Archive for ADL

The United States of America Defence League: “The Crusade Begins”

Posted in Feature, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2012 by loonwatch

usadl-edl

United States of America Defence League

Shouldn’t the United States of America Defence League (USADL for short) spell “defence” with an “s” as in “defense”? Just saying, it doesn’t seem very, as George W. Bush would say, ‘Merican to spell it with a “c.”

bill-turner-usadl

Bill Turner

If you thought Captain America was leading this “defence league,” you’d be wrong, it’s a chap by the name of Bill Turner, who used to moonlight in the anti-Islam Twitterverse as “Jihadihunter.” Turner is the “national director” of this offshoot of the UK-based EDL. Turner titled his first press release introducing the organization, “The Crusade Begins.”

Phew, and here I was thinking it was going to be some sort of bigoted, Anders-Breivik-esque, Christian-identity hate group! Glad that’s cleared up!

Bill Turner and the USADL, like all the other extremist anti-Muslim leaders and organizations in the so-called “counter-jihad” claim to be acting in defense of “human rights”:

[USADL is] a human rights organization that was founded in the defense of our nation and to stand in unison with the EDL and other such organizations, to halt the spread of Sharia law.

Defenders of the nation, fighters for freedom, where else have we heard such claims? Oh right, the KKK.

The USADL’s goal is essentially missionary. They seek to “inform” the public about the “true” nature of Islam, to provide a,

“more realistic and less sanitized view of Islam…”

While the USADL’s mission statement gives the necessary caveat, much like the EDL claims to that it is not against “Muslims” and warns against assuming that all Muslims are guilty of committing acts of terrorism (aren’t they merciful!?), it goes on to say that,

“the Islamic book of worship calls for all Muslims to participate in Jihad, in one form or another.”

The ADL (not to be confused with the USADL) notes that Turner is “well known” on right-wing websites already for his conspiratorial rantings about the government,

USADL’s National Director is Bill Turner, who is known for his anti-government and conspiratorial writings, which have been published on a number of right-wing websites and disseminated through his Twitter handle, “JihadiHunter.”

While anti-Muslim bias has been a primary theme in his writings as well, Turner’s role in launching the USADL suggests that he is gearing up to advance a more conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda.

USADL’s website indicates that membership is open to all who “recognize the threat that Sharia Law poses to free people everywhere.” Although it is still too early to confirm the size and viability of the new organization, it already claims to have approximately 60 members.

I expect the USADL’s membership will increase as the usual suspects join its cause.

Already the nut jobs at the hate site BareNakedIslam are celebrating with all caps in the title, you can feel their adulation, FINALLY! USA DEFENCE LEAGUE. You will recall that BareNakedIslam is the same site that called for the murder of Muslim worshippers at mosques, so they will fit in nicely as “Crusader” drones in the USADL.

The USADL is just one more group for the SPLC to document and add to their list of the ever-growing anti-Muslim hate organizations proliferating around the country.

Some of the organizations that we have exposed in the past are on the SPLC’s list. They include AFDI, SIOA, ACT! for America and Veterans Defenders of America, amongst others.

ADL Urges Chief Rabbis to Denounce Spitting at Christians

Posted in Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2011 by loonwatch

If Muslims were committing this disgusting practice you can be sure that the hatemongers would be up in arms declaring Islam a “vile and intolerant” religion. They would also claim that this is the “pure Islam, etc.”

ADL urges chief rabbis to denounce spitting at Christians

The Anti-Defamation league (ADL) called on the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to publicly denounce “the repulsive decades-old practice by ultra-Orthodox Jews of spitting at Christian clergymen they encounter in the street.”

“This repulsive practice is a hateful act of persecution against another faith group and a desecration of God’s name according to Jewish law,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “This display of hate and bigotry has no place in Israel and is inimical to Jewish values of treating all people with respect and kindness.”

The ADL sent Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger a letter, urging them to meet with Haredi leaders to put a stop to this practice and to cooperate to educate their community about respect for other faiths and coexistence.

Spitting Jews Ultraorthodox

Protests Against the Bigotry of Purdue Professor Maurice Moshe Eisenstein

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2011 by loonwatch

Professor Maurice Moshe Eisenstein is a tenured associate professor of Political Science at Purdue University Calumet. He is under fire from student protesters for past and present remarks targeting various groups but particularly Muslims.

This is how a local paper described the events:

Nearly two dozen students demonstrated Wednesday outside Purdue University Calumet in protest of a political science professor who they say made racially prejudiced remarks verbally and on his Facebook page, particularly targeting Muslim students.

The student who organized the protests is one Christopher Ramirez. Ramirez believes that prof. Eisenstein purposefully posted inflammatory remarks aimed at Muslims on his Facebook page on the Muslim festival of Eid-Al Adha:

Christopher Ramirez, who organized the protest, pointed to associate professor of political science Maurice Eisenstein’s Facebook page, where he posted a picture and comment Sunday about 100 black Christians who were killed by radical Muslims. Ramirez said the picture and comment were posted on the first day of Eid, a traditional Muslim holiday.

Eisentstein for his part believes he is the victim of a conspiracy by Jew-haters:

They say I teach religion in class. I believe the person who started this is a faculty member, and I believe that many of these are her students. I am the only one who comes in every day with a kippah (a cap) on. I don’t know the answers to your questions. I made myself available. No one spoke to me. They are saying all of these bad things about me, but they wouldn’t talk to me.”

Maurice Eisenstein, who believes he is being targeted because he is an Orthodox Jew.

Actually, it would seem professor that the students are quite right to take umbrage at your Facebook postings. Viewing it today, we captured this screen shot of what we assume is the offending post that has riled up the student protesters:

It is quite condescending for a political science professor to coach his view of the sectarian violence in Nigeria in such black and white terms as “decide if you are with the radical or civilized people,” clearly he is generalizing about Islam and Muslims, and casting them in the “radical” and hence “uncivilized” camp. Students who saw this posting and read it in the context of the professor’s past statements can be excused for thinking he meant to tar all Muslims.

Yet, what we found even more egregious and definitely inexcusable is the link the professor posted just a few scrolls down on his Facebook page. It is a link to the hate site run by the fanatical queen bee of Islamophobia, Pamela Geller’s AtlasShrugs:

This is inexcusable. Pamela Geller is not only a radical anti-Muslim but a racist to boot, if you don’t believe us (there’s ample evidence to believe us), then maybe you will take the word of the ADL and the SPLC. Such a link cannot be a mere faux pas, it’s akin to linking to the neo-Nazi Stormfront website, and the administration at Purdue University Calumet should take a stronger stand than it has:

“Purdue Calumet by its nature as a public university welcomes and encourages the exchange of thoughtful and diverse views and opinions. Likewise, the university does not condone expressions that are considered offensive, intolerant or disrespectful.

“That stated, certain, recent unpleasant comments exchanged between Associate Professor of Political Science Maurice Eisenstein and others have been communicated on the Professor’s personal Facebook page. In no way do these comments reflect the university’s position and commitment to tolerance and respect with regard to the right of free expression by all individuals.

“Nonetheless, though Professor Eisenstein is a tenured faculty member, tenure has no bearing on the nature of free expression, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, that Purdue Calumet faculty members choose to exercise on their personal Facebook page. Neither are there Purdue Calumet policies and regulations that extend to personal Facebook pages.”

Such mealy mouthed pronouncements from the administration do nothing to help. Loonwatchers should let them know that they should review the professor’s treatment of his students, not only due to the protests but also the troubling links the professor maintains. Ask them if they would be okay with a professor linking to neo-Nazi websites? And then inform them of the disgusting, bigoted, racist, genocidal comments Geller has made, as well as her associations.

Here is the contact page for the University:

Contact

Purdue University Calumet
Office of University Relations
2200 169th Street
Hammond, IN 46323-2094

Phone:
219/989-2400
1-800 HI-PURDUE, x.2400
Locally within Indiana & Illinois

E-mail:
univrel@calumet.purdue.edu

Contact the professor as well:

219) 989-2688
Office: CLO 294
email: m_eisens@purduecal.edu

B.Sc. Purdue University,
M.A. Purdue University,
Ph.D. (1993) Purdue University

Video of the Student protest:
http://media.nbcchicago.com/designvideo/embeddedPlayer.swf

Islamophobia, Zionism and the Norway Massacre

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2011 by loonwatch

A very well written piece from Ali Abunimah. The connection between Zionism and the rise in Islamophobia was explored by LW when we wrote an exclusive piece exposing the funding apparatus of Islamophobia, The Connection between Zionism and Organized Islamophobia–The Facts.

In the piece we elaborated on how Aubrey Chernick, a premiere funder of Islamophobes has also donated to, amongst other groups, the ADL which is quite literally taken apart in the article below.

Ali Abunimah writes,

The continued lurch towards extremism in Israel, and among many of its supporters, underscores the truth that anyone who wants to dissociate from ultranationalism, racism and Islamophobia, also has to repudiate Israel’s state ideology, Zionism.

It may not be true that Zionism needs to be absolutely repudiated for one to “dissociate from ultra-nationalism, racism and Islamophobia,” however criticism of Zionism should not be conflated with anti-Semitism or seen as a desire to destroy Israel.

Islamophobia, Zionism and the Norway massacre

by Ali Abunimah (AlJazeeraEnglish)

In a Washington Post op-ed last week, Abraham Foxman, the National Director of the Anti Defamation League, likened the hateful ideology that inspired Anders Behring Breivik to massacre 77 innocent people in Norway to the “deadly” anti-Semitism that infected Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries.

This is a parallel that I, and many others who have been observing with alarm the rise of anti-Muslim incitement in the US and Europe, have made frequently.

Does this mean that Foxman – head of one of the most hardline and influential pro-Israel lobby groups – has found common ground with the Palestine solidarity movement?

That would be a good thing if it helped to fight the growing scourge of racist incitement. But by criticising the ideology that inspired Breivik, and pointing the finger at a few of its purveyors, Foxman appears to be trying to obscure the key role that he and some other pro-Israel advocates have played in mainstreaming the poisonous Islamophobic rhetoric that has now – Foxman himself argues – led to bloodshed in Norway.

Pointing the finger

Foxman describes, in his Washington Post article, “a relatively new, specifically anti-Islamic ideology” which Breivik used to justify his attack. “Growing numbers of people in Europe and the United States subscribe to this belief system”, Foxman writes, “In some instances it borders on hysteria. Adherents of this ideological Islamophobia view Islam as an existential threat to the world, especially to the ‘West.’”

“Moreover”, Foxman explains, “they believe that leaders and governments in the Western world are consciously or unconsciously collaborating to allow Islam to ‘infiltrate’ and eventually conquer democratic societies.”

Just such irrational beliefs underpin the hysteria about “Creeping Sharia” – the utterly baseless claim that Muslims are engaged in a secret conspiracy to impose Islamic law on the United States. So prevalent has this delusional belief become, that legislative efforts have been mounted in about two dozen American states, and have been passed by three, to outlaw Sharia law.

Foxman points the finger – as others have rightly done – at extreme Islamophobic agitators such as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, co-founders of “Stop Islamisation of America” – whose hate-filled writings Breivik cited in his manifesto.

So far, Foxman has it right. But then he drops a clue about what really frightens him:

“One bizarre twist to Breivik’s warped worldview was his pro-Zionism – his strongly expressed support for the state of Israel. It is a reminder that we must always be wary of those whose love for the Jewish people is born out of hatred of Muslims or Arabs.”

Who does Foxman think he is kidding? There is nothing “bizarre” about this at all. Indeed Foxman himself has done much to bestow credibility on extremists who have helped popularise the Islamophobic views he now condemns. And he did it all to shore up support for Israel.

After Norway, Foxman may fear that the Islamophobic genie he helped unleash is out of control, and is a dangerous liability for him and for Israel.

Zionists embrace Islamophobia after 9/11

Many American Zionists embraced Islamophobic demagoguery after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Their logic was encapsulated in then-Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s notorious assessment that the attacks – which killed almost 3,000 people – would be beneficial for Israel.

Asked what the 9/11 atrocities would mean for US-Israeli relations, Netanyahu told The New York Times, “It’s very good”, before quickly adding, “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy” and would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror”.

In order for Israel and the United States to have the same enemy, the enemy could not just be the Palestinians, who never threatened the United States in any way. It had to be something bigger and even more menacing – and Islam fit the bill. The hyped-up narrative of an all-encompassing Islamic threat allowed Israel to be presented as the bastion of “western” and “Judeo-Christian” civilisation facing down encroaching Muslim barbarity. No audience was more receptive than politically influential, white, right-wing Christian evangelical pastors and their flocks.

Sermons of hate

“Since the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon, on September the 11th, American politicians have tripped over themselves to state that the vast majority of Muslims living in the United States are just ordinary people who love America and are loyal to America. Is that true? Is that really true?”

That is the question Pastor John Hagee, leader of an evangelical megachurch and founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), posed to his followers whom, he said, were becoming more concerned as “mosques appear across the nation”.

In a series of sermons soon after the 9/11 attacks which he titled “Allah and America,” Hagee began a relentless campaign of inciting his followers to fear and hate Muslims and Islam (videos of Hagee’s sermons can be found on YouTube.

Hagee has emerged over the past decade as one of the most prominent Christian Zionist supporters of Israel. His sermons are broadcast on dozens of TV channels and he influences millions of Americans.

As his “Allah and America” sermons progressed, Hagee’s answers became clear: “In the Qur’an, those who do not submit to Islam should be killed. That means death to Christians and death to Jews. Now I ask you, is that tolerant? Is that peaceful? Is that a sister faith to Christianity?”

After reading and distorting “selected verses from the Qur’an, which is the Islamic bible, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, to increase our understanding of the basis of their faith,” Hagee claimed, “the Qur’an insists that no matter how mighty a nation is, it must be fought until it embraces Islam.”

And, apparently knowing that his congregation may hate and fear only taxes as much as Muslims, Hagee told them that the Qur’an’s message to Muslims is “when you get into the government, tax Christians and Jews into poverty until they submit willingly to Islam. Sounds like the IRS [Internal Revenue Service], but not faith.”

Then he offered this warning: “Politicians who are telling America that Islam and Christianity are sister faiths are lying to the people of this country. There is no relationship of any kind between Islam and Christianity. None whatever.”

At every step, Hagee exhorted the faithful that Islam and Muslims were not only a danger to the United States, but specifically to Israel – a country to which they should offer unconditional support.

This sounds a lot like the ideology of generalised fear and loathing of Muslims that Foxman condemned in the Washington Post.

Islamophobic fearmongering, demonisation and dehumanisation, from the likes of Hagee, and bellowed continuously on cable channels and radio stations across America, enabled the US government to legitimise invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and expand wars from Pakistan to Yemen to Somalia. These took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, under the guise of a “war on terror” – all the while as presidents hosted White House iftars.

What makes Breivik’s attack so shocking and new is that he turned the Islamophobic rhetoric against the white citizens of the Euro-American “homeland”, those whom the officially-sanctioned military slaughter of Muslims abroad was ostensibly meant to protect.

Foxman welcomes Hagee in from the fringes

While Hagee offered his zealous support to Israel (he founded CUFI in 2006), not all of Israel’s supporters returned the love. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, warned in 2007 that the pro-Israel Jewish community’s embrace of far-right ideologues would drive away young, socially-liberal Jews from supporting Israel. He feared it could endanger the bipartisan support Israel always enjoyed in the United States by identifying it with what Yoffie saw as extremist elements.

Yoffie focused his criticism on Hagee, “who is contemptuous of Muslims, dismissive of gays, possesses a truimphalist theology and opposes a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.” He worried about the warm reception Hagee was receiving at conferences of Jewish Federations all over America.

One influential figure who didn’t share Yoffie’s fears about Hagee was Foxman, who told a reporter from the Religion News Service in March 2008, “I don’t have to agree with anybody 100 per cent in order to welcome their support, as long as their support is not conditioned on my agreeing with them on everything or accepting them 100 per cent.”

When it came to light during the 2008 US presidential campaign that Hagee had said in a 1999 sermon that Hitler had been sent by God to drive the Jews to Israel, Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain repudiated Hagee’s endorsement. But Foxman was quick to offer Hagee absolution, issuing a statement accepting the pastor’s “apology”.

Enabling Islamophobia

Foxman’s embrace of Hagee does not even mark the lowest point of his dalliance with Islamophobic extremists. Recall last summer – in the run up to the US midterm elections – the hate campaign targeting a proposal for an Islamic community centre planned for lower Manhattan in New York City.

Dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque” by its critics, it became a cause celebre for the Republican Party – and some gutless Democrats – who claimed that building the institution close to the former site of the World Trade Centre would be an insult to the memory of victims.

The hate campaign was notable for unprecedented anti-Muslim rhetoric that exceeded anything heard in the immediate aftermath of the 2001 attacks. While New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg earned plaudits for defending the right of American Muslims to build the Islamic centre where they wanted, Foxman and his Anti-Defamation League caused consternation when they backed the bigots and came out against the project.

And who was it who helped take a little-noticed plan for a community centre and turn it into “a national political spectacle?” None other than Pam Geller and Robert Spencer – as the Washington Post reported at the time- the same Islamophobic extremists whom Foxman now blames for fueling the kind of hatred that inspired Breivik to kill.

Rescuing Zionism from Islamophobia

Foxman’s claim that Breivik’s support for Israel is “bizarre” is a brazen attempt to deflect attention from the alliance that Foxman and leading Israeli politicians have made with the most racist Islamophobes – ones Foxman accurately likens to anti-Semites.

To be clear, Israel and Zionism have always been racist toward Palestinians and other non-Jews, otherwise how else could they justify the expulsion and exclusion of millions of Palestinians solely on the grounds that they are not Jews? It is the virulent, specifically anti-Muslim trend that has been particularly pronounced since 2001.

But the rot has already gone too far. As a recent article in Der Spiegel underscores, Europe’s far-right anti-Muslim demagogues have found many allies and admirers in Israel, particularly within the upper echelons of the ruling Likud and Yisrael Beitenu parties.

And the feeling is mutual: European ultra-nationalists, such as Dutch Islamophobe Geert Wilders, have put support for Israel’s right-wing government at the centre of their politics.

Islamophobia welcome in Israel

While the world was united in horror at Breivik’s massacre, several commentators in Israel’s mainstream media were much more understanding of his motives, if not for his actions. An oped on Ynet, the website of Israel’s mass circulation Yediot Aharonot, stated that “the youth movement of the ruling Labour Party” – of which many of the youths murdered on Utoya island were members – “is an organisation of anti-Israeli hate mongers”.

An editorial in The Jerusalem Post offered sympathy for Breivik’s anti-Muslim ideology and called on Norway to act on the concerns expressed in his manifesto, while an op-ed published by the same papersaid that the youth camp Breivik attacked had been engaged in “a pro-terrorist program”.

Meanwhile, an article in the American Jewish newspaper The Forward noted that on many mainstream internet forums, Israelis expressed satisfaction with Breivik’s massacre and thought that Norway got what it deserved.

Clear warning signs

Foxman cannot claim he didn’t see any of this coming. Back in 2003, I interviewed him for an article about the inclusion of Yisrael Beitenu and other parties in Israel’s governing coalition, parties that openly advocated the expulsion of Palestinians. Foxman’s attitude was as indulgent toward those racists and would-be ethnic cleansers as he was to Hagee’s hate-mongering a few years later, and it is those same Israeli parties that have forged the closest ties with European and American anti-Muslim extremists.

The continued lurch towards extremism in Israel, and among many of its supporters, underscores the truth that anyone who wants to dissociate from ultranationalism, racism and Islamophobia, also has to repudiate Israel’s state ideology, Zionism. Universal rights and equality for all human beings are concepts that are anathema to both.

With his panicked and belated jump onto the anti-Islamophobia bandwagon, Foxman hopes we won’t notice, and that organisations like his can continue defending Israel’s racism free from the stain of the deadly anti-Muslim extremism they have done so much to promote.

Ali Abunimah is author of “One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse”, and is co-founder of The Electronic Intifada.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Another anti-Islam protest comes to Dearborn

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2011 by loonwatch

Another anti-Islam protest comes to Dearborn

Another protest over what organizers call “radical strains” of Islam is planned on Saturday in front of Dearborn City Hall.

The Order of the Dragon, a pro-Israeli group, is planning the 3 p.m. demonstration to call attention to the “implementation of Sharia” or Islamic law in some court rulings, said Frank Fiorello, the head of the group’s Michigan chapter.

“We have a lot of people worried about Sharia creeping into family court,” said Fiorello, a Marlette resident. “There are 23 different jurisdictions where Sharia is being implemented in family court.” Fiorello did not provide specifics, but said there are recent cases in Ann Arbor District Court.

Other groups participating in the rally include the American Defense League, ACT! For America and David Horowitz’s Freedom Center’s Palestinian Wall of Lies, Fiorello said.

Fiorello, a Detroit native, was scheduled to host controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones’ protest in Dearborn on April 22 but Fiorello backed off his protest after meeting with Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly and a member of an interfaith group.

Jones ended up protesting a week later after being ordered by a Dearborn district judge that he would have to post a peace bond if he wanted to protest outside the Islamic Center of America on Good Friday.

Fiorello also said he backed away from Jones after a difference of option about how the protest should be handled. ”We’re not wanting to be involved in shock tactics,” said Fiorello. “That is not our route.”

Jones, meanwhile, has planned to protest against “radical Islam” at the Arab American International Festival in Dearborn next month.

Detroit News, 25 May 2011

Richard Silverstein: David Yerushalmi Threatens Defamation Lawsuit

Posted in Loon People, Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2011 by loonwatch

Richard Silverstein takes David Yerushalmi to task. Yerushalmi threatened him with a lawsuit, it didn’t work out for old Yeru.

David Yerushalmi Threatens Defamation Lawsuit

by Richard Silverstein (TikkunOlam)

NOTE: I originally published this post in reply to a threat of a defamation lawsuit from David Yerushalmi.  I temporarily withdrew it in order to consult with counsel.  I post this now.

But before I do, since I wrote this, the Anti Defamation League, a group with whom I often disagree, has published a strong denunciation of Yerushalmi’s views under the headline “Extremism,” which is worth noting:

One of the driving forces behind Shari’a-related conspiracy theories and growing efforts to ban or restrict the use of Shari’a law in American courts is David Yerushalmi, an Arizona attorney with a record of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black bigotry.

…Yerushalmi has not only actively promoted his conspiratorial vision of Shari’a law, but has also sought to portray all Muslims as a threat. In one March 2006 article, for example, Yerushalmi even went so far as to claim that “Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization…The Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies.”

That same year, Yerushalmi founded the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), a “think tank” that has published anti-Muslim, anti-immigration and anti-black materials, as well as New World Order-style conspiracy theories.

…Yerushalmi’s main instrument, SANE, is also openly hostile to undocumented migrants in the United States. It advocates somehow sealing all American borders and building “special criminal camps” to house undocumented migrants…

…Yerushalmi [has] defend[ed] people accused of anti-Semitism such as Mel Gibson and Pat Buchanan because they “have the potential to save the West from itself and from Islam.”

The statement doesn’t at all deal with Yerushalmi’s Kahane-like pro-settler views about Israel, which is understandable since the ADL’s difference with him on this subject might be more nuanced.  But such as it is, the statement should gain broad visibility and further reinforce Yerushalmi’s reputation as a far-right anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim bigot.

My original post follows:

A short time ago I published a post about David Yerushalmi’s leadership of various state campaigns to ban Sharia law.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a few years you’ll remember back to 2007 when I wrote several posts about Yerushalmi’s leadership role in the campaign against New York’s Khalil Gibran Academy and the accompanying demonization and forced removal of principal Debbie Almontaser (which was later found wrongful by an EEOC ruling).  I reviewed his then publicly-accessible website, Saneworks, for the overtly racist rhetoric it contained.  I called him then a “Jewish white supremacist.”

Mother Jones recently published its own profile of Yerushalmi’s efforts to ban Sharia law and called him simply a “white supremacist.”  Apparently, he didn’t like that.  Didn’t like it one bit.  As a result he sent Mother Jones a message saying that he was compiling a record of the magazine’s coverage of him as part of a legal brief.  Not exactly a threat of a lawsuit, but not far from one.

To me he was far more explicit.  He sent this to a lawyer representing me in my current libel suit which will be heard in Los Angeles in the coming days:

I am reluctantly forced to revisit the statements your client, Richard Silverstein, has made about me on his blog. When he first attacked me personally and stated that I was a fascist, racist, and Kahanist, I ignored them, even as others of his ilk provided these baseless statements “legs” allowing countless more “eyes” the opportunity to read what your client understood and represented to be carefully calculated factual statements about me.  These statements are demonstrably false and your client made them knowing they were false or acting recklessly in this regard.  This recklessness I believe was established in his deposition testimony in the Neuwirth case.

I ignored these publications because your client uses this kind of ad hominem invective on a regular basis and I was just one of many people he attacked personally without any real factual basis.

Unfortunately, your client has republished the original articles via links in a most recent piece stating that I am a white supremacist. I might still have ignored this except for the fact that it has now concretely and specifically injured me in my legal profession in Arizona. I have now lost an African American client who was prepared to retain my firm but for your clients defamatory publications, because he could not afford to be associated with someone accused of such beliefs even though he knows I do not hold these beliefs. Much of his business is in public relations and this charge by your client was for him too much to sustain.

My staff and family have prevailed upon me to sue your client for defamation. Again, I am reluctant given the First Amendment issues, but I believe there is a strong basis to assert that his wholly unfounded, false, and defamatory statements, which have now led to concrete damages that I can measure minimally in excess of $100,000 suggests to me that my staff and family have the better argument.

The suit will be brought in Arizona.  An interesting and related case is Yetman v. English, 168 Ariz. 71, 811 P.2d 323 (1991).

I certainly understand your client will raise the standard First Amendment defenses: opinion, hyperbole, no actual malice.  If we get past these, your client will have the opportunity to test “truth” as a defense. It is to that end and to that purpose I am now drafting my complaint.

Your client may avoid the suit by deleting all articles published on his blog or other forum that refer to me in the defamatory ways described.

I am providing this to you confidentially.  If you client chooses to make this public, and he certainly may, this settlement offer is rescinded.

Thank you.

David Yerushalmi

Law Offices of David Yerushalmi, P.C.:

Washington, D.C., New York, California & Arizona

I’ve debated how to address this threat and of course I’ve engaged pro bono legal case in the event he follows through on it.  But I will not be cowed by a bully.  I stand by the posts I’ve written by him.  I will not remove them.  I will gladly meet him in court or anywhere in defense of both my right to speak and publish, and the truth of the statements I’ve written about him.

David Yerushalmi is a fraud.  His claims about Islam are false, as anyone with any real knowledge of the religion will tell you.  His game is political opportunism to advance a strident right-wing anti-Muslim agenda.  An earlier iteration of his anti-jihad campaign involved a colleague, Dave Gaubatz, who did a “James O’Keefe” and infiltrated Virginia mosques posing as a new member.  They published their supposedly shocking accounts of radical jihadist activity which turned out to be “sky is falling” nonsense.  Gaubatz, for those of you who may not remember, was recently successfully sued for arranging for his son to pose as a CAIR intern, whereupon he stole internal organization documents for the purposes of discrediting CAIR.  The court ordered Gaubatz to return the documents.

Even Yerushalmi’s name is fake.  His family birth name is Beychok, born of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants to America.  To be clear, I’m not saying that Yerushalmi’s legal name isn’t that.  I’m talking about the underlying motivations regarding Jewish nationalist identity that are involved in such a name change.  Yerushalmi means “from Jerusalem.”  Yerushalmi is as much a resident of Jerusalem as I am.  He doesn’t live in Jerusalem nor do I.  Let me make clear that I have no problem with Jewisholim changing their name once they move to Israel, taking Hebrew names such as Yerushalmi.  But to do so when you live in America is pure preciousness.  He wants to tell you that he supports the settler concept of the eternal inviolability of Jerusalem as a Jewish city and capital.  He wants to tell you he believes in the whole nine yards of ultra-Orthodox extremism regarding God’s sacred gift of all of the Land of Israel to the entire Jewish people in perpetuity.

Yerushalmi denies he is a white Jewish supermacist, yet writes in his website and other online venues nonsense like this:

…Our constitutional republic was specifically designed to insulate our national leaders from the masses,democracy has seeped up through the cracks and corroded everything we once deemed sacred about our political order. Prior to the Civil War, the electorate, essentially white Christian men, had access to local government. It was here, where men shared an intimacy born of family ties, shared religious beliefs, and common cultural signposts, that representative government was meant to touch our daily lives. With the social and cultural revolution which followed the emancipation, man’s relationship to political order was radically nationalized and democratized.

And believe me, Yerushalmi doesn’t use the term “democratized” in a flattering way.  Here he clarifies that he isn’t opposed to the paternalistic democracy of the Founding Fathers in which selection of senators and even the president was not given directly to the people (or as he calls them, “the masses”):

The founding fathers themselves of course opposed “democracy” in its simple formand created a wonderfully elaborate system to shield government from mass democracy

Here he expounds on the perniciousness of:

Raw or radical democracy where all men and all ideas and all cultures are deemed equal and given equal voice. That is of course the agenda of the Left…

Yerushalmi of course opposes Israeli democracy as well, or at least the current version which accords rights to Israeli Palestinian citizens.  Larry Cohler Esses, in a series he wrote for Jewish Week on the Stop the Madrassa campaign led by Yerushalmi, noted that the latter called for Israel to “cast off the yoke of liberal democracy.”

It should be noted that Meir Kahane maintained precisely the same dismissive attitude toward Israeli democracy, saying that if given a choice between the latter and a Jewish state he would choose the latter.  In fact, Kahane was perfectly comfortable with a Jewish state that was not democratic.  It should come as no surprise that during a session in which he deposed me for the libel lawsuit I mentioned above, he revealingly referred to Kahane with the honorific, “the Rov” (or “Rabbi”), a traditional Jewish way by which yeshiva students refer to an honored teacher.

Cohler Esses also notes that Yerushalmi believes that left-wing Jews:

…Destroy their host nations like a fatal parasite…One must admit readily that the radical liberal Jew is a fact of the West and a destructive one. Indeed, Jews in the main have turned their backs on the belief in G-d and His commandments as a book of laws for a particular and chosen people.

Most Israelis are raging Leftists, and this includes the so-called nationalists who found a home in the ‘right-wing’ Likud political bloc or one of the other smaller and more marginal right wing parties.

What’s extraordinary here is that even the far-right secular nationalists of Likud come under withering condemnation.  The only true Jews and true Zionists can be the ultra-Orthodox like himself.

In a recent NPR interview, he either dissembles regarding his true views or he has radically reversed himself since he published earlier statements I’ve quoted previously in this blog.  Here are some of his earlier legislative proposals regarding Islam in American life:

…Islam requires all Muslims to actively and passively support the replacement of America’s constitutional republic with a political system based upon Shari’a.

…Adherence to Islam as a Muslim is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the US Government through the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the US Constitution and the imposition of Shari’a on the American People.

HEREFORE, IT IS RESOLVED THAT: It shall be a felony punishable by 20 years in prison to knowingly act in furtherance of, or to support the, adherence to Shari’a.

The Congress of the United States of America shall declare the US at war with the Muslim Nation.

He has clearly soft-pedaled such extremist views in order to win acceptance for them in the context of this current anti-Muslim national legislative campaign.  But compare the following claim about his legislation (from the NPR interview) with the above views and judge for yourself whether this leopard has changed its spots:

The law does not even criminalize the absolute practice of Shariah. In fact, you could go to Times Square and you could print out: I advocate Shariah, I even advocate, in theory, jihad against America and my statute does not touch you. The statute says the attorney general simply designates someone who practices a Shariah with terrorism component.

Given what I quoted above, you tell me whether or not the following statement from the interview is a lie:

Q:…Is your view of the measure [the anti-Sharia law bill] motivated in part by a view that Islam is inherently violent and that its adherents are inherently predisposed to violence because of their commitment to religious Islam?

Mr. YERUSHALMI: No.

And in this statement, he doesn’t exactly lie, but he deliberately deceives the listener into believing in his pro-Muslim altruism, which is in truth anything but:

I have represented pro bono Muslim-Americans.

He is indeed representing, as far as I know, three Muslim-Americans who were allegedly legal clients of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.  They are suing CAIR.  David Yerushalmi is on a political jihad against CAIR, which he views inaccurately as a pro-jihadi Muslim extremist organizations.  So yes, he’s representing a grand total of three Muslim-Americans in a single case, but only because he believes it will advance his own anti-Muslim political agenda.

Let’s examine this statement too in light of what I quoted above:

I have stated on the record, the pietistic worship of the divine through Islamic worship, Jewish worship, Christian worship, atheistic worship or humanistic, is protected and absolutely sacrosanct in our system.

How can you claim the above, when you’ve also called for the U.S. Congress to declare war “on the Muslim nation?”  There may be a poorly drawn distinction he is trying to make here between Islam as a religion and what he considers radical Islam which professes, again according to him, Islam as a political system.  But you’d have to forgive most lay people for missing that distinction and believing he’s at war with all Islam.

In the interview he also makes the statement:

I…certainly can’t be a white supremacist, only because I’m an orthodox Jew…

That’s why I called him a “Jewish white supremacist” since that conveys that he isn’t the same as Richard Butler or the Aryan Nation.  Nevertheless, his views, especially those regarding Islam, are not that dissimilar.  Yes, he’s dressed up his ideology (or should I say, theology) with a certain level of intellectual rigor lacking in most white supremacists.  But the fact that he is a racist cannot be denied without doing violence to the truth.

Of course a Jew can be a white supremacist if he denounces “liberal democracy,” disdains minorities, and believes in waging “war against Islam,” as he has said.

Let me also make absolutely clear, my quarrel with David Yerushalmi is purely political.  It is a quarrel among Jews about the meaning of Jewish identity and the role of Israel in Jewish life.  It is a battle over ideas.  If he wants to have such a battle in a courtroom or any other venue, I’m prepared.  Of course, Yerushalmi prefers to hold the battle in the courtroom because he doesn’t trust the rude democracy of the blogs and internet.  He knows his ideas will lose in a free and fair debate as our founding fathers envisioned.  So he resorts to legal threats.  It’s really a reverse form of the term beloved by far-right pro-Israel advocates like Alan Dershowitz, lawfare.  That is, it’s a form of political harrassment through abuse of the legal system to bring purely political arguments which should be resolved in the traditional American way such things are resolved; and instead attempting to bankrupt or otherwise intimidate the victim into silence.

Some people also call these legal actions SLAPP (Strategic Limitation Against Public Participation) suits which are often used by companies and other well-heeled individuals to limit discussion of issues sensitive to them.

The anti-jihadi lawyer’s claim of damage or losing business is a twisted version of what he attempts to do to his enemies.  He knows how difficult it is for an individual blogger to retain pro bono legal counsel and take the years that such cases can involve.  So he holds this over one’s head as a cudgel to stifle free speech and debate.  Well, not this blogger.  Not now.  Not ever.

Finally, I have no personal malice whatsoever against Yerushalmi.  I don’t know him personally.  I don’t want to know him personally.

NOTE: Yerushalmi has withdrawn his lawsuit threat in a note he sent to my counsel.

ADL: Hate-monger David Yerushalmi a Driving Force Behind Anti-Sharia Efforts

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2011 by loonwatch

The ADL calls out David Yerushalmi, a pretty good expose:

David Yerushalmi: A Driving Force Behind Anti-Sharia Efforts in the U.S.

(ADL 3/25/11)

One of the driving forces behind Shari’a-related conspiracy theories and growing efforts to ban or restrict the use of Shari’a law in American courts is David Yerushalmi, an Arizona attorney with a record of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black bigotry.

In recent years, Yerushalmi has created a characterization of Shari’a law (i.e., Islamic law) that declares there are “hundreds of millions” of Muslims who are either “fully committed mujahideen” or “still dangerous but lesser committed jihad sympathizers” who, because of Shari’a law, would be willing to murder all non-believers unwilling to convert, in order to “impose a worldwide political hegemony.”  Meanwhile, Yerushalmi asserts, the U.S. government itself has consciously chosen to turn a blind eye to this threat.

To combat this alleged threat, Yerushalmi has vigorously opposed all perceived “inroads” of Shari’a law in the United States, even entirely innocuous measures such as American financial institutions creating financing packages designed to be compatible with Islamic restrictions against loaning money at interest.

“American Laws for American Courts”

Yerushalmi’s latest weapon is model anti-Shari’a legislation he has titled “American Laws for American Courts,” developed for a group called the American Public Policy Alliance (APPA). The group claims that “one of the greatest threats to American values and liberties today” comes from “foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines,” including “Islamic Shari’ah law,” that have been “infiltrating our court system.”

Yerushalmi’s proposed legislation, which claims to “protect American citizens’ constitutional rights against the infiltration and incursion of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, especially Islamic Shari’ah Law,” has been the basis for anti-Shari’a measures introduced by state lawmakers in several states in recent years.

For example, a bill introduced by Sen. Alan Hays and Rep. Larry Metz in Florida to outlaw Shari’a (and other non-secular or foreign laws) in March 2011 is strikingly similar to Yerushalmi’s model legislation. Both Tennessee and Louisiana actually passed variations of Yerushalmi’s legislation in 2010.

On its Web site, the APPA cites 17 cases where it claims that Shari’a has been introduced in state courts; this is its evidence of “creeping” Shari’a law within the United States.

Yerushalmi has testified in support of the anti-Shari’a legislative efforts based on his proposal. For example, in a hearing before the Alaska House State Affairs Committee in March 2011, Yerushalmi claimed that “today, we are far more likely than ever before to have foreign laws in American courts…There are plenty of occasions in which foreign law informs what Alaskan law could be.”

Demonizing Islam

Yerushalmi has not only actively promoted his conspiratorial vision of Shari’a law, but has also sought to portray all Muslims as a threat. In one March 2006 article, for example, Yerushalmi even went so far as to claim that “Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization…The Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies.”

That same year, Yerushalmi founded the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), a “think tank” that has published anti-Muslim, anti-immigration and anti-black materials, as well as New World Order-style conspiracy theories. In 2007, SANE, declaring itself “dedicated to the rejection of democracy and party rule and a return to a constitutional republic [of the original founders of the US],” launched a campaign fueled by suspicion of all Muslims.

That campaign, “Mapping Shari’a in America: Knowing the Enemy,” sought to determine exactly what type of Shari’a every single mosque and Muslim religious institution in the U.S. was advocating. A June 2007 press release announcing the campaign indicated that SANE would work to “test the proposition that Shari’a amounts to a criminal conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government” by investigating and ranking the adherence to Islamic law of mosques and their associated day-schools throughout the U.S. The statement also promised to “advocate for the criminalization of Shari’a” if it felt its targeted investigation into mosques and Islamic day schools proved such a measure necessary.

SANE also proposed legislation that furthering or supporting adherence to Shari’a “shall be a felony punishable by 20 years in prison.” It called on Congress to declare war on the “Muslim nation,” which it defined as “Shari’a-adherent Muslims,” and further asked Congress to define Muslim illegal immigrants as alien enemies “subject to immediate deportation.”

Yerushalmi’s Allies and Associates

Since founding SANE, Yerushalmi, who received his law degree from Arizona State University College of Law, has been involved with several notable anti-Muslim groups and campaigns, often providing legal services for them:

  • Yerushalmi works closely with Pamela Geller, head of the anti-Muslim Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). For example, in September 2010 Yerushalmi represented Geller and Florida attorney John Stemberger when Omar Tarazi, a Columbus, Ohio, attorney sued them for allegedly saying he had contacts with terrorists. Tarazi had represented the parents of Rifqa Bary, a Christian teenager who fled to Florida, saying she feared harm from her Muslim mother and father. In his lawsuit, Tarazi said Geller wrongly linked him to Hamas. Yerushalmi reportedly incorporated the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), the non-profit organization through which Geller and Robert Spencer publish their blogs. He also defended AFDI ads on New York City buses opposing a planned mosque near Ground Zero that juxtaposed an image of an airplane headed toward the burning World Trade Center with another building labeled “WTC Mega Mosque” and the words “Why There?” Yerushalmi and Geller were also involved in a bus ad campaign in Miami that read: “Fatwa on your head? Is your community or family threatening you?”
  • Yerushalmi was the attorney for the Stop the Madrassa Community Coalition in New York City, which lobbied for the Bloomberg administration to shut down the Khalil Gibran International Academy, an Islamic school, and requested the firing of its founding principal, Debbie Almontaser.
  • In December 2008, the Thomas More Law Center filed suit against the federal government, claiming the government’s loan to American International Group (AIG) was illegal because the insurance company had financial products that the group claimed promote Islam and are anti-Christian. Yerushalmi handled the case for the Center.  In an article written around the same time, Yerushalmi even went so far as to suggest that U.S. companies that offer Shari’a-compliant finance measures might violate the Sedition Act.
  • Yerushalmi is General Counsel to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy, founded by Frank J. Gaffney. Gaffney has been active in opposing mosque construction and has made several statements about Islam that raise concerns. For example, in a 2009 article in the Washington Times, Gaffney claimed that “there is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself.” In 2010, the Center for Security Policy published the book Shari’ah: The Threat To America, An Exercise in Competitive Analysis, Report of Team ‘B’ II, co-authored by Yerushalmi. The book repeated Yerushalmi’s theories about a vast Shari’a threat to America.
  • Yerushalmi has for many years been associated with the Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies (IASPS), a right-wing think tank based in Israel and the United States, even serving as its chairman for five years, as well as writing a number of articles for it.  IASPS now primarily supports the projects of SANE.

Other Hostile Views

Yerushalmi’s main instrument, SANE, is also openly hostile to undocumented migrants in the United States. It advocates somehow sealing all American borders and building “special criminal camps” to house undocumented migrants, where they would serve a three-year detention sentence, then be deported.  SANE also argues that the “immigration debate” should take into account that America was “founded and made strong by immigrants from western European countries with Judeo-Christian roots.”

Yerushalmi has also claimed, as he wrote in a 2006 article, that the United States is in trouble because it “rejected its Christian roots, the Constitution and federalism,” and because it “embraced democracy” and multi-culturalism. This has rendered it “incapable” of “overcoming the World State ideology of the Liberal Elites.”  These beliefs have caused Yerushalmi to defend people accused of anti-Semitism such as Mel Gibson and Pat Buchanan because they “have the potential to save the West from itself and from Islam.”  Liberal Jews, on the other hand, according to Yerushalmi are “the leading proponents of all forms of anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Christian movements, campaigns, and ideologies,” and to argue otherwise one would have to be “literally divorced from reality.” Liberal Jews, according to Yerushalmi, have also destroyed “their host nations like a fatal parasite.”

Nor has Yerushalmi neglected the subject of race. Articles Yerushalmi has written for the SANE Web site argue that the “most of the fundamental differences between the races is genetic.” In a 2006 essay for SANE entitled, “On Race: A Tentative Discussion,” Yerushalmi claimed that “some races perform better in sports, some better in mathematical problem solving, some better in language, some better in Western societies and some better in tribal ones.” He also contended that African-Americans are a “relatively murderous race killing itself.”  For Yerushalmi it was obvious: “If evolution and the biologists who espouse the theory are correct, then the idea that racial differences included innate differences in character and intelligence would[,] it seem[,] be more likely than not.”

Holocaust Survivor’s Planned Talk Angers Jewish Leaders

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2011 by loonwatch

Does a Holocaust survivor have the right to speak his mind and say ‘what happened to me during the Holocaust, I see it happening again to Palestinians, Never Again for Anyone.’ Should he be labeled an anti-Semite for such statements?

Holocaust survivor’s planned talk at mosque angers Sacramento Jewish leaders

By Stephen Magagnini

(Sacremento Bee)

Sacramento’s carefully cultivated interfaith bonds are being stretched to the limit by an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor who is scheduled to speak at a local mosque about the Nazi Holocaust and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer makes the 11th stop on his national “Never Again for Anyone” tour at the Sacramento League of Associated Muslims Islamic Center at 7 p.m. tonight.

Meyer has equated the Holocaust to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, drawing intense fire from Sacramento’s Jewish community and the Anti-Defamation League.

“Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is repugnant, anti-Semitic and defiles the sacred memory of millions who perished during the Holocaust,” said Rabbi Reuven H. Taff, president of the 13-member Board of Rabbis of Greater Sacramento, in a civil but emotional exchange of letters with SALAM’s Imam Mohamed Abdul Azeez.

The Board of Rabbis praised Azeez for his bridge-building with other communities of faith, but asked him to either boycott the event or stop it from happening at SALAM. If he doesn’t, Taff said in a letter to him, “then all the good work you are doing to foster relations with the interfaith community will be severely undermined.”

“The event is not going to be canceled,” said Azeez, who encouraged “any of our friends in the Jewish community to attend, ask questions and engage the speakers.”

Azeez noted that eight national organizations and nine local organizations are sponsoring it, including the Florin Japanese American Citizens League and the local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Azeez said that a member of American Muslims for Palestine reserved the hall and the event is not sponsored by SALAM. He said SALAM’s board investigated the speakers, who in addition to Meyer include UC Berkeley political scientist Hatem Bazian, a Palestinian American.

“You have a Holocaust survivor talking for the first time to the Muslim community about the Holocaust and putting it in a modern context that the rights of all people should be respected,” Azeez said. “The world is changing, and it’s time for us to have more dialogue about these untouchable idols,” such as the Israeli treatment of Palestinians.

Azeez agrees that the rabbis raise a legitimate concern – “any attempt to equate the Holocaust with what is happening in Palestine is an atrocity.”

Azeez said SALAM’s management will not allow the speakers to compare Israel to the Nazis.

But Taff said Meyer’s views are intolerable to the Jewish community, and added that the rabbis could produce Holocaust survivors to talk to Muslim Americans without inciting Muslim-Jewish hostility.

Rabbi Nancy Wechsler-Azen of Congregation Beth Shalom said Meyer’s speeches and writings are “most offensive – the program promotes hate. It’s an attempt to de-legitimize Israel and Judaism, as opposed to having a meaningful discussion over a political policy.”

Wechsler-Azen said the event isn’t the way to heal people “who have such profound wounds between them … we have forged a very meaningful relation with SALAM, and we’re heartsick about this.”

Meyer, in an exclusive interview with The Bee, said he survived 12 years under Hitler and 10 months in Auschwitz.

“I have a number on my arm and they dare to call me an anti-Semite?” he said.

Because he was not allowed to attend high school in Nazi Germany, Meyer said, “I can identify with those Palestinians who undergo slow-motion genocide when they are not allowed to go to their schools,” which have been bombed.

“Nearly all Jewish religious organizations in the world have mixed up Judaism – which is universal, humanistic and friendly to anybody – with Zionism,” said Meyer, who defined Zionism as an ideology based on a well-defined Arab enemy that must be destroyed.

Jon Fish, president of Sacramento’s Interfaith Service Bureau representing major faiths in the region, said Palestine is a social issue, not a religious one.

“The rabbi and the imam have to work it out,” Fish said, “But this might be a no-win situation.”

Taff said he welcomes a discussion between Jews and Muslims “in an atmosphere of collegiality and respect.” But if SALAM hosts an event that Taff believes is “clearly anti-Semitic,” he said, “it makes it very difficult to sit down at the same table with anyone who supports or endorses a program of hate.”

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/02/16/3406350/holocaust-survivors-planned-talk.html#ixzz1EEagFbNE

 

Henry Kissinger: “Jews in Gas Chambers is not an American Concern”

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2010 by loonwatch

Henry Kissinger, one of the only Nixon officials to escape the taint of involvement in Watergate has officially had his reputation destroyed. A recently released Nixon tape has Kissinger saying that it is not a concern of America if Jews are sent to gas chambers.

“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern.” — Henry Kissinger

Christopher Hitchens who I am generally wary of linking to has an excellent piece on this most recent expose of the heinous views of Kissinger. He makes an excellent point that Kissinger should now be shunned by society and that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which is quick to condemn anti-Semitism when it is uttered by Jesse Jackson or Mel Gibson need to break their silence and condemn Kissinger.

Christopher Hitchens: Latest Nixon tape buries Kissinger’s reputation 

(Slate)

In the past, Kissinger has defended his role as enabler to Nixon’s psychopathic bigotry, saying that he acted as a restraining influence on his boss by playing along and making soothing remarks. This can now go straight into the lavatory pan, along with his other hysterical lies. Obsessed as he was with the Jews, Nixon never came close to saying that he’d be indifferent to a replay of Auschwitz. For this, Kissinger deserves sole recognition.
It’s hard to know how to classify this observation in the taxonomy of obscenity. Should it be counted as tactical Holocaust pre-denial? That would be too mild. It’s actually a bit more like advance permission for another Holocaust. Which is why I wonder how long the official spokesmen of American Jewry are going to keep so quiet. Nothing remotely as revolting as this was ever uttered by Jesse Jackson or even Mel Gibson, to name only two famous targets of the wrath of the Anti-Defamation League. Where is the outrage? Is Kissinger — normally beseeched for comments on subjects about which he knows little or nothing — going to be able to sit out requests from the media that he clarify this statement? Does he get to keep his op-ed perch in reputable newspapers with nothing said? Will the publishers of his mendacious and purloined memoirs continue to give him expensive lunches as if nothing has happened?

Read more: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/12/14/christopher-hitchens-latest-nixon-tape-buries-kissingers-reputation/#ixzz18ILqW8kA

 

Charles Jacobs: Americans for Hate and Intolerance

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by loonwatch

Welcome Gefilte, a loonwatcher with a unique perspective.

The Forward listed Charles Jacobs as one of America’s Top 50 Jewish leaders in 2007. Apparently they were looking more at the range of his activism and less at what mischief he was actually up to.

Jacobs has been a founder of Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, theAmerican Anti-Slavery Group, and the David Project, a member of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and has now created the oxymoronically named Americans for Peace and Tolerance. Jacobs has taken Abe Foxman to task for being too soft on Muslims.

Long before the Park51 project made news, Jacobs spearheaded opposition to an Islamic Center in Roxbury and slammed governor Deval Patrick and Boston mayor Thomas Menino when they late supported the project and met with Boston community leaders. Despite widespread repudiation Jacobs continues to maintain that the Roxbury center is linked to global terror plots. He has also continued personal attacks in the Jewish Advocate on fellow Jews who extended hands of friendship to the Muslim community, notably Rabbi Eric Gurvis. But in June seventy Boston area rabbis signed a petition supporting Gurvis and denounced Jacobs’ smears.

In a FrontPage Mag interview Jacobs describes how he — and Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs — views Islam as nothing more than a doctrine requiring adherents to become terrorists:

Two years ago I attended a three day conference in Jerusalem on Global Anti-Semitism sponsored by Israel ‘s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Senior leaders of American Jewry were present. We all heard how Islamic anti-Semitism – theologically based, was spread with Saudi funding to mosques and madrassas throughout the Islamic world, instructing tens if not hundreds of millions of people that Jews were the sons of monkeys and pigs and that to kill us is a holy deed.

Jacobs is a regular contributor to Andrew Breitbart’s Big Peace blog and to David Horowitz’sFrontpage Mag. His “Clash of Civiliations” worldview mesh with pro-Israel advocacy and neoconservatism.

In July of this year Jacobs participated in a panel discussion in Aspen, Colorado, entitled “Conscience and Conflict,” featuring fellow neocons John Bolton, Phillis Chesler and Caroline Glick, at which he bemoaned Europeans as “neopagans” and “socialists,” decried mosques as “victory markers,” and stated “there is no moderate Muslim doctrine.”

Recently Jacobs made a big stink over a visit of students from the Wellseley public schools to an area mosque as part of multicultural education. In an article entitled “Propaganda is not Education,” Jacobs wrote:

Those who care about “religious ignorance and conflict over belief systems” should care about the radicalization of the historically moderate American Muslim community and the unwitting embrace of radical Muslims by our political and civic leaders.

Not only are Jacobs’ enemies all of the world’s Muslims, the press, Europeans, the United Nations, non-governmental aid agencies, liberals, and academics — but now even political and civil leaders have let him down too.

 

ADL Denounces SIOA but Takes Money from their Supporters

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2010 by loonwatch

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which has come under fire for its opposition to the NYC Cordoba House Mosque and Cultural Center put up a piece on August 26th on their website that denounced Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), an organization founded and lead by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, two of the leading anti-Muslim bigots in the nation (hat tip: Justin).

The ADL wrote that SIOA “promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the guise of fighting radical Islam.”

They then proceeded to highlight much of what we already exposed in early July about the existence of hardcore anti-Muslim fear mongering and overt genocidal declarations by SIOA members,

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who took over the group’s leadership in April 2010, view SIOA as protecting against a powerful and dangerous “Islamic machine” that stands to threaten the security and cultural fabric of the U.S. Geller, in views she outlines in her blog, has linked Islam to bestiality and rape of minors and described the Qur’an as “inspiring” violence. Geller has also charged that Muslim immigration has caused “rampant” honor killings in North America and Europe, compared Muslims to Nazis, and asserted that Hitler was inspired by Islam.

Several SIOA ads have been displayed on public transportation in various cities in the U.S. One set of ads directed viewers to a Web site created by SIOA called “Refuge From Islam.” The site claims that Muslim Americans who “long to be free” of their religion are in danger of being killed, and offers “safe houses” for those who want “out.” Another set of ads – the “Honor Killing Awareness Campaign” – purports to address young Muslim women feeling threatened by their family for rejecting Muslim values or becoming “too Americanized.”

Much of SIOA’s activity has been focused on the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero. Geller, in particular, has sought to garner support for the group at various events in New York and elsewhere. At a Tea Party convention in Tennessee on May 22, 2010, Geller called the proposed center “the ultimate flag of conquest.” On June 6, during an SIOA demonstration against the proposed Islamic Center in New York City that attracted thousands, Geller said, “It is unconscionable to build a shrine to the very ideology that inspired the jihadist attacks at ground zero.” SIOA also launched an advertising campaign, which ran during the month of August, juxtaposing an image of an airplane headed toward the burning World TradeCenter with another building labeled “WTC Mega Mosque” and the words “Why There?”

SIOA organized what it characterized as a “September 11 Rally of Remembrance” near the proposed Islamic center site on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The rally featured a number of politicians, radio personalities as well as 9/11 victims’ family members. After a number of commemorative prayers, SIOA head Pamela Geller told rally participants, “Only you can stop this triumpheral mosque on the cherished site of conquered land.” Participants carried various banners and signs, including ones that read, “No Obama’s Mosque” and “Islam = 1400 years of Aggression, Murder! ‘Peace’ of Islam = Cutting Non-Muslims to Pieces! Never Submit to Sharia – Islam!”

Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who was introduced by Geller as her “hero,” told the crowd: “As we all know, America, New York and shari’a are incompatible…A tolerant society, like your city New York, must defend itself against the powers of darkness, against the forces of hatred, the blight of ignorance….we must never give a free hand to those who want to subjugate us.”

In her blog postings and other writings, Geller regularly voices support for Wilders, whom she has described as “the Bravest Man in Europe” and “our proxy in the trial of Western Civilization, protagonist vs Islam, antagonist.” She has also indicated that she intends to help garner support for Wilders; she claims to have personally financed Wilder’s February 2009 trip to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC. A few months later, she served on the host committee of one South Florida event held in Wilders’ honor and defended him against criticism related to some of his other scheduled appearances in the area.

SIOA was created to mirror its European “sister” organization, Stop the Islamization of Europe (SIOE). Like its American affiliate, SIOE warns of the encroachment of shari’a, or Islamic law.  However, SIOE’s leaders go one step further, calling for the halt to all mosque construction in Europe.

Geller has also expressed support for the goals and actions of the English Defense League (EDL), a self-described “Counter Jihad movement” based inEngland. Geller described the group as Europe’s “movement for freedom” and promoted EDL events, including a March 2010 rally organized in support of Wilders. In response to an incident in which members of the EDL were implicated in violent clashes with police in the northern English city ofBradford in August 2010, Geller posted the following message to her blog: “The stated goal of the EDL is to oppose militant Islam and the sharia. What’s wrong with that? Everything to the PC, leftist slaves in the media and the government.” Days later, she defended the group against accusations that it features a neo-Nazi and racist ideology, instead accusing the media of attacking “any and all counter jihad activists.”

Anti-Muslim themes can also be seen in Geller and Spencer’s impassioned criticism of President Obama, whom Geller has described as “the culmination of the Islamic-leftist alliance.” Geller has accused Obama of doing the bidding of “Islamic overlords” and unfairly favoring Muslims, whom she argues have become “a de facto privileged class” in the U.S. Geller and Spencer co-authored the book, The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America, released in July 2010.

While it is welcomed news that the ADL condemns the likes of Geller and Spencer, it highlights a glaring contradiction on the part of the ADL. They  are willing to take a stand against the likes of Geller and Spencer but at the same time they receive funds from those who support them, i.e. Aubrey Chernick and his wife.

These denunciations will always appear hollow and hypocritical until the ADL boldly calls out the Chernicks for supporting the likes of Spencer and either gives the Chernicks an ultimatum to repudiate and distance themselves from Spencer or return the money to the Chernicks in protest.

 

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Returns Award to the ADL

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on August 8, 2010 by loonwatch

CNN host returns ADL award over group’s opposition to Ground Zero mosque

(Hat tip: Mondoweiss)

Columnist and TV host Fareed Zakaria has returned a First Amendment award to the Anti-Defamation League in protest of the organization’s opposition to a proposed mosque near Ground Zero, the site of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Zakaria, a Washington Post columnist and CNN host, has been the editor of Newsweek International, a journal with a circulation of 24 million, for almost a decade. He published a blog on Friday publicly announcing that he had returned the ADL’s Hubert H. Humphrey Freedoms Prize.

“I was thrilled to get the award from an organization that I had long admired. But I cannot in good conscience keep it anymore. I have returned both the handsome plaque and the $10,000 honorarium that came with it. I urge the ADL to reverse its decision. Admitting an error is a small price to pay to regain a reputation.”

The Anti-Defamation League said in a statement Friday that it was saddened and stunned by Zakaria’s decision to return the prize they awarded him in 2005. ADL National Director Abe Foxman said he hoped that Mr. Zakaria “will come to see that ADL acted appropriately” and would reclaim the award bestowed upon him.

The ADL, a U.S. Jewish civil rights group, has said that the location of the planned mosque is counterproductive to the healing process of the families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

 

Brad Burston: Rethinking Boycotts, the ADL and a Mosque

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2010 by loonwatch

Brad Burston is one of my favorite writers at Haaretz. His articles are always insightful, analytical and the commentary always makes you think.

In this article he writes about the ADL’s comments on the Cordoba Center as well as his opinions in general about boycotts.

A Special Place in Hell / Rethinking Israel boycotts, the ADL and a N.Y. mosque

by Brad Burston

In theory, the first purpose of boycotts is to cause people to think. To discover or reconsider an issue.

In theory, the first purpose of the Anti-Defamation League is the same. To cause people to discover, to rethink, to become aware of and combat bigotry, within themselves as well as in others.

This week a boycott campaign caused me to rethink boycotts against Israel. And a campaign by the Anti-Defamation League caused me to rethink the Anti-Defamation League.

The boycott was the decision by the Olympia, Washington Food Co-op, to remove Israeli products from the shelves of its two stores.

In a move as courageous as it was overdue, the co-op also featured and published online a pamphlet strongly opposing manifestations of anti-Semitism in leftist movements.

“Unfortunately,” the co-op’s blog observed, “anti-Semitic statements have abounded in a lot of the ‘support’ that the co-op has received in regard to the Israeli-products’ boycott.”

Protester calling for boycott of Israel A protester calling for a boycott of Israel.
Photo by: AP

The Olympia Food Co-op has taken an important step in distinguishing between opposition to the policies of Israel on the one hand, and anti-Jewish hatred on the other.

It has also worked to identify and distance Islamophobia and anti-Arab bigotry from the wider discussion of boycotts and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Which makes it all the more curious that when longtime ADL National Director Abraham Foxman chose to publicly oppose the construction of a mosque and Muslim cultural center near the Ground Zero site, his rationale was troubling, to say the least:

“Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational,” Foxman, himself a survivor, told The New York Times.

“Referring to the loved ones of Sept. 11 victims, he said, ‘Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.’”

There is something at once refreshing and destructive about Foxman’s words. Refreshing, in the sense that this sounds like unfiltered honesty. Destructive, in the sense that this is precisely the rationale under which many on the left have justified or excused non-progressive, at times overtly bigoted, statements and actions by militant Palestinians.

It is high time to strike bigotry of all forms – by both sides – from the debate over the Mideast conflict.

It is time, as well, for the Jewish community as a whole to relate differently to those in their midst who have a serious difference of opinion with Israel.

In this regard, it is time for the Jewish community to engage those who support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, rather than effectively excommunicating them.

Perhaps what is most profoundly needed is for those who care about the Mideast equation to genuinely say what they think, and to abandon the time-honored codes in which each side attacks the other.

Allow me to begin.

I fully recognize as valid the opinions of those who oppose the idea of a specifically Jewish state. I would only ask that they be honest and open about it.

If you think a Jewish state is a bad idea, an institution that should be disbanded, I believe that it is the honest thing – honest to yourself, before all else – to come out and say so.

As a supporter of the idea of a truly democratic Jewish state alongside an independent and sovereign Palestinian state, what I cannot accept is the idea that formally Muslim states are acceptable, where a Jewish state is not.

In the past I have been vociferous in opposing boycotts. I now realize that it was not the boycott per se that cause me rage, but the tolerance for a double standard that said “While others – including our own United States – commit war crimes, engage in oppression, and have a long history of subjugating, disenfranchising and dehumanizing minorities, Israel will be our sole target.”

Something else angered me as well – not the fact that some of the people who advocated boycotting Israel were actually against the idea of having a state of Israel, but the fact that for tactical reasons, they refused to come out and say so.

In general, I oppose boycotts as a tactic, first because I oppose collective punishment of all kinds, whether practiced by Israel against Gazans, or by progressives against Israelis as a whole. I also believe that boycotts against Israel tend to be self-defeating.

Having said that, I recognize that nearly everyone tends to boycott those they do not care for, while making efforts to support those whom they do. Moreover, some of those who most strongly oppose the BDS movement continually launch boycotts of their own.

I want to thank the Olympia Food Co-op Israel boycott. Something extremely valuable is happening there. Something truly radical. An awareness that people who are truly in favor of social justice must take a stand against bigotry, no matter the target.

The mayor of New York has set an example in this regard, saying of the mosque and its critics, “What is great about America, and particularly New York, is we welcome everybody, and if we are so afraid of something like this, what does that say about us?”

It’s a lesson that Abraham Foxman needs to relearn.

 

Kamran Pasha: The ADL Defames its Jewish Heritage

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on August 2, 2010 by loonwatch

It seems as though it has been a slow descent into inconsistency and betrayal of values for the ADL. An excellent and poignant article from Hollywood director Kamran Pasha.

The ADL Defames its Jewish Heritage

by Kamran Pasha

People often ask me what it is like being one of the first Muslims to succeed in Hollywood. There is always a hint of surprise in their tone, as if they never expected to meet a Muslim who has made strides in the entertainment industry. Because the real question they are asking is a more uncomfortable one: “How have you managed to succeed in a town filled with Jews?”

My response is one that usually takes them aback. I tell them that the only people who have helped me to succeed in Hollywood are Jews. It was Jewish studio executives who gave me my first writing breaks, and Jewish writers, directors and producers have served as my mentors and allies over the past decade. Without the help of Jews, this Muslim would still be writing scripts in a café somewhere, desperately hoping to find a way to break into Hollywood.

Others are surprised when I say that, but I am not. I grew up in Borough Park, a primarily Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, and most of my close friends over the course of my life have been Jews. Despite our often passionate disagreements about Middle Eastern politics, my Jewish friends and I always find common ground in our shared experience of being a religious minority in a predominantly Christian country.

Both American Jews and American Muslims know what it is like to feel out of place, to long for inclusion in a mainstream society that is often filled with ignorance and hate for our faiths. We know what it is like going to elementary school and being reviled by our classmates for not believing that Jesus is the Son of God. We know what it is like being mocked for having different customs at home, for celebrating holidays that our Christian neighbors have never heard of (and often can’t pronounce). We know what it is like to be preached to every day by neighbors trying to convert us and “save our souls.” We know what it is like to be told that our religion is inferior to Christianity by people who do not understand even the most basic tenets of our faiths (as well as their own).

Despite the real political differences that exist over Middle East policy between members of our communities, we have a common bond of being outsiders, of being the misunderstood “other” in a Christian world. And that common bond has always allowed me to transcend political differences with my Jewish friends and meet them on the field of shared loneliness that is the lot of those who are different.

And that is why it breaks my heart to watch a respected Jewish organization like the Anti-Defamation League fall into the abyss of anti-Muslim bigotry over the past several years. Many Americans, including many Jews, have expressed shock at the ADL’s recent announcement that it sides with bigots and fear-mongers who oppose the building of the Cordoba House Islamic center in southern Manhattan.

Regrettably, I am not surprised. The ADL, which was founded in 1913 as a powerful voice against religious discrimination in America, has over the past decade become increasingly xenophobic toward the Muslim community, which its leaders seem to view as a threat to Jews due to its lack of support for Israel. As a Christian friend who works in the Obama Administration lamented to me recently, the ADL has in essence become the “Pro-Defamation League” when it comes to Islam and Muslims.

The recent comments by Abraham Foxman, National Director of the ADL, against the proposed Muslim community center in New York are the latest in a long line of incidents where members of the ADL have promoted bigotry and discrimination against Arabs and Muslims. In 1993, the ADL illegally spied on American citizens who had spoken out in sympathy with Palestinians, generating a watch list of 10,000 names of private citizens and over 600 groups, and then selling the list to South African intelligence agents.

The ADL was sued for violating privacy rights and settled out of court. But the organization did not learn its lesson. Through the past decade, it has regularly organized smear campaigns around Muslim leaders and conferences, falsely imputing terrorist sympathies to some of the most moderate and respected leaders of the community.

In one of its ugliest campaigns, the ADL protested the right of Muslim college students at UC Irvine to wear graduation stoles that carried the Shahada, the basic testimony of Islamic faith: “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his Messenger.” The ADL claimed that the Muslim students were supporting terrorist groups like Hamas by wearing a common symbol of their religion. As a Muslim, I was left absolutely stunned at the stupidity of this argument. It was the equivalent of trying to bar Christian students from wearing crosses because the cross is a symbol that has been used by Christian extremists like the Crusaders and the Ku Klux Klan! The ADL was forced to apologize and retract its statements that the Shahada was “an expression of hate.”

To be fair, the ADL has in a few instances spoken up in defense of Muslim civil rights, notably when the topic of Israel is not involved. The ADL publicly denounced the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia and criticized the Swiss government for amending the constitution in 2009 to prevent the building of mosque minarets.

But the preponderance of its actions over the past decade have made it clear that when Muslim grievances against Israel are raised, the ADL will firmly side with its co-religionists rather than adhere to its underlying mission of standing for justice and equality for all humanity. On some level, perhaps that is understandable, if not excusable. But what is particularly shocking about the recent statements against the Cordoba House is that the ADL appears to have moved from a knee-jerk defense of Israel to an aggressive stance attacking American Muslims even when there is no criticism of Israel involved.

I have written at length on the Huffington Post about the founders of the Cordoba House and how they represent progressive Islam and embrace people of all religions, including Jews. I know Daisy Khan personally and she is a gracious and gentle woman who espouses love and wisdom, not hate. The writings of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf continue to inspire me and countless mainstream Muslims to improve our communities and defeat the extremists that threaten to corrupt Islam from within.

The opponents of the Islamic Center have gone out of their way to vilify and defame these honorable people, who are leaders of the moderate Islam that the media is always claiming doesn’t exist. Muslim leaders like Daisy Khan and Imam Abdul Rauf have endured with great dignity the double-pronged attack from their enemies. First, the media spreads the lie that Muslim leaders like them do not speak out against terrorism. And when they do speak out, they are either ignored or lumped in with the very extremists they are fighting. The Cordoba House is exactly the voice of moderate Islam that needs to be highlighted at a time when Muslim extremists and anti-Muslim bigots both want Islam, a spiritual path of great beauty, to be seen as a religion of hate and death.

But what is particularly painful for me as a Muslim is to watch how a group like the ADL, born out of the horrible experience of anti-Semitism and bigotry in America, can so easily turn its back on its heritage in order to join forces with the voices of hate and division. If any community knows what it is like to be branded with false stereotypes, to have the innocent condemned as guilty, it is the long-suffering Jewish people. To have its leaders now embrace the mindless, drunken crowd in its march of hate against a fellow religious minority’s right of worship, it is beyond obscene. And it is a fundamental rejection of everything that Judaism stands for.

In my latest novel, Shadow of the Swords, I delve deeply into the character of Maimonides, the great Jewish rabbi, who was friend and advisor to the Muslim sultan Saladin during the Crusades. In examining the experience of Maimonides, a Jew living as a minority among Muslims, I sought to demonstrate the ancient sympathy and understanding that Jews and Muslims had for each other at a time when both were being targeted by Christian persecutors. And I sought to share with my readers that the tenets of Judaism have always stood for social justice, mercy and wisdom, and that this ethical commitment served as a link of common understanding between Judaism and Islam at a time when Christianity stood for ignorance, murder and barbarism.

People who have read my book have expressed wonder at how two communities that were once intimate friends have become so estranged in the past century. The reasons for these modern divisions are long and complex, and are mainly linked to the trauma of Western colonization of the Muslim world, and the suffering of the Palestinians when Israel was created as the byproduct of that colonial history. Despite efforts by some Christians and Jews (as well as extremists among Muslims) to portray the current tensions between these communities as rooted in theological and cultural foundations, the reality is that Jews and Muslims historically got along much better than either group did with European Christians. When the Spanish Inquisition expelled Jews from Spain, where they had thrived under Muslim rule for 800 years, Spanish Jews found refuge in the Muslim Ottoman Empire and rose to positions of great economic and political power.

What the current leadership of the ADL does not understand is that there is no ancient enmity between Jews and Muslims. If many Muslims have problems with Israel today, that arises from real grievances about the treatment of Palestinians, not inherent hatred for Judaism in Islamic culture. What the ADL appears to fear is that as Muslims become part of the American fabric of life, that their critiques of Israel will lead one day to United States abandoning its long-term ally. This fear is, frankly, insane.

There is a place for dialogue, debate and disagreement about Middle Eastern politics among American citizens, and that discussion will not threaten Israel’s existence. As President Obama made abundantly clear in his speech to the Islamic world in Cairo last year, the bond between the United States and Israel is “unbreakable.” So Abraham Foxman should relax and take a breath. Muslim empowerment in the United States will not lead to a second Holocaust. Muslims praying at a mosque in New York City will not lead to death camps and mass extermination of the Jewish community.

Muslim voices joining the public forum will not add to anti-Semitism in America. But if the Jewish community is seen as willing to join in discrimination against innocent Americans to promote its own agenda – that perception will fulfill every anti-Semite’s ugly and false perception of the Jewish community as a self-serving and hypocritical group that only cares about its own pain and not the pain of others.

That ugly vision is not the Judaism I studied in college, the Judaism of Maimonides and Martin Buber, nor does it reflect the Judaism that I have experienced in my relationships with Jews all my life. But it appears to be the cheap and unworthy vision of the ADL leadership, and as such dishonors the Jewish legacy to this world.

The Judaism that I admire, that I write about in my novel, is the true Judaism of love for mankind, of humility before God, of service and compassion. It is the Judaism that stands for the rights of the weak and the oppressed against the arrogance of those in power. It is the Judaism of Moses standing in defiance of the Pharaoh on behalf of a group of powerless slaves.

It is the Judaism of Rabbi Hillel, one of the greatest religious visionaries of all time. Decades before Jesus Christ proclaimed the Golden Rule, Rabbi Hillel is famed for his response to a questioner who wanted to know the essence of Judaism, of the Torah, in the time it took him to stand on one foot. Hillel responded that the whole of the Torah could be summarized in one sentence.

“Do not do unto others what you would not have others do unto you.”

To Mr. Foxman and the rest of the ADL leadership, I ask if in your hearts you would want people to accuse innocent Jews of being enemies of the state? Would you want Jews to accept vilification of their entire religion if a handful of Jews ever did something wrong? Would you want Jews to tacitly accept the lies that bigots had projected on to them? And finally, would you want Jews to be forced to shut down their synagogues because of the misguided passions of a mob?

Would you want this done to Jews?

If the answer is no, then I ask as your Muslim brother that you follow the wisdom of Rabbi Hillel and the sages of Judaism.

Do not do the same hateful thing to my people.

 

The Utilization of anti-Semitism for Propaganda

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2010 by loonwatch

adl-large

Anti-Semitism is a real phenomenon in the world that can lead to dangerous consequences for its victims. It is serious and should never be employed or utilized by one party to coerce leverage or power over another. The same can be said of Islamophobia or anti-Muslimism.

In this regard Max Blumenthal has documented an organized effort on the part of a few prominent organizations to use anti-Semitism as a tool of propaganda.

Propagandistic anti-Semitism report raises The Linkage issue by Max Blumenthal

The Tel Aviv University/Stephen Roth Institute’s newly released study on anti-Semitism in 2009 is getting loads of media attention. Among the many outlets that have reported its findings are the AP, CNN, and Haaretz.

“Anti-Semitic incidents Doubled Last Year,” blared the AP headline.

Sponsored by the European Jewish Congress and produced with help from researchers around the world, including the Anti-Defamation League’s Aryeh Tuchman, the report’s release was timed to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Roth Institute’s director, Dinah Porat, who also sits on the board at the Israeli Holocaust research center, Yad Vashem, declared at a recent press conference that anti-Semitism is directly linked to anti-Zionism. This is also the conclusion of her group’s report, which focuses on the alleged connection between anti-Semitic acts and Israel’s assault on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009.

The Roth Institute identifies the UK and France as centers of anti-Semitism, but also centers in on American targets, including the widely praised Palestinian author Ali Abunimah and the Muslim students at UC-Irvine who heckled Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.

Judge Richard Goldstone, a Jewish self-proclaimed Zionist, is also named among the Institute’s gallery of dangerous anti-Semites. “In November, extensive criticism of Israel in the media following the release of the Goldstone Report probably served as a trigger for another spike in hate crimes against Jews,” the report states. Since there is no evidence to back their claim up, the authors slipped in the word, “probably.”

Mainstream Muslim groups in the US like the Islamic Circle of North America could not escape being tagged as Jew haters either, though the report once again provides no concrete evidence to support its characterization. Thus readers must accept on faith — or the basis of their preconceptions about Muslims — that members of the ICNA like to “rail against Jews.”

The report accuses unidentified “contemporary youth” of exhibiting “rampant ignorance” by engaging in Palestinian solidarity activism. “An abundance of Muslim propaganda, well-financed by oil money, exploits this atmosphere, which law enforcement agencies refrain from countering out of ‘political correctness’ and respect for the right of freedom of speech,” the report’s authors write, suggesting that the First Amendment might pose a threat to Jewish life in America.

The only actively organized anti-Semitic faction that the report’s researchers identify inside the US is the fringe-of-the-lunatic fringe Phelps family, which has picketedeverything from soldiers’ funerals to the Sidwell Friends School, holding signs that take bigotry to the point of the sublime. The family’s satire of “We Are The World,” called “God Hates The World,” was so unintentionally funny it became a YouTube hit. Indeed, few outside the Phelps family take its bizarre street theater seriously. Despite the Roth Institute’s dire warnings, that is unlikely to change.

Organized anti-Semitism seemed to have been so absent from American life in 2009 that the Roth Institute felt compelled to lard its report with accounts of murders of non-Jews by right-wing extremists. For instance, the report goes on at length about Richard Poplawski, a deranged young skinhead who killed three cops in Pittsburgh reportedly because he hated Obama and thought he sent the police to take his guns away. Unless Obama had secretly converted to Judaism (wasn’t he supposed to be a crypto-Muslim?), the designation of Poplawski’s killing spree as an anti-Semitic attack is a wild stretch.

Turning its focus to Latin America, the Roth Institute predictably rehashes the widely repeated canard that Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela is a hotbed of anti-Semitism. And like the ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Institute appears to have studiously avoided any contact with the Confederation of Jewish Associations of Venezuela, the country’s main Jewish umbrella organization. That may because the Confederation has already repudiated the notion of a Chavez-incited campaign of anti-Semitism and has condemned the Simon Wiesenthal Center for not consulting it about the reality of Jewish life in Venezuela.

Under pressure from Jewish groups in Venezuela, Jewish members of Congresstorpedoed a 2009 House resolution to condemn Chavez for anti-Semitic incitement. The members of Congress who opposed the resolution included some of Israel’s most hardline allies in the House, from Rep. Gary Ackerman to Rep. Shelley Berkley. Apparently this news was not fit to print in the Roth Institute’s report.

The Institute’s characterization of Chavez’s government recalls a failed Cold War-era tactic, according to the North American Congress on Latin American. In 1983, as the Reagan administration sought to topple the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, the ADL churned out a poorly-sourced report accusing the Sandinistas of inciting hatred against the country’s small Jewish community. The report was immediately discredited by American rabbis who had actually traveled to Nicaragua and by Reagan’s own ambassador to the country; he declared, “the evidence fails to demonstrate that the Sandinistas have followed a policy of anti-Semitism or have persecuted Jews solely because of their religion.” As for the accusations leveled against Chavez, the authors of the Roth Institute report seemed most incensed by his furious opposition to Israel’s assault on Gaza.

While the threat of anti-Semitic attacks should not be dismissed, however random and rare they might be in Western society, the Roth Institute and its collaborators appear more interested in insulating Israel from scrutiny for its killing of 773 civilians in Gaza in 22 days than in generating education and dialogue to combat bigotry. Indeed, the main thrust of the report is consistent with one of the key objectives of the Netanyahu administration and its international supporters: to undermine the Goldstone Report and assail any public figures who support its findings. At the same time, the report appears crafted to prevent articulate Palestinian critics of Israeli policy like Ali Abunimah from gaining mainstream traction, speciously and scandalously conflating them with neo-Nazi street thugs and Holocaust deniers.

Three years before Israel’s creation, Jean Paul-Sartre analyzed what he saw as a widespread resentment of Jews, describing it as a pathology rooted in class envy and self-loathing. In his book, “Anti-Semite and Jew,” Sartre impelled Jews to assert themselves through militant means, stopping only once they had won their place in a pluralistic society like France. Among the means he proposed that Jews employ was the founding of “a Jewish league against anti-Semitism.”

Ironically, the Roth Institute’s Porat has rejected “the definitions of learned people” like Sartre. For her, anti-Semitism can be defined by simply describing the behavior of Israel’s critics, not by assessing the mentality of those who openly urge discrimination against Jews.

Following Porat’s line, the Roth Institute report asserted that Israel’s assault on Gaza was practically the only factor driving the supposedly dramatic spike in anti-Semitic incidents that occurred in 2009. “We have never seen such a sustained, organized campaign being waged against Israel’s legitimacy and its supporters around the world,” lamented Arie Zuckerman, whose European Jewish Congress contributed to the report.

But if Israel’s policies towards Gaza have fanned the flames of anti-Semitism, as the report seems to claim, the discussion must turn to whether Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians is threatening the safety of Jews across the world. Is there a linkage? The Roth Institute and its collaborators should consider contemplating the troubling issue they have inadvertently raised. Then again, it might be more convenient for them to dismiss it as another anti-Semitic canard contrived by “contemporary youth.”

 

ADL Contradicts its Goals by approval of Fascist

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2009 by loonwatch

adl-large

The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) is one of the oldest civil rights organizations in America and Abe Foxman has been its public face for over 20 years now. The ADL bills itself as the “nations premier civil rights/human relations agency” and states that it “fights Anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.”

These are lofty goals and one must recognize the contribution that the ADL has made to civil rights both in legislation and advocacy over the years.  This is the reason why Abe Foxman’s comments in support of the new Israeli administration led by Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman are all the more troubling.

He implies that he is not troubled by the ascension of Avigdor Lieberman who has been described by many in Israel as a fascist because of his desire to make all Israelis take loyalty oaths and if they do not comply have their citizenship revoked. As we reported previously Lieberman was a member of the Kach party which was inspired and created by the late terrorist Meir Kahane.

All of these facts should have raised red flags for Foxman but in a piece titled Lieberman loyalty proposal finds support in U.S., Ben Harris writes,

the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that is quick to spot instances of discrimination, says Lieberman is right to be concerned about apparent acts of disloyalty by Israeli Arabs.

Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, noted with concern the trips by Arab Israeli Knesset members to enemy states and expressions of solidarity with Hamas by Israeli Arabs during Israel’s recent military operation in the Gaza Strip.

“There were a lot of people who said, ‘Hey, that’s disloyal,’ ” Foxman told JTA. “That’s what he’s talking about. He’s not saying expel them. He’s not saying punish them.”

This is a very troubling justification for Lieberman’s agenda and a convenient glossing over of the

Abraham Foxman

Abraham Foxman

facts. It is ironic considering that this is a similar accusation that was leveled against Jews in Europe at which time their loyalty was also called into question. It is a slippery slope when anyone brings up the card of “loyalty,” it leads one to ask who defines loyalty to a state? Is any criticism of the state considered disloyal? When many Israelis, Arabs and Jews protested against the Gaza offensive they were called disloyal, is this the type of action that merits a program to test the loyalty of a nation’s citizens?

Lieberman and his party define disloyalty by what you wear amongst other things,

If you are an Arab student and dare come to school wearing a kefiyah, you are ‘disloyal.’ He has called for the expulsion of Arab Members of the Knesset, threatening them that “a new administration will be established and then we will take care of you. He led the drive in Israel’s Central Election Committee to have Arab political parties banned from running in the most recent election, which passed successfully and was overturned only by the Israeli Supreme Court”

Abe Foxman should have known better, instead of siding with a fascist with a murky past and a penchant for radical and hateful statements such as Lieberman he should have held fast to the stated goals of the ADL to “defend Democratic ideals,” instead his actions undermined them and put into question ADL’s commitment to Democratic values.