Friday, August 26, 2011

The Islamophobe Money Machine

Why has anti-Islamic hatred flourished in America? Well, of course, the root cause of all prejudice, as my father, of blessed memory would say, is ignorance. And when there was anti-Semitism in the US, and Jews suffered from it, it was born of ignorance. And fear of the other.

But when prejudice becomes widespread, as anti-Semitism did in the US in the 1930s, you cannot blame just ignorance. You need the machinery that distributes prejudice, the mass media, the prominent "experts," the publicists.

And, of course, you need money. Big Money. How big?

The Center for American Progress published today a 130-page report detailing how $42 million dollars from seven foundations has fueled over the past decade. the spread of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim feelings in this country. Read the full report here.

The foundations are:

The Donors Capital Fund, the Richard Scaife Foundations, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Russel Berrie Foundation, the Anchorage Charitable Fund and William Rosenwald Family Fund, the Fairbook Foundation, and the Newton and Rochelle Becker.

The money has flowed into the hands of five key “experts” and “scholars” who comprise the central nervous system of anti-Muslim propaganda:
Frank Gafney, David Yerushalmi, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, and Steven Emerson

These five “scholars” are assisted in their outreach efforts by Brigitte Gabriel (founder, ACT! for America), Pamela Geller (co-founder, Stop Islamization of America), and David Horowitz (supporter of Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch). As the report details, information is then disseminated through conservative organizations like the Eagle Forum, the religious right, Fox News, and politicians such as Allen West and Newt Gingrich.

So what is the big deal? Has there been any violation of laws? Don't we have freedom of speech in this country. After all, these are not hate crimes.

Yes we do. And funding hatred of Muslims is, in principal no worse than, say, funding hatred of other minority groups. (Although in practice, it is worse than, say anti-Semitism, because the Jews are a highly successful minority that has ample organizations and other means to defend themselves.)

But the Islamophobia that ends up in state legistlation, such as the one pushed by David Yerushalmi (he contrasts sharia with halahka here, but, as I hope to show elsewhere, he is a complete am-haaretz when it comes to halakha) and Frank Gaffney, or pushed on college campuses by loud-mouth ignoramuses like David Horowitz -- has no peer in America today. We are not talking about a few hate websites. We are talking about a well-orchestrated campaign funding "scholars" who, like the scholarly anti-Semites of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, spew their poison in the American mainstream.

The fact that at least three of these scholars are Jewish, and one presents himself as an orthodox Jew, has to pain serious Jews everywhere. To think that only within several decades since the demise of organized anti-Semitism in this country, American Judaism has produced bigots of the sort mentioned above speaks volume about the success of the Jews in this country -- and, I may mention, the fact that the State of Israel is unnecessary for these folks. I mean, if you can be a well-paid Jewish bigot with impunity here, why bother to go to Israel?

11 comments:

Benjamin said...

As someone who's nominally Jewish, I need to admit to puzzlement about your statement regarding 'serious Jews' to be embarrassed by them. Why would I feel embarrassed by their proffering idiotic beliefs? Because I happen to share some vestigial bits of religion/ethnicity/culture with them? I find quite a few of them repulsive, but it wouldn't matter to me if they were Jewish or not; I'd still avoid positive association with them like the plague.

As an aside, I'm not sure what Jewish success has to do with Jewish bigots. Granted, I find the 'they should know better' phrase to be asinine and grating.

Mark said...

Oh yes, Islamists are just wonderful neighborly folks that we have nothing to fear about....please.

Jerry Haber said...

Mark,

The anti-Sharia movement does not target Islamists; it targets all American Muslims.

I would say that we have as much to fear from those Muslims as they have to fear from the Jews.

Ask Henry Ford if he thought that Jews were "wonderful neighborly folks."

Jerry Haber said...

Benjamin,

Jews lack today -- certainly in Israel -- what in Hebrew is called eimat ha-goyyim. "fear of the gentiles". The Mishnah says, "Were it not for the fear of the ruler, people would swallow each other up." Even when there was "fear of the gentiles" Jews often went at each other.

But some Jews are so thoroughly acculturated, that they allow themselves the outspoken bigotry and prejudice of the comfortable classes, the classes that have "made it" and can turn around and discriminate against other less fortunate. That's a measure of their success in the US, I suppose.

Benjamin said...

I thank you for clarifying your point, Mr. Haber.

Man From Atlan said...

What's really interesting is how these individuals specifically target Muslim institutions that are a requirement of their faith: mosques and charitable giving.

So if a Muslim organization wants to build a mosque in the U.S. or donate money for food programs in Palestine their front organizations ramp up the fasle charges.

Truly shameful...

Old Bit-fiddler said...

Add the ADL to the list, remembering that they attacked idea of the Park51 Islamic Center, which ADL plus the Murdoch crew plus a gang of non-New Yorkers called "the mosque at Ground Zero".

For the record, Park51 is an Islamic community center, planned with assistance of the twin congregations that share a sanctuary on 86th and West End: Congregation B'nai Jeshrun (BJ) and St Paul and St Andrew's United Methodist Church (SPSA).

I thought it was all just the typical "let's bully that group this month", and would pass away to the same oblivion (either gehenna or Elizabeth, NJ) where the bigots store away "objects" like "homosexuals" and "Mexican illegals".

When an amiable Mormon in Salt Lake City asked me why I wasn't outraged, I figured, ast first, that he was just a hick with no sense of New York geography and with no sense that most of us hate hearing the World Trade Center called "ground zero".

It continued and built until September 11, a Saturday, when Imam Faisal had to cancel the talk he had been invited to give to BJ and SPSA.

I remember when the ADL was a civil rights organization. I remember thinking back, around 1970, that Jews had become Honorary White People about 1960. The next step was for some to join the modernized KKK. Same bullies, different targets.

Old Bit-fiddler said...

Don’t Fear Islamic Law in America
By ELIYAHU STERN

New Haven

MORE than a dozen American states are considering outlawing aspects of Shariah law. Some of these efforts would curtail Muslims from settling disputes over dietary laws and marriage through religious arbitration, while others would go even further in stigmatizing Islamic life: a bill recently passed by the Tennessee General Assembly equates Shariah with a set of rules that promote “the destruction of the national existence of the United States.”

Supporters of these bills contend that such measures are needed to protect the country against homegrown terrorism and safeguard its Judeo-Christian values. The Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has said that “Shariah is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.”

This is exactly wrong. The crusade against Shariah undermines American democracy, ignores our country’s successful history of religious tolerance and assimilation, and creates a dangerous divide between America and its fastest-growing religious minority.

A good little essay by Professor Stern, available in full at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/03/opinion/dont-fear-islamic-law-in-america.html?_r=2&hp

This clump of "anti-shariah" laws are those concocted by the bigots that Chancellor Magnes would have opposed heart and soul.

steve said...

Very well said Jerry , I remember from my dads yearbook of the college of Engineering in Baghdad , 4 out of 10 profesdsors were Jews , and good friends of my dad , and 3 out of 10 students were Jews in that year of 1946, what happened 2 years later was a tragic occurence for these people who were well integrated and much accepted and appreciated in Iraqi society , they were a pilliar of honesty and moral integrity , my point , the Zionist movement hurt these Jews more than it did the Arabs and the Palestinians , and it was inflicted by Arabs in retaliation to the seizure of lands in Palestine , NOT the formation of the state of Israel , and since they were never allowed to go back or own anything , I think that mode is better ddescribed as a quasi-appartheid system , even if Israel was a democracy ( for the Jews only and those Arabs who kissed their behinds) , though I am not a nationalist , nor a moslem , nor a "pure " Arab , I really think its high time Israelis and Jews in the world start to rethink these issues and try to diffuse the hatreds , and dont tell me that you have tried everything and its no use , because nobody ever tried seriously , there will come a time when it will be irreversibly tense and broken beyond repair, everyone can see , Israel cares nothing about any peace or settlement, Jews are so complacent that they are intimidating the moslems now into fanaticism and that is as worse as it can get. Its still not too late.

xiquillo said...

Amazing, I was convinced there would be business in every ethnic hatred, the same way I'm convinced there is business in every war and conflict, and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is giving jobs to this kind of scaremongers and "hatred-spreaders" all over the Western world. As a matter of fact, some writers are already translating some of the mentioned authors in my country and considering them "experts on Islam".

Thanks for this article and for the links provided!

Man From Atlan said...

Indeed, thanks for your article!