Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shouldn’t take that invitation from a Holocaust remembrance group too seriously. The organization, From the Depths, appears to be little other than a public relations front with close ties to the White House and Israel’s ruling Likud party, and a very shady past. Israel’s i24 News noted in 2017 that From the Depths is “a tiny foundation,” and that apart from its founder Johnny Daniels, “no one can name other members…”
The organization made headlines this week when Daniels wrote to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez in the wake of the controversy surrounding her comments comparing US government migrant holding facilities to concentration camps.
“We at From The Depths, would like to invite you as our guest during your summer recess from The United Congress, to join us along with Holocaust Survivor, United States Citizen and President of From The Depths, Mr. Edward Mosberg on an educational tour, specifically built for legislators, of the German Nazi Concentration Camps,” Daniels wrote. “The educational tour will visit Mauthausen, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek Concentration Camps, amongst many other educational sites.”
According to Daniels, From the Depths has brought “parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, including over 20 Representatives of the United States Congress,” to tour Holocaust sites, including Rep. Steven King, who used the opportunity to meet with European far-right and white nationalist leaders last year.
Indeed, Daniels has some dubious political connections of his own. There are no references to From the Depths or Daniels in any American daily newspapers before this year, he made a media splash two years ago in Poland for efforts to restore Jewish graves, but mostly for his cozy relationship with the Polish far-right. During debates over Poland’s controversial law that makes it a crime to “accuse the Polish nation” of complicity in the Holocaust, Daniels warned of the threat coming from “leftist Jewish media.”
“Some say that he is engaged in the world’s oldest profession,” Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich told The Forward in 2017. “He has become a supporter of the ultra-right wing. It’s the politicization of the Holocaust that is the most dangerous aspect of what he’s doing—and the politicization of history.”
That appears to be the British-born Israeli citizen’s stock-in trade. Daniels’ main occupation is as a public relations consultant and political spin doctor. Next to the headline “they’ll never stop talking about you,” his website notes that “We now live in an era where the media is the most important force in all aspects of the promoting the public’s perception in all that surrounds them. It is vital that your message is presented to its utmost advantage.”
Among the clients whose messages he has presented are the Faith and Freedom Foundation, an organization “dedicated to restoring Christian faith and the principles of America’s founding fathers to their rightful place in our national life.”
The former Israeli paratrooper’s connections to far-right propaganda go much deeper than some strange bedfellows. He and his “foundation” also have close ties to both the Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu administrations. While still a student at Israel’s Bar Ilan University, Daniels began working as an advisor to Danny Danon, then the Deputy Minister of Defense in Netanyahu’s government, and now Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations. Described by the Jerusalem Post as “arguably the Israeli closest to Trump,” Daniels orchestrated the future US president’s video endorsement of Netanyahu in the 2013 Israeli election.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Daniels has privately met with Trump “numerous times,” and is close to the President’s inner circle. Indeed, he got his start in the Holocaust remembrance business by organizing an event that brought half of the members of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) to Auschwitz in 2014 to mark the 69th anniversary of the Death Camp’s liberation. The event was funded largely by Trump’s golf partner, billionaire Stewart Rahr.
The president of From the Depths, described in Daniels’ letter as “the only foundation dealing with Holocaust memory, memorial and education run entirely by millennials,” is Edward Mosberg, a 93-year-retired real-estate developer from Parsippany, NJ. Although he has been an active Holocaust educator in Northern New Jersey for several years, there is no evidence that Mosberg held the title of president, or even had any formal connections with From the Depths before this week. Mosberg, who was indicted for fraud and bribery in 2008, does however have close ties to the Kushner family. In 2004, he signed, along with five other people, a personal paid memorial notice in the New York Times for Jared Kushner’s grandmother Rae Kushner.