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Equal Opportunity Haters:  hating on Muslims, Blacks, Jews, women, democracy…

Over the last few months, we have come to learn a great deal more about the small but influential circle that makes it their business (cash pun intended) to manufacture and distribute hatred of Muslims.  

We have seen examples of this the anti-Muhammad film, the anti-Muslim subway ads, and the anti-shari’a legislations being proposed in many states.

There are wonderful investigative reports done to expose this network, among them the groundbreaking work by the Center For American Progress, whose Fear, Inc. report is a must-read for anyone.   Once should also mention the works of Sheila Musaji, who is a tireless worker in exposing anti-Muslim forces of hate.

In addition to the above documentaries, there is a simple point that bears t be kept in mind.  
As we have been told by Dr. King and others, a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.      Justice is holistic, and hate tends to be equal opportunity hatred.  

In other words, while there are real social and economic bases to racism and other form of hatred of “the other”, there is also a spiritual disease involved.   The disease is in closing one’s heart to the fully existing humanity of another human being.     Once a person has closed one’s heart to the humanity of one human being (or one block of humanity), it becomes “easier” to close one’s heart to the humanity of many other blocks of humanity.    Very few people hate just one group of humanity.  If they hate Jews, they are also more likely to hate Hispanics.   If they hate African-Americans, they will also hate immigrants.    And so on. 

We see this spiritual disease in the industry behind the manufacturing of hatred against Muslim Americans.  

Let’s take but one example:  David Yerushalmi, who’s been profiled in the New York Times, and elsewhere, as the leading personality behind anti-Shari'a legislation in America.

One of the main supporters of David Yerushalmi is Pamela Geller, the force behind the anti-Muslim subway ads, as well as the effort to stop the building of Park51, the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque.”

Yerushalmi practices what he refers to as “lawfare”, the practice of introducing legislation against American Muslims. 

Yerushalmi’s views on Muslims are well-known:

"Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization…The Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies."

No self-described or practicing Muslim, irrespective of his or her declarations to the contrary, will be allowed to immigrate to this country."

— A 2007 commentary entitled "War Manifesto — The War Against Islam,"

Yerushalmi, a Hasidic Jew who splits his time between promoting anti-Shari’a legislation in the United States and supporting free-market reform in Israel, also has a long history of making statements against African-Americans and immigrants.

Yerushalmi calls African-Americans:
“the most murderous of peoples”

As for women (and Blacks), he approvingly says:

“the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote.”

As for his views on democracy, he is clearly no fan of mass participation in democratic politics.  Yerushalmi yearns for a “democracy” limited to elite “White Christian men.”

"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."

Yerushalmi’s hatred extends his own co-religionists, as he attacks liberal Jews with almost as much vehemence as he attacks Muslims.   Here is his characterization of liberal 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."

The Anti-Defamation league, a Jewish civil rights group, quotes Yerushalmi as holding liberal Jews to be:
"the leading proponents of all forms of anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Christian movements, campaigns, and ideologies."

So this is the person that Pamella Geller and Robert Spencer, the forces behind “Stop the Islamization of Nations” are in bed with.    They appeared together in a September 2012 rally.

So let’s connect the dots.    Yerushalmi hates Muslims, hates blacks, hate women, hates mass participation in democracy, and hates liberal Jews.      

[I'd be very curious to ask their opinion about gays/lesbians, and the poor.]

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the kind of person (along with Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer) who is behind manufacturing hatred towards Muslims.  
And they are not likely to stop at Muslims.  

A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Equal-opportunity hater, indeed.

The way to counter such hatred is by insisting that all of us are in this together, all of us are in full possession of full humanity, and that a a threat to any of us will be treated as an attack on all of us.   

Light is more powerful than darkness.
Love is more divine than hatred.

Tags: african-americans, blacks, islam, islamophobia, jews, muslims, pamela geller, racism, robert spencer, shari'a, women


  1. It is breathtaking to read this luminous insight while sitting in Istanbul.
    I have just attended a session of the Istanbul World Forum that addressed
    Islamophobia. There Hillary Weisner of Carnegie Corporation compared the
    assault on Muslims to the racial/racist rhetoric of the past, and she made a
    cogent argument that the xenophobia inspired hatred of all things Islamic and
    all persons Muslim is linked to the same instinct that pervaded popular American
    culture before the Civil Rights Act of the 1960s. What Omid Safi has demonstrated
    here is the need to think differently even before legislation protecting Muslims - and
    other demonized minorities - is passed in the current US Congress, which is unlikely
    to be any time soon, whatever the outcome of next month’s elections. As Omid makes
    crystal clear, hatred is not a one stop reflex; it pervades a culture through one group
    but affects all who embrace or condone its use against any marginal or marginalized
    race, country or religion. Thank you for your bracing message, Omid.

  2. Thanks for this spot on commentary, Omid. Hate never has one target; it multiplies and infects many. May the spot of Islamophobia become a receding, rather than an expanding, virus in
    American public space.

  3. Christian Solidarity International (CSI) has issued a Genocide Warning for Christian communities and other religious minorities in North Africa and the broader Islamic Middle East!  Dr. John Eibner, the CEO of CSI-USA, is calling on President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney to make genocide prevention a priority in America’s Middle East policy.

  4. please bear in mind that not all Jews and not all Israelis think like Yerushalmi. there is much peace and co-existence between Arabs-Muslims and Jews in Israel than the media or these people would like to admit. i dare to say that he does not represent us at all. Judaism is not like that. the silent majority is always much better thant what is known and published in media and other sources.

  5. Glad to see intelligent comments as well as thoughtful article. Wish we could all also be talking about reaching the hearts and minds of those millions who are less informed and possibly less interested.

    Also, obviously, there are many haters in our own Muslim community both here in the USA and elsewhere and the challenge is to reach them as well so that politics of fear & hate is less attractive to the ambitious and the political. Can we move on from analysis to action steps?

  6. Hateful as Yerushalmi and his ilk are, they had no known connection to the anti-Muhammad film.  That was produced by a group of Coptic Christians, along with the help of some right-wing anti-Muslim white Christian extremists like the Koran-burning pastor.  Lumping this “film” in with Yerushalmi is confusing and only helps promote the producers’ original false-flag lie that the film was made by an Israeli Jew with 100 Jewish financial backers.

  7. Dear “Itlooksexpensive”, You are right that this particular “film” was not made by Israeli Jews, as Nakoula had initially claimed.  However, the mandate of truth also requires one to point out that many previous attacks on Islam and Muslims in the United States have come from pro-Israel individuals and organizations, many of them Jewish.  One can only point out vicious examples like Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz.  As for “films”, let me remind of the previous (and ongoing) examples like “obsession” that I talked about here:  Those were indeed produced by Israeli right-wing organizations (Clarion Fund, Aish Ha-Torah) and largely distributed through Jewish Republican coalitions.    You can also look at Here:  so. to be direct about it, the many, many groups and individuals that see the promotion of a hardline pro-Israel stance by demonizing Muslims are in fact to blame for the current xenophobic climate we find ourselves in.    I hope we can be a part of the solution by tapping into examples of people like Rabbi Heschel, Arthur Waskow, and Reb Zalman in these times.  All the best, omid Safi

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