miller Wants The Atlantic June 19, 2018
  5. Hatewatch Anti-Muslim figurehead and funder David Horowitz minimizes terrors of lynching SPLC April 12, 2018
  6. David Horowitz [www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=Jk5WWaSLs4I David Horowitz] JTV on Youtube, May 16 2017
  7. Diana Kruzman Conservative writer David Horowitz visits campus The Daily Trojan, March 24, 2016
  8. David Horowitz [www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/186466/ my-thoughts-boston-david-horowitz MY THOUGHTS ON BOSTON The root cause of this bombing and the Jihad itself is a religious fanaticism within Islam.] Frontpage Mag, April 19 2013
  9. David Horowitz David Horowitz - Slams Radical Muslims Palestinians, Argues with leftists Youtube March 10, 2011
  10. Michelle Williams Horowitz brings controversial ideas to Student Union The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, Feb 25, 2010
  11. Michal Kranz and Ellen Cranley Meet Stephen Miller, the 32-year-old White House adviser who convinced Trump to start separating migrant children from their parents at the border Business InsiderJune 17, 2018
  12. Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg How a ‘shadow’ universe of charities joined with political warriors to fuel Trump’s rise Washington Post June 3 2017
  13. Fred Gardner, "Hollywood Confidential: Part I", Viet Nam Generation Journal & Newsletter-V3, N3, November 1991. Published online by The Sixties Project.
  14. Juan Cole, "Florida Funeral Director Buries Universities ," Informed Comment (Juan Cole's blog), March 29, 2005.
  15. Rick Perlstein, "David Horowitz writes me a letter," Campaign for America's Future blog, August 15, 2007.
  16. Rick Perlstein, "David Horowitz fibbing?" Campaign for America's Future blog, August 21, 2007.
  17. David Horowitz, "The Surreal World of the Progressive Left", FrontPage Magazine, January 25, 2008
  18. Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation about organizational website, accessed August 2018
  19. Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg How a ‘shadow’ universe of charities joined with political warriors to fuel Trump’s rise Washington Post June 3, 2017
  20. Halima Kazem Funding Islamophobia: $206m went to promoting 'hatred' of American Muslims The Guardian June 20, 2016
  21. Center for Media and Democracy Contributions of the Bradley Foundation Sourcwatch, Accessed August 2018
  22. Non-Profit Explorer DHFC 990 ProPublica, accessed August 2018