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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Steinmann, David

Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs: Board of Advisors

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David Steinmann is a principal of the William Rosenwald Family Organization, a prominent rightist family fund based in New York. Steinmann supports the work of several hawkish groups associated with the “Israel lobby” and has served on the boards of various corporations, including defense contractors.[1]

At Rosenwald, where he has been based since the mid-1970s, Steinmann has helped coordinate donations to numerous conservative think tanks and policy shops, including several that are led by neoconservatives and other activists who promote right-wing Israeli policy objectives.[2] In 2005, the Rosenwald Fund had more than $25 million in assets and donated over $1.7 million to dozens of organizations, including the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the Middle East Forum (MEF), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Golan Fund, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), the American Jewish Committee, the American and Israel Research and Friendship Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute.

For its role in funding the Middle East Forum and other outfits that have often purveyed negative images of Islam and Muslims in the Untied States, the Center for American Progress (CAP) listed the Rosenwald Fund as one of the top funders of what CAP calls the “Islamophobia” network in the United States.[3]

Steinmann has served on the boards of numerous groups that promote hardline Israeli and U.S. policies. He was a founding member of One Jerusalem, which says its sole objective is to keep Jerusalem united under Israeli rule. He was chairman of the Board of Advisers of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and was JINSA president and CEO from 1994 to 1997. Steinmann has also served on the Board of Directors for the Center for Security Policy (CSP), founded by fellow hawk Frank Gaffney. JINSA and CSP have shared so many board and advisory members that in 2002 one reporter wondered, tongue in cheek, if the two organizations were really separate.[4]

In 2000, Steinmann was a signatory to a Middle East Forum (MEF) report coauthored by Daniel Pipes, who founded the MEF, and Ziad Abdelnour, who founded the now mostly defunct U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon (USCFL). The report, "Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role," called for U.S. military action to force Syria out of Lebanon and disarm Syria of alleged weapons of mass destruction. Other signatories included Elliott Abrams, Paula Dobriansky, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Michael Rubin, and David Wurmser.[5]

In 2006, Steinmann penned an article for the neoconservative Family Security Matters that portrayed the West as being in a cultural war with Islam. He wrote: "When one party comes to the conflict with an unyielding, intolerant insistence on having it done their way, as so many Muslims do when they come to western countries, then our tried and true approach to conflict resolution—tolerance, compromise, understanding, flexibility—fails and we are left having yielded to demands which, were they to have been seen and understood in the context of a multi-faceted on-going, protracted cultural and religious war would never have been made.”[6]

In a 1995 opinion piece, Steinmann compared the "Israel peace process" to the debate in the United States about abortion, writing: "The discussion among Israel's friends, at least in the United States, about the peace process very quickly became subject to labels. One was either for or against peace when, in fact, it is difficult to find anyone who is against peace, only people who are concerned about the government's negotiating techniques and ultimately the security of the State of Israel."[7]

With Steinmann at its helm, JINSA helped lead the debate in the United States over Israel's policy in the Golan Heights during "land-for-peace" negotiations with Syria following the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference. At the height of the Israel-Syria negotiations, JINSA organized events debating Middle East security issues, and insisted the forums were not anti-peace process. "Having played an enormous role in the creation and sustenance of the Jewish State, and having been encouraged to do so at every turn financially, politically, and emotionally, it is really unfair now to say to American Jewry that the expression of legitimate concerns about the current process is somehow an expression of opposition of peace," Steinmann once wrote. "It is time for the Israeli government to recognize that many of those whom it denigrates as opposing peace have been among its most fervent supporters.”[8]

Steinmann has been a fervent supporter of Israeli control of the Golan Heights. Among his many other institutional affiliations, he has been a member of the Golan Fund, which supports expanding Jewish presence in the Golan Heights by strengthening 32 communities and the city of Qatzrin, and the American Friends of Qatzrin, an organization that funds Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights.

In addition to his neoconservative and hawkish “pro-Israel” advocacy and funding work, Steinmann has had numerous business interests, including serving on the boards of defense contractors and as an executive at an investment bank. Until 2011, Steinmann was a board member of AMETEK Inc, a “global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices” that has numerous defense contracts and been successfully prosecuted for fraudulent practices in the past.[9] According to a Forbes profile of Steinmann: “Mr. Steinmann is a Managing Director of American Securities Management L.P. and an executive officer of several affiliated entities. Mr. Steinmann brings to [Ametek’s board] expertise in financing and investment through his extensive management and investment experience at private equity and other investment firms.”[10]

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Sources

[1] JINSA, “David P. Steinmann," http://www.jinsa.org/leadership/david-p-steinmann

[2] For more about the foundation, see Lawrence Van Gelder, "William Rosenwald Dies: Benefactor to Many Was 93," New York Times, November 1, 1996.

[3] CAP, “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” August 26, 2011, http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/08/islamophobia.html.

[4] Jason Vest, "The Men from JINSA and CSP," Nation, August 15, 2002.

[5] Daniel Pipes and Ziad Abdelnour, "Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role," Middle East Forum Lebanon Study Group, May 2000, http://www.meforum.org/research/lsg.php.

[6] David P. Steinmann, " America Must Adapt to Radical Islam's Strategies in our Homeland," Family Security Matters, November 14, 2006.

[7] David P. Steinmann, "American Jews and the Israel Peace Process," Jewish Advocate , September 14, 1995.

[8] David P. Steinmann, "American Jews and the Israel Peace Process," Jewish Advocate , September 14, 1995.

[9] Alan Abrahamson, “Firm Pleads Guilty to Defense Contract Fraud,” Los Angeles Times, July 13, 1990.

[10] Forbes.com, “David P. Steinmann, http://people.forbes.com/profile/david-p-steinmann/5557.

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Steinmann, David Résumé

Affiliations

  • William Rosenwald Family Fund: Chief of Staff and Management Executive
  • Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs: Board Chairman
  • Center for Security Policy: Board Member
  • Middle East Forum: Board of Governors
  • America-Israel Friendship League: Board Member
  • Family Security Matters: Contributor
  • Golan Fund: Board Member
  • U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon: Former Golden Circle Supporter
  • Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America: Former Executive Board Member
  • American Friends of Qatzrin: Former President
  • Donors Forum on International Affairs: Former Director and Secretary/Treasurer
  • One Jerusalem: Founding Member
  • Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College: Board Member
  • Middle East Intelligence Bulletin: Former Advisory Board Member
  • Insight Turkey International: Former Advisory Board Member


Government

  • Eastern District of New York: Former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division


Business

  • American Securities, L.P.: Managing Director
  • Ametek, Inc.: Board of Directors (until 2011)
  • Ferziger, Wohl, Finkelstein, and Steinmann: Former Partner
  • Christy, Frey, and Christy: Former Lawyer


Education

  • New York University College of Arts and Sciences: B.A. (1962)
  • Columbia University Law School: LLB (1965)
  • Georgetown University Graduate Law Center: LLM (1966)

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